Let me tell you about the time I wanted to go to a Christina Aguilera concert. It was my matric year and anyone who knows me know that I am a huge fan. She is honestly one the best vocalists of my time (no need commenting on this, I’m on my Van Gough). When I found out she was coming to South Africa, my heart couldn’t take. I pleaded with my dad to let me go, I wanted to go so bad, honestly it was all my heart desired, and well……I settled with a DVD of her tour.
How about you? Can you think of a time when you desired something, maybe a new book from your favourite author? While you desired it, where you desiring food? Or new shoes? Or fame? No. In that moment, all you desired with your whole heart was the book.
For some time now I’ve been really stuck on the scripture that speaks of the desires of our hearts……you all know what scripture I’m talking about. Psalm 37:4, say it with me now, “delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart”.
This scripture has been the go to scripture concerning everything we ask from God, always backed up with “your word says you will give me the desires of my heart”. Have you ever been puzzled by a scripture verse, wondering what it means, and if God is really true to his word? I mean, there seem to be cases where the Bible makes a promise or a statement of cause and effect, but it doesn’t seem to work very well in life. The first half of this scripture talks about “delighting yourself in the Lord” and a lot of Christians “work” diligently at it, being careful to snuff out passions that might prevent them “delighting myself” in God. Thing is, this doesn’t work out very well. The harder we try, the more we have to admit that the source of much of our delight was not God.
The Hebrew word translated “delight” (pronounced aw-nag) literally means to be delicate or feminine. It carries the idea of being pliable or sensitive. In this particular context, it means to be dependent upon God and to derive one’s pleasure from Him.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
The term translated “desires” (pronounced mish-aw-law) refers to petitions or requests. In Hebrew thought, the heart was primarily the seat of the inner man. It was the source of the will. In other words, the Psalmist tells us that God will honor our delighting in Him by graciously giving us what we are asking of Him from the very depths of our being.
Our hearts are always full of desires. Whether it’s desire for food, or friends, or God, or sex – at every waking moment we are always desiring something. But if we argue from Psalm 37:4 that “God will give you anything you want,” we miss the whole point of the verse. Yes, this verse does promise that the Lord “will give you your heart’s desires.” But notice the context, That promise comes after an imperative: “Take delight in the LORD.” If we put our delight in God, then he will give us the desires of our heart
If we delight in God, if we focus on God’s nature, if we love God with all that we are, we’ll discover that the desires of our heart will be transformed. We will stop being so concerned about our own “stuff,” even our own well-being. Instead, we will start to yearn for the things of God, for his truth and peace, for his justice and mercy. Our desires will begin to reflect God’s own desires for us and for this world. Thus we will want what God wants, and he will give that which is according to His will.
All through scripture we see examples where people were not given the desires of their heart. Take Job, for example. Job was the most righteous man in the world (Job 1:8), which meant he delighted in the Lord. And surely Job desired that God would immediately heal the boils on his body. But God did not give Job this desire of his heart (Job 2:8). Think also of David. David delighted in the Lord. And David desired to build a temple to the Lord. But God did not give David this desire of his heart (1 Chronicles 17:1-4). Or take Paul. Paul also delighted in the Lord. And Paul desired that God remove his thorn in the flesh. But God did not give Paul this desire of his heart (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). So the Bible does not show God fulfilling all the desires of everyone who delights in him. But the Bible does show that if we delight in the Lord, then he will fully satisfy us in himself (Psalm 73:25-26).
Strangely enough, intimacy with God both satisfies our deepest longing and intensifies that longing. So as we learn to enjoy God’s presence, our heart’s desires will be increasingly focused on God. We will seek him above all and, by his grace, find him. Thus God will give us the desires of our heart . . . for more of him! So you see, when we seek God, the focus of our lives will be on God. But what about those “desires of my heart”? The more I draw near to him, the more he becomes the delight of my life. And in this, the more the “desires of my heart” become the desires of his heart.
The central longing of my heart has quietly shifted, without overt choosing on my part; from all the things I thought were important in life to one thing: knowing – really knowing and serving the One True and Living God, the God who loves me and delights in me far more than I ever could in him.
So, I guess it’s true: He is giving me the desires of my heart