Have you been hurt by people who were supposed to love you? A father or mother? A sibling? A husband? One you thought was a very close and trusted friend? When we’ve been hurt by someone who should love us, it’s hard to hear others say, “I love you.”
David must have understood. He was betrayed by friends. King Saul went from loving him to hunting him down for years. His first wife scorned him. I wonder if David didn’t like the word “loved” either. He used a different word; he said God delights in us.
God delights in David
David accomplished good in his life: defeating the giant Goliath, keeping his promise to Jonathan by bringing Mephibosheth to live in the palace, defeating the Philistines many times and numerous other enemy nations.
But he also had weaknesses. He battled depression. (1 Samuel 27) When Nabal refused to give David and his men some food, David’s knee-jerk response was to go kill him, and he would have except Nabal’s wife intervened. (1 Samuel 25) He took a census, bringing severe consequences. (2 Samuel 24) He ignored the sibling incest between Ammon and Tamar. (2 Samuel 13) His affair with Bathsheba and the coverup murder of her husband are legendary. (2 Samuel 11).
Yet God delighted in him. Paul quoted Samuel when he said: But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:22 (NLT2)
He certainly didn’t fully obey God. Yet, in spite of all those weaknesses and failures, God delighted in him.
God delights in us
In his later years, David penned these words: He reached down from high above and took hold of me. He pulled me out of the raging water. 17 He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, because they were too strong for me. 18 On the day when I faced disaster, they confronted me, but the LORD came to my defense. 19 He brought me out to a wide-open place. He rescued me because he was pleased with me. Psalm 18:16-19 (GW)
Being hurt, abused or betrayed by someone who should love us throws us into an emotional tailspin, causing great internal distress. But God reaches down from heaven, that high, exalted, superior place. He’s not so busy up there with important stuff that He can’t reach down and take care of you and me.
Moses’ life is changed
The phrase “took hold of” in Psalm 18:16 is also used in Exodus 2:5 when Pharaoh’s daughter’s maids took Moses out of the Nile river. What a powerful difference that rescue made for Moses.
Imagine what Moses’ life would have been like if circumstances had been different. That river was intended for his death. What if there had not been an edict that babies be thrown in the Nile? Moses then would most likely have been just another slave in Egypt when he grew up.
What if something different had happened in the Nile? Were there crocodiles and hippopotami there? I don’t know if that was the case in Egypt then, but little Moses may not have survived being hidden in the river.
In spite of what circumstances seemed at the moment, God transformed what was to be his death into the most amazing opportunity. Consider how his life was changed because he grew up in the palace. The best education of the day. Superior military and leadership training. All the privileges of a royal lifestyle lavished on him. Definitely not killed and most certainly not a slave. Rather than a slave, Moses was highly regarded in Egypt and would later be selected by God to lead Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness.
God takes hold of me
Just as Pharaoh’s daughter’s maids rescued Moses from the river, God by Jesus’ death rescues us from eternal death and our losses and improves our opportunities. Where Satan sets up circumstances that look like we’re doomed and points out all our failures and weaknesses, God has the last word.
Just as life looked for Israelite babies then, Satan says our present is as bleak as our past, and the future is no better. But God redeems our past and present. He restores the future plan He always had for us. Our future looks much different than the one Satan thinks he can force upon us. He tries to destroy but God reveals a good plan then makes it happen.
Our lives can be different
Enemies such as fear, rejection, worthlessness, condemnation or our weaknesses strive to keep us in bondage. These enemies are too strong for us but they are no match for God. He delivers us because His power is far greater than that of our enemies. They confront us with hostility, get in our face and start nagging and tormenting with accusing lies. David describes a day like that as one where we especially need to yell, “HELP!”
When we cry “HELP!” the LORD supports us, keeping us firmly in the right place, protecting us and sustaining us in our emotions and thinking so we don’t stumble and fall flat. (Jude 24-25).
God carries us when it’s hard
and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” Deuteronomy 1:31 (NIV)
In the desert, the dry and barren times, God carries us. He encourages us, reminds us who He thinks we really are, points us again to the future He has for us. He rescues us from times when Satan tries to drown us in wounds and hurts with lies (as though we were in the Nile river). God brings us to a large place, an open place free from oppression. It is a blessed place. Truly, we are blessed with spiritual blessings in heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:3) His blessings come on us and even overtake us as we fully commit to remaining in covenant relationship with Him. (Deuteronomy 28:2)
Even in our weakness and failure
Even in our weakness and failure, God delights in us. That’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? Nearly everyone we know loves us with strings attached. Our performance must be up to their standards or love can be withdrawn.
Why does God choose to delight in us? How can He possibly delight in us after all our failures?
Paul describes it this way: “But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” Romans 5:8 (The Message)
God rescues us from weakness, failure, emotional disasters and train wrecks because He delights in us. Simply because He delights in us. He is extremely satisfied with us, not because of who we are or what we do, but because of what Jesus has accomplished for us by forgiving us where we fail and healing our broken hearts.
Only because of Jesus.
How about you? Can you envision God taking great delight in you, too? I’ve wrestled with this passage from Psalm 18. When I say this statue in the picture, I could see myself as one of the children Jesus is engaged with. I can picture now how Abba Daddy responds to me. That changes the way I look at who I am right this moment and how I will face my day. I hope it changes how you perceive yourself, too.
Carol Boggess, author and speaker
Rivers – A Journey of Restoration From Broken to Breakthrough and God Sees Broken Hearts