The Discipline of Delighting in God's Delights

Steve Viars November 29, 2008 Isaiah 42:

- Q – Have you ever been in a situation where a person in authority over you, or perhaps a friend or acquaintance, could not/would not tell you what he/she wanted?...

- so there was a lack of clarity about what would please them and what wouldn’t…

- let me tell you about one of my first days of seminary…

- Kris and I had gotten married…we had just returned from our honeymoon…

- and that first week, we were driving to the seminary building…

- Kris had gotten a job at the seminary, which was a huge help…so we were on our way to work for her and school for me…

- it was obviously in a new town for us, so I was still getting used to the roads…and I pulled up at a stop light where there were two lanes on our side of the yellow line…

- I was in the lane that was closest to the center of the road, and there was another lane to my right…

- when the stoplight changed colors, I went straight…

- I hadn’t gone very far at all, when a policeman was behind me with his flashing lights on…

- which meant at least 2 things – it was probably going to make Kris late for work…and I also assumed that the policeman wasn’t stopping me to commend me on my exceptional driving skills…which wouldn’t be the greatest way to start your seminary career…

- sure enough, he told me that the lane I was in was only for those who were turning left at that previous intersection…and since I was in that lane and went straight, I had broken the law and he was going to love me enough to give a ticket to help me change my ways…

- so I took the ticket – and you have to remember that this was 26 years so I can’t remember all of my reactions, but I imagine that I smiled graciously and encouraged him to have a good day…

- the amazing thing is…at the end of the day, I went back by the intersection…and guess what?...

- the paint on the road which was supposed to show the turning lanes had all peeled off and as far as I could determine…there were no other signs that showed what was supposed to be done at that intersection…apparently you were just supposed to know what the authorities wanted in that situation…

- since some of my previous forays in the courtroom hadn’t been very pleasant, I just decided to pay the ticket and keep going…but we all know how frustrating it can be when someone tries to make you pay a price without first clearly communicating what they wanted in the first place…

- you may have faced that in the workplace---where your boss doesn’t tell you what’s expected or desired…or maybe in your case that person’s desires change with the weather…so you’ve never quite sure on a given day what the person wants…

- or maybe you face that with a friend, or a family member---some folks are even married to people like that---where you just wish you knew – what do you want?...

- what would it take to make you happy?....what would please you?...

- some of you know that that can be a very challenging position in which to be…

- now, let me ask you this…is God like that?...

- does He always keep you guessing about what pleases Him…or what He desires?...

- and what would it be like to serve a God like that?...

- that would make my unfair, outrageous, legitimate reason to be eternally bitter traffic ticket seem like a walk in the park, wouldn’t it?...

- thankfully God’s Word is very, very clear about the kinds of things in which God delights…

- with that in mind, let me invite you to open your Bible to Isaiah chapter 42…[page 515 of the front section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…]

- this morning, we’re completing Stewardship Month…where each year we pause as individuals and a congregation and consider all that God has entrusted to us and whether we are being faithful to the trust…

- our theme this year has been The Discipline of Delight

- and the point is, yes we want to be growing in the stewardship of all that God has given us…but not in a grudging way…that only behaves out of a sense of raw duty or heartless obligation…

- we want our faithfulness and discipline to be an outgrowth of our delight in our God…

- where stewardship is a byproduct of a heart that is in love with our God…that’s why we’ve emphasized verses like…

- Psalm 34:8 - O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

- Psalm 37:4 - Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

- so far we’ve emphasized…

- October 26 – The Discipline of Delighting in Your Savior

- November 2 – The Discipline of Delighting in Your Service

- November 9 – The Discipline of Delighting in the Scriptures

- November 16 – The Discipline of Delighting in Your Sacrifice

- this morning, we want to conclude by going in an entirely different direction…often times in the Bible, when you read about concept of delight, it’s not talking about man…it’s talking about God…

- and because that’s the case, it’s not hard at all to figure out the kind of things that delight the Lord…but that level of clarity is a two edged sword…

- no one can say – well, we didn’t know…God never told us…

- no, He has clearly communicated the kinds of things in which He finds delight…

- and that brings us to a point of decision…

- are we going to choose delights that match His?

- and both choices are illustrated in Scripture…from a positive perspective…think about this:

- Psalm 36:7-8 - How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights.

- don’t you love that picture of the river of God’s delights…it calls to mind people who are dirty, and thirsty, and lost-- now splashing around in a beautiful river where God’s presence is their source of cleansing, and refreshment and satisfaction…but remember, it’s God’s delights…and you chosen to match yours with His…

- on the other hand are the people mentioned in Isaiah 66:3-4 - …As they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations, so I will choose their punishments and will bring on them what they dread. Because I called, but no one answered; I spoke, but they did not listen. And they did evil in My sight and chose that in which I did not delight.

