Wholeness | God Commands Emotions

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Sun, 02/18/2024 - 10:00am

Wholeness Series | God Commands Emotions | Pastor Zach Prosser


Regarding Our Emotions


The Bible is full of verses about our emotions. Here are some from Psalms:

  • Psalm 31:23: Love the Lord, all you his saints!
  • Psalm 33:8: Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! 
  • Psalm 64:10: Let all the upright in heart exult!
  • Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord.
  • Psalm 97:12: Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous.
  • Psalm 32:11: Be glad in the Lord. 
  • Psalm 42:5: Hope in God. 
  • Psalm 33:2: Give thanks to the Lord.


These verses are not testimonies about God. Psalms contains testimonies:

  • Psalm 116:1: I love the Lord
  • Psalm 73:25: There is nothing on earth that I desire besides you
  • Psalm 119:103: How sweet are your words to my taste!


These verses about our emotions are not promises, and there are plenty of promises in Psalms:

  • Psalm 107:9: He satisfies the longing soul
  • Psalm 69:32: The humble will be glad
  • Psalm 58:10: The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance


None of these are prayers, and there are prayers in Psalms:

  • Psalm 51:8: Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice
  • Psalm 86:4: Gladden the soul of your servant
  • Psalm 90:14: Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days

These are not testimonies, promises, or prayers. These are commands. Commands directed toward emotions—specifically emotions of delight in God.

Why the Commands?

Why were the Psalms filled with so many commands directed toward our emotions? Psalms continually commands us to be glad in the Lord, rejoice in the Lord, and delight in the Lord.

The Blessing of Emotions Delighting in God

Psalm 1:1-4, ESV

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;   2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

God’s answer to the question of “Why does he command our emotions to delight in Him?” is that first, it saves us from perishing.

The righteous set their tongue to the sweetness of the word of God and discover that it is more precious than gold and sweeter than honey.

The righteous eat of His words and are nourished. 

Psalm 119:103: How sweet are your words to my taste! Sweeter than honey to my mouth.

The righteous find their delight in the Lord and live by every bread of life that proceeds from His mouth.

Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the Lord…

John 6:35: Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

The wicked are not so but are like chaff that the wind drives away. The wicked do not delight in God and will perish, just like the wind blowing the chaff from the wheat away.

1 Corinthians 16:22, ESV

If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed.

Revelation 3:16, ESV

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

We are commanded repeatedly to have emotions that delight in God so that we may be Aligned with God, Alive in His River of Love, and have His Abundance flowing in our lives.

So the answer to the question of “Why” gives us another question: What would cause us to perish for not delighting in God?

God is supremely valuable and desirable. 

Psalm 19:10, ESV

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Psalm 36:7, ESV

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 34:8, ESV

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Revelation 5:12, ESV

Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

Revelation 1:8, ESV

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Hebrews 1:3, ESV

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high

Proverbs 30:4, ESV

Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!

Isaiah 41:4, ESV

Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, the first and with the last; I am he.

1 Timothy 1:17, ESV

Now to the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Experienced Value

The second part of the answer to the question of what would cause us to perish for not delighting in God is that when we trust God and by faith discover that He is supremely precious and valuable and beautiful and satisfying, his intrinsic nature becomes experienced preciousness. 

His eternal, unchanging, ocean of glory, and excellence, and goodness, and supremeness, and value, and worth, and preciousness become our experience. 

Psalm 34:8: Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.

1 Peter 2:2-3, ESV

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Hebrews 6:5, ESV

And have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come

Song of Solomon 2:3, ESV

As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

Isaiah 55:1

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!

Eternity is on the Line

What’s at stake in human emotion? The glory of God. If you don’t delight in God, you dishonor God. That’s why we perish if we don’t cherish him above all. That’s why God commands us over and over to delight in God, and be glad in God, and rejoice in God.

Psalm 73:25-26, ESV

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Our Joy-Filled Emotions

Matthew 13:44, ESV

 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The parable doesn’t teach us that we indicate the preciousness of the treasure by selling all we have to get it. This parable is way more radical than that. It says we indicate the preciousness of the treasure by JOYFULLY selling all we have to get it.

Burdensome sacrifices out of duty to God make God look bad. The radical Christians in the Bible make God look glorious:


Hebrews 10:34, ESV

For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.

JOYFULLY accepted

What did they sing while facing trials and troubles in this life:

Psalm 73:25-26, ESV
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

It is no more option for us to pursue joy in God than it is for God to pursue His glory in us. Both are essential. God pursues the magnification of his glory by satisfying our lives with Himself. This is why we are commanded to delight in God. He lavishly pours out His glory to satisfy our longing souls. 

The battles of our lives, the battles in our emotions – it is a battle for our joy. Our lives depend on our joy in God. The Bible shows us over and over not how smooth sailing life will be, but how through every obstacle, joy is our strength!

Psalm 30:5

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may last for the night, but JOY comes with the morning.

Psalm 4:7

You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.

John 15:11

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

1 Peter 1:8-9

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 Chronicles 16:27

Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his place.

Psalm 5:11

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Romans 14:17 

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 32:11

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Isaiah 12:3

With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation!

Job 8:21

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

Psalm 126:2

We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy

Psalm 51:12

Restore to me the joy of your salvation

Psalm 96:12

Let the field and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy.

Proverbs 15:13

A glad heart makes a happy face.

Luke 1:14

You will have great joy and gladness

Luke 2:10

I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people

1 Peter 4:13

Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering

Nehemiah 8:10

The joy of the Lord is your strength

Isaiah 55:12

For you will go out with joy

Habakkuk 3:18

I will take joy in the God of my salvation

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy

Psalm 30:11

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy

Psalm 98:4

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous songs and sing praises

Psalm 65:12-13

The pastures of the wilderness overflow, and the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy

Psalm 2:4

He who sits in the heavens laughs