Unforced Delight

I haven’t always enjoyed sunsets. There was a time when the idea of sitting on the shore of Lake Ontario would have been boring, the farthest thing from fun in my mind. Today, when I watch from my front porch the colors filling up the sky, the hardest thing for me to do is to not grab my keys and drive towards 10 1/2 Street.

Delight, true delight, is unforced. Without being commanded to, it arises out of the heart freely.

“Blessed is the man who… his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)

When the Psalmist says that he meditates on the law, God’s instruction, “day and night”, does he mean that every thought originating in his mind is all day and all night focused only on God’s word? 

It cannot be that every thought, both day and night, is directed towards God’s law. 

To meditate on God’s word is not simply, not only, to direct one’s thoughts as a matter of discipline, obedience, love, worship. There is that. But underneath meditating or thinking is delight. 

The Psalmist is becoming aware that during the hours making up the day and the night, he finds himself thinking about God’s law. His thoughts are arising naturally, freely, uncoerced, unforced towards God’s law. When, for example, the day’s labors are finished and he sits to rest, free to turn his mind to whatever he wishes, his mind turns to God’s word. His thoughts run after his desires; his meditation runs after his delight. 

No one obligates you to do what you delight in. You do it freely, without external compulsion or obligation. So it is to be with God’s people and God’s word. To not delight in God’s law is to find that you are never or rarely thinking about God and his word freely or spontaneously. It isn’t that God precludes you from thinking of other things; his word doesn’t exclude other things from being delighted in (Philippians 4:8); but to delight in God’s word is to find yourself, your soul, your entire being, being drawn to God and to his word during both the day and night hours. You’re thinking about him, feeling towards him, talking with him, not only when you plan to, but also when you don't plan to – suddenly and unexpectedly, your activity or rest is interrupted and flooded with thoughts of God and of his word. There’s coming into existence a life, a new way of living, where you no longer are disinterested or unfeeling towards the Bible, but now can’t begin to imagine or enjoy life without God and without a delight in his word.

Delight closes the distance between your heart and God’s word. To finally “see” the beauty in one sunset is to long for the next, to think about seeing it, and savoring it, again.