At the beginning of Holy Week I heard a familiar scripture in a new way. When the reader recited Isaiah 42:1:
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.”
I thought about God’s soul for the first time.
Before really hearing that scripture, the words “soul” and “delights” seemed more applicable to describe something like dark chocolate candy. Thinking of the pride God the Father takes in presenting to the world God His Son to fix up the problem of sin in the world leaves me in awe. For the first time I let my mind conceive that God has a soul. He has a soul like me (or the other way around, He saw fit to give me a soul like His). His soul is capable of being delighted by Jesus! His soul longs to be delighted by me.
As I sat in that service, I began to think about the reality that how I live, what I think, the words I speak and write—all of them can bring delight or despair to the soul of God. Jesus always brought delight. I wish I could say the same.
This image of bringing delight to the soul of God encourages me to want to do what He asks of me and assures me of what I am capable. A personal, loving God has a soul that is impacted by the actions and affections of human beings. God’s soul is impacted by my behaviors, thoughts and words. I honestly want to delight His soul like Jesus did.
I pray that my Lenten journey has delighted God’s soul. It is not worth taking if that is not the result. I know that my soul has been delighted by Jesus’ journey to the cross. Though I felt overwhelming sadness at the reality of what it cost to redeem me, I feel extraordinary expectation that it means that, just as Jesus conquered death, so can I.
It’s easy to imagine that God’s soul delights in Jesus. It’s harder to think that His soul could be delighted by me. There is nothing in Isaiah 42 that would cause me to know that He does feel delight in me. The passage is about His Son—His soul’s delight. Just grasping that is enough to keep my mind, heart and spirit full. It was God’s will to crush Him (Isaiah 53:10), but not because He lacked delight in Him. He wanted to give Jesus more glory than He already had. At the name of Jesus, God delighted so much that every knee will bow and every tongue will proclaim that He is Lord (Phillipians 2:10).
This relationship between God and Jesus, the love they feel and express for each other, is the delight of the world. It delights my soul to think of how they delight each other. Webster’s dictionary describes delight: “a high degree of gratification; joy; also: extreme satisfaction.” Amidst all the ugly realities that the Easter story brings out, underlying is the delight that is the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2) that motivated Him to endure the cross.
I want to live my life motivated by joy. I know it’s a longshot, but I want to be one of those in whom God’s soul delights. I want to live my life like Jesus, focused on delighting God!