Delight Yourself in the Lord

Psalm 37: 4

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Let us look at this verse a little differently today. Let’s drop off the end of it and think about the first part, “Delight yourself in the Lord.” What do you think it means to delight yourself in the Lord? It sounds like we are supposed to make ourselves a delight to the Lord. That is not what it means, though. The language is odd but the Passion Translation clarifies this statement for us, “Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life.” The God’s Word translation reads, “Be happy with the Lord.”

This verse actually means that we are supposed to be pleased with the Lord rather than trying to get Him to be pleased with us. It is just the opposite of what many people think. The writer wants you to love the Lord with all your heart. He wants you to be enamored with God. Allow me to show you a practical example of this.

I have been thinking, and writing, about how my relationship with God has changed over the years. This verse came to my mind this week while I was praying. Let me give you a little glimpse into my prayer life, not that it is the ideal, just the example I have to offer. I no longer pray about my needs very often. Truly, I haven’t for several years. I might talk to Him about what I think I need but that is not the bulk of my prayers. Instead, I usually pray about what I am supposed to do with my time. Most of my prayer time is spent seeking God’s wisdom and counsel. Well, a strange thing happened this week. I began to talk with God about what He wants me to do. What are the tasks and priorities for today? What is the vision for tomorrow? Do you want me to do this? What about that? Blah, blah, blah. I didn’t get five words out of my mouth before I stopped and said, “You know what, I am bored with this prayer. Jesus, what do you want to do? What can I do for you today? How can I cause you to smile?” Immediately I knew our relationship had just undergone another change. No longer was he just a vending machine to me, a place where I go to get what I want or need.

I have heard other ministers talk about how they commune with Jesus and it isn’t much like the formal, seminary style prayers we think about. They chat with Jesus as a best friend the key point being, it’s not all about us. These pastors that I have admired in their relationship with Jesus talk about more than their personal issues, dreams and goals. Ultimately, I think we each need to come to the place in our relationship with the Father, Son and Spirit where our conversations become just that, a conversation. I know I got bored asking about my perceived needs. I can only imagine how bored Jesus was. Thank God, literally, that he is such a gentleman. None the less, I bet he enjoys when our relationship transcends our needs.

The more time you spend with Jesus and the Father, the less inclined you find yourself to always talk about yourself and your needs. Even asking Him for His wisdom and advice all the time, while encouraged, becomes self-centered. If you want to know what God wants you to do with your life or what vision He has for you, begin asking Him what He wants. Find out what His dreams and goals are and you will find your way to help Him. You will have found your destiny and will be sublimely happy. Make Him the delight of your life by spending more time with Him and getting to know Him. Then all the pieces will fall together for you and you may find you don’t feel the need to pray about yourself all the time.

God’s Will

Psalm 37: 4             NLT

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

A friend of my emailed me this week, closing her message with “God’s will be done.” That is a heartening expression, is it not? What I heard in it was, “Not the world’s will but God’s will be done.” I am sending out a proposal and I believe it is God’s will so naturally, I want the people who must decide on the idea to follow God’s will. I don’t want them to bend to the world’s pressures, fear, ignorance or any other obstacle. So yeah, God’s will be done in this situation, as in all.

When I read her email, though, it did send me off thinking about something I have been pondering for a while and today’s verse captures the concept. God is willing to give me the desires of my heart because I take my delight in Him. I want you to see this verse from the Passion Translation too. It reads, “Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and he will provide for you what you desire the most.” This version clarifies what it means to “take delight in the Lord.” He should be the source of pleasure. He should bring smiles to our faces and we should want to be with him.

Now, I think I qualify for the first part of that verse. God is delightful to me. So, that takes me to the second part, He will give me the desires of my heart. So, I ask myself, whose will is this about, His or mine? This project is my desire. It is important that He approve but the truth today’s verse points out is that He is waiting for us to say something. He wants to know what I want, what my will is.

Of course, we all want to be in God’s will. I guess that goes without saying but it is important to note that He will give you the desires of your heart sometimes even when it is not His will. The Israelites wanted a king (1 Samuel 8: 5). It was not God’s will for them. Samuel warned them sternly about this path, but they insisted on being like the other nations and having a king, so, God told Samuel to, “Listen to their voice and appoint them a king,” (1 Samuel 8: 22). And so, Israel got a king. You might recognize his name. It was Saul. Eventually the kingdom was wrenched from Saul’s hands and given to David. Thus, what the people wanted did not serve them well, but God turned it around for them anyway.

The point I wish to make is that God is looking to you. He wants to know what your will is. It is not as though He did not counsel Israel about the wisdom of her choice. He does that. He will speak to your dreams and desires too but first you must communicate them to Him. That is how it works.

Too often we sit on our laurels waiting for God to do something or say something and He is looking to us to say something. “What do you want, children?” I love what my friend meant when she wrote about God’s will being done relative to my project. She had already agreed to pray for it, so her statement was like an exclamation point. Other times, though, I have sensed that people use that expression as an excuse to do nothing. There is another cute phrase I heard years ago when I lived in San Diego. It says, “God can’t steer a parked car.” That has always ministered to me. If we will start the engine, put the car in gear and begin on a determined course, our Father will act as navigator and direct our steps. Everything in the Bible tells us He will guide us. There is not theology or scripture, though, for sit in your recliner and wait for God to do something.

So, what is your will? What is your desire? What will bring you joy and fulfillment? Maybe your recliner needs an eject button. Stir yourself up. Of course, take it to Dad and let Him speak to your goals and embellish your ideas. He has great creative chops. He will bless the work of your hands and everything you set your hand to. So, start dreaming. Start thinking about what you would like to accomplish. It’s not ALL about His will. It’s not all about His desire. It just may be about the desire He has planted in your heart.

Heart’s Desires

Psalm 37: 4

Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.

You have perhaps heard this verse quoted before. It is on my heart today so I took a closer look at it. I truly believe that our Father wants to give us the desires of our hearts and He seems to hover over us just waiting for an opportunity to pour into our lives. As I look at this verse today I find such a bond and closeness with the Lord that I want to bring you in to this warm glow with me.

First, let me share some other versions with you. as you know, I quote from the New American Standard Version unless otherwise noted. It is my favorite version but I read from many different versions, especially when I do verse or word studies because they shine the light from a little different perspective and can illuminate a subtle meaning. Today’s verse is a good case in point. The NASB leaves us wondering just a bit, doesn’t it? What does it mean to “Delight yourself in the Lord?” I bet most of us read that as, “Be pleasing to the Lord” or “Be good” and he will give your heart desires. The NIV clarifies this delight we are to know, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Isn’t that great? We are not being told to be on our best behavior and then Father will give us presents at all. We are being led to let our hearts take joy in our Father. That is a whole different perspective. I love where the God’s Word translation takes us, “Be happy with the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Are you getting this? This verse isn’t about our righteousness and good works at all. It is all about enjoying our Father and being happy with Him and in Him.

Your joy in Him just releases the bounty. If you are a grand-parent you know exactly what I am talking about. You want to do for those you love and you want to give them all kinds of things but sometimes they just won’t let you. Your Heavenly Father is that way too. He wants you to open up and let Him in and He is bringing gifts with Him. Yahoo! I don’t mind telling you. I like getting gifts. I like opening packages but in addition to all kinds of material and worldly things, our Father also brings all those intangibles with Him and we like those too, don’t we? He has healing and peace in His hands just to name two. So, tell Him what you want and then invite Him to the party. Enjoy His presence. Take delight in Him. That is really the greatest gift ever.