Monday, November 30, 2015
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” – Psalm 37:4
For many years I understood this verse to be saying: “Be faithful to do what God wants and He will answer your prayers for the stuff you want”, but that’s not at all what this verse is saying.
One way we know that this isn’t want the verse means is by simply looking around us. There are hundreds, maybe millions, of sincere, humble, God-fearing Christians all around us who do not always get what they want. They get cancer. They get fired. They get cheated on by their spouses. Their children die suddenly. Their dreams of fame, fortune or success never come to pass. Therefore, this verse isn’t promising that God will give us whatever we want as long as we make Him happy.
This materialistic, self-centered, nihilistic reading of the passage says more about our own hearts than anything else, really. For years, this is exactly how I took this verse, so I’m the first to admit that my filters were cloudy on this one.
So, what does the verse mean? I think it speaks for itself, really.
“Delight yourself in the Lord…”
What does it mean to make the Lord your delight? Doesn’t it mean to place Him at the center of your life; to meditate on Him day and night; to take real joy in knowing Him more and more each day?
Yes, of course it does.
So, if you and I were to make God the center of our lives, and take joy in His presence every single day, wouldn’t “the desires of [our] heart” be to experience even more of Him?
Yes, I believe it would be.
So, we might paraphrase Psalm 37:4 like this: “Make the Lord the desire of your heart and He will fulfill your desire for more of Himself.”
At least, that’s how I read it now.