Delight by Abidan Shah, PhD

DELIGHT by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC

Introduction:  We take delight in various things. Some people take delight in their possessions. Some take delight in some activity or hobby. Some take delight in their home. Some take delight in food. There’s even a type of sweets known as Turkish delight. We brought some home with us from our recent tour of Turkey about a week ago. It’s really good! Being Mother’s Day weekend, today’s message is about taking delight in our children and our grandchildren. The message is not just for mothers but for fathers as well. In fact, it is for the whole family. Main point: Life will give us plenty of reasons to despise our family and our loved ones, especially our children and our grandchildren. Instead, we are to delight in them. To do so, we will have to see them as God sees us, even when he disciplines us. We have to see our family and our loved ones through the heart of God the Father and the cross of Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 3       11 “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.”

Context: The Book of Proverbs is the collection of the sayings of King Solomon, the wisest person who ever lived, other than Jesus. Proverbs are short sayings that teach us how to deal with the practical, every day, ordinary issues in life. Some people treat proverbs as second class compared to the important, serious, theological, and doctrinal portions of the Bible, but that’s not how the Bible sees the proverbs. Listen to Jeremiah 18:18 “… for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet…” In other words, proverbs are on the same level as law and prophecy. They are vital for our everyday lives. Personally, I’ve known people who are theologically very knowledgeable and doctrinally very sound, but when it comes to their daily life, they are a total wreck. They don’t know how to lead their families. They don’t know how to handle conflict. They don’t know how to manage their finances. Thank God that he gave us the book of Proverbs to deal with the everyday issues of life. In his devotional time, Billy Graham used to read one chapter a day from Proverbs. I encourage young dads and moms to do the same, one chapter for every day of the month.

Solomon wrote those proverbs in a letter to his son Rehoboam. Proverbs 1     1 “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel. . . 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.” Did he learn to do that from his father David? Did David ever take the time to talk to his son Solomon? We don’t know. If anything, Solomon came from a dysfunctional home. The early life of David was full of turmoil because of King Saul. He had to constantly run for his life. I don’t know how much of a dad he was able to be. Altogether, he had 8 wives and who knows how many concubines. The first one was Michal, King Saul’s daughter. He gave her to David, but then in anger gave her to another man. Later, she was restored to him. Then, it was Abigail, the wife of the evil Nabal. God killed him, and she married David. Of course, we all know about Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, the Hittite. Their child died after birth because of David’s sin, but then they had four more children of whom Solomon was one. There are 5 more wives, not counting the concubines. Altogether, he had 21 kids by his wives and who knows how many through his concubines! Yes, the same man who killed Goliath as a teenager, same man who wrote Psalm 23, same man who was called the “man after God’s own heart.” Doesn’t make sense, does it? Furthermore, later in life, he failed to restrain his adult kids. When his son Amnon forced himself on his sister Tamar, all David do was get very angry but he did not discipline his son. Another of David’s sons named Absalom took matters in his own hands and had his brother Amnon killed two years later. David still didn’t do anything. David refused to forgive Absalom who eventually led a coup against him and ended up dying a horrific death. Later, David’s another son named Adonijah also tried to usurp his father’s throne, and again, David didn’t do anything. Solomon grew up in a situation like this!

Here’s a word to those of you who grew up in dysfunctional homes: Yes, it matters how you grow up. It’s so much better to grow up in a God honoring, Christ centered, Bible believing, and Spirit filled environment. Having said that, God can still make you the wisest person on the planet if you let him through Jesus Christ.

What’s beautiful to me is that in spite of his upbringing, Solomon still had a high regard for parents. Listen again to Proverbs 1:8 “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.” Also, Proverbs 3:12 “For whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” Later, Proverbs 10:1 “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother.” Also, Proverbs 23:22 “Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” By the way, we all know the Ten Commandments. The fifth one in Exodus 20:12 says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” This is the only command with a promise. God says, “Honor your father and your mother because it pleases me.” Why is this so important? Rabbi Daniel Lapin writes in his book Thou Shall Prosper, “It is not surprising that to Jewish culture, the relationship with your parents, captured in the fifth commandment, lays the foundation for the science of human relationships.” When someone does not have a good relationship with their parents, it will inevitably impact their relationships with others.

Question: Have you honored your parents? You may not always obey them, but you should always honor them.

Finally, here’s a question to parents: Do you delight in your children and your grandchildren? What does “delight” involve? It’s the Hebrew word “ratsah.” That word is found in various forms throughout the Old Testament. Sometimes it is used for God and sometimes for human beings. It has a range of meanings, and it’s much more than just “feeling tickled pink.” For God, here are some examples:

  • Deuteronomy 33:11a “Bless his substance, LORD, and accept the work of his hands…” This is referring to Levi. Even though he tested God in the wilderness, even though he failed to acknowledge his parents, his siblings, and his children, God still accepted him.
  • Isaiah 60:10b “…For in My wrath I struck you, but in My favor I have had mercy on you.” Here, it has the idea of God’s unfailing commitment towards the people of Israel, even though he had to discipline them at times.
  • Psalm 103:21 “Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure.” If you read the whole psalm, you will see that it is reminding us of God’s mercies in our lives. This is delight in the sense of mercies. Reminds me of the time when I stole some money from dad’s pocket. Even though he knew, he never said anything. It showed me his grace, and I got the message.

For human beings, here are some examples:

  • Proverbs 16:13 “Righteous lips are the delight of kings, and they love him who speaks what is right.” A king hears plenty of words of flattery and adulation, but when he hears someone speaking truth and righteousness, he pays attention to them and trusts them.
  • Genesis 33:10 And Jacob said, “No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me.” These are Jacob’s words to Esau his brother, pleading with him to accept his gifts and reconcile.

Then, it is often found in the context of worship.

Psalm 51:16 “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; you do not delight in burnt offering.” Here David confesses to God his sin of adultery and acknowledges to God that he cannot pacify him with some burnt offering. He goes on to say in verse 17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.” What delights God are not burnt offerings but humble, clean, and repentant heart.

As you can see, the word “delight” can have a range of meaning! It has the idea of being fond of someone, being pleased with someone, accept someone favorably, or be satisfied with someone, showing mercy to someone, and discipline someone. In the context of children and grandchildren or family and loved ones, it may not be that you are necessarily fond of someone at the moment but you can still accept them favorably by showing mercy, be willing to look beyond the obvious, and show the mercy God in Christ Jesus has shown you. By the way, parents, disciplining your kids is a sign of delighting in them. I didn’t say, “punishing.” There’s a big difference.

Question: Can your children tell that you delight in them? Is your home a place where mercy is freely given? Is your home a place where unconditional love is constantly shown? I remember when mom and dad would give us an extra spoonful of ice cream from their bowl.

Can your adult children tell that you delight in them? Have you forgiven them where they have hurt or disappointed you? Do you understand your new role in their lives? Sometimes it takes for them to get to a similar place before they can truly appreciate what you have done for them. I used to think that mom and dad came to school office once a month just to visit some friends. They were coming to pay my tuition at the Catholic school office.

In closing, the ideal son is none other than Jesus Christ. He pleased his Father every step of the way.

Isaiah 42:1 “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, my Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.”

Matthew 3       16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

Christ is not only our model, but he is also the one who grafts us into the heavenly family through his death on the cross.

Do you know him? Are you saved? Are you delighting in him? Are you delighting in your kids and grandkids?

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