If you have ever stood outside and watched the sunset on a clear evening, you have likely seen God’s artistry at its finest. I have never seen the Northern Lights, but the sun setting over the Albemarle Sound is a masterpiece of color, technique, and artistry unlike anywhere else. We are so blessed in the Outer Banks to behold such beauty on a nightly schedule. I can imagine God with a palette and paintbrush, deciding which colors he will use each night to delight his children.
What would we give, if we were to return the favor? Ever wonder what would delight God? What does God want from us that would give him the immense pleasure we get from a full-color sunset?
Psalm 147 New International Version (NIV)
1 Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
6 The Lord sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.
8 He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.
10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
God delights in those who fear him. I learned in seminary that the word ‘fear’ in such cases is not the same as being afraid or terrified. No, indeed, this use of fear refers to “reverential trust.” God delights in those who have a reverential trust in him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. When you come straight to him for everything, it brings him delight. You are God’s delight! Imagine that.
We paint our own sunsets of beauty for God whenever we sing to the Lord with grateful praise. In this sense, though, it is not literal singing, but leading a LIFE of grateful praise. Serving one another as Jesus did, being generous to a fault, taking second place, praying without ceasing, encouraging the downtrodden…each of these things paints a beautiful scene for God to behold. And in those things, he is delighted.
A man approached me yesterday in a store parking lot. He was gentle and apologetic. He only spoke enough English to say, “Sorry.” He indicated the grocery store from which I had just come and said, “Sorry (followed by a lot of Spanish) taco.” Taco may be the only word he knows for food, and his humility in saying sorry repeatedly touched my heart. When he opened his hand and pointed to a few coins and said, “one dollar,” I realized he was asking for money. One dollar.
One dollar won’t buy you a taco in this part of Atlanta, so I gave him a ten.
His eyes welled up and his head dropped in gratitude as he quietly and profusely thanked me. I don’t know if he went off to buy baby formula or beer, but as I put my cart away, I saw him walking into Publix with his head held high, and I saw God’s artistry in that moment.
Where are you being called to delight God today? Can you be generous? Encourage someone who is down? Pray for a hurting neighbor? Take a casserole to a lonely person?
Go ahead. Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Live out your life of grateful praise by painting something beautiful with your actions. God will be absolutely delighted.
Photo by Carol Riggin.