Monthly Archives: January 2016

Reflections on God’s delight (Isaiah 62:4-5)

Working through Isaiah each morning I have just read Isaiah 62.4 and 5. God’s word here is so wonderful that I want to share it with you all. God says to Israel “the Lord will take delight in you” and then underlines it with the amazing parallel words “so will your God rejoice over you”. Is it really possible that the all-righteous God could actually take delight in Israel? He had chosen Israel because it was the least in size and significance among the peoples (Deut.7.7). In that way all glory would go to the Lord, not to Israel. Israel repeatedly forsook the Lord and fell into sin. So Isaiah continually emphasises God’s amazing grace and salvation, but also his righteous judgment. Nevertheless, the word still comes that God rejoices over Israel.
In Isaiah 62.4 the prophet declares that this small and sinful Israel will¬† be called ‘Hephzibah’, my delight is in her. He then adds the name ‘Beulah’, which conveys the common Isaianic picture of marriage. The Lord delights in Israel like a bridegroom delights in his bride. At the wedding she looks radiantly beautiful and the bridegroom’s breast fills with pride and joy in the overwhelming glory that this lovely girl is to be his life-long wife.
God looked at Israel in that same way. He saw her as wonderfully beautiful and he is over-joyed. And now God the Father looks at all followers of Jesus with that same joy and delight. It is overwhelmingly wonderful that little people like us with all our sin and weaknesses can give the Lord such pleasure. It is amazing that God does indeed ‘delight’ in us.¬† We have the privilege of putting a smile on the face of God himself.
Of course we may apply this thought not only individualistically to ourselves, but also to God’s people more widely as the church, the bride of Christ. With all the church’s history of sin and failure, it remains God’s chosen people and his love surrounds the church. As we look at the history of the church and the present reality of the church in our country and locality, let us see with the eyes of God – the church is his beautiful bride! He delights in us!
We may also like to notice that the context of these verses relates not only to Israel and the church as his chosen people, but also to “all nations” (61.11) and the whole “earth” (62.7). The prophecies of Isaiah constantly underline God’s purposes and love for all peoples worldwide. So as we rejoice with glorious amazement in the fact that God actually delights in us, let us remember too that his love longs to embrace the multitudes of all nations and peoples.

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