Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Expectations Vs Reality: What Delights God

Here are some things my cold, sinful, stubborn heart says about God:

- The Lord doesn't really delight in anything; leave him alone.
- The Lord delights in alone time; go find something else to be your source of joy.
- The Lord is a bit fed up with those who consistently let him down, so put your hope in your career, or your beauty, or your relationships - maybe once you've achieved something you could come back.

Occasionally, my malfunctional heart's own theology might muster:

- The Lord delights in those who merit his favour and put their hope in their awesome quiet times, bold evangelism and white-hot- holiness OR
- The Lord delights in those who avoid him when they muck up, in those who put their hope in being able to clean up their own act, or in time's ability to "heal."

Thankfully, my cold-hearted, sinful, stubborn heart is wrong.

Extraordinarily wrong.

Thankfully, the living and active, life-giving word of God says something radically, gloriously, deliciously different:

"The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love."
Psalm 147:11

This is glorious.

This means that yes, the Lord delights and takes great JOY in people being confident in His love! It gives him pleasure when we expect his love never to fail, when- knowing Him, we are assured that he will be gracious and merciful and generous- though our quiet times are sporadic, though we just messed up again, though we are weak. It pleases him when we turn away from ourselves- our own strengths, our own failings, our own successes or our own sins and say "Lord, my only hope is you!" The Lord is filled with gladness when we see he is the friend of sinners, when we trust that, for Jesus sake, he gives good things to the undeserving, when we are confident that his love will not fail even when ours does.

The Lord delights in:
those who expect him to be true to his promises,
who believe that He is for us,
who are confident that He's given us Jesus,
who trust his provision for our justification
who believe his declaration that we are NOT GUILTY
who know, deep down, that He will be good even when we most struggle to believe it,
who accept his invitation to cast ourselves on Him.

We all struggle to believe God loves us. But believing it pleases God. He loves for us to be secure, and confident and certain in His affection for us- and to hope in this love instead of in anything else. That's why Paul is so emphatic in saying:

I am convinced 
that neither death
nor life,

neither angels

nor demons,

neither the present

nor the future,

nor any powers,
neither height

nor depth,

nor anything else

in all creation
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

What delights God is that our hope is in His love. Not our own; His. At the cross, He has made an unshakable case for his own steadfast, robust, unchanging, unconditional, unfailing love for us. The Lord delights in those who hope in it. 


  1. Hi Phil,
    I discovered your blog the other day and have slowly been reading through treasuring the amazing truths you have written. Thank you for unflinchingly sharing the destructiveness of sin in its many disguises, but even more so for reminding me of unchanging and joyous truths about God. Please keep writing! I praise God for saving you and continuing to transform you to be like Jesus. Dani Spence

    1. Dani! How kind of you to comment :) It is hugely encouraging to know that you've been encouraged: God's goodness and kindness and big NOT GUILTY declaration makes it so much easier to bring all the mess in to the light. The amazing thing is that even in His light, He doesn't condemn! Hallelujah! Big love in him x


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