I was sitting in my lounge enjoying a Korean series when I suddenly felt guilty. Why was this? It was perfectly decent, no blasphemy, violence, nudity. Then I thought, I am wasting my time, I should be doing Christian work! And I thought of my family and friends: They were probably out having fun, it was Saturday night after all. Does God expect us to use every single minute working for him? Of course not! Remember in days gone by when one had to keep the Sabbath in a certain way? Children went to church with their parents, afterwards at home they had to sit quietly reading their Bibles or spiritual books until supper and bedtime. They must have grown up to hate Sundays. It was all very pious and very hypocritical.
Pleasure is endorsed by God himself. It is not a worldly pleasure – doing things of which he would disapprove. Our inbuilt consciences tell us what is right and what is wrong. The most barbaric heathen knows this. God himself feels pleasure. One of the things that gave him pleasure was the garden he created for Adam and Eve: he did not put them in an untamed wilderness. God desired their companionship – they were, after all, created in his image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.” (Gen 1:27). After the Fall, when they had eaten fruit from the forbidden tree we read, “And they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And, they heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord. The Lord God called unto Adam and said, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked.” (Gen 3:7-11). Their consciences had told them they had sinned.
We read of many other things that give God pleasure, things that delight him. Here are a few. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delights in his way.” (Ps 37:23). “For the Lord takes pleasure in his people.” (Ps 149:4). “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord: but such as are upright in their way are his delight …the prayer of the upright is his delight.” (Prov 12:22). “But let him who boasts boast of this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things.” (Jer 9:24 NASB1885). But what gave God the greatest pleasure was his own Son. After Jesus was baptized by John in the River Jordan, God’s voice spoke from Heaven: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
But joy often brings pain, and great joy, great pain. Ask any parent who has lost a child. God had a plan to give people a second chance -a chance to become his children, and to live with him eternally where there will be no death or pain. To do this, he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, on a mission. The result was pain of a magnitude we can’t conceive. God, the Father, had to spurn his Son, and the Son, Jesus Christ, after his dreadful death on the cross in which he showed compassion, mercy, and forgiveness, was bereft of his Father as he died for our sins and the sins of the world. Hear his cry of dereliction, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). After this cry, we read: ”And it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit; and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:44-46). “And when the centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, saw the earthquake…they feared greatly saying, Truly, this was the Son of God.” (Matthew 27:54).
We can only say with the apostle Paul, “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.” (2 Cor 9:15).
God bless you all
See Menu for Cantata with THE CRUCIFIXTION and link to Musescore.com where it may be heard and downloaded. Menu>Music>Cantata: EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW Part three 18.
Ps Please see CHRISTMAS on Menu and PRAISE HIM, a Christmas play for children that can use a small or large cast so the whole Sunday School can dress up and be involved. It is easily rehearsed.