I love Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving especially for how well Megan (my wife) prepares the food. Her ability to create a masterpiece every year astonishes me. Weeks before the meal, when Meg starts to prepare her menu, I can almost smell and taste the what she’ll prepare. As the day approaches and the groceries start pouring in, I feel the anticipation building in me to enjoy the feast. When that day arrives, I take precautions to bring my delight to its fullest.
First, I confirm the exact time of the meal. Whether the meal is at noon, 2, or 4 could completely alter the schedule. Secondly, I eat light and often in the morning. I want to get my metabolism going but definitely not overdo it. Finally, I strategically deprive myself of any food at least 2 hours prior until it’s time to eat. I want to enjoy that food to its fullest. The tender turkey, the spices in the gravy, the cornbread stuffing, the pumpkin pie, and the apple crisp bring delight to me if you cannot already tell.
These precautionary steps are all part of a process to bring my delight to it’s fullest. Since this special meal is only one day I year, I certainly don’t want to spoil it by eating something that could rob my delight. In Psalm 63, David depicts three ways to experience delight in God. He knows how amazing delighting in God is and through his personal reflections, shares how he goes about enjoying His God.
Before I go any further, I think it’s best that I create a level ground on what I mean by “delight.” Delight, according to Merriam-Webster is “a high degree of gratification or pleasure.” I believe understanding what delight is does not present us with a challenge. I also believe that what we delight in reveals a lot about us. So, answer this question for me: what do you delight in? My guess is that you thought of some object (car, collectibles, games, coffee) or hobby (sports, woodworking, antique shopping, photography, music, etc.). I think we naturally find so much delight in these objects or pursuits because we see them as entirely for our enjoyment. I’m sure if we were pressed, we’d acknowledge our delight in our spouses or our children, but on account of the work associated with those individuals, our concept of delight can be tainted.
Let’s hit the brakes for a moment, though. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to unpack fully the subject of delight, however, I want to make a couple statements.
First, I believe our senses reveal God’s intention for us not only to interact with His creation but also to delight in it. Think about the delight that comes from enjoying the taste of perfectly crisp apple, the sight of the sunset over the gulf, the touch of warm sweatshirt on a cold day, the smell of the ocean, and the sounds of bird’s singing. We identify this today through the statement All the Feels.
Secondly, even though God created us to enjoy objects of creation, He made us in His image to enjoy subjects of creation even more. God created Eve to complete Adam. Even though Adam had all of the objects of creation all to himself for enjoyment, Adam needed Eve to find greater delight.
Finally, and even more telling, those sensory capabilities are tools for us to delight in God. The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with this question: What is the chief end of man? The answer is very intriguing. The statement provides this answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. I find this supporting text very enlightening from Psalm 16:5-11
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
David expresses his admiration for God and then declares that in God’s presence there is “fullness of joy” and “pleasures forevermore.” As mentioned, I don’t have the time to address this subject like I want to, but consider this: we were created to delight in a delight-able God.
Now that we have a better concept of delight, let’s explore together three ways to experience delight in God.
We experience delight through seeking God (1-2)
David begins this Psalm with a very intimate affirmation coming out of a challenging time in his life. David is fleeing his conspiring son, Absalom. David waits in the wilderness outside of his home with thousands of his servants. David not only feels the weight of his people but also experiences the difficulty of living in such harsh conditions.
When we experience difficulties, we normally question God if not find fault with Him. Instead of looking at these difficulties as opportunities to grow (James 1:2), we doubt God, question His motives, and even turn away from Him. Thankfully, David displays for us an appropriate response: “God, You are my God! Earnestly I seek You.” David’s personal affirmation demonstrates for us our first point: we experience delight through seeking God. David expresses his intention and resolves to seek God. But why?
We seek God based on our needs (1)
From David’s depiction, we seek God based on our needs. Specifically, David identifies how his soul—portraying inner longing—thirsts for God. Then David follows that statement with how his body—representing physical needs—yearns for God as well. To further emphasize the depth of his longing, he alludes to his context—in a dry land, that is exhausted without water. This description both describes why David is thirsty and highlights the intensity of his thirst.
We’ve all experienced situations of hunger or thirst, where we desperately crave food and water. Yet, how desperate are we to experience delight in God? David’s stay in the wilderness brings these realities to new heights. Maybe our lack of longing for God is either that we’ve truly experienced how good He is or that we’ve never felt the need to seek. David seeks God based not only on his needs but also God’s capabilities. Notice verse 2…
We seek God based on His capabilities (2)
David connects his activity of seeking through the use of “so.” His seeking is based on God’s capabilities. David expresses that He’s gone to the sanctuary—place of corporate worship—to see, firsthand, God’s power and glory.
