Psalm 37:4b [“Delight yourself in the LORD,”] “and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
[When we delight in you, Lord, we are giving you first place in our hearts. You become truly our God, our final authority; you are the Mighty Lord, ruler of our hearts; you are our first Love, the most important One in our lives.
Therefore, you can safely give us other things, knowing that they will not become idols for us. Whatever you give us will be a tool, not a temple, it will be a help, not a hindrance.
There is also a second meaning to this phrase, I believe. As I praise you, Lord, as I focus on you, delighting in you, worshiping you in all, you will put the right desires into my heart and then fulfill them in whatever way and time you know is best.
This means there will be a shift in my desires from self-centered and temporary goals, to loftier and more eternal ones. I will go from wanting God help me in my narrow vision to wanting to join Him in His great plans.
For example, I will go from focusing on success and fulfillment to wanting God to have as much glory as possible. I will go from wanting to be comfortable and safe to wanting as many people as possible to come into the Kingdom, no matter how unsafe that makes me. I will go from assuming my goals line up with His, to asking for Him to show me His goals. I will go from assuming my motives are correct, to letting Him guide me in examining my motives so I can reject the negative and neutral ones, and act only out of godly ones.
As I delight in Him, there will be successive worldview shifts, for the light of His presence will expose where I am unconsciously acting out of my natural, western worldview. For example, delighting in Him leads me away from highly valuing comfort to delighting in “weakness, insults, hardships, persecution and difficulties.” It will lead to to grasping and internalizing the uncomfortable truth that, “…when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10)
Delighting in Him is what led us to leave everything we loved in 1979 to live in the challenging and uncomfortable environment of the Middle East. Delighting in Him is what led us to each subsequent and difficult decision: leaving the Middle East to return to the US in 1993; returning to the Middle East in 1999; leaving again in 2008 to live in Germany. None of these moves were what I preferred, but delighting in Him made me want His plans more than my preferences. When delighting in Him, obeying Him was the only viable option—the best and wisest one.
Delighting in Him is also the means of moving through the present difficulties of Barbara’s illness. His desire for our growth and our ability to give Him glory through offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving over and over, is far more important than our comfort or ease or health. His plans become much more important than ours.
Delighting in you, Lord, is the way to freedom from self, sin and Satan; it opens the way so you can place in our hearts your desires; it is the way to a healthy and happy dependence on you; it the way to the fierce and fine joy that you want to share with us.
Help us, Lord, to continually delight in you, to find our primary pleasure, our joy, our satisfaction in you, so that every day we may bring to you honor and joy, praise and pleasure, greatness and glory. Amen.