The Quiddity of Redemption

    You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
        and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
    but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
        and your land Married;
    for the LORD delights in you,
        and your land shall be married.
    For as a young man marries a young woman,
        so shall your sons marry you,
    and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
        so shall your God rejoice over you.
(Isaiah 62:4-5 ESV)

This passage of Scripture is rocking me today.  I’ve been camping out on it for near an hour now and chewing on it’s splendor.  I’m thinking about the exuberant joy that I had on my wedding day.  I know what it is to rejoice over a bride.  (I still do 8 years later)

What made me so joyous on that day?  Was it the culmination of a 20 year search for deep and abiding love?  Yeah, that probably had something to do with it.  Perhaps it was just the sheer shock of how much I was marrying up.  The realization that I had actually tricked my beautiful bride into marrying me.  Too late to back out now, honey.  It was more so just the sheer joy of the thing itself.  The fact that I now had permission to fully and without reserve to give myself completely to her and to just flat out enjoy her. 

What then about the Lord’s “rejoicing over us”?  Is it as if He’s rejoicing in a job well done?  That finally we’ve been made righteous, our sin and unbelief has been obliterated by the cross work of Jesus. Is it a rejoicing in the work of the Son?  Those are certainly included in this rejoicing. 

But I think the rejoicing of Isaiah 62 is more than just the Lord popping his knuckles and standing in awe of a job well done.  Though that is certainly true.  I think this joy here is what C.S. Lewis referred to as quiddity.  My favorite chapter of Jared Wilson’s new book is Chapter 4 which is entitled, At Play in the Fields of the Lord. Jared reflects on quiddity and how C.S. Lewis spoke of how a friend had cultivated it in him:

“…a serious, yet gleeful, determination to rub one’s nose in the very quiddity of each thing, to rejoice in its being (so magnificently) what it was.”  John Piper echoes this sentiment of quiddity, commenting on this kind of awareness: ‘To wake up in the morning and be aware of the firmness of the mattress, the warmth of the sun’s rays, the sound of the clock ticking, the sheer being of things…’  (Gospel Deeps, 90)

Wilson goes on to show how the gospel alone “frees us to enjoy things as they truly now are and as they someday will be”.  That is what is so shocking to me about Isaiah 62:5.  If anyone is able to enjoy the quiddity of a thing it’s the Lord Himself—the very author of Lewis and his quiddity.  This phrase “so shall your God rejoice over you” is simply an enjoyment of the thing itself.  He’s delighting in Himself as he delights Himself in us.

It’s worthy of great delight and worship to think of the Lord rejoicing over His workmanship in my redemption.  It’s quite another to think that He is rejoicing in heaven over the very thing itself.  Yet this is what Christ has secured through His mighty cross work.  We have become “a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD”. 

It’s one thing to say that the Lord forgives me.  That’s enough to dance for eternity.  To know of His protection, His healing, His provision, and His rescue is cause for continual praise.  To be reconciled to Him and also to others is a deep well of delight.  To be transformed so that I’m holy, so that I can enjoy what I ought to enjoy, and to be found in Him without a righteousness of my own, these are part of the pleasures evermore.  But for the Lord to say, “I delight in you”.  That causes my jaw to drop to the floor. 

It’s one thing to be forgiven quite another to be delighted in.  Yet this is how deep the Lord’s redemption flows. 

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