I want to draw your attention to the last two verses of Malachi. They are the final verses of the Old Testament. Placement is significant in Scriptures. First occurrences and last occurrences alike hold a particular meaning. That which is last speaks of the goal, or the end result of a matter. So it is with these words. The Old Testament concludes with that which is most upon the heart of God, Who is the Father of mankind. His heart is turned toward His sons, and He wants His sons hearts to be turned toward Him.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Yahweh. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the sons, and the hearts of the sons to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.
Malachi prophesied that Elijah the prophet would come prior to the great and terrible day of Yahweh. Elijah’s entire ministry would be focused upon restoring fathers and sons. Although there is certainly an earthly application of this verse, it also stands as a parable of the ultimate relationship between Father and sons, between Yahweh and His offspring.
For too long the hearts of Yahweh’s children have been turned away from Him. Mankind has occupied himself with many vain pursuits. Even in his religious pursuits man has seldom manifested a heart after God’s own. The Davids have been far outnumbered by the Sauls.
The Old Testament opens with God creating man with the express intent of providing God with sons in His own image and likeness. The Old Testament ends with the thought uppermost on Yahweh’s mind. He wants His sons’ hearts to be turned toward Him.
Next we find the New Testament opening with the story of Yahshua, the firstborn Son of God. He was the first son born of woman and born of God. He set the pattern for the sons who would follow, for His heart was always set upon His Father. He lived to do the Father’s pleasure. His very meat, that which sustained Him and gave Him life, was the opportunity to do His Father’s will.
“My food is to do the pleasure of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”
“Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of Me – to do Your pleasure, O God.’”
Yahshua revealed the kind of heart that endears a son to the Father. Of this firstborn Son, the Father declared:
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
This relationship of the Father’s heart turned to the Son, and the Son’s heart turned to the Father, both in perfect devotion to one another, is a pattern for that which Yahweh desires with all of His sons. He wants sons who live for one purpose alone: to do the pleasure of the Father who created them.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Consider the implications of the following words of the apostle Paul:
I Corinthians 7:32-35
But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is seemly, and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.
Forget for a moment that Paul is speaking of whether one should marry or not marry. The underlying theme of his words is “to promote what is seemly, and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” The word seemly in the Greek means “well formed, attractive.” Who is the judge of what is attractive? God is the judge. What does He esteem to be attractive in His sight? It is to have sons who have an undivided devotion to their Father in heaven.
Yahweh’s sons, even in this late hour, are not undivided in their devotion. They have many other concerns in this world. This is not His desire and will. The harvest is at hand. It is time to loose oneself from all entanglements; to be free from all that competes for our devotion to Christ.
II Timothy 2:4
No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
II Corinthians 11:2-3
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
The apostle evokes an image of the saints being espoused to Christ as a pure virgin. The church is to have eyes for no other loves or lovers. Her heart should be manifesting a singleness of devotion for the One who gave all to purchase her.
This message of Yahweh desiring sons whose hearts are totally devoted to His will and pleasure is everywhere throughout Scriptures. Yet how divided have been the hearts of God’s sons. If things remain as they are Yahweh will have to come and strike the earth with a curse. To prevent this, Yahweh will send Elijah before the great and terrible day of His judgment. Elijah will turn the hearts of God’s sons back to Him. Elijah came before the firstborn Son of God was revealed to the world, and Elijah will come again before the end when the full number of the firstborn sons of God are revealed.
The Elijah ministry will be one of casting down all idolatry in the hearts of God’s saints. Even as Elijah confronted the children of God at Mount Carmel, telling them to choose who they would be devoted unto, Yahweh or Baal, he will come again and demand that the people of God choose. It is unacceptable unto Yahweh that His sons should have divided hearts. He will not allow any son to enter into the glory of the firstborn who has a divided heart.
I Kings 18:21
And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If Yahweh is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.“
Today the Holy Spirit would declare, “If Yahweh is truly your Father, then present to Him an undivided heart. Have no other ambition than to do Yahweh’s pleasure.”
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.”
Yahweh is seeking sons with fiery hearts that yearn to do His will and bring Him pleasure. He wants sons who esteem all the allure of the world as refuse; its possessions, its pastimes, its entertainment, its idols. He wants sons who will not be sucked into the pursuit of things which will perish, but who will jealously guard against any thing that would distract them from a pure devotion to their Father.
The churches are filled today with Christians who call God “Father.” Yet these ones do not have undivided hearts of devotion toward Him. They give themselves to a life chasing after houses and lands and cars and entertainment. They spend their hours in front of the television. They go to ball games and car races and spend endless time and money shopping for things they think will bring them happiness. All the while the Father waits for them to turn their hearts toward Him.
If you would attain to the first resurrection and the glory of the firstborn sons of God, then you must have a single eye, a focus upon satisfying the heart of the Father who created you. The Spirit is present within the sons of God, crying out “Abba, Father,” yet the voice of the Spirit has been quenched and grieved as God’s children have been turned aside to other pursuits.
Yahshua is the model, the standard, and pattern for all other sons to emulate. Observe the depth of devotion to the Father in His words:
“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”
“But so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.”
“I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”
Yahshua did not come to earth to serve himself or to pander to the desires of men. He came to fully satisfy the desire of the Father. As much as Yahshua loves mankind, He does not have a man-centric viewpoint. Yahshua lives to do the will of the Father. In another place He said, “I was always beholding the Father.” In declaring this, Yahshua was letting His disciples know where He placed His focus. He was not living for man. He was not living for self. He was living for the Father.
