Yesterday morning I was thinking about what it looks for God to rejoice. Jesus taught that “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Lk. 15:10). And if the angels are before the throne of God, then who’s before the angels? God. So, who’s doing the rejoicing? God. So, what does that look like when God shows joy? I can only imagine. But that He would do so when a fallen son or daughter of Adam comes to faith is worthy of such imagination.
In one of my readings this morning I read of more rejoicing. And this time, it’s rejoicing before God.
When [the LORD] established the heavens, I was there; when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above, when He established the fountains of the deep, when He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside Him, like a master workman, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing before Him always, rejoicing in His inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.
(Proverbs 8:27-31 ESV)
Wisdom calls out (Prov. 8:1). She speaks truth (8:6-7a). She contends that her instruction is better than silver, her knowledge to be valued more than choice gold. That she herself “is better than jewels, and all that you desire cannot compare” (8:10-11). She loves those who love her, and outlandishly promises those who seek her that they will find her and, along with her, “riches and honor . . . enduring wealth and righteousness” (8:17-18).
But here’s the thing about Wisdom that grabs me every time I read this chapter. She was there for creation. She was present when the heavens where established (8:27). But not there as a mere bystander. Instead, there side by side with the LORD God, as Creator. As a “master workman” engaged in the work of creation (8:30a). The LORD’s “daily delight” (8:30b), she was there when the world was formed. There through its habitation. So if the wisdom in Proverbs is intended to point to one who personifies wisdom, then who is she pointing to? Cue again Sunday School Answers 101 . . . Jesus!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
(John 1:1-3 ESV)
Proverbs is about Jesus. Jesus as the Way of true life. As the One who calls to the children of man to follow in the ways for which they were created. As the One who says buy of Me. As the one who promises blessings, honor, and ultimate riches for those who seek Him diligently. And so, Proverbs is about behaviors that indicate when we’re walking in that way and when we’re not. If we have a problem with living out the pragmatics of Proverbs, we have a Jesus problem. But I digress . . . back to the text in Proverbs 8.
So, if Wisdom is rejoicing always before the LORD, delighting in the children of man, then, I’m thinkin’, Jesus is rejoicing. Like Father like Son.
The One who Himself is the Father’s daily delight, rejoices before Him. Rejoicing in the Creation. Delighting, as some translations put it, in the human family. So pumped about the work begun in Genesis 1 and 2, that when it comes off the rails in Genesis 3 He’s ready to do whatever is needed to redeem, reconcile, and restore it.
So, what does it look like for Jesus to express joy? Not a fist pump. Not a whooping victory shout. Not a happy dance. But more like a nail through the fist. A dying cry of “It is finished!” on the cross. A motionless, lifeless body laying in the tomb.
. . . looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame . . .
(Hebrews 12:2 ESV)
That’s what rejoicing looks like — like redemption. Wisdom the Creator so pumped about creation’s potential that He humbled Himself “by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross,” (Php. 2:8) as the Lamb of God.
Loving those who love Him. And loving them to the uttermost (Jn. 13:1).
What abounding love. What amazing grace. To Him be all the glory.