Twice did the voice of God from the excellent glory express His Pleasure in His beloved Son, as a man upon the earth, He who revealed to us in full perfection the grace and truth and love of God, ever yielded a sweet savour to God our Father.
The work of Christ for us upon the Cross—that great atoning sacrifice, and the great work of the Holy Spirit in us who believe, have as their great end the bringing of our hearts to find our delight in the same Person who is so precious to the heart of God, and that in spite of the hindrances which we discover through the presence of sin in us.
There is, however, thank God, a spring in every true believer which ever turns to Him as the needle to the pole and delights in what is truly of God. The bitter experience of Romans 7 results in this discovery “I delight in the law of God after the inward man, but I see another law in my members warring in opposition (v. 23, N.Tr.). Yet we learn that the sacrifice of Christ by which sin was condemned in the flesh, and the new principle of life in Christ Jesus gives full deliverance from what hinders and energy to enter into that which the new nature within us yearns for. Consequently Christ becomes our satisfying Object increasingly, and communion with God our Father is deepened in our souls.
“He is satisfied with Jesus,
We are satisfied as well.”
God chose us in Christ before the world’s foundations were laid, and He has taken us into favour in His beloved One, through the redeeming blood, to the praise of the glory of His grace; and He has abounded towards us in all wisdom and intelligence to bring us into one-mindedness with Himself as to Christ. We can easily see how far beyond the simple meeting of needs this is. We should have been satisfied with much less.
To have escaped hell and got into heaven would have been enough for us, but God could not be satisfied with that, so great is His joy in His Son that He must share that joy with others, and He has not chosen angels for this joy, but the sons of men, who are redeemed by the blood of His Son, and shall owe everything to Him for ever.
Wonderful things are revealed to us in the Scriptures; take 1 Corinthians 2, for instance, “the hidden wisdom,” foreordained before the world for our glory is “the Lord of Glory” whom the princes of this world crucified. Now it is He, surely, Who speaks in Proverbs 8, “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old … I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him rejoicing in the habitable parts of the earth: and my delights were with the sons of men.” Not angels but men! This is exceedingly precious, for it reveals to us the fact that before ever a thought concerning Him entered our darkened minds, He thought of us with delight, though this involved His taking on, not the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham, and suffering for our sins, that we might be redeemed according to the good pleasure of God.
Yes, He was with Him when He prepared the heavens, when He ordained the circle over the face of the deep, when He established the skies above, when He strengthened the fountains of the deep, when He gave to the sea His decree that the waters should not pass His commandment, when He appointed the foundations of the earth: then, as the Nursling of His ineffable love, He was by Him—God’s wisdom to be made wisdom to us afterwards (1 Cor. 2, 7:1, 30), God’s wisdom in a mystery of which Paul spoke to mature believers.
Having become incarnate He filled the Father’s heart with delight, but from this Scripture we learn that He always did that, and can understand His saying to the Father, “Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17). But it was the pleasure of God that others should be brought to share in these scenes of love and delight and holy rejoicing. But how were they to taste the joys of such high and holy realms? They were sinners! They were the sinful children of Adam’s fallen race! They deserved God’s everlasting judgment! How then could they share in such divine blessedness? The answer is found in the love of God.”
“His Son, His delight, His loved One, He gave
The Cross to endure—by suffering to save;
Sure love so amazing, unmeasured, untold,
Since Him it has given no good will withhold!”
God loved! God gave! He gave His Son that we might not perish! But more, He gave Him that “eternal life” might be ours in all its fullness! And even now, we can also say, He who “spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things.”
Moreover the Lord Jesus Himself came for us in all the greatness of His love. On the one hand it was His delight to do God’s will, and He said, “Lo I come to do Thy will, O God”; on the other hand, since He found delight in us, He came voluntarily to redeem us. “Christ loved us and gave Himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour” (Eph. 5:2). Now risen from among the dead, and ascended to the Father, the Unction has come, and He fills our hearts with the loveliness of our eternal and glorious Lover, Truly He is the One Who fills the Father’s heart with delight, and we can say surely He is the delight of our hearts too! But what can we say of the ceaseless care God has for those, who, like Himself, find pleasure in His Well-beloved? “The Father Himself loves you because ye have loved Me” (John 16). Their delight in Christ may be measured, but not His loving concern in regard to them! However feeble may be their appreciation of Jesus, there is no feebleness or lack in His tender care for them! He sees to it that “all things” work together for their good! The Father loves them! The Son loves them! And the Holy Spirit leads them into a deepening sense of God’s well-proved and unchanging love for each one!
Soon the mystery of God’s will shall be seen, when all in heaven and on earth shall be centred up in Christ; and, in the fullness of times, when the blessing of God shall flow out universally through the administration which is then in the hands of our capable and glorious Lord and Head, all hearts shall find their delight in Him. His death, His resurrection, His ascension and His wonderful mediatorial service result in rich blessing to the praise of God’s glory. Therefore we often sing, and sing rightly,
“The Father’s full delight
Is centred in the Son
And countless tongues in heaven unite
To tell what He has done.”
But, oh, beloved brethren; before the day of glory, before He is seen in the splendours of redemption’s display, before the assembly’s Head and Lover shines forth with His Bride before His Kingdom and dominion spread their blessings over all, before faith gives place to sight is it not our God-given potion to share increasingly in the divine delight which is found in Him? Yea, to find His fruit sweet to our taste, as we sit under His shadow with great delight.