Psalm 147 says that the Lord takes pleasure in those that fear him. In fact, if you do a quick study on the word pleasure in the Bible, you will find most pointing to a spot where his delight immediately turns back on those who fear him. You see, to fear him does not mean to be scared, to cower, or to run and hide although our flesh can certainly do these in light of his holiness, but it is literally to respond rightly to who he is. Quite frankly, God takes pleasure in those of us that respond correctly to his character, his holiness, his glory, his justice, his righteousness, his… well to Him.
Jeremiah 9:23 and 24 states that the wise man shouldn’t glory in his wisdom, the strong man in his strength, or the rich man in his wealth, but that we should glory in the fact that we know God (and those who respond rightly will fulfill his call to intimacy with him), and know that he IS God, and mentions three specific attributes of himself that I believe those who fear him carry when they respond rightly to him.
The first is his loving kindness. To fear God is to respond to his love. I love my wife, so I choose to honor her. I choose to uplift her, and I also choose to be intimate with her. Similarly, in my relationship with the Lord, I choose to respond to HIS love by loving him back correctly, desiring intimate and personal time, developing and growing that loving relationship, and not taking it for granted or being lax in his wooing of me. It also means we recognize his love for others, and allow his love to be shown through us. We are to love those he loves. If I truly fear the Lord, my life will be an example of one who loves the lost, the hurting, and the dying world around me with the love of Christ.
The second that he mentions is his judgment. We hear often not to judge. The only thing we as Christians can’t judge is the intent of the heart or finality of one’s soul. As lovers of God and those who fear him however, we must be in love with his justice, not turn away from it. We are still to call sin sin. How can we call those to repentance if we have so watered down the message of grace that we turn a blind eye to the truth that sin=death. I think that the grace of God extends so much farther than we realize, but the truth of the matter is that God is a just God. He never changes. The flip side of this is his amazing grace. In his justice, he has offered us the judgment of not guilty. It is our responsibility to take that offer to the world, and allow his grace to abound, not allowing people to remain in their sin, but showing them the way He made to escape it.
And finally, the Lord mentions his righteousness. He calls us to be holy as he is holy. He cloaks us in his righteousness. It is amazing that I don’t have to justify myself because he has already done that, however brothers and sisters, the call to holiness is still there. We cannot toy with sin. We cannot let it have a foothold in our life. We can’t preach to the world freedom FROM sin, and live privately as if the message is freedom TO sin. We have to flee from sin and temptation. We are called to be holy, set apart.
We forget sometimes in just how holy and awesome God is, but when we are people who take pleasure in this, then he says over us, “For in these I delight.”