Psalm 37:3-5 “Trust in the Lord, and do good: dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”
~ The Lord has woven these verses intricately into every fiber of my unpredictable journey. Don’t we all have one of these verses, one that breathes life back into doubting hearts? Whenever uncertainties about my future cloud the fragile corners of my wandering thoughts, this verse shows up in a teaching or a conversation with a friend. When I’m struggling with those situations in my life that seem to hang in limbo and I don’t know what the Lord is going to do or even how He would have me to deal with them, I see it written on a coffee mug or catch a glimpse of it on the TV screen. When I’m at my end and feel as though I’ve been completely emptied, I hear it on the radio or read it in a book. He brings this verse before my eyes when I least expect it and it fills me with hope and renews my failing spirit.
“Feed on His faithfulness”
~ There is something so comforting in these words. He is asking us simply to be still and rest, watching Him come through for us. We think of being faithful in more shallow terms, I think. We think of it as being committed and not straying in a romantic relationship or having a friend’s back in a complicated situation. Because we base so much of our lives on ‘feelings’ and judge our situations the same way, we become quick to doubt God’s faithfulness. We fail to see the immensity of what true faithfulness is and how often He comes through for us without us even realizing He was at work. It is literally who He is, not just an aspect of His character. 11 Timothy 2:13 says “If we are faithless, He remains faithful-for He cannot deny Himself.” His commitment to us isn’t dependent on what we bring to the table (because lets be real, we have nothing of worth outside of Him). He is or Knight in Shining Armor, our Warrior, and the Lover of our soul. He is fighting for us and going before us and interceding for us. He is faithful to close doors that will take us down paths that will harm us and gently direct our unsteady steps on this uphill journey we are all struggling though together. These few words remind me that, even if I can’t see Him moving, He is hard at work keeping His promise to supply all my needs according to His good grace and all I need do is rest in His strong arms.
“Delight yourself in the Lord”
~ Sometimes I tend to skip over this profound statement and go right to “and He shall give you the desires of your heart”. I mean, we all want that, right? We want God to give us everything our desperately wicked heart yearns for. But, if we neglect to fully understand and really learn how to apply those first 5 seemingly insignificant words, we are never going to understand how much God really wants to give us.
~ To delight means to be enchanted with, captivated by, find joy in, take pleasure in, be entranced by, ect. Can we honestly say this is how we feel about our Savior? Are we so captivated by Him we think about Him for hours and crave time in His presence? Are we enchanted by the beauty of His character and strength of His love?
~ So many times I’ve gotten tripped up by trying to figure out how to delight myself in the Lord. It’s easy to talk about the importance of it, but not so easy trying to understand it and live it out. It often seems like a cruel riddle we will forever be trying to understand but never quite attaining the answer to. One of my closest friends and I have hashed this one out several times. One night, she texted me and shared a verse with me, and this verse was the key to our deep musings. Isaiah 58:13b-14 “Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. 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!”
~ To truly delight in Him, He only asks three things of us…
~ 1. To take a day to celebrate Him and take rest in Him. We make light of this day so often, we forget how important it is to our Savior. Over and over in the Bible He asks that His people just give Him that one day, one day to be refreshed and filled up, one day to sit quietly and listen, one day to get lost in praise to the Father, one day to fellowship with other believers. The Lord puts great weight in this because He knows how badly we need to be encouraged and renewed. We somehow have adapted this mindset that is if we aren’t constantly on go, if we aren’t constantly stressed out by the plethora of demands we have allowed to be placed on us, we are in some way failing. Please rest. Please let Him breathe life back into your weary heart. All He asks is for one day.
~ 2. Don’t follow after our own desires. I love that He didn’t say don’t have desires, He says don’t follow after our own desires. It’s not wrong to have hopes and dreams, it’s what we do with them that define whether or not we make them an idol that causes us to stumble or whether we bring them to our Perfect Provision and leave them in His capable hands. His hopes and dreams for us are so much grander than our fleshly minds can imagine. The desires I had as a child and teenager are still there. I still hope the Lord has written them into the poem of my life. But I no longer seek them out in my own strength. Please believe me when I say that giving them into His compassionate hands takes this weight off you and allows you to see things through refined eyes. Letting the Author of creation hold the pen that lovingly composes the sonata in which your life plays out is beautiful. I know what I’m asking isn’t’t easy. Giving up control is one of the hardest things to do. I’m sure your thinking, ‘how the heck do I just let go of the desires that I’ve held on to so tightly?” that’s the question we all ask when confronted with this arduous task. I can’t give you a step by step instructional on how to do this, but I can share with you my own battle. The things I did (and still do) were very simple really. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. I also removed whatever I needed to that cause me to stumble and fall back into making this an idol in my life. I seek encouragement from godly friends when I’m feeling weak and need to be reminded of why I’m in this battle. I ask the Lord to renew my heart, to make me a force to be reckoned with for His kingdom and grace to continually bring my heart’s desires to Him and not search it out in my own strength.
~ 3. Don’t talk idly. Oh boy. This one is just as tough as not following our own desires. Idly means ‘with no particular purpose, reason or foundation’. Our words should mean something. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness. No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity. They hatch adders’ eggs; they weave the spider’s web; he who eats their eggs dies, and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched.” Isaiah 59:1-5. Our words are taken so seriously by our Savior. Especially because we are His representation to the nations. If people were to answer honestly, would they say that you are an encouraging person, always edifying and lifting others up? Would they say your words are laced with kindness and sincerity? Would they say your words are vulgar and occasionally offensive? Would they say they are hurtful and abusing? We need to ask ourselves these questions and guard the words coming out of our mouth like the souls of those around us depend on it.
“Trust in the Lord”… “trust also in Him”
~ This is said at the beginning of verse three and the end of verse five. I think this is something the author knew would need to be constantly repeated because of how very hard it is for us to trust. Most of us have lived enough life to have become very guarded and distrusting, and I have seen in my own life how often that carries over into my relationship with the Lord. Trusting in God is our anchor. When we trust Him, our faith doesn’t get rocked easily. When we trust Him, we can hope in His promises. When we trust Him, we can see the wonder of His faithfulness. When we trust Him, we get to rest in His peace. This word that we often don’t take time to really think about in regards to our relationship with our Father is the key to our growth, our contentment, our understanding, our ability to stand on His promises and be bathed in His mercy and grace. Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
~ These scriptures are so full of life and knowledge and encouragement for me. The words so thoughtfully written flood my weary heart with conviction and hope and truth and grace and love. The beauty of its simplicity and the weight of its complexity lead me to the foot of the cross where I receive healing and restoration and an overabundance of mercy that He gives unreservedly to His beloved.