As we approach the New Year of 2023, I come back to the tradition of picking a word that I want to focus on for the upcoming year. As I was praying and pondering what it would be I kept being reminded of different scriptures with the word “delight” in them. Delight means, “to bring great pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness.” Another Hebrew translation for delight is, “to be soft, tender”. The Bible tells us that “God delights in His people.” (Psalm 149:4) He takes pleasure in saving us and making known to us His will. (Ephesians 1:4-11) God is tender toward us even when we sin. Listen to what He says to Israel through the prophet Micah.

“Where is another God like You, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of His special people?

You will not stay angry with your people forever, because You delight in showing unfailing love.

Once again You will have compassion on us.

You will trample our sins under Your feet

and throw them into the depths of the ocean!” Micah 7:14-15 NLT

Just like God had compassion on them, He has compassion on us today. Through His Son, Jesus Christ, He made a way for us to receive forgiveness of sin and to be restored to a right relationship with Him. What a sweet and loving God! He saves us and takes great delight in us. There is a song out right now by Zach Williams called The Heart of God where he talks about how prodigal children can come to God with no judgment because there is only love in the heart of God. It says, “He’s not sitting there shaking His head, writing you off, leaving you lost. He’s not sitting there shaking His head. He went to that cross. He went to that cross.” What an amazing and true statement of how God loves us, no matter what. He is love personified, bigger and better than anything or anyone else. That is how God delights in us.

How can we delight ourselves in Him? David, who is called a man after God’s heart, wrote this: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 NKJV

Eugene Peterson in The Message translates it like this:

“Keep company with God, get in on the best.”

For us to delight ourselves in the Lord then seems to mean being aware of Him and His presence with us every day. In each moment God is doing something in and around us. Whether we are walking through a valley of the shadow of death or rejoicing in new life, God is with us. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to, “love the Lord God with all your passion and prayers and intelligence and energy.” (Mark 9:30a) If we seek to love and serve God wholeheartedly, our desires will align with His and He will give us Himself and the desires of our hearts.

I have the joy of watching my 17 month old grandson 2 days a week. When he sees me his whole face lights up and he reaches his arms out for me to hold him. He wants to be with me wherever I go, and I take great delight in him. To me this is a good picture of how God delights in us, and we can delight ourselves in Him. He watches over us and has given us His Spirit to live in us and guide us. He is a very present help in times of trouble, and He has given us His word to light our path and keep us from sin.

As we spend time with God and get to know Him through prayer, worship and study of His Word, we are able to understand how very much He loves us. In everything we do we can listen for His Spirit to guide us, we can seek His kingdom and trust Him to show us how to live, and we can look and see His love in big and little things that are happening around us.

Here is an exercise that can help us take delight in the Lord:

  • Pause for just a moment and take a deep
  • Imagine God’s arms wrapping around you and experience His amazing love for
  • Share what is on your heart with Him and receive His comfort and
  • Think about His compassion and tender love and listen for Him to
  • Open your eyes and look around Notice how you feel and give thanks.
  • Do this to experience God’s great delight in you and to find delight in

My brothers and sisters in Christ, may God continue the good work He has begun in you. May you know and experience His unfailing love for you in this new year. And may you be filled with delight as you walk with Him every day, so you overflow with grace and love to all around you, in Jesus’s name. Amen.

Betsy O’Callaghan