Do you ever have a hard time picturing God rejoicing over you? You feel His judgment and condemnation- but sometimes is it hard to picture God embracing us- lovingly guiding us- and rejoicing when we rejoice?
I struggle with this- as a perfectionist I have the tendency to beat myself up over every mistake- every way I feel I am not measuring up- living in a perpetual state of disappointment in myself and feeling sure that God sees me the same way.
I spent some time yesterday looking up every passage that I could find where it says that God delights in me. But then, my hubby mentioned the prodigal son-I thought- how could I forget?
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
We forget- how deep the Father’s love is- for us. He created us- we have the potential to bring wondrous joy to our God- the one who created us- and to bring Him deepest sorrow. But His love is not like ours. It does not lessen or depend on our performance.
His love is Perfect. Love that sacrificed for an enemy. In Romans 5, Paul makes it clear- God sent His Son to die for us and bring reconciliation- while we were living in sin- God stepped over the gulf and lovingly embraced us through the blood of His Son.
No greater love than this.
Take some time and let God love you today. Let these Words of Truth embrace you- as God whispers lovingly in your ear- You are precious to me. I rejoice over you; I delight in you.
Zephaniah 3:17–The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you;in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
Jeremiah 9:24–but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
Deuteronomy 30:8-10– Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, 10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
2 Samuel 22:20–He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
Psalm 22:8– “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him,since he delights in him.”
Psalm 35:27–May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness;
may they always say, “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.”
Psalm 147:11–the Lord delights in those who fear him,who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 149:4–For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
Proverbs 3:11-12–My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Proverbs 11:20–The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse, but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.
Proverbs 12:22–The Lord detests lying lips,but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
Isaiah 42:1–“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.
Isaiah 62:4–No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,and your land Beulah;for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married.
If you are like me, maybe as you read these verses- you begin to feel as though God’s love is conditional, based on how we perform- and hastily withdrawn when we don’t uphold our end of the bargain.
But we must keep in our mind the God we know who did not spare His own Son- but sent Him to die for us when we were lost in our sin. He reached out to us- full of compassion and love-He wanted to make a way, but we must choose Him.
Accept the love He has poured out into our hearts and lives and say, “Yes, Lord-I accept this gift of grace you have lavishly given. Thank you, praise be to God.”
Let’s say yes to Him today. To see Him as the God who loves with passion as well as judges righteously and hates evil.
Lord, sometimes it is hard for us to understand you. To grasp the heights and depths of your love while at the same time fearing you. We see your wrath against sin- your desire for righteousness and justice- and we are aware of how sinful we are- the ways that we don’t meet the mark. Reveal to us your tender mercies today- remind us how your grace has been poured out into our lives- not as something we deserve- but as a gift. May we embrace you and revere you- worship you and humbly approach your throne today. Thank you Lord, for love that defies all human logic- that reaches us in our most wretched. All Praise and Glory is yours now and forever. Amen.