“Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”(Psalm 37:4)
The combination of delight and desires is subtle.It’s not a bargaining chip, like saying “If I say I love you,will you give me what I want?” It’s not an abstract concept at all, but an exploration of relationship. Eugene Peterson paraphrased it thus: “Keep company with God, get in on the best.” I like that.
So when do you “Take delight in the Lord”?
The Bible provides a couple of hints. “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law” (Romans 7:22).
That is to say, I take delight in the Lord by doing what pleases him and putting his law in our hearts. Then, as we are being sanctified, he gives us the desires of our heart.
Here’s how wise old Matthew Henry put it: “He has not promised to gratify all the appetites of the body and the humours of the fancy, but to grant all the desires of the heart, all the cravings of the renewed sanctified soul. What is the desire of the heart of a good man? It is this, to know, and love, and live to God, to please him and to be pleased in him.”
To know… to love… and live to God, to please him and to be pleased in him.
In Perelandra, C.S.Lewis gives an exquisite description of what it might look like to live in such delight:
“I thought … that I was carried in the will of Him I love, but now I see that I walk with it. I thought that the good things He sent drew me into them as the waves lift the islands; but now I see that it is I who plunge into them with my own legs and arms, as when we go swimming. I feel as if I were living in that roofless world of [Earth] where men walk undefended beneath naked heaven. It is a delight with terror in it! One’s own self to be walking from one good to another, walking beside Him as Himself may walk, not even holding hands. How has He made me so separate from Himself? How did it enter His mind to conceive such a thing? The world is so much larger than I thought. I thought we went along paths–but it seems there are no paths. The going itself is the path.”
Lord, this morning I seek your face. Even humanly speaking, I know that few delights can equal the mere presence of one whom we trust utterly.
And I trust you.
So today there are no tricky junctions, because “the going itself is the path.” And I am with you.Knowing you, loving you, living to you, pleasing you and being pleased.