“Man’s chief end (purpose) is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” That is the famous answer to the question posed by the catechism, “What is the chief end of man?” Here’s a question for you today: what does it mean to “enjoy” God?
“Delight yourself in the Lord,” is the way King David put it in Psalm 37:4. It means to be delighted in God. That requires a re-thinking of our relationship to him. David is telling us that praise flows out of a sense of pleasure in who God is and pleasure in knowing him.
C.S. Lewis illustrated this in Reflections on the Psalms. “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling each other how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete until it is expressed. It is frustrating to discover a new author and not be able to tell anybody how good he is; to come suddenly to a turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and there have to keep silent because the people with you care no more for it than for a tin can in a ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with.”
He points out that people praise spontaneously what they value, and urge other people to join them in praising it. “The worthier the object, the more intense the delight would be.”
Both the psalmist and the professor are pointing us to an underlying truth, that to enjoy God, and thus to praise him, we must know him. The better we know him as he really is, the more our pleasure in him will grow.
Our delight in God can grow as we learn to enjoy his gifts as coming from him: a good meal, a golden sunrise, the pleasure of physical exercise, marital love, meaningful work, the laughter of friends, joining God in acts of creation through the arts, and of course the communion of prayer and worship.
Our delight in God grows as we appreciate more and more the riches of his grace in Jesus Christ.