As I write, the plane my sister-in-law Che and her husband Sarsi are on is just about to land in Honolulu, Hawaii. The day started quite early. And it was very evident that they were extremely excited and delighted to make this trip. In fact, they had been thinking about it for months.
I am sure many who read “Hawaii” immediately think of an island paradise, and perhaps even dream of enjoying the beautiful sites there themselves. But such is not the case with Sarsi and Che. The excitement that Hawaii brings is of a totally different character. It’s all about a grandchild named Andrew. Their desire to be with Andrew was such a compelling force that they were willing to take time-off and fly all the way to Hawaii even for just a short visit.
It was a pleasure to observe such overflowing joy and delight. And it got me to thinking about the theme of delight in scripture. In particular, what brings delight to the heart of God—what is important to him. There are many biblical passages that touch on this matter.
“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. Then the LORD will be your delight” (Isaiah 58.13–14 NLT).
On the surface, this passage seems like nothing more than a legalistic demand to obey God’s laws concerning the Sabbath. But we should not miss the tone of joy and delight that permeates the text. I believe the final statement provides the proper perspective on the whole issue. It’s all about God’s desire and delight when people enter into and nurture a personal relationship with him. As one translation puts it: “Then you will find joy in your relationship to the LORD” (Isaiah 58.14 NET). Interpreters of this text point out that joyful Sabbath observance here serves as a sign of a person’s love for the Lord (see Psalm 122.1 and John 14.15).
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3.17 NIV).
In the parable of the waiting father (Luke 15.11-32), nothing gave greater delight than the return of the wayward son (see Ezekiel 18.23). The father ran toward his son and embraced him. No explanations necessary. Returning was enough. It was cause for great celebration.
The Lord delights in you. Do you delight in him?
—Keith Y. Jainga