DELIGHT, DELIGHTFUL, AND DELIGHTED

A couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to do something I rarely get to do. Jan and I stayed with our six year old grandson while his mom took his older brother to one of his commitments. For some reason Ryan was into grandpa this early evening. We sat on the couch together and I fed him while we watched Scooby Doo.

After he had eaten, he snuggled up to me and we gave all our attention to the gang and the Mystery Machine as they solved the mystery. Later when his mom and brother returned she asked how things went. My response was, “It was delightful!” And I then explained why it was delightful.

Since then I’ve been thinking about this trio of related words delight, delightful, and delighted. And to my surprise, I have noticed other people using the words that I hadn’t noticed before. Think about the three words delight, delightful, and delighted – pleasant and positive, aren’t they?

So I looked up the definitions. As a verb delight means “to please greatly” and as a noun “great pleasure.” Delightful means “causing delight, very pleasant, lovely, and greatly to one’s liking.” Synonyms include congenial, enjoyable, pleasing, and what I meant when I said my grandson was delightful: darling. A short definition of delighted is “feeling or showing great pleasure.”

After looking up the definitions I remembered a verse from the Bible that used the word delight. I looked the word up on biblegateway.com and I was partially right. Delight and delights are used not just once, however, but 105 times in the Bible; 91 of which are in the Old Testament!

Many of those verses point us in the direction of things in which we should delight and things in which we should not delight. Two of my favorites are Proverbs 10:23, “A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes, but a person of understanding delights in wisdom,” and Proverbs 18:2, “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”

The verse I remembered that used the word delight is Psalm 37:4 that declares, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” That isn’t a promise that if we delight in the LORD we will always get what we want, but that delighting in the LORD is a challenge filled with God’s promises. I’ll leave it up to you to give some thought to what is involved in “delighting in the LORD.”

In reading the verses in Proverbs I was encouraged by two that tell us that God delights in us (see Proverbs 11:20 and 12:22). My summary take on these two verses is that God delights in us when we follow his ways. And perhaps following his ways is one way we delight in him.

I’m challenged and encouraged to delight more in my life, to be delightful to others more often, and to be delighted as much as possible. Perhaps you too are challenged and encouraged as well.

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DO WHAT?

Over the past few years I have read Psalm 37 several times and it has become one of my favorite passages of Scripture. Recently I was reading it again and an aspect of the Psalm struck me as it never had before. Verse 4 affirms, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” And verse 23 notes, “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.”

Who doesn’t want the desires of their heart and what believer wouldn’t want the Lord to make his or her steps firm? Those two promises were the primary reason I had returned to this Psalm so often. As I contemplated my future I was trying to determine what the Lord’s will was and exactly what I wanted.

Although I am still interested in what God’s will is, I made an important decision a couple of years ago and moved into a new phase of my life. So when I read Psalm 37 a couple of weeks ago it wasn’t with the goal of finding direction; I was reading it because it is one of my favorites.

But what struck me when I recently read it was verse 4’s instruction “Take delight in the LORD” and verse 23’s description “the one who delights in him (the LORD).” And the question arose in my mind that arises often when we read the Bible: “What does that mean?” What does it mean to take delight in the LORD or delight in him? I’ve been thinking about that the past couple of weeks.

Through an internet search I found a simple definition of delight as “something that makes you very happy, something that gives you great pleasure or satisfaction.” That definition doesn’t answer my question, but it is helpful. One commentator suggests “in this particular context it means to be dependent upon God and to derive one’s pleasure from Him.” That’s also helpful, isn’t it? I think we know what it means to be dependent upon God, but to derive our pleasure from Him takes us back to the original idea of delighting in Him.

In searching other translations of Psalm 37:4 I found two that really help me understand what it means to delight in the LORD. In The Message paraphrase Eugene Peterson renders Psalm 37:4, “Keep company with God.” That suggests to me spending time with God in corporate worship, reading the Bible, and in prayer. The Contemporary English Version translates the verse, “Do what the LORD wants.” That suggests obeying God by doing what He asks and not doing what He forbids.

We might ask ourselves a few questions. Do we find great pleasure and satisfaction in worship, in reading the Bible, and in spending time in prayer? Are we gratified by doing what God calls us to do and refraining from what He tells us is wrong? Does it give us joy to live our lives with the goal of pleasing Him? Are we confident and comfortable knowing we are dependent upon Him and thankful for His care?

If we answer “yes” to those questions I think we are delighting in God. What do you think? Make comments below and share this post if you think others would benefit from it.

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