Ps 147:10-11 reminds us that God’s pleasure ‘is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.’ This helps us to see what we have to do to please the Lord (Eph 5:17).
God is not interested in outward appearances, but looks at the heart. (1 Sam 16:7) He is seeking whole-hearted obedience, faithfulness and trust (see Ps 51:6), people who will fear Him and put their hope in His unfailing love, even perhaps when they do not feel loved or have a particular sense of His presence. Even God’s discipline reflects His delight, for He disciplines those He loves as a father disciplines the son he delights in. (Prov 3:12) He delights in people whose ways are blameless (Prov 11:20) and who are trustworthy (Prov 12:22).
It’s difficult for us to grasp the idea that God can actually delight in us. We can bring Him pleasure. We can make Him proud of us in the same way that a parent feels proud of their child’s latest achievements. What pleases God is perhaps much less complicated than we imagine at times. He simply asks us to walk in reverent fear of Him and to walk by faith and not by sight. When we do this, developing an ‘even if’ faith which is not shaken by circumstances, we please God.