With all the verses that have been shared throughout September, I’ve been led to look into Psalm 37:4 for myself, specifically – Where it says I can delight myself in the Lord, and He shall give me the desires of my heart.
As I was preparing to write about it, I noticed a subtle ‘also’; it says in the ESV, ‘Delight yourself ALSO in the LORD…’ implying that it isn’t a verse on its own, and meaning I shouldn’t just talk on this verse, but on the verses before it, which paint a bigger picture. What I’m anticipating as I continue to write is something like a road leading to the actual verse I wanted to write about in the first place. Here’s that road.
The Heritage of the Righteous and the Calamity of the Wicked
A Psalm of David.
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
In my meditations – but really, in the streams of thought that are established in my mind throughout the day – I couldn’t avoid seeing social media, and I would be lying to you if I said I’m absolutely not affected by all the bickering I see there. With all that’s going on around the world a majority of the posts I see are either buttering you up and encouraging you to say on the ‘side’ you are inclined to believe is right, or they’re causing you to outright hate the other ‘side’.
I mean, even if I say that Christ ought to be our common ground, obviously there are still some remnants of our old way of thinking that affect the rest of our being. But by looking at this verse I have some sort of backing in determining for myself, those who are truly evil – and by evil I mean those who are beyond our own concepts and assumptions on what that is. Sure, we could see their power, influence, and authority in and out of social media, but we ought to know – rather, we ought to be reminded of a verse supplementary to this one:
Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked,for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.Proverbs 24:19-20
Friends, let us not fret too long over the victories of those who outright refuse to see Christ as the Son of God, the progress of those who absolutely reject Jesus Christ as Lord, and the expansions of those who not only deny but fully oppose Christ’s resurrection from the dead. They may own the past and the present, be we know that they will not have the future… for they do not have A future to begin with, suffering the same fate there is for everyone and everything that has not been reconciled with the Creator of all things who is beyond space and time. It is inevitable; for all the ‘progress’ they claim, it will not stop their lamps from being put out.
…for the devious person is an abomination to the LORD, but the upright are in his confidence.Proverbs 3:32
And the thing is, much as I guess I enjoyed typing that last paragraph, the reality we are in is not spent lording it over who we think is an evildoer or a wicked man… No, I believe that we ought to be celebrating how (1) Christ has guaranteed our being upright, just as much as He is infused into our identity, and (2) we who have been made upright are ‘in (God’s) confidence’; Which I’m assuming means that He has confidence over us.
‘He has confidence over us’ – leads me to say, that just as Christ’s grace and glory would cause us to naturally cast a vote of no-confidence against the flesh (that is, anything that rebels against God), so we are also reminded through His Holy Spirit that He has cast a vote of confidence for us. So much talk about us believing in God and in Christ, and rightly so – but one perspective we ought to consider and celebrate every now and then is the truth that God believes in us, just as a Father believes in His children, whether they do ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.
Again, we ought to be celebrating our right standing with God, more than gloating over who we think is evil and/or wicked.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
Here I was expounding on Psalm 37:1, pulling up other familiar verses, when the verse that follows clearly states, in different form, the futility that awaits those who are apart from Christ. I suppose if they aren’t cut down, perhaps by their own machinations or ultimately the consequences of their own actions, they would naturally fade away, and wither.
Sure, we can lament on the fate of those who would go through great lengths, not only to refuse but to downright rebel against anyone and everyone who would come to the belief of Christ… However, as stated before, I’m thinking it’s much more productive, cost-efficient and just plain easier for us to celebrate Christ and His finished work.
And it’s not as one-dimensional as we think. For the Psalmist writes:
Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
This just speaks to me now by way of realizing – there is no good that can be done apart from trusting in the Lord. Just as we have established in the past that we could not talk about love without talking about God, and we could not talk about God without talking about love, so we say here:
There is no good that can be done apart from trusting in the Lord, and
trusting in the Lord would bring us to do good.
Another way to see this, is perhaps to say that if you are have trouble seeing good, then trust in the Lord; or, if you’re trying a little too hard to figure out what it means to do good in a situation or circumstance, then place your trust in the Lord; remind yourself of His goodness and His greatness, His grace and His glory, His power and His peace.
