“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4-5
February, with all its pink and red, hearts and flowers, cherubs and chocolate, is a month full of desire. Personally, chocolate is my favorite part, not that I need a holiday to savor that treat! Some days, I desire its sweetness more than others – on days like today when it’s dreary outside or my children are pressing my every button. As much as I love chocolate, my desire for it is dwarfed by longings for greater things.
As women, we have all kinds of desires. They could be for love, friendship, healing, change or something else entirely. What do you most desire in this season of your life? Think about it for a moment. How do you handle that desire? Do you talk about it? Do you share it with God? Do you think about it often? Why do you desire it? Has this been something you’ve wanted for a short while, or for as long as you can remember?
Something I love about Psalms is that David is incredibly passionate in his desires throughout the whole book. In Psalm 21:1-2, this king of Israel praises God for giving him his heart’s desire. He got it. We want it (whatever IT is). How did he do it?
Psalm 37:4-5 is the answer: “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” “He WILL give you…” – did we catch that part? That’s a huge statement for this verse to make. After all, don’t we all know people who went their whole lives longing for something that never happened? What about desires in our own lives that seem to have been left unfulfilled? But David received the desires of his heart, and the verse above says it’s because he delighted in the Lord. Recently I set out to learn what that means.
Other examples throughout scripture that talk about delighting in God include Job 22:26, Psalm 94:19, and Isaiah 58:14. From the context, it seems that delight in God means to lift our gaze to the Lord and pray to Him when we’re hurting (Job 22). From David’s example throughout the Psalms, it means to praise and adore Him, to pray honestly, no matter what the emotion of the moment, to have an open heart and to choose to believe and trust God’s good plans and perfect justice.
David had no shortage of opportunities to doubt God, fear His plans or be anxious about situations, and yet he was a person after God’s own heart because he knew God. David took the time to learn about Him, to listen to Him, to trust Him, to talk with Him, to believe Him and to love Him. He delighted himself in the Lord. And the Lord gave David the desires of his heart.
The scripture doesn’t stop with David. It says to us, “…and He will give YOU the desires of YOUR heart” as well (emphasis added). Psalm 145:19 and Matthew 7:7-11 also express the same idea. This is not “name it and claim” it theology. It is God’s promise to us as we pursue Him with our lives and He births in us gifts, talents and desires. I invite you to take a look for yourself.
It is a fact of our relationship with Christ. If we adore Him, spend time with Him and love Him – even if we are afraid of Him sometimes (see Psalm 145:19) – He promises to give us the desires of our hearts. Matthew Henry explains it like this: “[God] has not promised to gratify all the appetites of the body [our whims], but to grant all the desires of the heart, all the cravings of the renewed sanctified soul” (Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary).
For some of us, this strengthens our trust in God’s graciousness. For others, this may be painful to read right now because we’re still in that “not yet” land like Abraham was while he waited for the descendents God promised (see Romans 4:17-18). Maybe we hoped and desired for something for a long time, but have laid that to rest. For some, that rest is of the Lord – thank Him for it. But for others of us, it is a lack of faith. Will we believe the truth of these verses in Psalm 37? Will we allow the Lord to keep a wound of desire open in our hearts, unfulfilled for now, so He can work a miracle as we delight in Him? Will we wait in stillness for His promise to us, and yet “cultivate faithfulness” and not become resigned in our prayers?
The Lord has not forgotten the desires of our hearts. He inspired them! Let’s not allow ourselves to forget either. This Valentine’s Day season, let’s devote some special time to our first Love. May He kindle in us a desire and delight for Him like never before, and revive in us those desires He wove into our hearts from the first moment we met Him.