“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Psalm 147:11).
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun” (Psalm 37:4-6).
“I know God is the boss, but it’s like the Devil is my direct supervisor,” lamented the young man as he unburdened his heart. It sounds easy to say, just remember who is the boss and do what he says, regardless. But in this case it is not just easy, it is biblical.
Why does God delight or find pleasure in those that fear Him? In Hebrews 11 we are told that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the confidence in things unseen. When we are sure that we are believing in the God who created the universe, who sustains our every breath, and who purchased our salvation with his own Son, then we are in a position to face the worst of supervisors. In Hebrews 11:6 we are told that this is the faith that pleases God. In this confidence Job could say, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him” (Job 13:15).
When I worked in Indonesia, I was determined to live with my family despite the conditions that led everyone else to fly in for 5 days and out for 2 every week. We chose to live at the company’s transshipment port on the tip of a small island. At the time, the work camp had an active bar and brothel, and in his correspondence with me and senior managers, the port supervisor made it clear that my family, as “Little House on the Prairie” representatives, was not welcome. When I asked Jim Wilson about how hard I should push, he said, “Pray and go.” But to pray and go, I had to believe that God as The Boss was at my back.
Similarly, the fount of sin inevitably bubbles quietly out of deep cracks in our faith or belief about the God we serve. When our fear in the Lord is shaken, we are not in the position to delight, commit, or trust our ways to Him. Without this faith, we are without armor and vulnerable to deepening doubts and more presumptuous and flagrant sin (Psalm 19). So, when temptation strikes, look upstream to see what you are fearing.
“The seas have lifted up, Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea— the Lord on high is mighty” (Psalm 93:3-4).