Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
This is one of the most misunderstood promises in all of sacred Scripture; when taken out of context, it can lead to frustration and disappointment in the life of the believer. So let’s take just a moment to drill down a little bit and discover what are the desires that God will deliver.
Look again at the opening phrase of today’s verse: “Delight yourself in the Lord.” You can see that Psalm 37:4 is a conditional promise, can you not? Simply stated, the desires God will deliver to us are those that are rooted in our delight in Him. God is promising that He will fulfill the desires of the heart for those who keep Him in the center of their lives as the object of their desires.
Many theologically barren pulpits have preached this passage as if it gives Christians some sort of “cosmic carte blanche” that binds the heart of God to prove His love for us by granting us any and all of our desires, from health to wealth to everything in between. But this notion is nothing more than the gospel according to man, not the Gospel of God.
The truth is that when our hearts are beating for nothing smaller than Jesus, we are delighting in the Lord. This delight becomes the deepest desire of the heart, and that is the desire that God will deliver to us every time. Because we were made by God to live for the glory of God, we will never find true happiness or satisfaction apart from God. We will not find it in in our professions, our prosperity, or our possessions. These are all good gifts from God, but only when we are delighting in the Giver of these gifts. As Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). We will only find true, lasting happiness when we seek it in Jesus.
How is it with you? Has God been delivering the desires of your heart lately? It may help to keep these words of the psalmist in view:
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25-26).
Remember, the desires that God will always deliver will always be in direct proportion to the delight you are experiencing in the Lord at any given time in your life. Every pleasure in life will have its proper place only when it is rooted in your personal relationship with Jesus. C. S. Lewis summarized this truth beautifully and powerfully:
“God cannot give us a happiness apart from himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
So delight yourself in the Lord! Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. When you do that sincerely and consistently, God will give you the desires of your heart. You have His Word on that.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!