February 12 2023
Today, Sunday February 12
“Delight Yourself in the LORD”
“Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. 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.”
Psalm 37 is one of those special Psalms that help us deal with the evil in the world around us. I often hear people say, “I just don’t understand how someone can do something like that and think they can get by with it!” The truth is that we can only begin to understand it when we know the truth of God’s Word and the depravity of the human heart that all began in the Garden of Eden with the first sin (Romans 5:12).
These first eight verses of this Psalm would be good to memorize and dwell on if you really want to enjoy life, despite the evil going on all around you! After David gives us one negative instruction, "Don't fret" (v. 1), he follows up with four positive things we should do: “Trust in the LORD and do good” (v. 3), “delight in the LORD” (v. 4), “commit your way to the LORD” (vv. 5-6), and “rest in the Lord” (v. 7).
As I said yesterday, the first encouragement is to, “Trust in the LORD”, which if we do, it will help us accomplish the other three. I remember the old hymn that I think really says is all, “Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but the trust and obey.” Faith, trust and obedience in the LORD will definitely keep us on the right track in life and pretty much take care of everything else!
David also said we should also “do good and dwell in the land” (v. 3). Some of God's people were tempted to leave the land, which was tantamount to saying that God wasn't faithful and couldn't be trusted. But David urged them to stay in the land and trust God for what they needed (v. 27). Each tribe, clan, and family in Israel had its assigned inheritance which was not to pass into other hands, and the Lord promised to care for the land of the faithful (vv. 9, 11, 22, 29, 34). The promise in verse 3 is variously translated: "enjoy safe pastures", "feed on His faithfulness", and "enjoy security". If we are faithful to God, He will be faithful to us.
A good example of failing to “dwell in the land” is found in Ruth 1. There was a famine in the land and there was no bread in Bethlehem where Elimelech and his wife Naomi lived. So he took his wife and their two sons and “left the land” and went to the land of Moab. It wasn’t long before tragedy struck and Elimelech dies, and both of their sons die also. Naomi goes back to the land broken and bitter. Maybe David had this story in mind when he wrote this. We can never run from our problems because they will follow us! We should determine to grow where the Lord has planted us! Sometimes that might mean that we should stay in the church where the Lord led us, despite the hypocrites, the gossips, the lazy, the indifferent, and the contentious. Quit dwelling on them and the problems and “feed on His faithfulness”!
Then David tells us to, “Delight yourself also in the LORD” (v. 4). The word translated "delight" comes from a root that means "to be brought up in luxury, to be pampered." It speaks of the abundance of the blessings we have in the Lord Himself, totally apart from what He gives us. To enjoy the blessings and ignore the Blesser is to practice idolatry. In Jesus Christ, we have all God's treasures, and we need no other. If we truly delight in the Lord, then the chief desire of our heart will be to know Him better so we can delight in Him even more, and the Lord will satisfy that desire! This is not a promise for people who want "things," but for those who want more of God in their lives.
I want to finish our chat today with the first stanza from a hymn written by a great missionary statesman in the nineteenth-century, A.B. Simpson:
Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.
Once the gift I wanted, Now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.
Today, are you delighting in the Blesser more than the blessings?