ODJ: pleasing God

December 30, 2015 

READ: Hebrews 11:1-6 

It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him (v.6).

I was thinking about some friends who are facing trials. Jake is about to lose his job because he won’t compromise his convictions. Sheryl has been unemployed and soon her government assistance will run out. Sam had surgery to fuse together two vertebrae in his spine, but now he’s feeling numbness on his right side.

I wondered what I could say to them that wouldn’t sound like pious platitudes. Then I read Enoch’s story in Hebrews 11:5-6. One of only two people who never died, Enoch was taken straight to heaven because he “pleased God.” That’s it, I thought. We can’t control our circumstances, our health, or the actions of those around us, but we all can strive to please God. Like Daniel’s three friends in the fiery furnace, we believe that “the God whom we serve is able to save us. . . . But even if he doesn’t, . . . we will never serve your gods” (Daniel 3:17-18). No matter how this turns out, we will please the Lord.

But how do we please God? I posed that question to a friend who teaches Old Testament. He revealed that the Hebrew term for “the godly ones” (hasid) comes from the same stem as the term for “grace” (hesed). Simply put, the “godly ones” are those who turn to God and plead for grace. The “faithful ones” are those “who are close to him” (Psalm 148:14). The “godly” run to the Lord for protection and pray to Him in their time of need (Psalm 4:3, 32:6-7). We please God most when we fall on our face and confess that we depend entirely upon Him.

We don’t know whether Enoch attempted fantastic feats of spiritual strength. We only know that he pleased God. And so will we if we “believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

—Mike Wittmer

365-day-plan: Revelation 21:1-27

Pray Psalm 86:1-17 as a means of professing your dependence on God. 
Who or what are you relying on? How will you please God today?