Delighting in God

One of several tables at our wedding reception that my mom catered mostly by herself!

Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you thedesires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been looking at Psalm 37 in my Bible study time. This morning, the question was posed, “What does it mean to ‘delight yourself in the LORD?'” I thought I had that figured out. Simply put, it means to enjoy Him! That’s not wrong, but since the question was posed, I thought maybe I should try to look and see if there was something deeper that I might be missing. First I went to the Strong’s Dictionary on my phone. It told me that the word “delight” was “anog” in the Hebrew and that it meant “to be soft, delicate, dainty.” How in the world does being soft, delicate, or dainty tie in with enjoying something? I then went to Crosswalk and found further definitions that made a little more sense. “To be dainty of habit or pampered.” “To be happy about, take exquisite delight in.”

While that lined up with my original understanding of the verse, I was still curious if I was missing a little something more. The Treasury of David commentary gave a word picture.

 Every name, attribute, word, or deed of Jehovah, should be delightful to us, and in meditating thereon our soul should be as glad as is the epicure who feeds delicately with a profound relish for his dainties. (Emphasis mine)

This visual of a food lover carefully and purposefully creating and indulging in his delicacies brought the idea home for me. I thought of my mom, who is an amazing cook and baker. She seems to truly enjoy every moment of creating the foods she serves — even the grocery shopping. She travels over an hour to go to the grocery stores and farmers market that she has learned will have the exact items she wants in the best quality. She picks the choicest meat, produce, and herbs and spices. Then she puts them together in the way and the order that will bring out the best flavors and textures. The time is not tiring or wasteful to her. She truly enjoys doing all this. And her joy is complete when she serves the food to others and sees that they enjoy the fruits of her labor. But her labor isn’t best when devoured quickly. It’s best when the person takes time to enjoy the appearance and the aroma. It’s best when each morsel is chewed slowly so that the flavors fill the mouth and the excellent texture is noticed.

It is in this way that we delight in God! We are to carefully and purposefully enjoy Him,  enjoy laboring for His fruit, and enjoy His fruit in others. I think of times when I have done an act of service supposedly for Him, but in the end I was tired, glad it was done, and possibly thought of things that would have been a “better” use of my time and energy. And I know that I wasn’t delighting in God. If I had been, He would have given me the desires of my heart, joy and peace. It’s really what we all want — to be happy. To enjoy life. To not be stressed. We may desire stuff, relationships, and more, but truthfully we just want those things so that we might be happier or more at peace. Our solution is simple, delight in God! He will fill the desire for joy and peace, though it may not be the way we think we want or expect.

This begs the question, “how do we delight in God?” The verses leading into this verse instruct three things. Don’t fret, don’t be envious of wrongdoers, and trust God. The verse following instructs us to commit our way to Him and trust Him and He will do it. He will do what? Give us the desires of our heart! So we show our delight in Him

  1. By not fretting (ouch, I fret over everything!). If we are fretting, then we aren’t trusting Him who is worthy to be trusted and able to do all things!
  2. By not being envious of the wrongdoers. Do you ever wish you had the nice home, yard, or car that a neighbor who’s not a believer has? Read more in Psalm 37, you’ll discover that the wrongdoer, the wicked, the evil will be cut off. You’ll have an inheritance forever. We may or may not see abundance in our finances and stuff now, but we will have abundance in eternity! And as believers, we have all the riches of Christ! Why should we envy those whose only riches are are perishing?
  3. By trusting God.

The life of religion lies much in a believing reliance on God, his favour, his providence, his promise, his grace, and a diligent care to serve him and our generation, according to his will. We must not think to trust in God and then live as we list. No; it is not trusting God, but tempting him, if we do not make conscience of our duty to him. Nor must we think to do good, and then to trust to ourselves, and our own righteousness and strength. No; we must both trust in the Lord and do good.                              — Matthew Henry Commentary

4. By committing our way to Him.

This post has gotten far longer than I intended, so I’ll leave with this final thought from The Treasury of David.

Think what he is, and what you are; and at once, both wonder and yield. And what else have you to delight in? what thing will you name that shall supply the place of GOD, or be to you in the stead of him? Moreover, who should delight in him but you — his friends, his sons, those of his own house?

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