Delight, and the baptism of Christ

 Psalm 1
 
1Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
Photo by Emma on Unsplash

What gives you delight?   What gives you that sense of unparalleled joy, that amazing degree of enjoyment and pleasure?

For me, getting married, the birth of my children, scoring over 100 runs in a cricket match have been some of the things that have given me delight.

The psalmist in Psalm 1 defines delight as immersing oneself in the Law of the Lord.  He sings of the person who finds joy in listening to God’s voice in Scripture, who discovers with pleasure “the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God”, and who daily asks God to give the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they may know him better” (Romans 11:33 & Ephesians 1:17).

When Scripture refers to the “law of the LORD” it is not just referring to God’s laws, but refers to all of Scripture.  For all scripture is God breathed, and reveals to us His good and perfect will, his absolute truths, his love for us, and his divine nature.  Never forget that God only has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, after all Christ came to save us, not condemn us (Jeremiah 29:11 & John 3:17).

So, the more we know of the whole scope of God’s Word, the more resources we will have to guide us in our daily decisions.

Meditating on, and understanding God’s Word are the first steps toward applying it to your everyday life.  Here “meditating” means spending time reading, thinking, marking, and praying about what we have read.  It also means asking how we must change and grow so we will live in line with God’s truths and His perfect plans for us.

Do you know what the result of this constant delight in God’s Word is? You become like a tree planted by a river. Walking down river banks in high summer you see tall, vital trees, well-watered because they are rooted deep in the stream.  Such trees are resplendent with foliage in rich shades of green. They can withstand biting frost, harsh winds and blazing sun.

So, the more we delight in God’s presence, the more fruitful we will be.  Conversely, the more we allow those who ridicule God and faith to affect our thoughts and attitudes, the more we will be cut off from our source of nourishment.  We must engage and welcome unbelievers if we are to witness to them, but we must not adopt their sinful behaviour and scornful sarcasm.  If you want despair, spend time with cynics and critics; if you want God’s joy, and know His delight, spend time with those who love God, his Word, and his people.

A person who delights in God’s Word will prosper and have integrity, will speak truthfully and exhibit stability and strength.  This is the person who will reflect the face of God like a river reflects the sun in dappled waves. This one is truly blessed.

The phrase “whatever they do prospers” does not mean that God’s people have immunity from failure or difficulties. Nor does it guarantee health, wealth, or happiness. What the Bible means by prosperity is this: When we apply God’s wisdom, the fruit – the results or by-products we bear, will be good and will receive God’s approval.  Just as a tree soaks up water and bears luscious fruit, we are to soak up God’s Word and produce actions and attitudes that honour him.  To achieve anything worthwhile, we must have God’s Word in our hearts, for when we do our attitudes come more and more into line with His wholesome and life-giving attitudes.

What joy to know that God is watching the paths we walk each day.  We may feel like He keeps His eye on us to criticise us for what we do wrong along the way, but this is not true.  God sees us with loving eyes, protecting us, caring for us, and keeping us from stumbling on the journey (Psalm 121:3-5). I encourage you to look for signs of his care for you today, and bask in the thought that He is guiding and helping you on your daily journey.

Let your imagination soar with the grandeur, majesty, wisdom and unsurpassed love of God.  You will see Him as a rock, a fortress, a strong tower, a nurturing mother and so much more. He rides on the wind and shows Himself in the starry heavens.  Delight yourself in singing along with the psalmist and plant your roots deep in the nourishing living water of God’s Word.

After all, this is exactly what Jesus did.  Having come up out of the waters of baptism, heaven opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17).

God was pouring over Jesus His delight in His only Son.  God was revealing and establishing His new covenant that in a few years He would usher into His world through the death and resurrection of His Son.

This combination of the water of baptism, of God’s word for Him and knowing His Father’s delight gave Jesus the strength to go and do what God was calling Him to do.  He went and ministered to the people of Israel through selfless acts of service, culminating in His death on the cross.  But that was not the end.  He rose from the dead showing us that all “who believe in Him receive forgiveness of sins through His name.” (Acts 10:44).

What delight there is in God!

I encourage you to delight in the Lord, know afresh His sense of unparalleled joy, know again that amazing degree of enjoyment and pleasure, even to the point of rapture, being poured afresh over you.  When this becomes our daily experience, we will see amazing and beautiful things happen in the everyday events of our lives which will infuse the lives of those around us with God’s life, light, hope and love.

From a sermon delivered on Sunday 12th Jan 2020