What the Lord Delights in

He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.

—Psalm 147:10–11

Though the author of this psalm is unknown, the situation surrounding it is not. The Jews had been carried away to Babylon for seventy years of captivity as the result of their continual idolatry and ignoring of the Sabbath year but had now returned to Jerusalem. The horses and soldiers of the current world power Babylon had been no match for almighty God, and He was unimpressed with their military prowess. Though they saw themselves as an unstoppable force, they were nothing more than an instrument in the hand of the Almighty.

God is not impressed with our accomplishments and achievements any more than He was impressed with Babylon’s global reputation of military might. What the Lord delights in and takes pleasure in is people who fear Him and find hope in His mercy. Don’t get me wrong; God loves us and is delighted when we excel in our gifts and talents and acknowledge them as blessings from Him. But God takes even more pleasure in those who fear Him and hope in His mercy.

The word fear in the Hebrew is yârê’(yaw-ray’). It means “moral reverence,” and in some applications, it means “reverent trust.” This is what makes the adage “the ground is level at the foot of the cross” so beautiful. No matter our accomplishments or perceived level of success, God is more pleased with our moral reverence and reverent trust. That means rich and poor, the one who cleans the building and the one whose name is on the building, are equal in the eyes of God. He takes pleasure in the morally reverent teacher and student alike.

In their captivity, the Jews learned that obedience is the first step in returning to God’s blessings. Similarly, in our lives, the size of the failure or the magnitude of the things that took us away from the Lord do not matter. When we return to Him, He takes pleasure in us as morally reverent and trusting children. He is totally unimpressed and is not intimidated by any human accomplishment or prowess. Bless His holy name!

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.