If we would be conformed to the image of Christ then we must also adopt such a view. This is not usually how the saints are presented with the gospel. The gospel presentation today is predominantly man-centered, and in order to grow to maturity the saint must lay aside this selfish perspective and begin to seek the will of the Father above all other things.
To become God-centered in our thinking we must have our minds completely overturned. No longer can we judge all matters by what is in it for us. We must discern what Yahweh’s desire is concerning every event. This is true of salvation and the gospel of Christ as well. Salvation is almost always viewed from a man-centered perspective, but we must realize that Yahshua went to the cross out of obedience to the Father. Although Yahshua loved mankind, He loved His Father more. The Father had a desire that He longed to see fulfilled. He had a work for His Son to accomplish, and out of love for the Father, Yahshua went to the cross. Though salvation touches man deeply, it primarily exists to fulfill a desire of the Father. Yahweh wanted sons after His own image and likeness.
If we are to “put on Christ,” then we must have the same attitude that was in Christ. We must seek the pleasure of the Father above all else. As we already read in Scripture, all things were created for Yahweh’s pleasure, man included. The New Testament is filled with verses that reveal the call to bring pleasure to God as the chief duty of man. This message of the sons of God having a focus on the pleasure of their Father is everywhere, but it has been obscured by poor translation of certain Greek words.
The word for pleasure in the Greek is ‘thelema.’ The King James Version of the Bible has translated this Greek word three different ways, as ‘desire,’ ‘pleasure,’ and ‘will.’ ‘Pleasure’ is the most appropriate rendering in the majority of occurrences. Sadly, the popular English translations have most often chosen to translate this word as ‘will.’ Doing so changes the entire complexion of what is being spoken. It is one thing to say man is called to do God’s will. It is quite another to say He is created to do God’s pleasure.
Consider the following verses and how the entire complexion of the verse is changed by translating this word correctly.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Now let’s substitute the word pleasure:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy pleasure be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Is it not accurate to say that Yahweh’s pleasure is done in heaven? The Son does not simply live to do the will of the Father, but He lives to do the pleasure of the Father. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father, and He ever seeks the Father’s pleasure. We read where Christ said, “I always do those things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29). Yahshua was not merely a dutiful servant of the Father. He was a loving Son who longed to bring pleasure to His Father.
Let us look at another verse:
For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
By using the word “will” in many of these Scriptures, we often form an image of something that is done as an act of the will alone. It is easy to form a picture of some slavish subservience that is done merely as an act of obedience. But let us view this same Scripture using the word “pleasure.”
For whosoever shall do the pleasure of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
When we use the word pleasure, this verse now takes on a more emotional meaning. No longer do we picture something that is simply an act of the will, but now it is a matter of delight and privilege. When we consistently render this word “thelema” as pleasure throughout the New Testament, many Scriptures take on a new vitality. Now we are able to see the satisfaction of the Father in the word of God, and it becomes more apparent that man has been called to not merely bring a dutiful obedience to God, but to provide Him great pleasure. This is the role of sons, to bring pleasure to their Father.
I am going to list more Scriptures that contain this Greek word for pleasure. As you read them consider the desire the Father has toward you as His Son. We are to live for His pleasure, for our love for Him is to be undivided.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the pleasure of My Father in heaven.”
Yahshua said to them, “My food is to do the pleasure of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own pleasure but the pleasure of the Father who sent Me.
Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His pleasure, He hears him.
He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My pleasure.’
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect pleasure of God.
I Corinthians 1:1
Paul, called to be an apostle of Yahshua the Messiah through the pleasure of God…
Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Yahshua the Messiah to Himself, according to the delight of His pleasure…
Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the pleasure of the Lord is.
Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters…, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the pleasure of God from the heart…
I Thessaalonians 4:3
For this is the pleasure of God, your sanctification…
Now may the God of peace… make you complete in every good work to do His pleasure, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Yahshua the Messiah, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
I Peter 4:1-2
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the pleasure of God.
I John 2:17
And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the pleasure of God abides forever.
The witness of the Scriptures are clear. As sons, we are called to seek the pleasure of our Father. What are you seeking in your life. Are you living for the pursuit of your own happiness, satisfaction and pleasure?
I Timothy 5:6
She who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.
Have you become entangled in the affairs of this life? Are you spending time, energy and money on things which have no bearing on your relationship to the Father and your call to accomplish the work He has appointed unto you? If so, then now is the time to disentangle yourself. Now is the time to wrest yourself free from all that has divided you from a pure devotion to your heavenly Father.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
As the offspring of Yahshua, we have the opportunity to be like Him, a son devoted to the pleasure of the Father. What an awesome thought! Consider how men love to bring delight to some honored person, an employer or supervisor, some wealthy acquaintance, someone who is famous or admired. Men and women are often beside themselves with a sense of their accomplishment when they have brought delight to such a one. Some person may spend the rest of their life re-telling a story of how they were of service to the Queen of England, or how they once impressed some admired individual. But we have an opportunity to bring delight to the God of the Universe. We can bring joy to the heart of the One who spoke and the worlds were framed. Before us is set the possibility of satisfying the inner longing of the One who is the great I AM.
This is the magnificent opportunity set before the sons of God. We have been created for God’s pleasure!
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