Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure (Psalm 103:21).
Here we are “in-between” again. . . .
In the most recent Bible Advocate, our theme is the Royal Law. In the July-August BA, out later this month, we’re looking at Christian Living. Sabbath and marriage are two divine institutions that stand out especially in this pair of issues covering CoG7 Statements of Faith 7-10.
The Christian life and the commandments of God obviously go together, but the law of love reminds us that more than a list of rules — do’s and don’ts to tick off — this is the intersection where relationship between Creator and creature plays out in everyday life. As with loving, flourishing marriages, vital to this sacred covenant relationship is shared love — the desire to know and please the beloved covenant partner.
Our Lord is faithful to do His part. His bountiful gifts and promises, His very presence, is the source of all pleasure:
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:11).
And what is our part? God’s commandments reveal what pleases Him and what does not; what enriches relationship with Him and what undermines it. Christian living, then, is our heart’s response to His, like a dance in step to His tempo, embraced, to “do His pleasure” and all that is pleasing in His sight (Psalm 103:21; 1 John 3:22). He leads; we follow.
This set me searching Scripture for specifics. What is His pleasure? What pleases, and does not please, our heavenly Father? Here’s what I found:
- God takes no pleasure in wickedness (Psalm 5:4), so let’s avoid it wherever we find it.
- God is pleased with our praise and thanksgiving (69:30), so let’s proclaim more of that.
- God takes no pleasure in human strength (147:10), so let’s lean on Him instead.
- God takes pleasure in those who fear Him and hope in His mercy (147:11), so let’s trust and revere Him more.
- God takes pleasure in His people (149:4), so shouldn’t we take pleasure in them too?
- God is pleased when we set our own pleasures aside and choose those things that please Him (Isaiah 56:4; 58:13), like keeping the Sabbath. Let’s not forget that.
- God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:32), so we shouldn’t either.
- God takes no pleasure in outward religious ritual but in justice, mercy, and humility (Micah 6:7, 8), so let’s cultivate those qualities.
- God is well pleased in His beloved Son (Matthew 3:17), so we must follow and listen to Him (17:5).
- God’s pleasure is to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32), so we should receive it as little children.
- God is pleased to save those who believe by the preaching of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:21), so let’s preach it.
- God is pleased to set each member of the church body in their spot (12:18), so let’s find our place there.
- God is pleased to adopt us as His children through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5), so let’s love Him as our Father.
- God is pleased when children obey their parents (Colossians 3:20), so let’s honor them in word and deed.
- God takes no pleasure in those who draw back from faith (Hebrews 10:38; 11:6), so let’s live by faith.
- God is well pleased when we do good and share what we have (13:16), so let’s reach out to others.
In a world obsessed with its own pleasure, these sixteen biblical lessons in the dance of God’s pleasure and Christian living give us plenty to occupy ourselves with, and they are only the beginning. Every day we love Him, we learn how to please Him more. The only thing better than striving to please God personally is striving to please Him together. Let’s encourage one another in the dance.
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more (1 Thessalonians 4:1).
Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.