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What is the biblical basis for the idea that worship brings joy to God?

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closed as off-topic by David Oct 13 '15 at 11:35

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After several searches through various translations, I was unable to find any verse that specifically states that our worship brings God "joy". However, this doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't bring Him joy. The overwhelming weight of Scripture implies that our worship (more specifically, our proper worship) pleases Him.

Whether this indicates "joy" specifically is up for interpretation. I personally believe it does, based on many things, but at least partially because He is angered when we worship anything else. He is "a jealous God"

Exodus 20:2-5 (KJV)

2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

I may be guilty of anthropomorphism here, but the fact that worshiping other gods seems to imply that God wants (and deserves) all our worship. That tells me that our worship pleases Him.

In fact, idolatry angers God, again and again in Scripture we see this. The opposite of anger is joy, so, it seems to me that our proper worship must bring him joy. Even if that's not specifically stated, it seems strongly implied.

On the other hand, worship and sacrifice do not please Him if offered with the wrong motivation, heart, and love. He is more interested in our love, obedience, and faith than in the "things" we give. Offerings are meaningless in and of themselves.

Psalm 51: 15-19 (KJV)

15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

The same goes with phony worship.

Matthew 15:18 (KJV)

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

So I'd put forth that, proper worship, from a contrite heart, one that truly loves and is honoring God brings Him joy, while empty, meaningless worship (just going through the motions, or doing so in an attempt to please Him, rather than simply because you love Him so much that you want to worship out of an expression of the love in your heart) does not.

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As David Stratton says, it's the heart that counts. God enjoys kindness, justice and righteousness and much prefers obedience to our sacrifices.

This is probably most explicit in the first chapter of Malachi and the first half of the second chapter, for example in 1:10:

“Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands.

So it looks like the answer to your question is implied rather than directly stated. God hates half-hearted worship, so by implication enjoys whole-hearted worship.

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I would like to point you to Zephaniah 3:15-17.

14 Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!

15 The LORD has taken away His judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You will fear disaster no more.

16 In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: “Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp.

17 “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

What a beautiful piece of Scripture! He rejoices over us with singing and shouts of joy!

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Jeremiah 33:9 says:

And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. (ESV)

This does not clearly say praise brings joy, but God associates his own joy, praise, and glory together. Then in verse 11 the prophet quotes the praises that the people will give to God, praises which will bring joy, praise, and glory to God:

Jeremiah 33:11:

the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD: “‘Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’ For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the LORD. (ESV)

These scriptures show that the praise of the people are a part of what causes God joy, but all of this will happen after the people are cleansed of sin, and that is the key. People who praise God with washed and repentant hearts, those praises bring joy to God!

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