“Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you” –Psalm 37:4-5
God put this scripture on my heart a few days ago and He’s really been kneading it in ever since. The husband and I have been hoping and praying for something (not a baby) that our hearts are definitely desiring… One season is coming to an end and we’re hopeful for the next, even if we’re still unsure about how it’s going to play out. And that’s when I came to find this Psalm and it planted a little bomb in my brain that has totally exploded.
Okay, so here’s what I see. There is process to be followed:
Step 1: Delight in the Lord.
Step 2: He will give you the desires of your heart.
*Commit everything to Him
Each of us has at least one desire in our heart. Now, this probably isn’t a want. It’s a DESIRE. A yearning. A longing. It feels like a need. It’s something we probably spend a lot of time thinking about and probably isn’t like a new pair of jeans or a Snickers candy bar. It’s probably something bigger… marriage, a home, a child, getting our dream careers, etc. Our desire for these things is life altering, not fleetingly satisfied – it’s something we’d be committed to for life probably.
Desiring most of these things is actually good. It’s good to want to be married, to have a home, to become a parent, to have our dream job, and what-have-you. These are all things that God says are definitely good things. He created us to do many of them. And honestly, He wants to bless you with good things. He wants to provide and meet your needs.
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” – Matthew 6:31-32
“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” – Luke 12:24
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” – Matthew 7:9-11
But first, in Psalm 37, before you are granted these desires, you should “take delight in the Lord.” I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word ‘delight’ I automatically think of dessert. But I don’t think of a scoop of vanilla ice cream after I’ve had a burger and fries from Applebees. Ice cream is good, but I think of crème brulee after prime rib and roasted red skin potatoes at Brio. I’ve already splurged on a fancy dinner and now I’m doing a little extra splurging by treating myself to a fancy desert. I’ve already tasted decadence and I’m taking it a step further. It’s a big deal; it’s a extra special kind of joyful indulgence because it’s not the joy I usually experience with a sweet treat. It’s a delight!
As the Holy Spirit was working this into my heart, softening me and humbling me, He was saying “delight, delight, delight…” as in joy, but more. Have joy in your God, but take it an extra step further. Delight in Him. Have crème brulee with the Lord your God, not just an everyday scoop of vanilla ice cream.
What’s funny is when your heart desires after something, you almost feel desperate for it. It invades your thoughts constantly and you just long for it. That’s probably because you assume you’ll delight in it when it comes, and no doubt, you probably will! But God says “take all of that hope and joy and delight you think you’ll feel once you get that [insert desire here] and place it in ME. Let me have that first.” And I think He says that because when we do, we realize just how deserving and delightful He really is, and just how satisfying He can be for any hole we are hoping to have fulfilled. It puts God in His rightful place as the focal point of our every moment, and removes the risk of our desires turning into idols. It turns our whole relationship with God into crème brulee and dims the other desires we have for this life into that vanilla ice cream. Still enjoyable I’m sure, but dim in comparison.
“You guide me with counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Who have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” –Psalm 73:25-26
I think that’s another reason why God asks us to delight in Him first. When our needs and desires go unfulfilled, we have a tendency to take matters into our own hands to find something else to quench our thirsts.
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.” –James 4:1-2
He understands better than anyone how we function because He created us; even our sinfulness and depravity are no surprise to Him. He knows all of our wants and our needs before we do (see above from Matthew 6), but sometimes, He simply wants us to ask for our desires, acknowledging what it is that we want and maybe even why.
”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” – Psalm 139:23
So if God wanted to replace our earthy desires, why even give them at all? He does it because in His provision for His children, God is ultimately glorified. I believe that’s why He asks us to commit everything we do to Him, so that when our dreams are brought to life, those around us may know that it was He that provided for us.
”But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my god will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be all the glory forever and ever. Amen.” – Philippians 4:18-20
But another reason I think He chooses to grant our desires is because, simply put, because He delights in it as well.
“Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant!” – Psalm 35:27
“you can ask for anything in My Name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.” – John 14:13
I’m not saying that God is going to give us everything that we want, there are definitely things we want that will only lead to death. God is not ‘that parent’ that gives into the every whim and demand of His spoiled-rotten children. He’s wise and loving to discipline us when we’re getting a little out of line (Hebrews 12:6). Our hearts can’t always be trusted; Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that it is deceitful above all things. How could we possibly trust our own hearts? But with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we are being transformed more and more into hearts that are more like Christ Himself (Psalm 51:10), so our desires will also change to be more toward the pure and beautiful things of God.
Furthermore, sometimes it’s just not time. God may have every intention of fulfilling our desires.. Just not quite yet; we might not be ready or the circumstances might not be ready. Like if a young woman is hoping for a husband, she may not be ready for her husband or her husband for her. But God will spend that time preparing you for whatever it is that you desire if you keep your eyes fixed upon Him.
“Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested his character.” – Psalm 105:19
“This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” –Joshua 1:8
Now I want to be plain and clear, if I haven’t been enough so already, we should not be after God for blessings. We should be after the Provider not the provision, and not because He provides, but simply because He is.. We should be after what He is after, a fulfilling relationship together, He and us.
”The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” – Number 6:24-26
That way, if what we desire here on earth has been enticed to us by our enemy, or would be leading us away from God, we will be wise enough to ask Him for His will above ours, because He is for us (Romans 8:28), and praise God for the example we have in Christ for that sort of submission and trust.
“And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible for You; take this cup from me: nevertheless not My will but Your will be done.” – Mark 14:36
Father, we lift our eyes up to you. We lay our desires before You, that You may search them and take out whatever is unclean, impure, and just not of You, Lord. We ask in the name of Your Son Jesus for the things that are. God, that You would take the time to prepare us and mold us and shape us so that when we are granted our deepest dreams and desires, we will know how to appreciate them without losing sight of what is most important: You. Above all though, Lord, I ask that Your will be done here, in all of our lives, and that You would be our peace and pinnacle of joy and delight.
I do, Jesus, I delight myself in You. I open my own heart to be overwhelmed by Your love, grace, and mercy. I pray to be so overwhelmed by You and Your glory that the things of this earth would cease to matter. And every blessing You pour down on me, God, I just commit it back to You in praise. I offer You all the glory for every answered and unanswered prayer. You are good and gracious, God. You are faithful and worthy of all of my trust and praise and obedience. You are my heart’s joy and delight!