It had been a busy day. Our three year old daughter, Phoenix, was exhausted. She napped until I needed to get Greg, our 7 year old son, from school. When I put her in the van to go pick him up, she continued to sleep. Even after Greg climbed into his car seat and nosily greeted both Phoenix and I, she slept. I carried her into the house and sat down on the couch. She snuggled up to me, tucking her head into my shoulder, pulling herself close to me. It was such a delight to cuddle her while she slowly awoke from her nap. It touched my heart. It made me wonder, when we draw near to God, does it touch His heart? Does He delight in holding us? Let’s take a look in the Bible.
Zephaniah 3:17 says “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” This passage seems to indicate that God does delight in the Nation of Israel. They seem to have to ability to make His heart sing. Isaiah 62:5 also records God rejoicing over the Nation of Israel. “As a young man marries a maiden, so will your Builder marry you, as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” Here we go again; another passage with God rejoicing over the Nation of Israel. Must be nice, Israel. Hosea 11 speaks of a bond between The Lord and Israel that is like the bond between a parent and child. Verse 1 begins “When Israel was a child, I loved him and out of Egypt I called him my son.” The story continues in verse 4 as “I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.” Doesn’t this sound like a parent holding a child close, cheek to cheek, delighting in the closeness? It makes me think of a parent kneeling to talk with a child, getting on his or her eye level. It is very personal. All of these Old Testament passages specifically refer to the Nation of Israel. Romans 11 announces to us Non-Jewish believers that we are grafted into the Nation of Israel. We now lay claim to the God of Israel and His promises to them.
Jesus teaches in Luke 15:7 “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” That’s pretty cool, but what about specifically God rejoicing over us, not just heaven in general. The Apostle Paul proclaims to us in 1 Thessalonians 4:1 “we instructed you how to live in order to please God.” We have the capacity to please God? If you want to know how, read verses 3-12. Hebrews 11:6 speaks of us pleasing God. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” We must believe that He exists. Additionally, we must believe that the blood of the Lamb makes us able to seek and find Him. I know my sins are offensive to Him. Can God get beyond the offal of my sin to embrace and delight in me? That’s really what we are getting at here. It’s amazing isn’t it? Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross we can move into a relationship described as “God is pleased with you.” It sounds both too good to be true but also so foundationally true all at once. God, you indeed surpass our human understanding! The Creator of Heaven and Earth needs nothing: no food, no water, no shelter, no friends. But He chooses to want me? Limited, sinful me? It’s in the Bible. Don’t believe me? Look it up for yourself in Acts 17:24-28. Even more amazing is this: the Bible insinuates that I can I can touch His heart, so to speak. Can it really be true? Does He look at me and smile? Does He really want to be close to me?
I think He does. I read Zephaniah 3:17, Isaiah 62:5, Hosea 11:4, 1 Thessalonians 4:1, Hebrews 11:6, Philippians 4:18, Luke 15:11-32 and I begin to believe that God chooses to delight in us. What about you? Do you think that He enjoys fellowship with you? Lord, lead us in the paths of righteousness that go straight to the warm embrace of our Heavenly Father.