Finding our delight in God.
Read Psalm 37
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”
What do you delight in? What gives you pleasure and joy in life? Certainly, we find delight and joy in circumstances and events. We find delight in seeing a brilliantly colored sunrise or sunset. We enjoy a sense of pleasure when we accomplish a meaningful task. We enjoy time spent working on a hobby. While we find delight in events, our greatest delights and pleasures come in connection with the people we care about. While enjoying the beautiful sunset, we find even greater pleasure when we are sharing it with someone we love. We may enjoy the beauty of a sunset for a moment, but when we share it with another, it becomes a lasting and cherished memory.
Psalm 37 is an alphabetic psalm where each subsequent thought is introduced by the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet. The Psalmist begins with a sense of urgency as he frontloads the Psalm with imperatives. While there are seventeen imperatives (or direct commands) interwoven in the Psalm, eleven of them are found in verses 3-8. In these verses we are commanded to “trust in the Lord, do Good, dwell in the land, cultivate faithfulness, delight yourself in the Lord, commit your ways to the Lord, trust also in him, rest in the Lord, wait patiently for him, cease from anger, and forsake wrath.” While it is easy to become envious of those who seem to enjoy success in life as they live without consideration of God, the Psalmist wants us to have a different focus. Instead of delighting in the pursuits of prosperity and success by the world’s standard, we are to center our lives upon our relationship with God. We are to find our delight in God.
The word delight has the sense of having a high degree of pleasure or mental satisfaction in something. The mark of the wicked is that they find their delight in the pleasures of this world. For them, the pursuit of a relationship with God is meaningless and dull. But this is not the case of those who desire to know God. When God becomes our delight then everything else diminishes in comparison. But to understand what it means to delight in the Lord we must realize that it is an outgrowth of the commands he has given in verse three. The delight comes when we fully trusted in the Lord and made it our goal to do what is right. When we do so, then God gives us the desires of our hearts. But the order is here is crucial. We do not delight in God because He has given us our desires, but rather we delight in God when we bring our deepest longings to God so that we find them fulfilled in him. When we make God our longing and delight, then we find that it is in our relationship with him that our desires are fully realized. This is what stands in contrast to the world who place their desires on the pursuit of their own material prosperity and success. But in the end, instead of obtaining their longings, they find that are devoid of them (vs 35-36).
Delighting in God realigns our whole perspective of life. We need to seek him and make him the object of our desires. This means that the pursuit of our relationship with him becomes our highest priority, for what we desire we pursue. But here lies the question: Do we delight in God so that he becomes our priority? Do we find our joy in him? Is church, and the worship of God, a priority or secondary? Would we rather spend our day pursuing an activity or spend it in the study of his word?