The Pleasure of The Lord

May 5, 2024

If you love someone, you’ll want to know what pleases them. It’s an appropriate thing to ask couples to see if they really know the other person. In what do they take pleasure?

Peter gives that advice to men concerning their wives:

1 Peter 3:7 (ESV) — 7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Twenty-five years ago, my wife and I took a popular test to uncover such things as we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. It was quite revealing as the author of the test prefaced the test with the advice that most people in a marriage think the pleasure of their mate is that which they take pleasure in. Rarely is that true! But that is how most people approach pleasing the other and that is why the mark is missed. Oh, how important it is to learn what the pleasure points are of the people for which we care!

And it’s the same for God. What pleases God or, as the title indicates, what is the pleasure of the Lord? There are three people listed in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11 that you could say pleased God, and we can learn about the pleasure of the Lord in all three.

Hebrews 11:4 (ESV) — 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

The first person mentioned is Abel, who brought pleasure to God as He worshipped God by faith. His brother Cain brought his best, but it was not offered by faith. God is picky about worship. He gives guidelines for worship in His word and anything other than what He has outlined is unacceptable worship.

Exodus 20:4–6 (ESV) — 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

As you can see, God is not pleased with unacceptable worship, so when you see how Abel is mentioned that even though his brother killed him, yet his life still speaks that he pleased God in worshiping according to the will of God.

Secondly is the man of whom the Scriptures teach pleased God, Enoch.

Hebrews 11:5 (ESV) — 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.

Enoch was known for his walk with God and as one old preacher said, “Enoch walked with God and walked right into heaven.” And so it was. Notice how Hebrews quickly builds on the idea of pleasing God with instruction.

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) — 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

As you consider that verse, it’s important to see the positive in the negative that without faith it’s impossible to please God, SO with faith it IS possible to please God. That faith is demonstrated in believing God exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Therefore, living a life of dependency upon God pleases Him as you seek Him in everything. No doubt that is what Jesus had in mind in His statement in John 15 that demonstrates the impossibility of doing anything good on our own, we must be dependent upon Him.

John 15:1–5 (ESV) — 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

The third person is Noah who worked as God gave him the job of building the ark. It wasn’t just work as in filling time, it was work by faith in doing exactly what God told him to do, and the exact way that God told him. Noah was motivated by believing God about an upcoming flood.

Hebrews 11:7 (ESV) — 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Abel worshipped, Enoch walked, and Noah worked – all by faith and all pleased God. Sounds like an important lesson in taking note of what pleases God. Because if you love God, you’ll want to please Him and if you want to please Him, you’ll want to know what pleases Him. Interesting that it’s all by faith and that is a gift of God that God places within us. No wonder then we are told to work out what God has worked in us.

Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV) — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Philippians 2:12–13 (ESV) — 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

One final thought about God’s pleasure and that is to consider how Jesus brought pleasure to the Father in carrying out the Father’s will in redeeming His people.

Isaiah 53:10 (KJV) — 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

Therein is the basis of seeking to please God. Follow Him by honoring the Son of God who has redeemed us and gives us faith by which we worship, walk, and work to the glory of God and His pleasure.


Bob Brubaker, Pastor