“The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.”Psalm 147:11
In the preceding verse the psalmist writes that the Lord takes no delight and finds no pleasure in physical might. What pleases Him are people who know Him and therefore stand in awe of Him. People who have not entered into a personal relationship with the Lord cannot stand in awe of Him because they do not know Him. We stand in awe of a sunset because we see it. We stand in awe of God because we know Him and see His handiwork in everything.
It is encouraging to know that we do bring pleasure to the Lord. Satan would have us believe otherwise. That is why he attempts to discourage us and rob us of the experience of the joy of the Lord. John states that the main purpose of his second letter is that our “joy may be full” (1 John 1:4).
The psalmist then adds that those who bring pleasure to the Lord are those who have received His mercy. Mercy is God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. We deserved judgment but in His loving kindness He receives those who humble themselves and seek Him. Notice that He does not say that the Lord finds pleasure in the righteous. None are righteous (Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Romans 3:23).
The prophet Micah records, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). In another Psalm we read, “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:8-9). Who would not stand in awe of the Lord when they begin to know these qualities of Him? “Let not mercy and truth forsake you” (Proverbs 3:3).
In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14) we observe that the one who appealed to his own righteousness did not please the Lord but the one who humbled himself, acknowledged his sinfulness and sought mercy, he pleased the Lord and received forgiveness. Such a person stands in awe of God because they have seen and experienced God’s forgiveness of a sinner. Not surprisingly, this and many other Psalms conclude with “Praise the Lord.”