Pleasing God

1Kings 3:10: It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.

horse-490280_640“Pleased” is an emotional word.

That means God is emotional.

Enoch was also commended for pleasing God, with the book of Hebrews saying that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

That means acts of faith please God.

And we are told that the just shall live by faith (Hebrews 10:38). That will be the space in which he exists.

The life of the just is based on following the words of the unseen God. That is faith.

When Eve sinned, it was because she was stopped walking faith (Genesis 3). God had said if they sinned, disobeyed him by eating the fruit, they will die.

They either took God’s word for it, and that is faith. Or followed what they feel, what they see-

That the fruit is good looking and will feel good in the mouth

They followed what the serpent said-

That the fruit is something to be desired to make one wise.

The serpent’s words must have been so believable in its deceptiveness, vis-à-vis the way he must have said it and the reputation for being a friend that he must have had built over time with Eve. It was unlikely that the serpent was a total stranger to Eve when he suggested to her that disobeying God was good for her.

Not walking by faith, led Adam to follow the lead of his wife.

Walking by faith has to do with following the word of God even if he said it many years ago. God said thousands of years ago that if we believe in Jesus, we will be saved. Following the one you do not see, but believing he is alive in the spirit and his saviour is what will save you.

The most irregular, erratic part of the human being is the emotion, and the emotion is usually communicated via words. That is why James said that if a man can control his words then he is perfect. That man can control his emotion.

Sexual emotion are particularly errant, so is anger and even depression. But there is something called the fear of the Lord. That is a kind of emotion.

The fear of the Lord is faith, because you cannot see him, but you set out to live by his words. When the wrong emotions for the wrong sexual action is stirred up in you. If you already have the fear of the Lord rock solid in you, it will be a standard against whatever sexual temptation that comes against you.

The story of Joseph is poignant. The wife of his master wanted him sexually (Genesis 39). But the fear of being caught in the act was lesser than the fear of God in him.

He said to her: How can I do this thing and sin against God? Though he could not see God, he set out to live to please him. God likewise decided to please Joseph by fulfilling his dreams. The lesson is that pleasing God is the path to fulfilling your dreams.

He did not decide to throw away the words of God because his situation changed for the worse, having been sold to slavery after being his father’s pet.

The fear of the Lord was stronger in him than what life throws at him, it was stronger than the desire of his master’s wife for him.  It was stronger than the fear of being out of favour with her.

Without the fear of God we would not be able to please God. But there is a concept of relating with God, pleasing him that has to do with hope, faith and love.

Love

In the great chapter on love, Paul tried to list things that people may do to try to please God or be significant (1Corinthians 13). He talked about making sacrifices, giving your body to be burnt, manifesting great faith, and gifts of utterances. He said they are nothing, meaning they cannot please God without love. Without it, everything is nothing. Remember that God told Saul that he has more delight in, he is more pleased with, obedience than with the offering of sacrifices.

And Jesus said to his disciples if you love me you will keep my commandment.

It is not just about what you do, it is about who asked you to do it. King Saul said he disobeyed God in order to please him (contradictory?). He said he wanted to offer to offer animals saved from the raid on the Amalekites, when God said nothing should be left breathing. Saul thought he can outsmart God. It does not work like that. He was deficient in the fear of the Lord and that was his undoing.

God told Saul: obedience is better than sacrifice, and obedience according to Jesus is indicative of love.

Faith

Without faith, as stated above, it is impossible to please God. Before we can express love for God in obedience we must stand on the foundation of faith in him, acknowledging that he is, acknowledging who he is, his greatness, presence, and love.  It is acknowledging him as creator, as the one who has the right to take pre-eminence in all things, who has the right to be worshipped.

With the eyes of faith we need to see God as he is, to be able to give him his due recognition. We get to seek the kingdom of God first (which we do not fully see yet), with the promise that every other thing will be added to us.

Hope

This is expectation of good coming to us because we are followers of God, followers of what is good. That expectation is a kind of vision that keeps us in line with God. Paul said that we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2Corinthians 5:5-11). He said knowing the terror of God that will be expressed on that day, he helps people to get right with God. The hope of intending Day of Judgment should put the fear of God in us and keep us on the straight and narrow way. Hope is the picture of the future (though with no specific timeline) that we hold.

Hope looks away from the moment and we are helped to live for the future. Adam and Eve jettisoned hope.

They did not continue to allow the word of God to create hope in them. God said to them that if you eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will die.

But they refused to keep the hope, the fear of that warning, alive in their heart. When they let go of the hope, the picture painted by the word of God in their hearts and followed another path, they got lost.

They did not know that the word of God is a light to their path, and if they reject it they will be plunged into darkness. Peter asked Jesus what will be his gain having left all to follow him. Answer: everything. And that hope kept him (Mark 10:28-30).

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