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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

God's Pleasure (Psalm 147.10-11)


{This is what I presented to the Capitol Forum, a Bible Study fellowship that meets every Wednesday at the Oklahoma State Capitol}

God’s Pleasure
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love
(Psalm 147.10-11).

20 verses. 20 groups of parallel statements describing, declaring, announcing and affirming that in all of earth’s story, throughout all of your life’s tale, God is the Hero! And then, smack-dab in the middle of this Psalm come two verses about God’s displeasure and God’s pleasure. Hebrew: chaphetz – delight; ratzach – pleasure!

No Pleasure (v.10): The “strength of the horse” and the “legs of a man” probably have most to do with war machinery, powerful soldering, the martial arts, or battle prowess. God has no delight (chaphetz) in what arouses our admiration; he has no pleasure (ratzach) in what arrests our attention; the things that swell us to fist-pumps and shouts.

We’re impressed with stamina, strength, speed and success. We’re awed by quarterbacks who break out and make touchdowns; full backs who plow through mounds of musty muscle to force their way to the goal. We’re enthralled by men who manufacture large churches and pile up fortune and fame. And part of the good news here is – thank God! He hain’t impressed and he hain’t wowed!

Takes Pleasure (v.11): The rest of the good news comes out here. Instead of being pleased with strength and supremacy and rather than being delighted in brawny bulges and biceps, God is pleased (ratzach) with those who are awed by him; by those who are wowed by his holiness and enraptured with persistent love! And therefore, he has pleasure in those who – in that awe and wow – trust in him; those who trust that he is the hero of their story; that he is the hero of their ministry; that he is the hero of their life; that he is the hero of their career; that he is the hero of their family! That neither Ironman, Ant Man nor the Hulk have anything on him!

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4.6-11).

Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends” (2 Corinthians 10.17-18).

And finally, from an 8th Century Christian hymn:
O Christ, our hope, our heart's desire, redemption's only spring,
Creator of the world art thou, its Savior and its King.
How vast the mercy and the love which laid our sins on thee,
and led thee to a cruel death to set thy people free.
But now the bands of death are burst, the ransom has been paid;
and thou art on thy Father's throne, in glorious robes arrayed.
O Christ, be thou our lasting joy, our ever great reward;
our only glory may it be to glory in the Lord!
(http://www.hymnary.org/text/o_christ_our_hope_our_hearts_desire)

His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love

(Psalm 147.10-11).

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