Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Our reading in Psalm 149 contains a surprising statement that sets Judaism and Christianity apart from all the other world religions. The Lord takes pleasure in his people. This doesn't seem that revolutionary, at least not to a lot of Western ears. After all, we think, why wouldn't God take pleasure in his people. God is love! And I'm a great guy, God should be glad to know me!
Let's turn some biblical light on this idea and see what happens. The Bible describes the one true God as the creator and sustainer of everything. He created it the way he wanted to, and it was good. However, in Genesis chapter 3, due to disobedience, all creation came under a curse. That explains all the bad things we can see in the world.
In God's holy perfection, no sin can stand before him. It's all worthy of condemnation. Despite that, God has loved the world.
God, by his own initiative, has redeemed people who he called his own people. It's based on what God does, not on what the people do. Every other world religion is, in some way, dependent on what we do to appease one or more gods. But in biblical religion, God is the one who has done the work of forgiveness. This is a sign that the Lord takes pleasure in his people.
Am I really the kind of person God would want to hang around with? In fact, by God's standards, I am not. I have lived at least parts of my life as if God doesn't exist, or at least as if he doesn't matter. I have trusted in myself rather than in God. I have avoided doing some good things, in fact, quite a lot of good things. There isn't much reason that the perfectly holy, righteous, and pure God would want to hang around with me.
Despite all this, God has called me, and you, if you are trusting in his person and work, to be his own child. He has adeopted us to be inheritors of his kingdom.
All this is due to no good that we possess, only acccording to God's good favor.
This is tremendous news! The Lord takes pleasure in his people. As we trust that he is who he says he is and that he has done what he says he has done - everything necessary to reconcile us to him - we are his people and he is delighted with that fact. God's Word is full of good news like this. We don't earn his favor. He has shown his favor because he wants to.
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