Isaiah 11:1-3 “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him–the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord– and he will delight in the fear of the Lord…”
I remember once sitting in a small group of about eight people. I wanted to think of an ice-breaker to get the group introduced to each other and to jump-start some conversation. I asked the group to think about things they really love or enjoy doing and talk about them for a couple of minutes. It didn’t take long for someone to start out sharing. People quickly joined in. It was a free-flowing and excited conversation that seemed to cover a large gamut from sports, to hobbies, to food, to traveling, and more.
In our society we use the word “love” when speaking of things we really enjoy. Another word that could be used and would be more appropriate by definition would be “delight.” “Delight” is defined as a high degree of or great pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture (meaning ‘getting caught up in.’) That would surely describe how the group’s conversation about those things they were excited about.
In the book of Isaiah, we read about the prophet Isaiah prophesying about the coming of Jesus and just how God’s Spirit would rest upon Him as He lived in the earth as a man. It reads, Isaiah 11:1-3 “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him–the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord– and he will delight in the fear of the Lord…”
These verses reveal some powerful truths about Jesus but one in particular I’d like to focus on today. Jesus was one that “delighted in the fear of the Lord.” That means He took great pleasure and enjoyment in “the fear of the Lord.” It means He exceedingly reverenced His Father God. Having great delight in reverencing God was not one of the “delights” that people talked about in the small group.
Have you ever had the thought that our society has been turned upside down and inside out? Does it seem that morals and values and disciplines and restraint for what is good has or is being stripped from life? What would be the cure for that? It’s simple – at least to say. The cure would be for mankind to “delight or take great pleasure and enjoyment in the reverential fear of the Lord.”
Of course we know that’s not possible because all mankind will not receive Jesus into their hearts and experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. What all mankind will one day learn is that God is not mocked. There are consequences in life for every avoidance and abandonment of God’s will and ways. Galatians 6:7-8 puts it like this: “Don’t be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death.” These words represent the “fear of the Lord” on the negative side. These words are for those that mock God’s ways and act like or teach that they aren’t true or don’t exist. These words strike fear in the hearts of many people. They don’t like them so they say they choose not to believe them or they avoid hearing them and suppress them from their thinking.
Those verses continue with a positive encouragement to those that do love God. Galatians 6:8-9 “But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.”
Isaiah revealed to us that the Messiah that would come – Jesus, would have the Spirit of God resting upon Him. He also revealed that Jesus would “delight” or take great pleasure in reverencing His Father.
You may think – “Well, that was Jesus. The Spirit of God rested upon Him, not me!” That is not true. The Spirit of God rested upon Jesus so that He could reverence God and fulfill God’s will. By fulfilling God’s will and taking our sins and punishment upon Himself, He created the way for God’s Spirit to rest upon us. God’s Word confirms this powerful truth saying:
1 Cor. 2:12 “And God has actually given us His Spirit (not the world’s spirit) so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us”. And,
2 Cor. 1:21-22 “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
The cure for society’s woes is for Christians to “delight” or take great pleasure and enjoyment in the reverential fear of the Lord. Delight or pleasure and excitement are strong physical and mental stimulants that motivate you repeated toward something. Learning to reverence God actually carries that pleasure after you’ve walked with God closely for a season. When you sincerely take the time to reverence God with and by what you see in His Word, and then in prayer, and then in your thought processes, you will change. The Holy Spirit will sift your thoughts and actions like sifting pebbles from sand. Reverencing God helps you see the pebbles in your life and purify your heart and mind. If just Christians would do this as Jesus modeled, life as we know it would greatly change. Our lives would be transformed and so would society. I pray that you “delight yourself in the fear of the Lord” today!
Pastor Tim Burt