188-Psalm 37 – Delight
There is a certain population in American, I call it “churchdom” that believes something needs to be done to make the Holy Bible relevant for today. After all, it is an ancient book and needs to be modernized, right? I hear stuff like that and then read something like Psalm 37 and am amazed at how relevant it is without twisting its meaning.
This week we find ourselves putting verse four under the microscope.
4 Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
If you’ve read a number of my posts you can probably guess the first observation I’m going to make. Those of you who guessed define the word delight are correct! According to Logo’s Bible Word Study tool, the range of meaning for the Hebrew word translated delight is “pamper or refresh oneself; take one’s pleasure in; make fun about or with, be favorable to someone, accept with pleasure; become friends, take pleasure in; be favorable to someone, etc.”
Inherent in the meaning of the word “delight” is this notion of a powerful relationship with an actual person. It would be impossible to obey this imperative to delight yourself in Yahweh (God’s personal name) if you didn’t know Him. You can know Yahweh, and you are actually commanded to know Him in this wonderful passage of the Old Testament.
If you stop and think about it to delight in someone, especially when that someone is the very creator and redeemer of the universe, is its own reward. Let me say it this way if I “take pleasure in; be favorable to someone [Yahweh]”, then that pleasure I’m experiencing – that delighting is a reward. And yet verse four promises more. He, Yahweh will give you the desires of your heart.
To what is the “desires of your heart” referring? Is it purposely not enumerated so we can fill in the blanks? Does it mean whatever my little old heart desires will be mine if I can simply delight in Yahweh? Does it mean if I want a big house, fancy car, and lots of money I can have it all, as long as I delight in Yahweh? No, not if you stay in the passage’s context.
16 A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
Again, righteousness is its own reward. We often seem to believe that God has no problem with a Christian being materialistic. We act as though He wants us piled high with stuff, lots of stuff. The truth is, the more we actually and truly delight in Yahweh, the brighter our love for Him grows and the dimmer our desire for worldly possessions. We humans cannot keep our sights on Heaven and all it contains while keeping the world and its adornments before us. One fades into the background as we sharpen our focus on the other. It’s up to us whether or not Yahweh will be the target of our affections, our taking pleasure in.
I want us to notice a tiny little word that is most often run over and neglected in this passage. It’s the word, “also”. The command is to “delight yourself also…”. To get the other things “also” indicates we have to notice the previous verses. The other items listed are:
- Do not fret (vs 1)
- Nor be envious (vs 1)
- Trust in Yahweh (vs 3)
- Do good (vs 3)
- Dwell in the land (vs 3)
- Feed on His faithfulness (vs 3)
There are more imperatives coming in the following verses, but can you see how if we practice doing these things we will enjoy the benefits. There is great reward in not only knowing, but in obeying the word of God.
All throughout human history, Yahweh has expressed His goodness to us. He has provided us with a clear roadmap back into fellowship with Him that was forfeited in the garden. This word is timeless and it’s true. Adam could delight himself in Yahweh, Abraham could, Isaac, Jacob, David, Moses, all of them, and all of us can delight ourselves in Yahweh. We can take pleasure in our time with Him and on top of all of that He will give us the desires of our hearts.
God is so, so good. He is worthy of all our praise, worship, and adoration!
All Scripture quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.