Summary: God is a parent who smiles at us a lot. What can we do to help God smile on us?
What Makes God Smile?
Purpose Driven #9
October 11, 2003
As a parent, I’ve smiled many times as I’ve watched my children. Sometimes, I’ve smiled as they’ve done something very pleasing to me, or have given me a gift that they have either picked out or created. I’ve smiled when I’ve watched them accomplish something in their skating, school, choir, church, job, or other areas of life. I’ve smiled, sometimes, just watching them sleep when all the activity of a day is behind us and the calm of the night has arrived. Some of these smiles came not because they sought them, but because of my reaction to something they did or were at a particular moment-in-time. But some came because of what they did.
God is a parent, and is the one after whose parent model we are to fashion ourselves. As we smile about our children, for various reasons, so God smiles over us and we can learn what can bring more smiles to God’s face.
There’s an ancient example that helps us in this and points us toward five activities that will cause God’s pleasure to beam forth toward us. This is not in order for us to get something more from God than what he is already giving, but is simply for us to be doing, in response to God’s grace, so that know we’re doing more that pleases him.
There was a time when only one man, of all that lived on earth, pleased God. That man was Noah. We find the beginning of the story of Noah in Genesis 6, and the background to his story.
Gen. 6.3, 8- see the difference. One group- most- gave God upset and sadness. However, Noah brought pleasure to God. This is where we want to be, as individuals who bring pleasure to God. As we do this, do you know what will be happening? We’ll be living more in line with God’s desires and, through that living, as I’ve been emphasizing, we will be living in worship toward God. Remember that key in Romans 12.1 that tells us to present our lives to God as sacrifices he can accept; in this sacrificial living, we worship God.
Back to Noah, then. God received pleasure from him and decided that he would start over with only his family. I’m glad he did- otherwise, we wouldn’t be here today. I enjoy living and, I believe, you do, too. We’re alive because Noah pleased God. (This is important for each of us to understand. Our life can make a great difference to others. Because you live and please God, there WILL be others who live- in your family or outside your family. There will be others who, in our case, enter life through Jesus who will thank you for your pleasing God.)
Noah pursued five actions that caused God to find pleasure in him, and which give an example to us.
1. Noah loved God above all else. Gen.6.9 tells us that he attempted to follow God’s will. This is what God wants most from us. As we do this, we have a closer and closer relationship with God and God wants a relationship with you. God created you so he could love you and he wants you to love him back. See what’s important to God-
Hos.6.6- he doesn’t want sacrifices as much as love and relationship. God loves you and wants your love in return. He wants you to know him and to spend time with him. The greatest objective of your life needs to be to love God and to be loved by him. Nothing else comes close in importance. Doing this is what Jesus’ greatest commandment is all about- loving God with all that we are.
2. Noah trusted God above all else. Heb.11.7 tells us about this trust. What must that have been like for Noah? I grew up on the prairies. At least, here in Ontario, you can envision big ships because you see them, sometimes, on the St. Lawrence River. But I didn’t see them on the prairies. There were little lakes, but nothing big enough for the size of vessel God instructed Noah to build. God told him that he was going to flood the world and start all over with Noah’s family. This could cause some wonder and doubt in Noah, but it did not, apparently. But think about the obstacles:
- Noah had never seen rain because God irrigated the earth from the ground up, to this point.
- Noah lived hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean.
- Noah was to care for all the animals, but how was he going to round them all up.
He trusted God completely and all these problems or potential doubts melted away. Trusting God completely means having faith that he knows what is best for your life. Sometimes, you might wonder. You might want a particular job, but God is pushing you in a different direction. You might think you want to marry a particular person, but God has someone else in mind. Trusting God is no small matter. But trusting God completely means expecting him to keep his promises, expecting him to help with your problems, and expecting him to do the impossible, when it is necessary.