Belief vs Value

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. - Psalm 37:4

Many believers struggle with this verse due to hours of prayer seemingly left unanswered. The spirit-filled life can quickly become the struggle-filled life when we read this passage of Scripture as a “blank check” for the believer. If we hold the belief that all one must do is delight themselves in God and He will begin to fulfill their every wish, we will quickly face frustration. Unfortunately, many believers get the cart before the horse so-to-speak and make a serious attempt to “love” God enough to get what they want. This misguided venture is often fueled by the further mishandling of Scripture as they find the route to accomplishing their goal to be the keeping of commandments. Jesus Himself said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) The natural man uses his flawed logic to decipher that the fulfillment of his desires is directly linked to his fulfillment of God’s commands. This legalistic bartering system with God is far detached from the intent of the writer.
It's amazing where we can take Scripture when we start off on the wrong foot. This is where the battle between belief and value takes place. Our requests to God must be more than a belief that He can answer prayers. We do not wish upon our God’s ability as one who makes a wish when blowing the seeds from a dandelion or blowing out candles from a birthday cake. We can believe in God, that He desires good for us, and that we are meant to please Him and be 100% correct in our belief but also 100% wrong in what we value. The progression described above values the carnal desires of man. When our highest value is our good, our God no longer holds first place in our lives. Our beliefs can lead us toward a false version of God, serving only our interests and not considering that God Almighty is to be valued above all things. How then can one read Psalm 37:4 correctly? By learning to delight in the Lord rather than what He can potentially do for us.
The Psalmist begins this verse with what is most important. Notice the verse does not begin with “Believe in the Lord…” The believer would do well to read the first phrase in this verse and meditate on it before continuing. What does it mean to delight? Does this mean simply finding joy in something, or is there more? When something gives us delight, we have already found joy in it. Our delight comes from knowledge of and proximity to what brings us joy. Our relationship with the Lord – this speaks to who He is rather than what He does – should be one of delight. When this value system is properly in place, our hearts and minds are no longer drawn to the fulfillment of our carnal desires, because the Lord is our one desire. This changes how we finish the verse.
This psalm then, becomes a promise of transformation through relationship with God rather than the pathway for pleasure-seeking through self-important thinking and prayer. A quick word study also reveals that the second portion of this verse lines up with this idea completely. The Hebrew translated here as “and He will give” is nathan. This literally means “to put” or “to set”. The promise here is not one of fulfillment of desires but of the setting or giving of the desires to the one taking delight in the Lord. These desires, placed within those who delight themselves in the Lord, are in line with the person of the Lord rather than the carnal nature of man. To put it another way, our whole value system changes when the Lord becomes our highest value. The belief that God can give you what you want should never trump the Lord being your greatest desire. Verse 5 of Psalm 37 tells us that if we commit ourselves to the Lord and trust in Him, He will act on our behalf. This is not to give us what we want, but rather to make our righteousness shine like the dawn, which is what He wants for us. Delight yourself in the Lord and be transformed by Him. Allow Him to determine what you value, and you’ll be sure to have what He values, and this is what you will want.

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:21

1 Comment

Susan Cain - October 26th, 2023 at 10:15am