- wise is the person who carefully studies the kinds of things that bring delight our God…and then who carefully chooses to match their delights with His…

- with that in mind – let’s begin by reading Isaiah 42:1-9…

- we’re talking this morning about The Discipline of Delighting in God’s Delights

- with the time we have remaining, let’s think about Four objects that bring God delight.

I. God Delights in His Son.

- it has rightly been said that history is “His story”…

- it is impossible to make sense of the human condition apart from loving Jesus Christ the way His Father did…

- John said it this way… John 1:1-3 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God.All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

- Paul even said it more succinctly in Colossians 1:17 - He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

- No wonder Isaiah would quote God the Father as sayingIsaiah 42:1 - Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights.

- now, let’s break that down a bit…why would God delight in His Son in this way?...

A. Because Jesus was willing to be a servant.

1. Isaiah 42 is the first of 4 “Servant Songs” in this book.

- cf. Isaiah 49:1-13, 50:4-11, 52:13-53:12

- one of the many reasons we know this is talking about Christ is because it is quoted in Matthew chapter 12 when the Lord explains His response who are criticizing Him for healing a man whose hand was withered on the Sabbath day…

- Isaiah wanted the children of Israel to rejoice and be amazed that the promised Messiah would come as a Servant of all…

- the fact that Jesus would live this way…

2. This demonstrates His humility.

- Philippians 2:7-8 - but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

- if you really want to know what brings delight o the God of heaven, you need look no further than those words…

- from the perspective of NT theology, we know that…

3. This characteristic summarizes the life of Christ on earth.

Matthew 20:28 - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

- this is why so frequently we read in the NT God the Father saying “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased…”

- 2 questions you could ask even at this point is…

1. Are you as delighted with a Savior who chose to be a servant as God the Father was?...

- in a world that delights in beauty, and wealth, and power, and position…have you chosen to delight in Jesus Christ the suffering servant?

2. Are you living in a way that God the Father could also be delighted in you for the same reason?...

- now, let’s go back to Isaiah 42:1…what else do we learn about why the Father would delight in His Son in this text?...

B. Because Jesus was qualified to be the Chosen One.

- starting next week, we are going to begin a Christmas Series onSeeking God’s Plan for Our Messiah

- so we’ll develop this in much greater detail…but think in a very broad way about how…Christ is the focus of human history…

1. Our problem was enormous.

- please keep in mind that the intensity of God’s delight in His Son is mirrored by the intensity of His hatred for sin…His holiness demands such a response…

- Habakkuk 1:13 - Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You cannot look on wickedness with favor…

- that’s why…

a. As soon as mankind sinned, the coming of the chosen Messiah was predicted.

- God said to satan after the fall of man…

- Genesis 3:15 - And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.

- the Chosen One who was holy enough, and powerful enough, and submissive enough to do that would bring God the Father great delight…

b. The law and the sacrificial system pointed to Christ.

- the law was never given so that a person could follow it and earn his/her way to heaven…

- it was given to point us to our need for forgiveness and faith that could only be provided by a merciful God…

- Galatians 3:24 - Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

2. The coming of the solution was a joyous event.

- This is why Christmas is such a tremendous holiday…because the chosen one has come….do you remember when the angel visited the shepherds on the night of Christ’s birth…

- Luke 2:10-11 - But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

- this event ended with a host of angels praising God – our choir had a beautiful rendition of this in the musical last Christmas – Glory in the highest…

- why?...because finally the chosen one was born..in whom the Heavenly Father delights…

3. Jesus’ obedience to the Father’s plan brought God great delight.

- do you remember what happened at Jesus’ baptism?...

- which some people often question – why did Christ have to be baptized?...

- the answer is – he was simply identifying Himself with, or agreeing with John the Baptist’s message…

- but the only answer we need is – because the heavenly Father wanted Him to…which is why we read…

- Matthew 3:17 - and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

- Christ’s submission to plan brought God great…delight…

4. This is especially true of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

Isaiah 53:5 - But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.

Isaiah 53:10 - But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.

- no wonder God the Father would say -- Isaiah 42:1 - Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights.

 - our world really struggles with this…perhaps you’ve heard about the advertising campaign that a group of humanists have launched in Washington DC…

- they are posting signs on 200 city owned buses…

- the answer to that question is – you can’t be good, on your own…at least not good enough to merit righteousness before a holy God…

- Romans 3:23 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

- that means that every person that we Americans find very difficult to do…to admit that we need a Savior and a Lord…someone who was holy enough to die in our place and loving enough to be willing to do it…

- and until you’ve bowed the knee to Christ, you’ll never be able to delight in the things that delight our God…

- now, what else can we see from this text?..

