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GOD’S WORD FOR MAY 19 ~ ~ Psalm 8:1 ~ ~ “O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!”

Continuing in John Piper’s book, “The Pleasures of God”~ ~

Yesterday we ended with the statement that God delights in Himself

At first this sounds like vanity. It WOULD be vanity if we humans found OUR deepest joy in looking in the mirror. We WOULD be vain and conceited and smug if we were like God in this regard.

But why? Aren’t we supposed to imitate God (Matthew 5:48, Ephesians 5:1)

Yes in some ways, but not in every way. (Not in ways that are beyond us)

This was the first deceit of satan in the Garden of Eden. He tempted Adam and Eve to try to be like God in a way that God never intended them to be like Him. Namely, SELF-RELIANCE.

We are to be GOD-RELIANT.

In the same way, we were created for the contemplation and enjoyment of God. Anything less than this would be idolatry toward Him and disappointment for us. God is most glorious of all beings. Not to love Him and delight in Him is a great loss to us and insults Him.

But the same is true for God! How shall God not insult what is infinitely beautiful and glorious? How shall God not commit idolatry? There is only one possible answer: God must love and delight in His own beauty and perfection above all things.

For us to do this in front of the mirror is the essence of vanity; for God to do it in front of His Son is the essence of righteousness!

The essence of righteousness is to place supreme value on what is supremely valuable, and isn’t the opposite of righteousness to set our highest affections on things of little or no worth?

Thus, the righteousness of God is the infinite zeal and joy and pleasure that He has in what is supremely valuable, namely His own perfection and worth. If He were ever to act contrary to this eternal passion, He would be unrighteous. He would be an idolater!!!

This is not irrelevant speculation. It is the foundation of all Christian hope (faith in our future eternity) In this God-centered, divine righteousness lies the greatest obstacle to our salvation. For how shall such a righteous God ever set His affection on sinners like us, who have scorned His perfections?

This sounds like a contradiction, but we’ll see tomorrow.

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