“Delight yourself in YHWH, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
Delighting in YHWH…it’s what we want, but how do we do learn to truly delight in him? Or even begin to?
For so many of us this is the bottom line, our passion, to sit in His presence, to be molded by His Spirit at work in us, and to be transformed more and more in to the likeness of His Son. We want to be flooded with power of YHWH’s love, and feel the rush of delight as we learn to love him in return.
This delight is not as abstract as is sounds. For many years I felt like it was. Was it that I needed to be joyful in all things? Was my delight felt though thankfulness toward the grace and mercy that I’d received? I couldn’t quite feel it the way David, the Psalmist, did when he writes about his profound love for YHWH and his ways. Though I know that our relationship with YHWH is not a “feeling” per se, I wasn’t sure where this deep flood of emotion was coming from.
As we, in our family, began to delve deeper into understanding the Scriptures, spending significantly more time reading together, and as we have been learning year after year to center our lives around the cycle of appointed times, my heart began to flutter. The quickening of my breath as I would open the Word startled me. The fire, like that of true love, began to burn, until almost my every thought was consumed with exploring YHWH’s beauty!
Is this “delight”? Is this how David felt, this overwhelming flood of passion for the Word and increasing desire to know YHWH? I loved YHWH before. I knew a lot about him, or at least more than I used to. We walked many tough paths together and I have experienced his steadfast love and enduring faithfulness.
But, wow! This delighting aspect was new. This consuming passion for our relationship and hearing his voice through the Word is like nothing I expected. How did it start? How did I go from desiring to love YHWH deeper to one day finding myself madly in love with Him and overwhelmed with the beauty of his Word and his Way?
First, I want to give some background on human delight. Right from the start mankind ran from YHWH’s commands and delighted in what was evil. The use of the word is translated to mean “crave, desire, long for, covet, yearning appetite”. When Eve looks at the fruit on the forbidden tree she sees that it was a delight and she craved it.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
YHWH had made an entire garden of pleasant and desirable trees, but mankind craved and longed, even to the point of disobedience, for something they thought YHWH was withholding. Something that would lead to death. We all have a tendency to lean towards death and run from the life-giving commands of YHWH.
But YHWH reveals through the Word that his heart for his people is that they would desire him. He wants his people to have soft hearts to love him and delight in his Law. Like David, who was a man after YHWH’s own heart.
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
Later on in Psalm 37, which I posted at the beginning, David writes that those who commit to the way of YHWH will produce righteousness and justice, as opposed to lawlessness. YHWH, himself, will bring forth these things. How encouraging!
Commit your way to YHWH,
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
The Psalms go on and on about the beauty and even deliciousness of the Law of YHWH. In order to desire YHWH rightly, we must desire his Way for us, his Law for his people, and delight in his commandants. The entirety of Psalm 119 is packed full of nourishment for those who seek YHWH.
Consider how I love your precepts!
Give me life according to your steadfast love.
The sum of your word is truth,
and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
So, how do we continue to fall in love with our Creator? More than a desire to do what is right and wanting to know him more, how do we delight in YHWH?
Thankfully, YHWH is a practical and gracious God who outlines his desires for his people in his Word. He says very clearly that we show our delight in him by delighting in his Word. The whole Word..from beginning to end, not just the part that seems “relevant” to Western Christianity. Yeshua tells us that keeping the commandments is linked to showing love to YHWH, and receiving love in return.
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
We also see later on in the passage in John that the words of Yeshua are the same words of the Father. Yeshua is not bringing us a conflicting message, but a clear call to obedience that expresses our love for YHWH and reveals his love for us. The same message is repeated in 2 John.
And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
2 John 1:5-6
Not only do we need to obey, we need to obey him like the children that we are, albeit, adopted children, but no less part of the family of YHWH than those natural-born. We need to decide to accept that we are part of the commonwealth of Israel, like the Word says. We are not separate but brought in to one people of YHWH. We have the joy in partaking in the fullness of the covenants and promises the same as Israel. We surly are the audience of the Scriptures because if we have faith in the Promised Messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth, that he was sent to redeem us and draw us to YHWH, then we are joined to Israel. YHWH’s Word tells us there is one Law for Israelites and for the sojourners and all who join themselves to Israel. We are not converts to Judaism, but maintain our heritage while having been adopted into the family of YHWH.
…remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
YHWH is practical. If we are a part of his people we can take comfort that YHWH has laid out his way before us. He has not left us wondering how to follow him. YHWH has given instructions and commandments that are righteous and pure and for our good. If we have no boundaries to guide us other than what we perceive to be love, our obedience is nothing more than defining righteousness in our own terms. And taking a handful of commands from the Word, but not all, is a challenge because then we are again defining our own obedience. Unless, YHWH himself instructs us to act in opposition to his Word, I am not willing to throw out parts because tradition has taught it. And even then, we are told in the Word that YHWH will never contradict himself. How can we ever delight in YHWH and be transformed into the likeness of his Son if we reject his way and the very Law that the Messiah walked out for our example?
As I reflect back on my blossoming love for YHWH I can pinpoint its beginning. I’m not talking about when I accepted the Promise of the Messiah for the salvation of my soul. I know when I began to transition from having a pale, yet longing, desire for YHWH to a flooding of passion for knowing Him in the depths of my being. It started when YHWH’s Spirit began writing the Torah on my heart. It grew even deeper when I realized that the way of YHWH was for me and I decided to walk in it diligently. YHWH is so beautiful and his way is an expression of his steadfast love.
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!