Psalm 37:4 is one of my favorite verses.
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37:4 ESV)
Every time I have heard this verse expounded on, the explanation ran something like this: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will change you to want what He wants. Then when God brings about what He wants, your desires are fulfilled because you want the same thing.
This week I heard the same echo in Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart. This is what Rinehart says about Psalm 37:4:
“At first glance that sounds as though God has promised to fulfill all your dreams. But a careful reading brings us closer to reality: As you bring your heart to God, he will place his desire in you to such an extent that your desire becomes his for you.”
For some reason, this interpretation has never made sense to me. The verse doesn’t say anything about changing your desires, or wanting what He wants. In real life, I don’t think it works very well to squash your desires into a box and pretend they don’t exist. Or worse yet, pretend that the contents of your box are completely different from what they actually are.
Some years ago, the meaning of this verse hit me with jaw-dropping clarity.
The verse means exactly what it says.
When you see a beautiful flower garden, what draws you to it? The roses? Or the beauty? When you go out for coffee with a friend, what makes you happy? The coffee, or the friendship? (Yeah, I know, I like the coffee, too!) Or if you’re a hunter, what do you like about hunting–the gun, or the challenge of a hunt?
We confuse the physical objects connected with our desires with what we truly want. Do you want friends because you like having someone else in the room with you, or because you need security? When you share your thoughts with someone and they respond to you, do you value the feedback itself or the validation it brings?
All of us are longing for security, validation, beauty, friendship, a challenge. And all of that is found in Him. He is Jehovah-Jireh, our provider. He is Jehovah-Rophe, our healer. He is Jehovah-Nissi, our banner. Jehovah-Tsidkenu, our righteousness. Jehovah-Rohe, our shepherd. Jehovah-Shalom, our peace. He is Jehovah-Shammah, the God who is there. He is the Lord of hosts, and our Abba Father.
Can you see it now? Our earthly wants are but symptoms of our longing for Him. To be one with Him. To see life through His eyes. To partner with Him to accomplish His will in the world.
Delight in the Lord, and HE will fulfill the desires of your heart. How could it happen any other way?
Delight yourself in the Lord.
He is the desire of your heart.
Jesus, Lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly!