Arthur Pink, 1952
What are really the objects of your greatest delights?
What are the things which afford you the most solid and lasting pleasure?
Wherein does your heart find satisfaction?
The truthful answer to those questions reveals the state of your soul, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
If your affections are set upon things below, if it affords you more joy than anything else to see your bank balance growing, or to receive the honors, or revel in the pleasures of this world. If you see in Christ no beauty as to make you desire Him, then you are a lost soul.
That which Christians most delight in is our "God." To rejoice more in our own wisdom, strength, or possessions, than in the Lord, is to idolize them. To take more delight in parents, wife, children, is to worship them. Yet, that is the common sin of the unregenerate the world over — as it was the Christian reader's when he was dead in sin — to prefer the creature to the Creator.
Now, if the Lord takes such pleasure in His people (as was shown in the companion article), how much more so ought they to take pleasure in Him! Such is His injunction to the saint, "Delight yourself also in the LORD" (Psalm 37:4).
All things that are excellent and lovely upon earth or in heaven — all the graces of time and all the blessings of eternity — center in Him as their source and flow from Him as their fountain. Then, make Him the joy and rejoicing of your soul. Fix your thoughts upon Him, and let your affections flow out to Him. Drink deeply from this Fountain of living water. Revel in your substantial portion.
"My soul follows hard after you" (Psalm 63:8). Let that be your determined resolve and supreme business. The whole spiritual life is but a pursuit of the soul toward God, and the more constantly and earnestly we seek Him, to enjoy more of His saving graces and benefits — the more we have of the love of God in us. Therefore did David express this longing as exceeding all others, "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD" (Psalm 27:4) — to commune and converse with Him, to taste the ravishing sweetness of His presence.
"Delight yourself also in the LORD" (Psalm 37:4). In His peerless person. He has everything in Him which the renewed soul can desire, for He is "altogether lovely." All excellencies are found in Immanuel, without defect or excess — everything in perfect harmony and in exact proportion. Delight . . .
in His holiness, for it is "glorious" (Exo 15:11);
in His wisdom, for it is "manifold" (Eph 3:10);
in His faithfulness, for it is "great" (Lam 3:23);
in His goodness, which "endures continually" (Psalm 52:1);
in His power, for it is "exceeding great" (Eph 1:19);
in His mercy, which is "abundant" (1 Peter 1:3).
Delight yourself also in His offices, which are all exercised in your behalf. He is . . .
a Prophet to instruct and direct you (Mat 21:11),
a Priest who ever lives to make intercession for you (Heb 7:17, 25), and present to God your petitions and praises, and
a King to rule over you (1 Timothy 6:15), to subdue your enemies (1 Chronicles 17:10), to regulate your affairs, and to make all things work together for your good (Rom 8:28).
Delight yourself also in His titles and relationships. Is He not . . .
your Father (Isa 9:6),
your Redeemer (1 Corinthians 1:30),
your Comforter (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)?
If you are a born-again soul, then the Lord is your strong Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4), and you are built upon Him (1 Corinthians 3:11), and the gates of Hell shall never prevail against you (Mat 16:18).
He is your shepherd (Heb 13:20), who makes you to lie down in green pastures and leads you beside the still waters (Psalm 23:2).
He is your Light (John 8:12), to illumine the understanding, and make His way plain before your face.
He is your Shield and exceeding great Reward (Gen 15:1).
Though there is much in this world to distress and depress, yet a believing contemplation of the glory of the Lord will lift our hearts and minds above it. This is the grand remedy for all our ills, the only effectual balsam for our diseases. By delighting ourselves in the Lord — comfort and support are administered to us. This is the way and means of conveying a deeper sense of God's love unto our souls, causing us to "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8).
This delighting of ourselves in the Lord is very much more than having vague and casual wishes — namely, the outgoings of our innermost and deepest longings. According as we thus delight ourselves in Him, will all other objects pale. They disappoint, but He satisfies the soul. They soon vanish, but He remains. According as we make the Lord our Portion (Lam 3:24), spiritual life is imparted and vigor is infused, so that we find the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh 8:10).
This will make duties not only easy, but pleasant, giving a relish to them. This will make sorrows easier to endure, for His peace will flow into the soul and sustain it in the darkest hour. If we are daily and truly delighting ourselves in the Lord, then death will be welcome, and we shall be carried into and through it comfortably and cheerfully. Who can fear to commit his parting spirit into the hands of his Beloved!
Delight yourself in those things that delight Him, and the more will you abound in those fruits which please Him. In proportion as you do, will Psalm 119:47 express the language of your heart, "I delight myself in your commandments, which I have loved." By nature, we deemed His commandments burdensome, because they were contrary to the desires of the flesh, but when we were renewed by grace, another bias was given to our affections, God writing His commandments upon our hearts (Heb 8:10), inclining us thereto, so that obedience becomes cheerful and holiness our happiness.
Note well the order in Psalm 119:47. God's commandments are loved before they be delighted in, for it is love that sweetens duties, making it our food and drink to do God's will. Thus, this is an infallible mark of a gracious soul, and therefore did David make it the character of the blessed man (the one who is happy in his soul, and on whom the divine blessing rests), "His delight is in the law of the LORD, and in his law does he meditate day and night" (Psalm 1:2). Paul also avers this as a sure evidence of his sincerity amid all his infirmities, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Rom 7:22).
The graceless professor may relish God's promises and build an unsanctifying and delusive hope upon them — but he delights not in His precepts, for he has no love for their Author. But the saint regards it as both his privilege and safety to "long after" God's precepts (Psalm 119:40) in dependence on His promises, expecting a fulfillment of the promises in the way of obedience to His precepts. "Blessed is the man that fears the LORD, that delights greatly in his commandments" (Psalm 112:1), for obedience procures a good conscience and obtains the approbation of God, and thus, we find that "in keeping of them there is great reward" (Psalm 19:11) — in this life as well as in the next.
In times of adversity and tribulation, we should turn to God's precepts for counsel and comfort, "Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet your commandments are my delights" (Psalm 119:143). "A good understanding have all they that do his commandments" (Psalm 111:10).
If we would please the Lord, then we must also remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: then shall you delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob" (Isa 58:13-14). In that way is the Sabbath to be sanctified — withdrawing the mind from temporal things, abstaining from all secular work and fleshly gratification, not allowing ourselves that liberty of speech as on other days, but setting our affections on things above, performing holy duties, and rejoicing in what that day celebrates (Psalm 118:22-24). Then shall we be lifted above this world, anticipate Heaven, and be favored with blessed foretastes thereof. The saint should be most in his element when he is wholly at leisure to joy in the Lord.
"I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste" (Song 2:3). If that language marked the strength of the Church's faith in and love to Christ centuries before He became incarnate, then how much greater reason have Christians today to make it theirs! Let it never be said that they, who beheld their Beloved only through "the shadow of good things to come" (Heb 10:1) and the prophecies and promises of Scripture, were more filled with ecstasy in Him than we are, now that the promises are fulfilled and the substance is ours. Christ is the Tree of life, who not only affords shade and shelter for the weather-beaten saint, but whose branches are laden with delectable fruit, to regale and satisfy His people. Then come and sit down before Him, to enjoy His presence, obtain sweet discoveries and manifestations of His grace and love, admire and feast upon His perfections, and rest in the Lord. The better He be known, the more goes out the heart unto Him.
In proportion as the Christian reader delights himself in the Lord, in His Word, in His Sabbath, and communes and converses with Him, the more will 1953 prove to be a happy, yes, delightful, year.