Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Delight Yourself In The Lord

Tuesday night Bible Study at Church of Divine Guidance Christian Church (CDG).  The audio recording of the study can be found at the end of these notes.

Psalm 37:3-4 (NKJV)3  Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.4  Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
This is a scripture that we Christians take great pleasure in quoting.  We quote and claim this because we believe that if we do in fact delight ourselves in the Lord He will give us whatever we ask.  
John 14:13 (NLT) You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.
1 John 5:14-15 (NLT)14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
Well most of us know from experience that God doesn’t always give us what we want.  So does that mean that we aren’t delighting ourselves in the Lord?


Maybe the first question we should ask is what does it mean to delight ourselves in the Lord?
Then when you know what it means how do you do it?
Delight yourself in the Lord
Why does David say what he does about delighting ourselves in the Lord?  As we read the Psalm it’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t want those who love and follow  the Lord to be upset because those who don’t seem to prosper.   


The major problem for the psalmist is the inconsistency connected with the prosperity of the wicked. Although tempted to doubt God's goodness, the author quiets his own mina and his hearers' by appealing to patience and trust. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.


Psalm 37:1-2 (NLT)1 Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong.2  For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.


They don't follow God and yet everything appears to be going great for them.  But when you read the entire psalm you see that while the wicked delight in carnal or physical things we should never be envy them.  Take a look at


Psalm 37:9-10, 9  For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.10  Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone.)


12-15, 12 The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. 13 But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming.14 The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right. 15 But their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.


20-21, 20  But the wicked will die. The LORD’s enemies are like flowers in a field— they will disappear like smoke.21  The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers.


32-33, 32  The wicked wait in ambush for the godly, looking for an excuse to kill them.33  But the LORD will not let the wicked succeed or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.


35-36,  35  I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil.36  But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them!


38  (NLT)38  But the rebellious will be destroyed; they have no future.  


Hmmmm their end doesn’t sound so good.  


On the other hand the fate of the godly will be different.   The righteous, who delight themselves in the Lord, will be rewarded.


Psalm 37:5-8, 5  Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.6  He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.7  Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.8  Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.


16-19, 16  It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.17  For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the LORD takes care of the godly.18  Day by day the LORD takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.19  They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough.


22-31, 22  Those the LORD blesses will possess the land, but those he curses will die.23  The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.24  Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.25  Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.26  The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing.27  Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever.28  For the LORD loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die.29  The godly will possess the land and will live there forever.30  The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.31  They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from his path.


34,  34  Put your hope in the LORD. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.


37 (NLT)37  Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.


39-40 (NLT)39  The LORD rescues the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble.40  The LORD helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in him.


All that to say


Psalm 37:3-4 (NKJV)3  Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.4  Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
The word “delight” here is a Hebrew word, “anog”, and means something “delicate” or “soft” that a person would enjoy, and take delight in.
Isaiah uses the word of a nursing child who delights in his mother;
Isaiah 66:11 (NKJV) That you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her bosom, That you may drink deeply and be delighted With the abundance of her glory."
He also uses it of the luxuries found in palaces.
Isaiah 13:22 (NLT) Hyenas will howl in its fortresses, and jackals will make dens in its luxurious palaces. Babylon’s days are numbered; its time of destruction will soon arrive.
When you delight in something, your thoughts are constant towards it; you think about it all the time.  When you think about it you smile.  When things get tough, thinking about it lifts your spirits.  That’s the kind of delight David is talking about.
This Delight is Mutual
As our scripture says we are to delight ourselves in the Lord and if we do He will give us the desires of our hearts.  That signifies a mutual relationship.  We delight in the Lord and He gives us our heart’s desires.
Here’s an example of what I mean from the book of Zephaniah
Zephaniah 3:14-17 (NLT) 14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 For the LORD will remove his hand of judgment and will disperse the armies of your enemy. And the LORD himself, the King of Israel, will live among you! At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster. 16 On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! 17 For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
What Zephaniah said is that we are to rejoice with our whole hearts, in other words delight ourselves in the Lord because He is with us.  Then he says, in verse 17, that because the Lord is with us, He will delight in us.  We are to find our delight in our relationship with the Lord.
Isaiah 58:14 (NLT)   Then the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
Psalm 16:11 (NLT) You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Psalm 40:8“I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (NKJV).
Romans 7:22 (NKJV) For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.
Psalm 1:1-2 (NLT) Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2 But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.
How do we delight ourselves in the Lord?
We delight ourselves in the Lord by doing what pleases Him and putting His law, His Word, in our hearts. Matthew Henry in his Exposition of the Old and New Testaments said “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.”
Delighting ourselves in the Lord, means that our thoughts are constant towards God and that everything we do is in obedience to Him. Now we all know that we are often not in complete obedience to Him, we have not come the the place where we have been conformed to the image of Christ which is God’s purpose of working everything together for our good.  Let’s go to one of our favorite scriptures again for a second.


