TITLE: Delight Yourself in the Lord, February 21, 2019
By Jenny Miller
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<p>I hear people quote Psalm 37:4 all the time. "Delight yourself in the Lord," they say, "and He will give you the desires of your heart." I used to breeze past that verse as though it were merely another nice promise in the "name-it-and-claim-it" lifestyle.
<p>Recently, I questioned the way it has been presented. I know many people who have delighted themselves in the Lord, yet died not being healed or receiving their answer to prayer. This led me to go back to the Word and read the verse again. I was surprised at what I learned upon doing so.
<p>First, many who have quoted Psalm 37:4 (including me) were leaving out a tiny, yet massively important word in the verse, "also." The verse says, "Delight yourself ALSO in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4, NKJV, emphasis mine)." To say "also" means something else is required in addition to delighting in Him. These types of words (also, therefore, but, so) should always lead us to look at the context of the verse (always read in context!). It says in the verse prior (v3, NKJV), "Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness." THEN it says (v4), "Delight yourself ALSO in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart." We must not only be happy with knowing Him and loving Him. We also must learn to trust Him, live and do good, feed on (remind ourselves of, read about, and thank Him for) His faithfulness, and delight in Him also.
<p>The second thing I learned occurred to me later. I asked the Lord what it meant when He said He would give us the desires of our heart and He answered in an interesting way. Remember, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him"(James 1:5, NKJV). God is forever faithful to speak, especially when we are faithful to listen. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:15, NKJV)!" He revealed to me a new way to look at the Psalm. It says, "He will give you the desires of your heart." Suddenly I heard it in a new way! It made me think we may have unknowingly been putting the emphasis in the wrong place in the verse. It is not saying He will give us what we want. Rather, "He will GIVE you the desires of your heart," when you first do those things it says in Psalm 37:3.
<p>When we live for Him, trust in Him, live and do good through Him, feed on His faithfulness, and delight also in Him, He will give us the desires. As in, He will implant them in us. And when He does, we will know we are in His will and we will know our steps are, in fact, directed by Him.
<p>If, "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV), then we can be swayed by emotion and pride. We can want something (a desire of our heart), but it may not be right for us. Wouldn't it be so much better to have the Lord GIVE us the desires we should have in our heart? Truly, "Every way of a man is right in his eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart," and, "A man's steps are ordered of the Lord; how then can a man know it?" Therefore, it would be better to have Him GIVE me the desires I'm supposed to have. So, this is my prayer and you can make it yours as well if you like:
<p>Lord, help me to trust you, to dwell in the land and do good (and not be weary in doing good). Help me to constantly remind myself of Your faithfulness (and express my thanks for it), and delight also in You (for You are a delight!). Give me the desires I should have in my heart and let everything else fall away. Help me to heed the nudging of Your Holy Spirit to know when the desires, hopes, or dreams I have are not aligned with Your will. Finally, help me to know how to give those things up in exchange for Your perfect and pleasing will. In Jesus' name, Amen
*Scriptures taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
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