To Delight God
Text: Jeremiah 9:23, 24
Proposition: To delight God is to make much of His loving kindness, His judgment and His righteousness which He exercises in the earth.
Introduction: Let me ask you this morning, “Do you think that God experiences emotions?” Does omnipotence, being all powerful, or omniscience being all knowing, tend to narrow how God experiences emotions? Perhaps for some the very idea that God experiences emotions at all is a stretch of their imagination and belief. Yet God, being a Trinity of three persons in one unity, does feel and think and choose. It is His personhood that we are designed after, that’s what being made in His image refers to. In the early chapters of the book of Jeremiah the Babylonians are about to invade Israel and the people of the nation refuse to listen to God’s warnings. In Jeremiah 9:23,24 God speaks to Jeremiah and says this about self reliant Israelites and the self absorbed Babylonians, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might nor the rich man glory in his riches. But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord exercising loving kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight’, says the Lord.” So let’s take a brief look at what God did not delight in…the wisdom, might and wealth of man… and let’s then look at what He does delight in…loving kindness, judgment and righteousness. Let’s recognize the way that God experiences emotion in all this, particularly let’s recognize the delight of God.
I. Thems Gears In There! We were visiting some folks up north one day and as we pulled up in the car Marci rolled down her window to chat. The Dad had a young son and daughter with him as we began to talk the little boy leaned in closer to where the window had descended inside the door. Peering down his eyes got wider and wider and then calling out to his younger sister he says, “Abby, thems gears in there!” What the gears did, how exactly they worked he couldn’t tell but there was wonder at the presence of gears. When God says to Jeremiah, ‘Let not the wise man, mighty man nor rich man glory in their respective possessions or discoveries, is it that we are much like that little boy peering down into the door when it comes to assuring the safety, prosperity and success of our own futures. Can political wisdom, military might or national wealth predict the outcome of next year? In Iran, in Afghanistan, in Canada, we see the gears but how a prorogued parliament will turn out, how a nuclear empowered country will turn out, how a multi trillion dollar debt will turn out… we really don’t know. Instead God encourages us to make much of this, to glory in this, that you can understand and know Him! It’s not a hollow promise, instead God invites to watch what He does and to understand Him and know Him.
II. What Loving Kindness, Judgment and Righteousness Say About God. In his book, “The Problem of Pain”, C.S.Lewis says, “Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the avaricious, the self-righteous, are in that danger.” Which do you think there are more of in the world, prostitutes or the proud, the avaricious and the self righteous? The great majority of the world is in the dangerous place of being unable to turn to God because they feel no need of rescue. God’s response to this danger all mankind is in is to exercise love, judgment and righteousness in the world. God’s love through the living hands of people like you awakens people to the reality of Who God is. By love, people come to understand and know God. The people at World Vision know that as they care for the child soldiers of Uganda, children as young as 4 that have been enslaved and brutalized and then made tools for terror. It is women like Florence Lacor who love these children back to life in the shelter camps of World Vision. Love transforms lives because love is the nature of Who God is, restoration by love is the recovery of people to Himself that they would understand and know Him more.
Judgment is what God uses to check the rampant desires of sin in man, and sin is rampant. In the book, “Not For Sale” it makes this statement… “Human trafficking generates $31 billion annually and enslaves 27 million people around the globe, half them children… the commerce in human beings today rivals drug trafficking and the illegal arms trade for the top criminal activity on the planet.” The judgment of God is about justice, both human and divine justice. People that know God who pursue justice on the behalf of others become an instrument by which others come to know and understand Jesus Christ.
Righteousness is what God uses to induce hope and grace in the world. It is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that was introduced to the world through the pages of the Scripture, the righteousness of Jesus demonstrated visually in His incarnation, His death and resurrection. There is a means of right standing before God despite the horrors of sin that abound in our world and in us. Jesus is the hope of the world, the entry point to this hope is not wealth or caste or race or wisdom or gender or nationality. It is faith, a God given faith at that, which gains entry into the righteousness of Jesus. It’s there for you now, even this very moment that are hearing these thoughts.
Don’t forget where we started, it is by loving kindness and judgment and righteousness that God says, “for in these I delight.” Take that thought one step further and recognize that God uses people like you and I to be the agents, even the ambassadors of Jesus Christ to bring love, justice and the truth of righteousness to the earth. Is it possible that you can delight God? Maybe we should ask Him and listen for His answer. This week demonstrate love, champion justice and hold out the hope of righteousness in Jesus Christ. This week, Delight God!