His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love. -Psalm 147:10-11
What does it mean for me to hope in the Lord? As a student, I do not put much stake in hope. I hoped to make friends as a freshman. I hope I make good grades on my finals. As a senior, I hope to succeed in the real world. What I hope for, in college, is success. Socially, academically, professionally. I have an expectation and desire for these things. So, I pray for them. I hope that through His power, I will have them. But this isn’t what God seems to want from our hope. The psalmist writes that God “delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.”
This verse tells us two important things. First, our hope is supposed to be placed in His love. Hoping that God will get us what we want may be missing the point. Our hope should be focused primarily on the boundless love that He showers on us. We may expect that good things come from this, but looking for His love is part of what it means to be in a relationship with Him.
Second, we know from the verse that God “delights” in us when we hope in His love. God gets personal joy out of our hope and trust. It is incredible that we, broken and sinful people, can be a source of God’s joy. Throughout the Old Testament, God continually worked to commune with and enjoy His people, Israel. By the grace of Christ’s death and resurrection, the Father finally gets to delight in us. God pursues us (unto Christ’s death) not just out of an obligation to love, but because we are the desire of His own heart! And because Christ has already paid the price, the work is already done. This is the love that God would have us hope in: our Lord has already secured His saints for Himself and can now delight in them as He has always longed to. All we have left to do is enjoy Him in return.
Lord, thank You for Your gift of unfailing love. I am undeserving and completely helpless, but You have decided not only to save my soul but to delight in it. I can’t find it in my heart to understand why I am Your choice, but I will forever sing Your praise for it. Jesus, keep a fire for Yourself in my heart every day I live. It’s what You say You long for, so please help me keep my eyes fixed on You. I love You. Amen.
Passage for Further Reading:
About the Author:
James Herring is a fourth-year philosophy major from NYC. He leads Bible studies and plays in the worship team for Northwestern RUF, and he has plans to pursue an MDiv at seminary next fall.