“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4).
We have all been let down by someone and as a result felt disappointed. We have all found that new indispensable item was not all it was cracked up to be. Things we once cherished are now being sold for pennies on eBay. All the earthy things we delight in sooner or later lose their sheen and we dispose of or become disenchanted with them. This is one of the main reasons why we often feel unfulfilled, restless and dissatisfied.
David says that we ought to have “delight” in God. Some may read into this that they should think positive thoughts or skip through life with a constant smile on their faces. The words “”Delight thyself in the Lord” can be translated as “luxuriate in the Lord”. This means that instead of indulging the flesh, we should be indulging our souls in the presence of God. Our greatest joy is found in Him. “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11) … “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures” (Psalm 36:8).
Notice the word “thyself” in the text, for it indicates that this experience does not come automatically but requires action on our part. We have to decide to do this and take time to make it possible. “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). This can be achieved by prayfully reading, studying and meditating on God’s word, “In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19) … “I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word” (Psalm 119:16). Therefore to delight ourselves in God is something we choose or choose not to do. “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2).
Our delight must be in the Lord rather than in things, people or ourselves. He alone has to be the centre point of our affection. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). This is why that small word “in” is so important to our understanding of the text, for it speaks both of the person and presence of God, which because of His omnipresence is virtually the same thing. We have to be in Christ before we can enjoy His presence in our lives. “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4). This includes the thought that we ought to worship God for who He is and what He does. “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:1-2). Besides His person and presence, we can delight in His power, provision, patience, peace, promises, protection and purposes.
We cannot fail to note the order of things described in this verse, for if we delight ourselves in the Lord then He will give us the desires of our hearts. Is this not exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ promised in Matthew 6:33? “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” This does not infer, as some suggest, that we worship God to get things, but it does mean that God always takes care of His own. “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). We delight in the Lord despite the blessings and gifts that come our way, for it is possible to get all we want and deceive ourselves into believing that God is honouring our weak commitment to Him. “They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalm 106:13-15). Our focus must be solely upon the Lord. “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
God gives to His people. Here is the promise of God’s ever open and outstretched hand. He is the source of all that is good for our souls. “All the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Corinthians 1:20) … “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
As has been rightly said, God will provide all our needs, not all our greeds, so what is it we really want in life? We can be sure that He will answer the prayers of those who come to Him with faith in their hearts. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6) … “It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24). The fact is, we should not want what God does not want. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
The world cannot offer us the satisfaction our souls yearn for, so why do we bother wasting time, energy and money seeking after delight there? “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isaiah 55:2). Our delight must be in God alone. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2).