II. God Delights in Your Rescue.

- verses 3-4 are absolutely beautiful…

A. Jesus has a place for the bruised reed and the smoking flax.

- the picture was of a reed that the shepherds used to fashion a small musical instrument…but once it was bruised or cracked, it was no longer of any value to them…

- or a smoldering wick…which was used up and couldn’t give any more light…

- one of the reasons the Father would delight in His Son was because…

Isaiah 42:3 - A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish….

- why would that delight the Father?...

B. God wants people to be rescued.

- 2 Samuel 22:20 - He also brought me forth into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.

- Micah 7:18 - Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love.

- I wonder how many people will be with us today who have not yet allowed God to rescue them through trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross…

- there are some very unusual things happening right now and I’m really at a loss to explain it…over the years the Lord has blessed us with numerical growth…and on the one hand that was never the primary goal – we always want to work on growing spiritually as a church family and doing everything we can to be changing and becoming more of what God wants us to be…

- but as that occurs, that often then provides opportunities to speak with others in our community who do not know the Lord…

- and we are trying to see others come to Christ and God has blessed us with fairly steady growth and that excites us only to the degree that each of those numbers represents a soul who will spend eternity somewhere…

- we have had a very strong year, but this month---our growth rate has been unusually high -- 17-18%...which in a town this size is very surprising…

- I wonder how many people here would feel like you’re a bruised reed, or a smoking flax…

- the good news is…someone has died in your place making it possible for you to begin a personal relationship with God…

- and it doesn’t matter if you’ve wasted a portion of your life…God seems to be especially willing to rescue every person who will come to Him in repentance and faith…regardless of how bruised your reed might be…

- in the quietness of this moment…you could trust Christ…

- if you still have questions, don’t waste the opportunity of God working in your life, at least set up an appointment with someone who can answer your questions from Scripture…

- now, there are two more very important objects we need to discuss…the first one is the emphasis of the rest of Isa. 42, but we’re not going to try to thoroughly study the verses…but here’s the point…

III. God Delights in Corrective Discipline.

- you might say, well, I could have done without hearing that…

- my job is to give you a view of these topics that is biblically balanced…

Proverbs 3:12 - For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

Hebrews 12:5-11 – My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives…All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

- I want to be sure I’m practicing full disclosure…

- Being rescued by the Lord doesn’t mean we’re now in a position where everything goes our way…

- we’re now in a position where we have the power and the wisdom to begin growing and becoming more like God’s Son in whom He delights…

- but for many of us…that means we have some fairly significant rough edges that need to be ground down…

- and the Lord often brings trials and difficulties into our life to do that…as evidence that He delights in us…

- it may be that some of what is occurring in our culture right now is a gift from God to help us not rely on material things, or political processes…

- and perhaps you’ve cursed some of those very things that God is trying to use to conform you into His Son’s image…

- Psalm 119:71 - It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.

- James 1:2 - Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

- that’s why the writer of Hebrews said… Hebrews 12:10 - For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

- do you consider holiness such an important thing, that you are willing to delight in the trials necessary to produce it?

IV. God Delights in Your Obedience.

- this is one of most prevalent uses of the word “delight” in the Bible…

A. Without it, religious activity is powerless.

- do you remember when King Saul became impatient because the prophet Samuel did not come and make an offering to God before the nation went into battle…so Saul did it himself…

- and when Samuel arrived, he said…

1 Samuel 15:22 - Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.

- you see this emphasis throughout the Bible…

- cf. Psalm 51:16; Hosea 6:6-8, 8:13; Amos 5:21; Micah 6:7

- and I would just ask you this morning – are there things in your life you are currently involved in that you know are disobedient to God?...

- and how bad is it in your mind that right now you are living in a way that does not bring God delight?

- on the other hand, are there things you know you should do that you have not yet done?...[cf. last opportunity to join – place yourself under the spiritual accountability of a body of believers]

B. Obedience produces delicious fruit.

1. Dependent prayer.

Proverbs 15:8 - The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

2. Ethical dealings with others

Proverbs 11:1 - A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.

Proverbs 12:22 - Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.

3. A blameless walk.

Proverbs 11:20 - The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord, But the blameless in their walk are His delight.

4. A generous heart.

1 Chronicles 29:17 - Since I know, O my God, that You try the heart and delight in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered all these things; so now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here, make their offerings willingly to You.

Conclusion

- Why have you been pushing us so hard to make these stewardship commitments?...

- Because I want to help you be in a position where your life brings God delight…

Jeremiah 9:23-24 - 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, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.

Psalm 147:10-11 - His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man;the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video