Day 38: Enjoy serving the Lord,and he will give you whatever you ask for. (Psalm 37:4)
New International Version
Take delight(A) in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.(B)
FROM THE PASTOR’S HEART
When we want what He wants, He’ll give us those desires because they are in accordance with His will.
There is an aspect of our humanity that affects every single area of our lives—our character, accomplishments, priorities, thoughts, motivations, choices, direction, and relationships. What I’m talking about is our desires. If you doubt this, just think what would happen if you didn’t want anything. What would you accomplish? How would you spend your time? What would you think about? Our desires prompt us into action, cause us to seek out companions and mates, and guide us to make decisions that will lead us to whatever we long to have.
This is part of being made in God’s image because He Himself has desires. However, what we want is not always good, whereas the Lord’s desires are always right. We have a limited perspective, but He’s omniscient and knows when a particular path, person, or object we want will lead us to ruin. Sometimes our desires are sinful, selfish, greedy, and foolish, but God is motivated by divine love. He always seeks what’s best for us.
IF WE WANT GOD TO GIVE US THE DESIRES OF OUR HEART, WE MUST ABIDE BY HIS REQUIREMENTS.
There’s a verse in the Bible that’s sometimes misused by people in an attempt to get what they want from God. They come to Him with their prayer requests claiming His promise in Psalm 37: “He will give you the desires of your heart” (v. 4). However, the context of this passage reveals that there are conditions attached to this promise. If we want God to give us the desires of our heart, we must abide by His requirements.
First of all, we are told, “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). To delight in someone means we enjoy being with that person and spending time together, talking and listening to one another. We make that relationship a priority and seek to please him or her with our words and actions. Now let’s think about this in terms of our relationship with God.
Do you love talking to the Father in prayer and listening to Him as you read and study His Word? Are you longing to know Him more fully? Do you think about Him often throughout the day and find great pleasure in obeying Him and walking in His ways?
This is what it means to delight in the Lord. Psalm 37:4 is not a blanket promise that God will give us whatever we want but a call to align our desires with the Lord’s. When we want what He wants, He’ll give us those desires because they are in accordance with His will.
Second, we read, “Commit your way to the LORD” (v. 5). Every desire should be sifted through God’s Word and His will for our lives. When we commit our way to the Lord, we are acknowledging His rightful authority to decide whether our desires fit into His plan for our lives. But sometimes we’re reluctant to turn everything over to God because we’re afraid things won’t turn out the way we want. And the stronger our desire, the more determined we become to maneuver and manipulate circumstances to get our way. The reason we struggle to commit ourselves—and our desires—to the Lord is because we lack trust.
The third requirement is: “Trust also in Him, and He will do it” (v. 5). Who has proved Himself more faithful than our God? He’s rescued us from sin by sending His Son to pay the penalty we deserve. He’s given His Spirit as a pledge of our eternal security and promised us a home in heaven. Why would we ever doubt that He has the best plan for our lives? We can trust Him to make the right decision regarding our desires because He always does what’s best, and in the process, transforms us into people who reflect His own righteousness (v. 6).
Fourth, we are to “rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him” (v. 7). The opposite of resting is fretting, and David says three times in this psalm, “Do not fret” (vv. 1, 7, 8). When we fret, we are essentially disagreeing with God because He is not cooperating with our plans. The solution is to lay all our desires and expectations in His sovereign and loving hands, acknowledging that He is always right. Then we are to wait patiently, trusting in His love, wisdom, and power. If what we desire fits His will, nothing will prevent Him from accomplishing it in His perfect timing. But if it’s not His will, no amount of pleading will make Him bow to our wishes.
In order to adopt God’s desires as our own, we must know what He wants. That’s why it’s important to discover what pleases Him by reading through the Scriptures. We can’t simply pull a verse from its context and claim we’re standing on the Word. If we want a sure foundation, we must stand on the entire Word of God.
What do you desire most? I pray that whatever it is, you’ll be willing to trust God and lay it down before Him. I have learned from experience that His way is always the best and never results in regret.
Charles F. Stanley
P.S. We’d like to wish you a happy Fourth of July as we celebrate our nation’s independence. We have many reasons to be thankful for the liberties we enjoy, especially the freedom to share the gospel with as many people as possible. Our prayer is that God will continue to hold this door open so more people can be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
What does it mean to delight yourself in the Lord (Psalm 37:4)?
Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Taking delight in the Lord means that our hearts truly find peace and fulfillment in Him. If we truly find satisfaction and worth in Christ, Scripture says He will give us the longings of our hearts. Does that mean, if we go to church every Sunday, God will give us a new Rolls Royce? No. The idea behind this verse and others like it is that, when we truly rejoice or “delight” in the eternal things of God, our desires will begin to parallel His and we will never go unfulfilled. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things [the necessities of life] will be given to you as well.”
Many delight in wealth, status, material possessions, and other temporary things of this world, but they are never satisfied. They never truly get what they want, hence the reason they are always wanting more. This is the lesson King Solomon learned in his pursuit of earthly treasure: “Everything is meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). On the other hand, delighting in the Lord is true treasure indeed: “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).
First John 2:15–17 says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” We will never be deeply fulfilled or “happy” with the things this world has to offer. If we place our joy and hope in God first, He will meet all of our needs. He will even grant our wants, as our hearts’ desires begin to match up with His will. If we truly place priority on the Lord, chances are our heart’s greatest desire will not be a brand-new Rolls Royce, but eternal treasures in Christ.
This world can never satisfy our deepest longings, but if we choose to delight in God’s way, He will always provide above and beyond our expectations. Jesus said, “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
Yes, I have heard several interpretations about this scripture’s meaning. Does it mean He will change our desires or is He truly interested in our desires? I’m not talking about sinful desires. What if someone desires a child, or what if someone desires to be married, etc.?
It can be very difficult for us, from our limited human perspective, to tell the difference between the ‘desires of our heart’ and the desires of our minds and/or our senses. However, it is very easy for the Christ Presence within us to know the difference.
God’s answer to the desires of our heart is always “Yes!” Always. But God knows—as our ego minds do not—that what seems to be an expression of our heart’s desire is actually not. So the Power of God responds to the heart desire, not to how we’ve decided that desire should express—how it should look, who it should be. For example, your heart’s desire may be for a loving relationship and a loving life experience. God’s answer is a joyful ‘Yes.’ But your ego mind may decide that one particular person is the perfect outpicturing of that heart’s desire. God knows that he is not, and you do not receive the relationship with that particular person you thought you wanted. So from your human perspective it seems that your heart’s desire was denied you. In spiritual truth, you have just been spared the often painful process of learning that we are not necessarily the best judges of what or who our heart’s desire is, and how it will look when it appears.
Please note that the three words that begin Psalm 37—and that are repeated throughout—are “Do not fret.” And the verse immediately following the one you asked about reads “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Your heart’s desire is moving to you now through time and space, quickly, clearly and peacefully.
What Does Psalm 37:4 Mean? ►
Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Earlier in the Psalm we are told not to fret about evil-doers, nor to be envious of those that work iniquity, for when our mind is correctly focused on the Lord, then our hearts are not weighed down with the troublesome behaviour of the wicked, nor overwhelmed with the continuous influx of evil in the world.
Rather, we are instructed to keep the eyes of our heart upon Jesus, Who has promised to carry all our burdens, and to comfort us in all our affliction, by the God of all comforts – so that we may offer solace to others, who are also weighed down by the cares of this world, and oppressed by evil-doers.
As we change our focus onto the Lord, so our faith in Him is excited within our heart, and we are encouraged, by David, to trust in the Lord and do good – to feed on His faithfulness, so that we may become strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. We are to believe His promises and hold fast to the word of truth.
Just as fretting should be overtaken by trust, when God is the focus of our attention, so faith expands into joy, when we delight ourselves in the Lord, and make Him the singular joy and rejoicing of our heart. Delight yourself in the Lord, we are told. Be captivated by His beauty and wonder. Make Him the cornerstone of your hope and linchpin or your life, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
The Lord Jesus is the perfect example of a Man, who delighted Himself in the Lord. His was not an easy path. Indeed, He learnt obedience by the things that He suffered. Nevertheless, the Lord Jesus delighted Himself in His God and Father, throughout His life, and even endured the cross and despised its shame – for the JOY that was set before Him. I seek not My will, was His daily desire, but the will of Him that sent Me.
When the will of man is aligned with the will of God, as was intended in the beginning, then the things that delight our heavenly Father will naturally become the joy of our own heart. When we delight ourselves in the Lord, and take pleasure in the things that are uppermost on God’s own heart, we will discover that they become the joy of our heart – and we will be able to spiritual appraise all things, and to say with Paul, that we are one with Him and have the mind of Christ.