September 6, 2016

"In whom My Soul delights"

This is what the Father says of the Son in Isaiah 42:1:

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen one in whom My soul delights.”

It’s a delightful word, isn’t it – this word “delights”? And it is indeed the beating of the heart of a father toward his children. He watches a son bound across an athletic field, or a daughter more and more confidently holding a musical instrument in her hand, and he delights! Or he observes, in their wide eyes, how they delight in certain things – the hovering of a hummingbird outside the window pane, the hum of big sister's bow across the strings, the precise way to brown a pancake – and the father delights! And he does so, too, when they climb into his lap, and when he watches them sleep at night, and in a thousand other scenarios about which you could set ink to paper, too, if you are a parent!

Delight is such a perfect word for the heart of a parent to his or her child. And it strikes me as marvelous when I read, in Isaiah 42, that the heavenly Father delights in His Son, too!

On one level, of course, this language is not surprising. For, “if [we] … being evil, know how to” delight in our sons and daughters, “how much more will [our] Father who is in heaven” delight in His Son! And yet think about what it really means – what realities it connotes in the soul – to delight in your child (or in anyone else, for that matter). The warmth. The love. The enjoyment. And while we should think of God’s heart in these same terms, I’m not sure if we always do. Indeed, I wonder if we don’t sometimes think of God as somewhat stoic, almost impersonal … kind of like the referee in a football game who just calmly sets the ball, calls the penalties, and keeps order without any hint of a rooting interest. He cares about what’s happening on the field, to be sure – but more after the manner of responsibility than delight.

All fine and well if you’re wearing black and white stripes on the gridiron! But this is not the way the Bible portrays God! He is a Father, after all! And He delights in His Son, Jesus … and in all who come under the shelter of the Son’s wings! He doesn’t look down on us as from the umpire’s chair at a tennis open, but with the eyes of a man whose own son is playing in the match!

Now I know that God is not human – so that there is a limit as to how much (and in what ways) we can compare our human emotions (so shifting, so fragile, so reactive, and often so sinful) with the steady heart of the holy and unchangeable God. And yet let us not, because He is God, think that He sits stone faced in heaven, looking down on earth as an impartial observer! He is far more than an observer, of course. He is also an intervener in the affairs of men! And even as He does observe, He does so from a disposition of joy, happiness, enjoyment, and delight in His children … and especially in His only begotten Son!

So think of Him in that way – as the God who delights! And think of His Son that way, too – as the one who is, most of all, delighted in! And learn to delight in this happy God, and in His delightful Son, yourself!

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