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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 139:16’


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Logic said his chances were slim to win the 400-meter race at the 1924 Olympics. After all:

  • Four hundred meters is a long sprint; he was a short sprinter.
  • Two other competitors in the race had achieved world records in this event.
  • He had been assigned the least desirable lane.

But when the starting gun fired, Eric Liddell quickly took the lead and pounded around the track at a steady pace—his head thrown back, arms pumping at his sides. Against the odds, Eric crossed the finish line first to win the gold medal. In fact, he set a new world record.

In the film, Chariots of Fire (1981), about Eric’s rise to Olympic gold, his character says, “God made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure.” The scriptwriter was actually responsible for those words, but the attitude behind them surely reflected the strong faith-experience of the real Liddell.

 

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No doubt about it: Eric was gifted by God to run. And when he used that gift, Eric felt confident God was pleased, because he was fulfilling one of the purposes for which God had created him.

But those famous words from the film beg the question:

How can a person know when the invisible God experiences pleasure?

Scripture is the obvious place to begin our search for answers. In fact, the first book of the Bible—the first chapter no less—gives us indication. Seven times as God was creating the universe he “saw that it was good.” God takes pleasure in what he has made.

His pleasure is especially evident in the creation of humanity. He knit each of us together—not just bones, muscle, and organs—but personality traits, modes of intelligence, talents, interests, and more. Each of us is an incredible feat of engineering, a breath-taking masterpiece (Psalm 139:13, Ephesians 2:10). With so many variables at his disposal, God creates each person with precise uniqueness for distinct purposes.

 

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God also plans out each of our lives: the places where we’ll live, the people we’ll meet, the events we’ll experience (Psalm 139:16).

 

“God formed us for his pleasure…

and meant us to see him and live with him

and draw our life from his smile.”

A. W. Tozer

(The Pursuit of God, p. 32, emphasis added)

 

In Psalm 147, we’re told, “The Lord delights in those who fear* him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (v. 11).

What might that delight or pleasure feel like to us?

Perhaps a warm contentment in the spirit—the way we feel when someone we respect smiles upon us with approval. Perhaps deep confidence as we live by his wisdom.

With God, such sublime moments are not necessarily random events.   We can be assured to experience God’s pleasure as we:

  • Take joy in his presence (Psalm 16:11) through worship—anytime, anywhere.
  • Radiate his joy to others. There is blessing in being a blessing.
  • Make right choices – especially the tough ones.

Eric Liddell surely sensed God’s pleasure as deep confidence when he made the tough choice not to run in his best event, the 100-meter, in the 1924 Olympics. The race was scheduled on a Sunday, and Eric took seriously God’s commandment to keep the Sabbath set apart for worship and rest.

 

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When does God experience pleasure from our lives?

Consider Eric Liddell’s statement in the film, only let’s personalize it based on the way God has created each of us. Prayerfully fill in these blanks:

 

“God made me ____________. When I __________, I feel his pleasure.

 

One of my statements might read: “God made me a grandmother. When I play a rousing game of tag or hide ‘n’ seek with Elena and Sophie, I feel God’s pleasure.”

I’d love to hear your responses. Please share in the comment section below!

Meanwhile…

My mind cannot fathom the incredible privilege you have given us, Lord God. Thank you for ordaining the reciprocal process of pleasure between us: we enjoy bringing you delight, and you allow us to feel your pleasure. My mind cannot fathom it: I bring delight to the King of glory! I rejoice in you and praise you with all my heart.

 

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* “Fear of God” in the ancient Hebrew refers to awe, respect, and reverence for him.

 

Sources of information about Eric Liddell:

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.swordofthespirit.net; http://www.pinterest.com (2); http://www.azquotes.com.)

 

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Years ago, Mom taught me a neat trick for those times when I can’t remember the name of someone or something.

“Go through the alphabet,” she suggested. “Usually a letter will stand out, and it will jog your memory.”

No doubt many of you have discovered the same strategy.

Now that I’m getting older, it has occurred to me: Is it my imagination, or am I using the alphabet to jog my memory more than I used to?

That question brought a silly visualization to my mind. Who is the oldest Person we know? God–he has always existed, even before time itself, right?

What if he experienced memory challenges? I can see him with his elbow propped on the throne, stroking the thick, white wool of his beard, the other hand tapping absent-mindedly against the folds of his glowing robe. He’s talking out loud to himself (another habit of the elderly).

“Oh, what is her name? I can see her face…She’s one of our brown-eyed, brown-haired children. I just love deep, dark eyes…Isn’t she the one We blessed with a raise, even though she didn’t ask for it? Oh, what is her name?”

I told you it was silly. God doesn’t have memory problems! He is all-powerful and all-knowing. Actually, considering his magnificent splendor, it’s really quite amazing he cares about us at all.

David wrote, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him” (Psalm 8:4)?

Mindful. I like that. God’s mind is full of us. He not only knows our names, he knows the number of hairs on each of our heads (Matthew 10:30). It stands to reason God knows our favorite colors, and what each of us was doing ten years ago today.

And when we consider he has planets, moons, and stars to orchestrate, it is no small wonder he concerns himself with such little specks as us.

Another psalmist wrote, “The Lord remembers us and will bless us” (Psalm 115:12a).

Not only does he remember who we are, he remembers our needs and blesses us accordingly.

Meditate on that concept for a moment. God supplies our every need.

James Janeway, a Puritan minister and author of the seventeenth century, said that such contemplations are enough to launch us forth into an ocean of goodness, where you can see no shore, nor feel the bottom. I like that, too.

Here’s another concept worthy of careful thought: God’s mindfulness did not begin when each of us was born. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16). Could our days have been recorded without God’s knowledge? No. That means we have been on his mind since before each of our birth dates.

And last, God’s mindfulness will never end. He will continue to be mindful of us in the future, into infinity. “I will never stop doing good to them” (Jeremiah 32:40), He said. And “I will never forget you” (Isaiah 49:15b).

Oh, Father, thank you for your constant, caring attention. Thank you for your ocean of goodness from which you bless us. In return, may I be mindful of you, remembering the wonders you have done, your miracles (Psalm 105:5a). I want to praise you continually, and forget not one of all your benefits (103:2).

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