The Command to Delight Ourselves in God

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. – Psalm 37:4

My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. – Psalm 84:2

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. – Psalm 122:1

Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. – Isaiah 26:8

I have my moments throughout the week, but these are not thoughts that take up a lot of my brain space, sadly. My Saturday nights are too often spent staying up too late with all the things I’m so busy with, setting my alarm, and getting disappointed at the amount of sleep I’ll get before I have to wake up. Very few Saturday nights or even Sunday mornings are filled with these thoughts of delight, desire, joy, and longing.

Why don’t our lives overflow with these thoughts? Our lives have undergone incredible transformation through Christ, and we exist every moment only by his sovereign, life-giving power. He gives us life and breath, but He also gives us hope and a future because we are His children. That’s kind of a big deal and deserves some ponder time!

That’s a really big deal, actually, and I think we so easily lose sight of the awesomeness of God and the gift of salvation. There are a lot of ways we can remind ourselves of how amazing God is.

One way that I put myself and my life into perspective compared to God is by considering the magnitude of the universe and remembering that it is a creation of the God who calls me His child. It’s worth remembering how big God is compared to us. Look at a diagram of the universe and comparisons of earth to our sun and our sun to other stars. We are nothing in comparison to the vast cosmos! Take some time to watch Louie Giglio’s How Great is our God speech on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAzCP8SEKwc&feature=youtu.be). It’s not a short video, but it’s the most worthwhile 40 minutes I’ve probably ever spent on YouTube. I’ve watched the video probably ten times, and each time, I’m left speechless and in awe.

What makes your jaw drop in awe of who God is? Maybe it isn’t astronomy or science. Maybe looking back through history and seeing His faithfulness in preserving His church leaves you speechless. Maybe it’s the beauty of language that reminds you of the intricacies and beauty of the God we serve. Maybe, if you’re anything like me, it’s numbers and math that repeatedly show you how incredible God is. e^(i*pi) anyone? Whatever it is, take some time to think on those things, and make of habit of seeing God in the beautiful and complex things of the world.

Another way we can delight ourselves in God is to consider what God has done in our own lives in the last year, month, or week. Recently, I was prompted to consider what God has done in my life in past year. Taking the time to do that, I was completely overwhelmed by the goodness of God and the beautiful story He was writing in my life. We sometimes marvel at the testimonies of others and at the amazing things God has done in other people’s lives, but we understand so much more intimately what God has done when we look in our own lives. My story might not seem to be so amazing to others, but when I consider my story, I know exactly where I was, what I’ve come through, and how I’ve been held by God the entire way through.

History is filled with stories besides our own that can leave us longing for our Lord. It’s good to consider the stories of martyrs and church fathers, and once in a while, we should try to read the stories in the Bible as if we had never heard them before. I can so easily read the Bible stories I heard as a child and forget the wonder because I’ve heard it so many times. We serve an awesome God, though!

Another story I hear often that should leave me longing after, desiring, and joying in God is the gospel. This, too, I have heard repeatedly. I know the story, but often I forget the wonder. What could leave me longing after the house of the Lord than remembering what He gave for me to have restored fellowship with Him? In whom could I delight any more than in the One who saved my soul from the depths of hell? I can recite the gospel story so easily it makes me wonder sometimes if I really know what I’m saying. The Son of God, being fully and completely God, was willing to leave heaven’s throne to come and suffer for the same people that would spit, mock, ridicule, and crucify Him on a cross. That God of unfathomable magnitude came down to earth to take our punishment for sin. That’s love, completely undeserved. That’s grace. That’s amazing grace.

The psalmist in Psalm 37 says to delight yourself in God the LORD. That’s a command. This command is surrounded by other commands: fret not, trust in God, commit your way unto him, rest in him, cease from anger, and forsake wrath. We aren’t supposed to feel delighted in him once in a while or when circumstances are right, but we have to make ourselves delighted in him, no matter what. With all God has done for us, we have every reason in the world to be delighted in God. Why am I visibly and physically excited to see my friends, for this film to come out, or to do whatever other thing for my entertainment, but I’m not thrilled on Saturday night or Sunday morning to be going to the house of God to worship him?

Let’s take time today, tonight, or tomorrow morning to delight ourselves in the LORD. Let’s talk to God, listen through his Word, and reflect on what He’s done and who He is. Let’s fill our thoughts with these amazing things so that, like the Psalmist says, our hearts and souls long to be near and to worship God as a hart pants for water. Let’s start our Sabbath rest by putting our hearts in a state of worship and awe for the Lord our God.