Because we are not yet completely conformed to the image of Christ, we can’t do this on our own.
Romans 8:28 (NLT)28  And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.


And what is that purpose?

Romans 8:29 (NLT) For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
We’re not there yet so we need the work of the Holy Spirit to help us delight ourselves in the Lord.
John 14:26 (NLT) But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
The Holy Spirit helps us but here are some things that we can do to delight ourselves in the Lord:.
    Confess sin - 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    Trust - Genesis 15:6 (NLT) And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.
    Pray - Luke 11:11-13 (NLT) 11 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
    Meditate on God’s word -   Ephesians 6:17 (NLT) 17  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Psalm 119:16, 24, 35, 47, 77 (NKJV) 16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. 24 Your testimonies also are my delight And my counselors. 35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it. 47 And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love. 77 Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight.
    Wait on the Lord - Psalm 27:14 (NLT) Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
All of this sounds good and we are able to do these things when all we have to deal with are the normal day-to-day issues of life; going to work, going to church, dealing with the bills, the kids, typical marriage struggles, normal sickness like colds and the flu.  But what about those times where a loved one is seriously ill,  a marriage is falling apart,  your finances are at the point where you are going to lose your home, you just lost your job with no prospects for finding another one, you have a wayward child, or any other catastrophic life event.
You are doing the five things I just mentioned that help you delight yourself in the Lord and things don’t change.  Your desire is, of course that these things change.  The key is to believe in the promises of God and to trust that what He says He can and will do.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)  For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Remember that to delight yourself in the Lord is to completely submit to His will and in submitting, to accept His will and I talked about that on Sunday.   That’s impossible for us to do to do, on our own, when catastrophe strikes, but it is only possible when we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit.  When we run out of words to say or pray, the Holy Spirit does the praying for us with groanings that we don’t understand.
Romans 8:26-28 (NLT)26  And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.27  And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.28  And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
1 Corinthians 2:11 (NLT)11  No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.
So the Question Again Will God Really Give You the Desires of Your Heart?
Delighting ourselves in the Lord means that we find peace and fulfilment in Him.  Our scripture says that if we delight ourselves in Him then He will give us what we desire.  Does that mean if we go to church every Sunday, bible study every week, have a long quiet time with Him every day, and “seek and save the lost”,  that He will give us a new Mercedes, a big new house, a wife or husband?  He may do those things but that’s not what Psalm 37 or other scriptures say. The idea in Psalm 37 and other scriptures is that if we really delight in the things of God, then our desires will start to look like His.  When that happens He will fulfill every one of our desires, as our heart’s desires begin to match up with His will.  Chances are that when you delight in the Lord your greatest desires will not be for material things but your priority will Him.
Matthew 6:33 (NLT) Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Philippians 4:19 (NLT)  And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
While wealth, status, and material possessions are good things, and there is nothing wrong with any of them, they are temporary and can never really satisfy.  The more material things we have the more we want.  The more prestige we have the more we want.  The more money we have the more we want.  Again there is nothing wrong with any of these things but they are all temporary.  The things of God’s kingdom are the things that will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV) 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Here’s the way Solomon puts it;
Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NLT) “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NLT) 13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14  God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
On the other hand;
1 Timothy 6:6 (NLT) Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.
1 John 2:15-17 (NLT) 15  Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
Material things, prestige, position and the other things the world offers will never completely satisfy or fulfill us.  God is the one who will meet all of our needs.   He will always provide above and beyond our expectations.
John 4:14 (NLT) But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
God will satisfy the desires of anyone who is truly delighting in Him because those desires will be according to His will.  The key to enjoying life is not in getting God to give us what we want. It’s in learning to want, but rather in learning to want what a loving God wants to give us.  When we truly delight ourselves in the Lord, then we desire His will more that our own. Yes, God really does give us the desires of our hearts when we delight ourselves in Him.


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