What Delights the Lord?
Tirzah is Greek for "she is my delight." A few years ago, I saw this definition somewhere on social media and it captured my heart. So, when it came time to start Tirzah Magazine, this word just wouldn't let me go. People say that God knew our names before we were even born, and I believe this is true for our little community too, because Tirzah was just an intriguing word to me over three years ago. But then over the last few weeks, God revealed to me the depth of the concept that each of us can delight the King of Kings. I hope you'll take the time to read this article in full and study the many Scriptures listed here, because I feel the Lord calling me to share this with each one of you. It all began as I was finishing up my study of the book of Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah used the word "delight" often in his writing, usually referencing God and His people. In Isaiah 62:4, it is written that the Lord delights over Zion: "And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you." This implies we can delight the Lord or we can choose to do things that do not delight Him.
Because, when I called, you did not answer; When I spoke, you did not hear, but did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight. -Isaiah 65:12
What pleases/delights my Lord?
First, what does it mean to delight someone? The dictionary definition is "to please (someone) greatly" or "great pleasure." Furthermore, to please is to "cause to feel happy and satisfied," and "take one's wishes into consideration in deciding how to act or proceed."
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings. -Hosea 6:6
The first book of John is all about love: loving God and loving others. Right in the middle of the book, God revealed to me this gem:
Do not love the world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the father in you. For the world offers only a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are of the world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases the Lord will live forever. -1 John 2:15-17 (NLT)
There is one tool at the enemy's disposal that most often steals away our love for the Father: offering us the world with its shiny promises and shallow distractions. I will be the first to admit I am guilty of aiming to please the world - like when I try to fit in with my clothing, achievements, appearance or even my thoughts and opinions. I consider first or give more weight to what people will think of me instead of asking if my choices will please the Lord.
The people of Israel had this season too. In Jeremiah 2:33, the Lords says: "How skilled you are at pursuing love! Even the worst of women can learn from your ways." The French translation of this verse explains it so well:
"Why wouldest thou justify thy conduct, to enter into favor with them?"
At that time, the Israelites were doing everything possible to gain the friendship and assistance of foreign idolators, whom God called their lovers (Jer. 3:1; 22:22). In fact, they would even walk through fire and sacrifice their own children just to get the attention of foreign gods and people. The NKJV called this beautifying your way to seek love, which in Greek means to make good, right or agreeable. We do that too. When we try so hard to fit in with the people around us.
Just as they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations, so I will choose their delusions, and bring their fears on them; Because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke they did not hear; but they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight. -Isaiah 66:3-4
Loving God is a choice. Today, you can choose to love God or love the world. You can't have both. In the 1 John passage above, the type of love described is agapé: which stems from the verb agapáō, in antiquity meant "to prefer," and in the New Testament refers to divine love or what God prefers. The "to love" version of this word means "actively doing what the Lord prefers, with Him (by His power and direction). And the "loving" variation of this word means "a discriminatory affection which involves choice and selection."
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. -Psalm 37:23
Loving God means choosing Him. That is what delights our Father: a steadfast love for the Lord.
The kind of love that says, "God, I prefer to spend time with you in the Word and prayer, over television, social media scrolling, hanging out, or doing anything else."
The kind of love that actively does what the Lord prefers, with Him - by His power and direction. It's a discriminating affection which involves choice and selection - throwing aside any distraction or weight that may displease the Lord or hinder your relationship with your Father. It is living a Godly life intentionally because you prefer it, not because you have to.
This kind of love means to take pleasure in the Lord and His Word; you prize it above all else and are unwilling to abandon it or do without. Because being with Him brings you the greatest pleasure and joy, so you welcome Him into your life and into your day with desire - from the moment you rise to when your lay head to sleep. You long for time spent in His presence. That is the love of the Father in you, and anyone who does what pleases the Lord will live forever.
The knowledge of God
"But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the Lord. -Jeremiah 9:24
Have you ever met someone with a skill of engaging you in a conversation in such a way that within a few minutes, they got you to open up and share your life story? How did that make you feel? Likely, the answer is that it made you feel noticed, appreciated and even loved - because it showed the other person was genuinely interested in getting to know you - the real you.
It is the same way in our relationship with God, because He may be the Almighty, but He just wants to be known by you; to be chosen and loved by the One whom He created so lovingly and then gave free will to.
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. -Micah 7:18
But how does one get to know God? You can't ask him out on a coffee date and Googling Him or following social media accounts that talk about him will only tell you so much. It takes a lifetime - showing up daily to speak to Him and to listen to Him through Bible study, prayer and fellowship with other Christians.
My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with Me." And my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming." -Psalm 27:8
Because as you get to know God, you'll get to know His preferences and commandments. But knowing is only the first step, because when you combine the knowledge of God with loving God with the type of love we discussed above, then you will choose to do what pleases Him.
Take the rich young ruler in Mark 10. When this young man told Jesus that He already lived out all the commandments from a young age, "then Jesus, looking at him, loved him." The word "love" used here is the same as the word we studied above.
Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. -2 John 1:6
That is what I want for you and I to have: I want us to come before Him and that He may look upon us and delight in us when we answer, "Lord, I have done all the things you called me to." May we walk through this world each day delighting the Lord because we chose Him, and therefore we love Him; that we are getting to know Him and then applying what we learn about Him and His ways to do what is pleasing in His sight. My prayer and my efforts continue to be to cultivate a community here that will point you to Christ and empower and equip you to live a Godly life in the modern world.
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. -Zephaniah 3:17