June 27, 2013

Isaiah 61:10 I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61 is unquestionably Messianic, since Jesus Himself quoted the first verse and said He fulfilled it. (Luke 4:18) However, If we think that because it applied to Jesus it doesn’t apply to us, then we miss out on a great deal. We must never forget that after His resurrection Jesus told His disciples that He was sending them as He had been sent, (John 20:21) and that we are told that “In this world we are like Him (Jesus).” (1 John 4:17) The promises that applied to Jesus apply to us! Coming back to this verse, many Christians fail to really enjoy God. (That’s what “delight in” means, after all.) We have a severe image of God that is quite at odds with this whole chapter. God is loving, He has a sense of humor, He is vitally and intimately interested in us. In a word, He’s delightful! We are not to forget that He is holy, that He is our Creator, but as even this Old Testament verse says, He provides us with the righteousness we need, and He wants to enjoy our enjoying Him. As a father myself, I know the very deep joy of having my children enjoy, delight in, me. What father isn’t melted by their child running to greet them with joy? Just as I delight to bless my children, so God delights to bless us, to cause us to rejoice. If we fail to rejoice in God, then we are essentially robbing Him of what He desires of us.

Thinking back, I know that my father felt this way about me as his son. In the brief time that we had after I brought my wife and children to Japan for the first time before he left for the furlough during which he died, my father stopped everything and gave me his full attention any time I chose to be with him, even though he was a very busy university chancellor. That tells me that Father God is just as focused on us when we choose fellowship with Him. That’s an awesome thought! I have experienced such intimacy with God, just as I did with my physical father, and I need to keep that in the forefront of my awareness and my priorities. As a pastor, I also need to be teaching others that such intimacy is possible, so that they too may learn to delight in the Lord. I think every believer has experienced at least a taste of this, but too many think of it as a strictly exceptional treat, not to be expected on a frequent, much less regular, basis. I need to help them understand that’s a lie of the devil; God wants joy to be a major characteristic of our lives.

Father, thank You for all You’ve brought me through to teach me to rejoice in You. Help me teach others to avoid the “joy stealers” that are all around us, so that together we may walk in all that You intend for us, delighting in You so that You may delight in us, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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