May 11, 2023

“His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear Him; who put their hope in His unfailing love.”  Psalm 147:10,11


What makes you smile?   

Spending time with family and friends?  

A hobby?  

Hearing unexpected good news? 

The truth is we smile for a wide variety of reasons. Some big, some small. 

But here’s a question you may have never thought about – Figuratively speaking, what makes the Lord smile?  

Psalm 147:11 gives us a clue.  

The psalmist tells us what the Lord “delights” in.  And it’s impossible to imagine delighting in someone or something without smiling. Smiling demonstrates delight.    

What delights the heart of God and brings a smile to His face are people who revere His name and place their total confidence in His steadfast love. Recognizing His greatness (verses 4,5) and provision (verses 8,9), they respond in genuine worship and trust. 

Notice that the psalmist isn’t describing folks who merely acknowledge God’s existence and go through the motions of religiosity. 

Far from it. 

These are people whose faith is central to their lives. They wholeheartedly rely on the Lord’s strength and are sold out to His purposes.  

From a New Testament perspective, they trusted in Christ as their Savior. Knowing “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6), they joyfully echo the Apostle Paul’s words, “The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).  

If this sounds like you, then rest assured…the Lord is crazy about you. You make Him smile from ear to ear. 

Let that sink in for a moment.

(No, seriously)

It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?  But why?  Why do we struggle to believe that the Lord delights in His children?  

We tend to think that God is stern and grumpy, difficult to please, and constantly disappointed at our inconsistency. 

But this is not Biblical. (See- Psalm 18:19, Psalm 149:4, Isaiah 62:3-5, Zephaniah 3:17)

He is pleased by our simple desire to please Him. Though we stumble, He is pleased by our sincere effort to walk by faith. Our Heavenly Father takes great pleasure in His children who, albeit imperfectly, place the full weight of their lives into His loving hands.

While He is aware of our shortcomings, while we can still “grieve His Spirit” when we embrace sin (Ephesians 4:30), His disposition towards us isn’t one of annoyance or frustration, it’s delight.  As an astonishing reflection of His grace, he’s not scowling over us; He’s smiling over us! 

Yet, we must also notice in this Psalm what doesn’t delight the heart of God. 

The Lord is not impressed by our displays of earthly power and strength (like the military might of the war horse or the legs of infantrymen).  Nor is He pleased by people who trust in these things to the neglect of trusting in Him. 

So, we must ask ourselves:  Where am I placing my trust?

If you have never genuinely placed your hope in His unfailing love, I have great news: “the Lord delights in showing mercy” (Micah 7:18-19). Acknowledge your sin, run toward His open arms, and receive the mercy He’s ready to give.  

Scripture says a celebration will erupt in heaven: 

“I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  Luke 15:10

In other words, not only will you make the Lord smile, He’ll throw a party.  

Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH