In Part 1, we pursued the heart of God by trusting our shepherd and finding contentment in the pasture he has placed us. Psalm 37:4 takes us to the next segment of wisdom. It is one of the most over-used, yet misunderstood verses in the Bible. The first part is often overlooked because we love to dwell on the second:
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Our family recently adopted a 5-year-old boxer, Vega. We delight in Vega, but not to the degree she delights in us. There is nothing like watching a boxer greet you. The lack of a tail does not diminish her excitement. Her entire rear end wiggles, almost doubling herself in half with glee. In the morning, as each child comes down the steps, she greets them with that level of delight. My hubby jokes that he would like to see us all joyfully greet him when he makes his return home like Vega does.
Vega delights in us because we love her, play with her, care for her, and she trusts us. She doesn’t have an overabundance of toys. We don’t fill her belly with treats each day, although the children would like to. We are her people, and that is all she needs.
In the same way, we should “Delight in the Lord” because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), and He sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16). He promises to always be with us (Matthew 28:20). What more could we delight in than a Heavenly Father that loves us sacrificially and desires for us to spend eternity with Him? That is truly delightful!
The second part of the verse is something people use like a lottery ticket. Without delighting in the One who saved us, we like to think His job is to give us the desires of our hearts. If we BELIEVE enough, TRUST enough, HOPE enough, we will prosper and be given all we desire. This prosperity driven gospel, preached by many wealthy speakers is not truth. The things I want or desire may not be in the best interest of myself or my family. God is the only one who knows what is our best interest.
Jesus told us how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. Nowhere did Jesus pray for wealth and prosperity. In fact, he didn’t even have a home and was hated by many. He didn’t live a desirable life.
In Acts, Paul, an extremely prosperous Jew strictly followed the law as an elite Pharisee. After persecuting followers of Jesus, God wrecked Paul and stripped him of his previous life. Paul’s conversion led him to a life of delighting in the Lord, losing all of the prosperity he had from his past. God didn’t give Paul the desires of his heart until God owned his heart. Then it didn’t matter, God’s desires became Paul’s desires.
Do we give Vega all the desires of her heart? When she gets what she wants, it is often not good for her. Frolicking around the neighborhood, unleashed, could lead to getting injured. We are her owners and it is our job to let her know that she is loved and will always be cared for, but letting her do what she wants is not what is best for her. Despite restricting her desires, she delights in us and is content in whatever we choose to share with her.
For a human, the desires of our hearts are fickle and not often in our best interest. I would like to eat all of the ice cream in our freezer. It has been a long day and ice cream is my favorite, but I’m trying to eat better, so that wouldn’t be good for me. I would also like some new clothes and it’s been a while since I’ve had a pedicure, but we’re trying to be frugal right now and it wouldn’t be wise for me to spend the money. Every day, my heart is tempted and I do not make the best choices for myself. The bottom line is, God’s heart is way more reliable. If He gave me the desires of my unreliable heart, I would be unhealthy and bankrupt.
In Psalm 51, David asks God “Create in me a clean heart”. David wanted a pure, fresh heart because his heart’s desire had just led him to adultery and murder. He learned the hard way, that he could not trust his own heart. David wanted God to own his heart so God’s desires would become his desires.
If King David, the man after God’s heart couldn’t trust his own heart, how can I? I want God to OWN my heart. I want God’s desires to fill my heart. I want God to clean out everything else in my heart that is not of Him. What’s the condition of your heart? Does God own your heart?
Lord, I want to delight in and find my joy in you. I ask that you take ownership of my heart. God, create in me a fresh heart so that when you give me the desires of my heart, they will come from the new heart you have created within me.