Surprising Delight

By Mark D. Roberts

December 14, 2018

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
the LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Psalm 147:10-11


This Sunday will be the third Sunday in the Christian season of Advent. In many traditions, the third Sunday is special, both in theme and in color. Though Advent is a serious season of waiting, the third Sunday emphasizes the joy of our expectation. This joy is often expressed through the use of pink candles and decorations. Whereas most of Advent features purple or royal blue, the striking use of pink inspires joy and delight.

A sparkler.Psalm 147 makes a strong connection between hope and delight, but one that surprises us. Verse 11 speaks of those “who put their hope in [the Lord’s] unfailing love.” This sounds very much like what we do in Advent. But the psalm does not say that we have delight because of our hope. Rather, “the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Did you catch that? The LORD delights in those who hope in him.

What does this mean for us? It means that as we engage in the hope of Advent, not only do we rejoice in the Lord, but also he delights in us. When we fear the Lord, when we trust in him, when we wait upon him, when we hope in his love, God is honored. God is pleased. And God delights in us.

So, as you approach the third Sunday of Advent, by all means, rejoice. You know where this story ends. You know that a baby will soon be born, the one who is Emmanuel, God with us. You know that God’s salvation is coming. Yet as you rejoice, may you also remember that God delights in you as you hope in him. So, hope away! And make God glad!

Something to Think About:

Can you think of times in your life, besides the season of Advent, when your hope was mixed with joy? When? What was this experience like?

Do you really believe that God delights in you? If not, what holds you back? If so, what helps you to have confidence in God’s delight?

Something to Do:

Take time to reflect on God’s delight in you. What do you envision? What do you feel? What difference might God’s delight in you make as you live and work today?


Gracious God, we do indeed put our hope in you, in your unfailing love. In this season of Advent, we are renewed in our hope as we remember how your people once waited for the messiah and as we remember our desire for you to bring the fullness of salvation to our world.

As we hope in you, Lord, we are encouraged by your delight in us. May we indeed give you joy in this season of waiting, expectation, and preparation. Amen.


Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Psalm 147

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

More on Mark

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Learn Learn Learn Learn

the Life for Leaders newsletter

Learn Learn Learn Learn