And in your trusting in the Lord Most High, understand that you are still existing in this fallen and finite reality, where you can be easily blindsided or taken by surprise; Where calamity and catastrophe still reign, and every aspect of your being is tested. To see exactly how twisted, cruel, heartless, hopeless and fallen this land is, and to realize how you are still alive and not only getting by but actually thriving – well, it’s only natural for us who have been saved by Christ, for us who have found ourselves abiding in Him as He abides in us to recognize, appreciate and celebrate God’s faithfulness which is for us, here and now, as ‘here and now’ still exists.
Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
And there it is. The buildup has been done, and I’m not entirely sure I got anything from it, but I had fun anyway. See I’ve been reminded to find even my short-time pleasure in the Lord. I’ve clearly tried vice and I’ve ditched a majority of things I’ve been consuming and revering beyond what they really are, but there are still some things that couldn’t be shaken off so easily. It’s as if I’m delighting in these things, finite as they are, when I know that the Endless and Borderless One, the Creator of Space and Time who Himself is eternal and beyond borders – I know for a fact that there is far more to delight and enjoy in Him.
I’m reminded of what I said once, stirring from what I recall was a severely damaged and broken heart, so many years ago – in all the glorious religious undertones, I told God something to the lines of: “Lord, I won’t tell anyone else that I love them before I hear You tell me that You love me”; or, and I’m leaning more towards this because of religious undertones being considered – “Lord, I won’t tell anyone else that I love them before I tell You that I love You”.
I suppose what I was saying back then was precisely what was prescribed by the Psalmist – for me to delight myself in the Lord, before I delighted myself in someone else.
And, sure, it’s been so long ever since that moment, but have I learned anything since? I ought to be ashamed of myself because I have been delighting in other things, and therefore I haven’t been brought to even realizing the desires of my heart, much less God giving them to me. It’s as if I was already defining my desires of my heart for myself – as if given a choice, there were still things, even after all this time, that I insisted were the desires of my heart, more than the Lord Himself.
But here’s the thing – and I’m thinking there have been more than the usual distractions for me to come to this realization in the hours leading to me typing this tonight, the final night of September 2022 – Even in these moments that I insist on delighting on these persistent ideas, images, memories, and habits, the Lord is STILL and will ALWAYS be with me, never separated from me, constantly keeping me together even when I insist that I still draw some sort of lasting pleasure from these addictions. Even while I am in the middle of these acts of indulgence which have already done so much damage to so many areas of my being… my God, not only do You care for me as I often mention, from 1 Peter 5:7; No, Lord, You STILL desire me. Your very HEART, it STILL desires me, DELIGHTING in me even when I delight in someone or something else (that is, to put someone or something in a place of adoration that only God ought to be in).
In all this I’m feeling as if I’m building a case for myself to finally walk away from all these hindrances that come in the form of old and altered ways of thinking, if only to be more productive and to accomplish a lot more as is to be expected of me in the months to come – and all I’m finding myself typing, even now, is that in spite of all that I’ve done, in spite of all the consequences of my actions, my God delights in me, and through Christ and because of Christ I could bring myself to realizing, accepting, appreciating and celebrating this truth: That His constant desire is in me.
Oh, to imagine Christ in the wilderness, presented with what I suppose are the three greatest temptations to man, by no less than the Accuser and the enemy of all mankind – to imagine how He was already in a predicament by merely being in the wilderness, and now being outright enticed to deny His Godhood, His Lordship, and His Resurrection; I imagine in these moments, that the Spirit that is with Him, this same Spirit that would cause Him to rise from the dead at the appointed time is the same Spirit who would convict Him of His Father’s words to Him on the River – ‘This is My BELOVED Son, in Whom I am WELL PLEASED’.
The Lord, He delights Himself in His beloved.
And He is well pleased with us.
Truly, and indeed, His lovingkindness endures forever.
I’ve tried, and obviously failed, and have suffered, to serve these lies promising pleasure from below. Perhaps it’s time for me to celebrate the love from above. Infinite and eternal, yet willing to be bound within time and space to be as one of us, if only to take the sin and death we deserved, so we would be made righteous unto eternal life, in good and right standing with God. Yes, it’s not simple feat to claim that I are His beloved, and that He is well pleased with me.