- God’s power: Psalm 93:1 The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; hit shall never be moved. God’s power has the ability to establish the world!
- God’s glory: Psalm 26:8 O LORD, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells. God reveals Himself to His people through His glory.
God’s power and presences motivate David to seek for delight. David is fully convinced at the capabilities of God and, thus, David commits himself to seek God earnestly, repeatedly.
This convicts me. When was the last time you came to one of our gatherings longing to see the power and to experience the presence of God? There is something special when God’s people gather in His name: His presence (Matt. 18). What would happen to us collectively and individually if we sought to experience God’s power and His presence in our lives? David demonstrates to us that, first, we experience delight through seeking God. Secondly, we find that we experience delight through praising God
We experience delight through praising God (3-5)
Sam Storms, in an article on Desiring God, references how we delight in God through praise. (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/praise-the-consummation-of-joy). Storms makes the point that “We can’t help but praise and rejoice in what we most enjoy. The enjoyment itself is stunted and hindered if it is never expressed in joyful celebration.” He then goes on to quote C.S. Lewis to further his point. Lewis says…
“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with.”
Our praise for God is not empty. David specifically address two reasons why we praise God: His love and His provision
We praise God on account of His love (3-4)
David declares that “on the account of (because) God’s steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you, So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name, I will lift up my hands.” David is motivated to praise God with entire being as long as he’s able because God’s love is that good. I have to ask us this question again, what are you delighting in like this? What gets you really excited? What moves you so much that you are willing to praise something with your body for as long as you are able?
Notice how David addresses God’s “steadfast” love. This is the love that highlights God’s covenantal faithfulness to His people. We find this type of love in Isaiah 63:7 “I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love” and Romans 8: 35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This amazing love moves David to praise. David’s praise is a means of delighting in God.To no surprise, David finds another reason to praise God: on account of God’s provision
We praise God on account of His provision (5)
David then states “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.” David, even though in a very difficult situation, is confident that God will provide him with an amazing feast. David’s confidence in God’s future provision once again leads him to praise God with “joyful lips.” What David demonstrates for us is that same type of joy we experienced at the provision but David’s praise is in advance. David is so confident in God’s provision that He praises Him in advance.
What situation in your life is causing you to doubt God’s provision, robbing you of praise? Are you experiencing health issues? Marital struggles? Financial issues? Difficulties at work? Family conflicts? What situation is clouding your ability to praise God? Whatever it is, be encouraged by the faithful love and abundant provision of God.
So far, we’ve witnessed two ways to experience delight in God: seeking God and praising God. Finally, David demonstrates a third way to delight in God—the act of remembering.
We experience delight through remembering God (6-8)
We remember God for what He has done
David describes another way of delight in God: through remembering what God has done. The concept of remembering or better, recalling, describes an aspect of worship. Notice Psalm 77:11 “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” David conveys that when goes to bed, instead of worrying or bickering with God, he chooses to remember what God has done. Specifically, “God has been his help.” Not only has God been a help for David, He’s also been a place of refuge—“in the shadow of your wings”
When I was a kid, I truly believed covering my head with a blanket protected me from any evil. If I heard anything at night, I would quickly cover my head and feel the comfort and safety of my blanket. Just like I found comfort from my blanket, David finds that comfort in closeness to God. You can picture how a bird or a hen provides safety and comfort in the extending of her wring to cover her children. God offers that to us.
David recalls what God has done but David also recalls what God is currently doing.
We remember God for what He is doing
David concludes his thoughts on delight by affirming what God is currently doing. David reveals how “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” So, not only has God provided protection and comfort, God is currently keeping us in His care. David expresses that all this remembering provokes Him to cling to God. Then David further emphasizes how he can “cling” so closely to God—God is actually upholding him. What’s significant about this “upholding” is how intimately God cares for us. This word is also used to describe how close God is to His Son. Isaiah 42:1 “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.
Even though David’s description of delight is exemplary, what he is experiencing is available to us. Jesus promises His personal presence with us wherever we go (Matthew 28:18-20) and especially in our gatherings (Matthew 18:20). Jesus has promised to prepare a place for us with His father (John 15) and Paul reveals God’s intention to show us His immeasurable riches for all eternity. God promises that there’s no temptation too difficult for us and that even in our weaknesses He is strong. So, when we are faced with difficulties, will we focus on the pain or delight in the provision of God?
We began with a reflection on delighting in a meal. To delight even in a simple meal, steps were necessary to ensure successes. If we are going to experience delight in God, we must seek, praise, and remember him.