God’s Delights: A Topical Study

Through holy prophets, the God of the Bible discloses that He experiences a wide range of emotions.  Many dismiss the sacred report.  The sophisticated say these Scriptures are poor attempts to describe the indescribable, or are wishful thinking, or perhaps an infantile projection of our passions onto the concept of a Creator.  (A term used to define this is: “anthropopathic language.”)

The critic disregards this truth: humanity is made in God’s image.  As His image, we are able to represent, reflect upon, experience and relate to the emotions that proceed from our Father.  One of these emotions is “delight”.  God enjoys many things.  That in which He delights, He loves.  The following is an overview of God’s delights.

God’s Delights:

He delights in the Messiah:

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. (Isaiah 42:1a)

He delights in His people:

… the men of Judah (are) His delightful plant. (Isaiah 5:7b)

He delights in His servant’s prosperity:

… “The LORD … delights in the prosperity of His servant.” (Psalm 35:27b)

He delights in Wisdom who is delighting in humanity:

Then I (Wisdom) was beside Him, as a master workman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in the world, His earth, and having my delight in the sons of men. (Proverbs 8:30-31)

There are sacrifices which delight Him:

Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices… (Psalm 51:19a)

He delights in the upright’s prayer:

… the prayer of the upright is His delight. (Proverbs 15:8b)

He delights in uprightness.  He loves equity.  He delights in honesty:

“… You … delight in uprightness, (1 Chronicles 29:17b)

… a just weight is His delight. (Proverbs 11:1b)

… those who deal faithfully are His delight. (Proverbs 12:22b)

So far we’ve seen that God delights in the Messiah, Israel, His servants’ well-being, Wisdom and humanity, the sacrifices of the broken, the prayers of the upright person and the integrity of the redeemed community. Let’s invest a little more time and go a little further.

True Metaphors: Bridegroom and Father:

First, an aspect of God’s delight is that it is comparable to the delight of a bridegroom.

But you will be called, “My delight is in her,” and your land, “Married”; for the LORD delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:4b-5)

There is no Biblical metaphor which describes joyous celebration more than a wedding.  The language in this prophecy reveals God’s anticipation and joy.

You cannot overestimate the joy God has in those who have returned to Him through the blood of Jesus.  Each individual’s redemption is similar to the promised national reconciliation of Israel to the LORD.

God describes another type of pleasure He has in His people.  God’s delight is akin to that of a father.

“Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a delightful child? (Jeremiah 31:20a)

I know some children who are absolutely delightful.  They look delightful, act delightfully, speak delightful words.  Their interaction with their parents is …. delightful.  They are delightful.  God delights in His people as if they were His beloved child.

The following challenge is important.  It is a foundational prophetic passage.  Through Jeremiah, the LORD reminds rulers (reminding us, too) that success, seen in strategic wisdom, power and wealth, is not the goal of life.  If rulers want God’s favor upon their lives they must line up with God’s activity and goals: mercy that intervenes, justice that vindicates, and enduring godly relationships.

Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness (Chesed), justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)


In verse 24 we find a Hebrew word: “chesed.”  Chesed describes the manifest favor of God.  This favor is revealed when the object of the kindness is in trouble.  Chesed is intervention on behalf of someone that is beloved.  God delights in showing this type of favor.  Chesed delights God.

… He delights in unchanging love.  (Chesed)  (Micah 7:18b)

He also loves it when lovingkindness (chesed) is exercised on behalf of those He loves by others (whom He also loves).  In fact, if you want to provoke God’s Chesed, show chesed to others.

… for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7b)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  (Matthew 5:7)

Those in whom God delights are the objects of His saving work.

He rescued me, because He delights in me. (Psalm 18:19b)

Finally, remember, your Father delights in loving relationships.  God has revealed that religious rituals (which He instituted) without godly relationships are an abomination.  How sincere is our worship?  We may assess how genuine our worship is through this reality:  if God is truly honored, the worshiper will also honor those created in His image.  If the King of Glory is sincerely magnified, the fabric of redeemed and covenanted society will be strong and healthy; reflecting the love God has for each person, for each social unit.

For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.  (Hosea 6:6)

Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? … He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:7a-8)

The form of worship, the degree of sacrifice, was never to be the focus of the worshiper – God was the focus.  The God who delights in you.  The God who also delights in your brother.  The authenticity of our adoration is assayed in the crucible of our covenant relationships, in particular, the relationships within and between our local congregations.

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Messiah is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. (1 John 5:1  )

In the name of Yeshua, may our Father strengthen us to love one another.  May our lives and worship be delightful to Him.

by David Harwood

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