Because as mentioned earlier, we couldn’t talk about God without talking about love, and we couldn’t talk about love without talking about God, BUT we simply cannot talk about God’s love without talking about His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and His finished work. In the times when I am tempted, even by the strongest and longest-lasting temptations that I easily fall prey to, it’s in these times that we are brought to remember, that we ARE His beloved, and He IS well pleased with us; Christ willingly paid the greatest price to guarantee that whenever we say this, we aren’t wasting any oxygen.
In the times I am idle, In the times I am bored, I am His beloved. In the moments I see immediate comfort and instant gratification, it’s in those times I am, as always, brought to remember how God is well-pleased, even with someone like me. Indeed, who ARE we that He is so mindful of us?
And, to think of all that I could accomplish – all that I’ve held back on for the longest time because I insisted on what I thought were the desires of my heart. I’m being led now to actually appreciate how we have been given new hearts and obedient hearts, just as I am so confident in saying that we are new creations in Christ.
Perhaps that’s something for another time – To appreciate what the Scripture has to say exactly regarding my new and obedient heart, as the basis for determining my new desires; And I’m calling it as early as now – Because of this new heart I couldn’t talk about desires without delighting in the Lord, just as much as I cannot imagine delighting in the Lord without the desires of my new heart being fulfilled.
To think, indeed, of all that I could accomplish – I was already plotting tasks (both new ones for October and old unfinished ones from September) in Excel, with part of me thinking I’m probably not going to be as compliant as I want to be with the schedule I make for myself. Today, I see what ought to take precedence: To appreciate what the Scripture has to say exactly regarding my new and obedient heart, as the basis, confirmation, or reinforcement for determining my new desires.
Was it enough to just stop here?:
The Lord, He delights Himself in His beloved.
And He is well pleased with us.
Truly, and indeed, His lovingkindness endures forever.
Part of me doesn’t even want to go as far as looking into those new or obedient heart verses, and just wants something to hang on to right now. I mean, I get it, it’s instant gratification. But on the other hand I’m also just thinking that I ought to appreciate it, because apparently I can still appreciate it more. I’ve been saying a lot on how God enjoys us and how He enjoys our presence much as we push each other to enjoy Him and His presence… Here I’m being brought to own it.
And there’s a thought. The Creator of the Universe and all that is seen and unseen, who is beyond time and space as He has made both time and space; This Maker of the stars and the heavens, who spoke light into existence – He delights in me. He knows who I am, He knows all there is to know about me, and He still thought and decided it was good to reconcile me to Him. He knows who I am, He knows me by name, and just as He remembered the thief who was crucified with Him, so He remembered me, assuring me just as He assured the wretched man – ‘You will be with me in paradise’
This same Savior who said those words in His crucifixion, He said after His resurrection, and before His ascension – ‘I am with you, even unto the ends of the earth’. Because of Christ, we come boldly, knowing God delights in us so much to tell us that we are with Him, and that He is well pleased with us, so much to tell us that even in this lifetime and this finite existence, rife with temptations even I fall prey to – That He is with me, to the end of time, and beyond time unto forever.
God delights in me. God enjoys me. God enjoys being present with me, and He enjoys lavishing us with His presence (presents?). I am the desire of His heart. He is pleased with me. He is well pleased with me.
And even in these moments when I’m probably trying too hard to project it for me to take it in… I am thankful, literally because I could just thank God instead of trying to figure it out, probably more than I should.
Thank You, Lord, because You delight in me, and therefore, I can delight in You.
Thank You, Lord, because You enjoy me and you enjoy being present with me, so I can be present and intentional in enjoying You, myself, and others; more than anyone or anything in this finite world could ever claim is enjoyable and delighting.
Thank You, Lord, because as I am the desire of Your heart, so I am able to celebrate, in the face of what else tries to take my desire.
I want to appreciate it to a point that I have something for myself, but as it stands, all I want to do right now is just to enjoy You, and Your presence. I obviously could not contain You, but I am content with trusting You.
I’m not sure I made any sense here, especially in those last paragraphs. I jumped into this third apparent installment of what I’m apparently calling the ‘Transition’ series, and my expectations were more or less met with me writing about how I want to approach the next month/quarter/year with my arrangements with the kids and the congregation… not as satisfied as I expected on this but maybe the entire point was to delight more than to expect.
It was good to write, now good to share.
Until the next post, God bless you. Have a good weekend.
Cause all I know is
Everything I have means nothing
Jesus if You’re not my one thing
Everything I need right now
All I need is You right now