Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, October 31, 2020

Shabbat Shalom,

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Sat 31-Oct-2020 13th of Cheshvan, 5781 Parashat Lech-Lecha 

Ge 17:7-27Isa 40:27-41:16        Ro 4:1-12

Think and Please God by David Harwood

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:15 TLV) 

Our thoughts about ourselves can give the Lord pleasure. We can honor Him in everything, including our view of ourselves and our circumstances. Let’s try to set a firm biblical foundation as we proceed in these meditations. 

To refresh our memories, here is my paraphrase of Psalm 19:15a:

Let the words of my mouth and my heart’s deepest thoughts give Your presence pleasure. (my paraphrase of Psalm 19:15a)

Today I want to reinforce a simple, taken for granted, truth: It is possible to please, or displease, our Creator. Our Scriptures teach that both our actions and the subjects of our meditation can give God pleasure. This is a biblical reality we are called to embrace.

Additionally this is really true: We can learn to please God. It is not an impossible task. In fact, Paul taught that it is possible to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:10 TLV) 

This includes our thought lives. Obviously we can make progress in this. In addition, Paul wrote:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any virtue and if there is anything worthy of praise—dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8 TLV) 

Those types of meditations please ADONAI. 

I can’t believe there is anyone reading this who does not want to grow in their relationship with God. Part of developing this relationship is seeking to give Him pleasure. We are to aspire to be pleasing to God. Remember, this deals with both what we do and what we think. We read of this here:

So whether at home or absent, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:9 TLV) 

Praise God! We can learn to please the Lord in the way we live and think. Our innermost thought lives can be guided by our desire to delight God.

In contrast to this, we can displease God. The first reference to humanity’s thoughts and motives being displeasing to the Lord is in Genesis 6.

Then Adonai saw that the wickedness of humankind was great on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their heart was only evil all the time.. (Genesis 6:5 TLV) 

What was God’s response?

So Adonai regretted that He made humankind on the earth, and His heart was deeply pained. (Genesis 6:6 TLV) 

Humanity’s wicked acts began in their evil intents. 

Our Messiah encouraged us to look beneath the surface to the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Allow me to offer four examples from our Rabbi’s instruction. Here they are given in alphabetical order from the letter, “A”:  adultery, anger, anxiety and avarice. Most likely you are familiar with the following verses but please take an extra few seconds to read and consider them.


But I tell you that everyone who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28 TLV) 


You have heard it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be subject to judgment… (Matthew 5:21–22a TLV) 


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. (Matthew 6:34a TLV) 


No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24 TLV) 

It is easy to agree that Yeshua put an emphasis upon our inner lives. He warned us about and prohibited certain thought patterns. 

There may be justified, righteous, beloved, delightful children of God who still meditate on things that are not pleasing in His sight. Am I exaggerating when I say that those who indulge adulterous thoughts, or nurse anger, or give place to anxiety or avarice are not pleasing God in these meditations?

Before I continue let me refer you to 1 John 1:9-10.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:9–10 TLV) 


To continue, the Psalm we’ve been using as a pattern prayer is a plea to give God pleasure in our thought lives. No matter how whole we may be I am convinced that we can all please God more than we do. Even in the weakness of my desire I can testify that I want to please Him more. I’m sure that I’m not alone. This is normative for those who love the Lord.

Pray with King David.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:15 TLV) 

Is this longing a trap? It could be if we are not grounded in the realities of the Gospel. However, trying to learn to please God does not produce bondage if we start off with the foundation of already being pleasing to Him. We must be steadfastly convinced of the relational benefits derived from the Messiah’s sacrifice. Let’s call these benefits “foundational favor.” If we are trying to act so as to warrant foundational favor we have not yet believed the good news as we ought.

Some mistakenly say that it is impossible to please God any more than He is already pleased with His children. They may be mistaking foundational favor with the development of their relationship with God. After all, John wrote that there is a phenomena described as “grace on top of grace.” (John 1:16b TLV) It is possible to have already received heaven’s favor and then act in such a way as to provoke further manifestations of favor. It is possible to be foundationaly pleasing to God and act in a way that is pleasing in His sight.

Even Yeshua grew in grace. It is written that He grew in favor with God. 

And Yeshua kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52 TLV) 

He always did the things which pleased the Father. 

“The One who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to Him. (John 8:29 TLV) 

Didn’t the Messiah already please God? Of course He was pleasing to His Father. Yet, Yeshua actually did that which was pleasing to God. In like manner, Paul wrote those who were already pleasing to God that they could become discipled in that which pleases God more and more. It is possible to further please the One we already please. 

This is a high ambition.

So whether at home or absent, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:9 TLV) 

Pray: Lord disciple us to think and speak about ourselves in a way that increasingly pleases You.

I think my paraphrase of David’s psalm is appropriate here.

Let the words of my mouth and my heart’s deepest thoughts give Your presence pleasure. (my paraphrase of Psalm 19:15a)

Let’s please God.