Some of the Delights of the Son of God
by Inglis Fleming
In meditating upon the delights of the Son of God our thoughts are taken back first of all to the past eternity.
There we see Him, “the only begotten Son in the bosom of the Father,” in that “hiding place of love,” as it has been termed, and are allowed to behold Him presented before us as “Wisdom” (Prov. 8:22-31), the object of His Father’s joy, “daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” The Spirit there speaks of the Father’s delight in the Son, and of the Son’s delight in the Father in the mutuality of deep affection; at this no renewed mind can wonder.
But we read further that, in that scene of eternal joy, He rejoiced in “the habitable parts of the earth”—the parts which would be peopled—and that
“His delights were with the sons of men.”
And this may well astonish us.
Knowing all from the beginning, He was fully aware of the ruin which would come in after man had been made upright. He was acquainted with all that He Himself would suffer at His creatures’ hands, and how much more deeply when He made atonement for man’s sin. But knowing all this, “His delights were with the sons of men.”
The angels He passeth by—their case is not undertaken. It was His pleasure to choose “the sons of men.” The why we may not be able to discover, but we may well rejoice that thus it was. Just as He loved Israel, and set His love upon them (Deut. 7:7-8), because He chose to do so (And who shall say Him nay?); so when we learn that His delights were with such as ourselves, it is not for us to reason why, but, as we wonder, to worship.
Thus we exclaim:
“And could’st Thou be delighted
With creatures such as we?—
Who when we saw Thee, slighted
And nailed Thee to a tree!
And mystery divine!
The voice that speaks in thunder
Says, ‘Sinner, thou art Mine’”.
And this before earth’s foundation, or formation. Then it was we were in His delights. Then it was we were chosen; and then it was that He was foreordained to be the Redeemer, in order that we might righteously be cleared, cleansed, and constituted righteous in God’s sight, and thus be fitted for His delight for ever.
Turning to Psalm 40 we find another of His pleasures. And this was in Time. When the whole system of the law had failed to answer to the Father’s desire, we hear Him prophetically say, “Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened: burnt-offering and sin-offering hast Thou not required. Then said I, Lo I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me,
“I delight to do Thy will, O my God,
Yea, thy law is within my heart.”
The four great classes of offering of Leviticus, chapters 1-4, had ministered no satisfaction to His Father. Then He who had been prefigured by them would take the body prepared for Him, coming here on earth in the likeness of man, He would perform all the will of God. And, may we not inquire, Who but One who Himself is God was capable of fulfilling all the will of God, whatever that will might be?
Thus we see Him come to glorify God, to fulfil all the Father’s good pleasure. And from the pathway of God’s will for Him, He was never deflected; “I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.” Whether within or without all was perfection. The law was cherished within His heart, and He found His joy in fulfilling every jot and every tittle thereof. So we hear Him say, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me and to finish His work” (John 5:34). “I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me” (6:38), and again, “He that sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him” (8:29). And we who believe may rejoice that the will of God which He came to do had our blessing in view, for we read, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once” (Heb. 10:10). That will led Him to the cross with all its inexpressible woe. In view of bearing the judgment there, He shrank. In His perfection He cried “with strong crying and tears” to Him who was able to save Him out of death.” But in that same perfection He exclaimed, “If this cup may not pass away from Me except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matt. 26:42). And then we behold the Holy One who knew no sin, made sin for us that we might be made God’s righteousness in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).
On this foundation, as we happily know, all our blessings, present and eternal, are securely established, and God is glorified therein.
Psalm 16 presents another of our Lord’s delights. Now it is in the godly ones on earth who, in John’s baptism, took their place in the waters of Jordan. These were the repentant remnant of Israel. By their coming to be baptized, they owned that they could look for nothing from God on the ground of being Abraham’s natural seed, but only His just judgment. The nation had shown its antagonism to the Christ of God. Jerusalem had been troubled at the tidings of His birth. Its leaders had sought “the young child’s life.” There was found no room for Him in the inn of this world. The call to “Repent” was therefore uttered, and these at Jordan had answered to this call.
With them the Lord of glory would link Himself. He who had no sins to confess would identify Himself with them in this their first right step. They were “the excellent of the earth,” and of them He would say,
“In whom is all my delight.”
They were but a sample company of “His own which are in the world” today. For we also have been brought to repentance toward God, and through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ may rejoice that we are among the objects of His delight. He values them. He esteems them as being the gift of the Father to Him, and as still belonging to the Father—“They are Thine.” He values them also as those in whom He is glorified; “All Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, and I am glorified in them” (John 17:6, 9, 10).
Blessed it is for us to be able to sit down under His shadow and resting there find His fruit sweet to our taste. Truly, “as the apple tree among the trees of the wood so is our Beloved among the sons.” He is “the Chiefest among ten thousand, yea, He is altogether lovely.”
Let us note that His delight is in all these “excellent of the earth.” Not in some select company of them, but in all. And note again that it is not in their state only, but in themselves that He delights. He will correct them if needs be, cleanse and discipline them as His holy eyes discern it to be necessary. But He never suffers one of His own to slip from His mighty grasp, nor cease to be the object of His tender care. A Peter may break down. In self-confidence he may believe and protest that his affection is strong enough to preserve him in faithfulness; then in the presence of the foe he may haul down his flag and fail miserably. But “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not” was spoken before, and is followed by, “The Lord turned and looked upon Peter.” The prayer and the look alike tell of the constancy of the Saviour’s love. The result of both is Peter’s restoration, to communion with and service for the Lord whom he loved, yet under pressure had denied.
Happy are we to find ourselves among those delighted in and cared for by the Son of God in His present activities of grace! And we look forward to that moment when at His call we shall be caught up to be for ever like and for ever with Himself. The winter then will be past, the rain over and gone, our present trials and tears will all be behind for ever, and our Beloved will speak and say, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then the everlasting summer of unbroken communion with Himself and the unending song of praise as we worship before Him to His delight eternally.
“Fruit of Thy boundless love,
That gave Thyself for us;
For ever we shall with Thee prove
That Thou still lov’st us thus.”
Help and Food 1929