Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.Psalm 37:4
Psalm 37 is written by King David in his older years. He has been through a lot. In David’s life journey, he went from unseen shepherd boy to giant-slayer to man-on-the-run to King of Israel, appointed by God himself. We are blessed today because under inspiration of the Holy Spirit David recorded many of his thoughts and experiences related to God throughout his journey.
We can imagine a Grandpa saying, “Sonny, come here. I have a few things to teach you about life. I have been doing this life thing for a while. I have made some mistakes but learned a lot and I want you to benefit from my wisdom”. This Psalm and others like it have been used by the Jewish people to teach the faith and encourage the people since Bible times.
Psalm 37 joins a group of other Psalms classified as Wisdom Psalms Didactic (teaching) Psalms. In Hebrew, they are called the hokmah. They often sound like the Proverbs as they use the same language. Their primary purpose is to teach foundational life lessons to the hearer.
David here wants to teach us how to live a holy life, pleasing to God and fruitful in light of living in a world of wickedness and dealing with the assaults of evil.
So what is David teaching us in this Psalm?
To Delight in the Lord
Delight here means to take great pleasure in. It is written as a command. The Hebrew root includes the meaning of “pamper or refresh oneself; “ (Brannan, R. (Ed.). (2020). Lexham Research Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.)
We hear a lot in our culture about how we as women are to pamper and refresh ourselves. The Lord showed me long ago that one of the most refreshing, pampering ways I can spend my time is in sitting with him in prayer or Bible study. I need more of those times in my life!
My Question for reflection- you can make it yours too- do we take as great pleasure in spending time with God, getting to know him, listening to him as we do:
- A luxurious, unrushed hot shower
- A scrumptious, gourmet, well-prepared meal
- A drink of cool water on a hot day
- Spending time in nature
- Going to a spa to get a manicure or pedicure
I had to seriously ask myself these questions. I came up with the answer. No, I don’t. Not enough. Yes, sometimes I have that experience when I get up extra early and spend what seems like a lot of time just listening to God, researching rabbit trails, taking my time, not feeling rushed. But I realized it was not nearly enough. God was calling me to focus more on this idea of delighting in him.
How can I delight in an unseen God as much as I delight in these things that bombard my senses with such good experiences? How can I delight in a God who is Spirit while I am sitting here in a very physical house on a very physical planet? I had to go in search of this answer.
Using my tried and true foundational triad for my life as a Christian- Prayer, Bible Study and fellowship, I searched and researched.
I learned something very profound.
In my delight, I am to desire GOD with all my heart. And when I desire God with al my heart, take great pleasure in him, find my refreshment in him, God will answer my desire and give me more of himself. He will increase my delight in him the more I want of him! He will give me more of HIM the more I want of him.
Once my focus of delight is on the Lord, all my other desires will flow from my fellowship with my Lord and Savior. I will only want that which he wants. God will give me all the desires of my heart, first and foremost his very presence, when I focus my delight in him.
Once I realized this answer, that my greatest delight should be in God himself, the next question I had was, “Is this even possible?”
No. It is impossible to delight in and desire God as much as I long for luxurious, pampering physical experiences. But what is impossible with man is possible with God. God will complete this work he began in us. We will grow from glory to glory (“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB).)
How will this happen? Through prayer and petition, God gives us to “will and to do for his good pleasure.”
- We must often remind ourselves of God’s presence in our lives. Be like David, excited and confident that the Lord’s presence is with us.
- Take time to delight in God. Spend unrushed time with him. When you delight is someone, find pleasure in them, it’s hard to leave their presence. Be intentional in taking time to meditate on and sit with this amazing concept that the Creator of all things, the Holy One, delights in your presence.
- Seek him and call on him because that is what he desires of you.
- Remember what God has done- for you, for his people throughout history, for those you know
- Remember who God is- creator, protector, provider, judge
- Give him praise and thanks
- Testify of his goodness
So before we ask God to give us the desires of our hearts as it concerns our writing, let’s ask him to help us desire HIM more than anything. Once we do that, the prayers we have, our desires regarding our writing, will be pleasing to God and he will be pleased to answer them.
When we make God first, we avoid the idols of happiness.
“Whatsoever we make necessary for our contentment, we make lord of our happiness.”Alexander Maclaren, expository preacher, 1826-1910
God, help us to delight in you more than anything else. Help us to spend time intentionally delighting in you even as we attend the Writer’s Retreat this weekend. Show us what it means to truly delight in you. Give us the will to want to delight in you. Align our desires with yours as we seek to serve you and live out the calling on our lives you have revealed to us. Amen.