Delight in the Lord Through His Word

Let us endeavor to delight in the Lord by being attentive to His presence through being attentive to Him in and through His Word. This is, I believe what George Müller is encourageing us to do in this sermon excerpt… Enjoy…

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A New Year’s Address delivered  in 1859 (excerpted), By George Müller (27 September 1805 – 10 March 1898)

George Mueller

We have through the Lord’s goodness been permitted to enter upon another year, and the minds of many amongst us will no doubt be occupied with plans for the future, and the various spheres of service in which, if our lives be spared, we shall be engaged. The welfare of our families, the prosperity of our business, our work and service for the Lord, may be considered the most important matters to be attended to; but, according to my judgment, the most important point to be attended to is this: Above all things, see to it that pour souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you; the Lord’s work even may have urgent claims upon your attention; but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek, above all other things, to have your souls truly happy in God Himself. Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled conviction for the last five-and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance; but now, after much experience, I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ. The secret of all true effectual service is, joy in God, and having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.

But in what way shall we attain to this settled happiness of soul? How shall we learn to enjoy God? How obtain such an all-sufficient soul-satisfying portion in Him as shall enable us to let go the things of this world as vain and worthless in comparison? I answer, This happiness is to be obtained through the study of the Holy Scriptures. God has therein revealed Himself unto us in the face of Jesus Christ.

In the Scriptures, by the power of the Holy Ghost, He makes Himself known unto our souls. Remember, it is not a god of our own thoughts or our own imaginations that we need to be acquainted with; but the God of the Bible, our Father, who has given the blessed Jesus to die for us. Him should we seek intimately to know, according to the revelation He has made of Himself in his own most precious Word.

The way in which we study this Word is a matter of the deepest moment. The very earliest portion of the day we can command should be devoted to meditation on the Scriptures. Our souls should feed upon the Word. We should read it-not for others, but for ourselves; all the promises, the encouragements, the warnings, the exhortations, the rebukes, should be taken home to our own bosoms. Especially let us remember not to neglect any portion of the Bible: it should be read regularly through. To read favourite portions of the Scriptures, to the exclusion of other parts, is a habit to be avoided. The whole Divine volume is inspired, and by degrees should be read regularly through. But to read the Bible thus is not enough; we must seek to become intimately and experimentally acquainted with Him whom the Scriptures reveal, with the blessed Jesus who has given Himself to die in our room and stead. Oh, what an abiding, soul-satisfying portion do we possess in Him!

 Note: The entire sermon can be found at: http://christbiblechurch.org/muller_sermons/chapter_8.pdf

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Let us be encouraged by this great saint to read our Bibles according to a regular schedule. Such a discipline will facilitate our capacity and practice of delighting in the Lord and allowing Him to bear the fruit of His Life in our life by the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Thomas

The Root and Fruit of All Resolutions – Delight in the Lord

What, for the faithful disciple of Jesus the Christ, is the greatest resolution? I will venture an answer. The answer is – to delight in the Lord unceasingly. The root and fruit of any and all commitments and resolves, I am convinced, proceed out of the root commitment and resolve – to effectively delight in God unceasingly. Let me be specific. Even rejoicing in the Lord, giving thanks for (not just to) the Lord issues forth from something even deeper – delighting in the Lord.

An example of my point. I delight in my wife, Lorna, and in my three children, Taylor, Madison, and Joshua. As a result, I rejoice in knowing them and giving thanks that I am in relationship with them. The rejoicing and thankfulness are, though basic and foundational, are not the bedrock of my relationship with them. I delight in them. They are the delight of my heart. Mysteriously, I believe delight is even deeper than rejoicing and thankfulness. Delight strikes at the very heart of the person’s identity as we have come to know it. What is more, the rejoicing and thanksgiving more deeply establishes and strengthens the centrality of my delight in them. So, it is a spiral.

A couple of passages to establish the point…

Psalm 37.4

[4] Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 84

[1] How lovely is thy dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
[2] My soul longs, yea, faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
[3] Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at thy altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
[4] Blessed are those who dwell in thy house,
ever singing thy praise!
[5] Blessed are the men whose strength is in thee,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
[6] As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
[7] They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
[8] O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!
[9] Behold our shield, O God;
look upon the face of thine anointed!
[10] For a day in thy courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
[11] For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the LORD withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
[12] O LORD of hosts,
blessed is the man who trusts in thee!

Psalm 27.4-8

[4] One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD,
and to inquire in his temple.
[5] For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent,
he will set me high upon a rock.
[6] And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies round about me;
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
[7] Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
[8] Thou hast said, “Seek ye my face.”
My heart says to thee,
“Thy face, LORD, do I seek.”

Psalm 46

[1] God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
[2] Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
[3] though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
[4] There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
[5] God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God will help her right early.
[6] The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
[7] The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
[8] Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has wrought desolations in the earth.
[9] He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear,
he burns the chariots with fire!
[10] “Be still, and know that I am God.
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth!”
[11] The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Habakkuk 3.17-19

[17] Though the fig tree do not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
[18] yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
[19] GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like hinds’ feet,
he makes me tread upon my high places.
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

1 Thessalonians 5.16-18

[16] Rejoice always,
[17] pray constantly,
[18] give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Such a commitment and resolve knows no day off nor does it know a better set of circumstances for its fulfillment. Every time and every place and every circumstance is fitting and perfectly designed for its keeping.

Once again, my family serves as a good example of what I mean. My relationship with Lorna and the kids is not always comfortable and smooth. We don’t always get along. Things are not always happy. We have to persevere together through costly and stormy times. But, that does not change my delight in them, and I hope their delight in me. Seeking and relating out of and through this delight in one another is the key. When I lose track of the delight I lose track of the relationship and alienation and division results. My union with my family, and their with me, is founded on delight. The same is true in our relationship with God.

I like the way the NASB puts it: “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1.14)

The great treasure that God has given us is delighting in Him. I don’t think I am stretching the point to say, this delight is our joy and peace. It is our treasure.

St. Paul, in addressing issues that potentially divide believers, proclaims clearly that the Kingdom of God and the deeds of the citizen of the Kingdom must proceed out of a spirit of “righteousness and joy and peace.” He says this in more than one place:

Romans 14.17-19

[17] For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit;
[18] he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.
[19] Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Philippians 4.4-7

[4] Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
[5] Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand.
[6] Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
[7] And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The more we resolve to have as the intention and goal of our daily disciplines of Scripture reading and study, prayer, fellowship, ministry, and witness proceed from a heart that delights in the Lord, the more this delight will manifest itself in all the ways of which our Lord spoke. Delighting in the Lord is the root that manifests its character in the fruit. Delight in the Lord is the beginning, the means, and the end.

So, I encourage you, as the New Year begins, to consider making a resolution to spend as much time as you are able, delighting in the Lord. You ask, “How?” I say, “The delight is already there because the Holy Spirit who delights in the Lord has been poured into your hearts. Be still, cease from striving, and know…”

Happy New Year in the delight of the Lord,

Fr. Thomas

P.S. Oh yes, one other thing. As you see, I have not used the word love in this blog. Of course, I could have done so. Don’t get me wrong, it obviously fits. But, sometimes, I find, when I just plop that word down on the page it short-circuits having to seriously deal with other subtle facets and practicalities of our relationship with God and one another – like the difference between delight and happiness. Just an additional something to consider.