Kelsey Kuiper

Awake out of Sleep

And that, knowing the times, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. –Romans 13:11,12

Tomorrow is the Lord’s Day. Will you go into the house of the Lord seeking Him, thirsting for Him? Or will you be distracted by the thoughts running through your mind or by the fatigue of a long and busy week? It is so easy to lose our focus, to become lazy in our attention. But yet Paul reminds us to “awake out of sleep” and “put on the armour of light.”

Satan tempts us in so many ways. He preys on the Church to destroy her and will do anything to separate her from her Bridegroom. He does this in obvious ways, such as tempting us with the “rioting and drunkenness” of the world around us. But He also does this in subtle ways. He is good at keeping us busy, keeping us concerned with the stressors of our lives. When we are so caught up with the demands, stressors, and the entertainments of everyday life, the harder it is to make time and attention for God’s Word. The more focused we become on everything we are involved with on this earth, the easier it can be to lose our focus on Who put us on this earth and to what purpose. And even when our spirit is willing, our flesh is so often weak, and fatigue and weariness can sap our attention.

However, this pilgrimage is “but for a moment” (2 Corinthians 4:17) and the weight of glory awaiting us is so much greater than the things we focus on in this life. And that day is fast approaching. “The night is far spent, the day is at hand.” God gives us only so many moments here on earth, and with every passing minute we are one step closer to the end of our pilgrimage here. Our salvation is near. May we not waste a second!

God is the purpose of your life, now and forever. Put on your spiritual armor! Don’t let Satan’s temptations to tune God out win. As you enter the house of worship tomorrow, pay attention. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh” (Rom. 13:14) that you may walk in the light and by grace experience the righteousness, peace, and joy of fellowship with our Lord (Rom.14:17).

Abby Huizing

 

Running Life’s Race

Life has often been compared to a race. Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7 makes this comparison, saying “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” One participating in a race may feel the minutes drag on, as their legs pound and their chests heave. That person may not be able to see the finish line—or even the next turn in the course. Yet, before he or she knows it, the feat is accomplished. No matter how much the runner may or may not have struggled, in the scope of the rest of that person’s life, even of that very day, the race was over very quickly. The finish line was crossed, post-race refreshments were there to satisfy hunger and thirst, and the sweat was washed away. Life soon turned again to normalcy, and what may have seemed long in the moment became an almost inconsequential memory as the person returned to “real life.”

Similarly, where we stand, work, and play here on this earth is only temporary. We are limited by the boundaries of time and our own unavoidable mortality. All things pass away; “all go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Ecclesiastes 3:20). Time slips by and the finish line of our life is ever approaching. We may not see it, we may not know how close it truly is, or we may not be consciously thinking about it. We don’t know in certainty the length of the course God has laid out for us. What we do know is that, despite what success we may or may not have in life, despite advancements in science, or despite how healthy we may be, the finish line that God has in His plan for our life will never cease to approach nearer.

As spiritual runners then we need constantly to remember our end goal and press toward it. What we do on this earth, or what we seek after might be good and honorable, but if those things are end goals of themselves, they are empty and our sights are too low. The things of this earth last only as long as our flesh still lives and breathes here. Without having the goal of the finish line, the course we run has no point, and there is no real purpose or motivation.

We follow the course laid out for us, for that is the way of our salvation and hope. We each have our own course that we follow that God has planned specifically for us, but every member of the body of Christ has the same end goal. The whole duty of man is to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13), and we know that all things work unto good for the church (Romans 8:28). This life is not for our personal happiness or comfort. It isn’t about all the shops, sights, or refreshments along the course, or the distractions that might tempt us to leave the course altogether. It is our temporary existence in this life wherein we may work for the growth of the church in the process of sharing the Word and (personally) in having what covenant children the Lord chooses to bless us with. This life is how God leaves the wicked without excuse (Romans 1:20; Ecclesiastes 12:14). Our life is a time in which we can glorify our Lord and grow in our relationships both with our Father and with our brothers and sisters with whom we claim to associate ourselves and desire to spend eternity in fellowship. This course is the important path which leads up to a glorious end.

Satan tries to distract us in this race. He entices us. We cannot in fullness see our finish line, so he shows us tangible things along the course. He takes things that may help us on the course or that may give us strength in our running and uses them to hinder us. He makes us busy. He tells us to dwell on the course and the things that it may provide. He caters to our weaknesses and distracts us from the mark we press toward. He tries to divert our attention and turn us away from the way that we should be going.

Yet we have a God who picks us up when we slip, and gives us help that we may press on. He nourishes us with His Word and with His promises so that we do not faint. When we wander, He draws us close to Him again. He is merciful to us, that in the end we may repeat, “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh Him” (Lamentations 3:25).

Abby DeVries