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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 149:4’

(An imaginary conversation between God and me)

ME:

O God, each time I come across a scripture that affirms Your delight in me, my heart responds with amazement. I fall far short of the excellence I’d like to present to You—even after all these years as Your child. How is it possible You could still delight in me?  

GOD:

Think about this: How do others know that you take delight in your children and grandchildren? You spend time with them, correct? You listen to them, praise their efforts, and encourage them. You give them gifts. You forgive them.

I do all these things for you and more, proving my delight through my actions. When you see Me clearly—my faithfulness, goodness, and love in action for you—you’ll see yourself more clearly–one who is cherished and brings me pleasure.

Keep reminding yourself, you don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful. [1]

Just this morning you took great delight at the get-together of moms at church. In fact, you smiled from ear to ear and laughed for joy over children you didn’t even know:

  • the baby who waved with gusto at everyone who passed by
  • the little boy who wanted you to play catch with him
  • the three-year-old conversationalist who explained how hourglass egg-timers work

Granted, not one of these little ones is perfect, but each is perfectly wonderful—and so is every other child of Mine, including you.

 I also take great pleasure in watching My children grow, just as you’ve delighted in the development of your children and grandchildren—even your students when you taught school.

ME:

It’s true—each milestone is celebrated with joy, especially those that required effort. It stands to reason that each marker of our spiritual growth makes You smile with joy—markers that include: establishing a quiet time (because You desire relationship with us), learning to be patient and self-controlled as well as manifesting the other fruit of the Spirit, practicing Your presence throughout the day, and turning to You in faith for the strength, guidance, and help we need.[2]

GOD:

Absolutely! I also delight to see:

  • The development and use of the talents I’ve given you, just as you celebrate the growing abilities of the children around you.
  • The joy you experience in the company of family or friends, just as you enjoy watching children play happily together. Their pleasure becomes your pleasure; the same is true for Me.
  • The expression of gratitude for My blessings and favors, just as gratitude from your children warms your hearts and makes you smile.
  • The perseverance to develop spiritual maturity, just as you’ve taken joy in the skills mastered by your children, grandchildren, and students through the years.

Many think of Me as far removed, gloomy and mightily displeased with everything. And while it’s true that I hate sin, because of My Son, Jesus Christ, all believing souls are objects of My delight.[3]

Take that to heart, precious child.

ME:

I pray, Heavenly Father, that my choices going forward might bring You increasing delight. And may I rest contentedly, even joyfully, in the pleasure You already take in me.


 

[1] ______, Values for Life, Walnut Grove Press, 2004, 131).

[2] Revelation 3:20; Galatians 5:22-23; Psalm 16:11; Hebrews 11:6

[3] A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, Harper & Brothers, 1961, 107-108.

Photo credits: http://www.canva.com; http://www.flickr.com; http://www.heartlight.org; http://www.stocksnap.io.

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“Matt* and Loren* are coming to visit the weekend after next. Would you be able to join us for dinner that Saturday night?” I asked, Dave*, the worship leader of our church.

I had just arrived at ensemble practice.  Dave was already there organizing music.

“Yeah, I’ll come. It’ll be great to catch up with them.” Matt and Loren were mutual friends who had moved away.

“We’ll probably eat around six, but come early—say five? That’ll give us more time to chat,” I added.

Dave whipped a pen off the piano and wrote a note to himself—on his hand.

I had to smile. Dave was/is one of the most creative, musically talented young men I’ve ever met. Not only is he a concert-trained pianist, he’s a composer with a gift for turning artful melodies into worship.

But in those days, he would have been the first to tell you that keeping track of details or appointments was a challenge; thus the notes-on-the-hand habit. If the commitment was right there in front of him, he’d most likely remember to put it on his calendar later. The message wouldn’t be forgotten amidst all the ideas and musical themes racing through his head.

I know someone else who writes information on the palm of his hand. The information is your name and mine. The someone? Our Heavenly Father.

 

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(“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

–Isaiah 49:16 NIV)

Of course, this assurance was addressed to the people of Israel, but it’s applicable to each of us, because: 1) those of us who believe in Jesus have been adopted into Abraham’s family (Galatians 3:6-9), and 2) God does not lose sight of the individual within the multitude (Luke 3:3-7).

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.”

–St. Augustine

But don’t think of God’s love as perfunctory or pity-driven.

You are a treasure to your Heavenly Father—the delight of his heart (Deuteronomy 7:6; Psalm 149:4).

 

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You and I are constantly in his thoughts (Psalm 139 17-18).

And the imagery of our names engraved (cut, carved, or etched) on his palms brings to mind several important truths:

  1. God cannot and will not forget us or abandon us.
  1. His omniscient knowledge doesn’t just include our names, but also who we are—our personalities, dreams, circumstances, strengths and weaknesses—everything about us—is on his mind.
  1. Our images engraved on God’s palms represent an incredible role reversal. In ancient times, slaves bore the brand mark of their masters. But our Master has sacrificially submitted himself to inscribe our names on his palms.
  1. The image represents who we are becoming in God’s view, which is undoubtedly different from ours. “Reality is not what we see; reality is what God sees” (Biblical Illustrator). And that reality is perfection.

 

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(“By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever

those who are being made holy.”

–Hebrews 10:14 NIV)

 

Of course, that one sacrifice was Jesus, who bled and died on a cross so we might be made right with God and receive the gift of eternal life.

As a result, Isaiah 49:16 (about our names written on God’s palms)  has taken on new meaning:

 

“See, I have engraved you—in blood—on the palms of my hands.”

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *   *     *     *

I praise you, Heavenly Father, that it is totally impossible for you to forget your own.  How humbling to realize I am engraved on your hands—hands that withstood the nails for me. But gratitude alone is terribly insufficient.

I want your name, Lord, engraved on my palms, so I might become that perfected reality you already see.

 

*Names have been changed.

Art & photo credits:  www.pinterest.com (3)

 

 

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