What gives God pleasure?
The answer to this question is the driving force behind life and religion for all who confirm a real belief in God. The thought of God’s pleasure is why we have sacred scriptures, religions, Holidays (Holy days), Holy men, legal systems, architecture and the list can go on. All these things are underpinned by what are often good intentions, yet history shows they are invariably subject to change. The mind-games between the thought of what brings pleasure to God and what brings pleasure to ourselves has many times been crossed and/or eroded by the worlds changing environments and perceptions.
For Judaism and Christianity our canons of scripture stand as a solid and timeless reference for examination and reflection upon the principles that bring God joy. This morning as I sat and watched the sun rising over the ocean I was able to comprehend the reasoning behind the first biblical reference to the pleasure of God: “God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good.”
Creation, when you give it time to effect you, is a wonderful thing. God likes it, so don’t get too busy for a bushwalk. God is there. Simple.
The Torah, with its religious rituals and holidays is a much more difficult roadmap for our religions to navigate in regard to God’s pleasure than we are usually willing to admit. God deemed much of it necessary to distinguish Israel as his Holy people with whom he had chosen to make a covenant. He set them apart from all the other nations of the earth to be united in a special relationship with Himself. Israel were given the law because of God’s covenant with them, they were not, as many are often mistaken, in covenant because of or through the law. So before one ventures into the perils, pleasures and pitfalls of Israel’s unique history with God, the law and the prophets he sent them; A primary conclusion must be made: That Israel, as a people, pleased God. This is one of the most important discovery’s one can make in understanding their own walk with God.
God places expectations and puts agreements in place with the people whom he takes pleasure in. Once this is known, obedience and observance are no longer viewed as a competitive quest for a distant God’s attention, but instead a walking together in a secured place of mutual pleasure. A garden of Eden if you will, or what a marriage really is and should be. With this in mind we can begin to understand how when Israel insisted on dis- pleasing their God through adulteress affairs with pagan nations and practices, their God, who took such pleasure in them was forced to ask in exasperation: “Where is your certificate of Divorce?”. There was no divorce, thus no explanation or excuse for their behaviour.
Nothing destroys joy more than the desecration of that which is designed to bring joy. Thankfully, God is faithful to his covenant even when we are not.
From the inception of the Aaronic Priesthood with its various impositions, flaws and failures were rampant, as they are in all religious cult. Training is often filled with more spills than thrills, yet the pain is intended toward a purpose. Sometimes, however, the purpose of what we do gets lost in the doing, kind of like working till you drop dead on the job. Israel’s cult of sacrifice and offering became like an ancient version of cross-fit. All smoke and sweat without any real point to it all. Prophets are sent to remind us that ritual is subservient to ethics. People are prone to imagine making God happy is like doing the dishes for your mum before you go out for a night of debauchery and hard drugs with your mates.
Isn’t that how religion always ends up? A vain thought that If I light a candle God will sit and watch it burn while I go out in the dark to please myself? God knows what we often forget: pleasure is increased the more it is shared, and he wants us to share in his pleasure. That’s what life is all about! That’s why life is!
A lifeless religion is no religion at all. God has full justification to destroy any institute or religion he created. If the root can be burnt so can the branches. God abolished the cult of sacrifice and offering that He instituted, not through fault on his part but the failure of His people. Why? His marriage was more important. God takes pleasure in people, not performance. Cross-fit isn’t more important than your marriage and a fit corpse is useless. Sweaty, sacrificial rituals don’t belong in God’s garden of pleasure and rest.
What does God really require of us? I like the Prophet Micah’s answer: “Do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.
Chill out and walk away from the smell of smoke and death. Enoch did, He was a pleasure to God. As are you.
Joshua Robbie is currently serving the Lord under Pastors Ronnie and Shirley Naidoo of KZN Celebration Centre in Tongaat South Africa. He and His wife Rene’ moved from Australia to South Africa in April 2016. Their desire is to help in whatever way they can so that the church can become all that God has purposed her to be. Josh is a painter by trade and also enjoys sports such as surfing, basketball and boxing.
Josh Robbie previous articles may be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/josh-robbie.html
Joshua Robbie is currently serving the Lord under Pastors Ronnie and Shirley Naidoo of KZN Celebration Centre in Tongaat South Africa. He and His wife Rene’ moved from Australia to South Africa in April 2016. Their desire is to help in whatever way they can so that the church can become all that God has purposed her to be. Josh is a painter by trade and also enjoys sports such as surfing, basketball and boxing. He has also written a book, now available for purchase on Amazon called: “Your Father sees: Living the sermon on the mount”.Josh Robbie previous articles may be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/josh-robbie.html