12/6/08

He's Delightful.

The book of Psalms. Chapter 37. Verse 4. Know this one? If you cut your first baby teeth on the edge of a church pew like I did, you may just have it engraved in your brain. 'Cause we love us some promise.

"Delight yourself in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart."


This oft-quoted verse was penned by David as divinely-inspired encouragement to longing, hopeful hearts, and it's a beautiful reminder of our Father's love.

But there's more.

Encouraging the downtrodden in times of trouble is something that we, as ambassadors of Jesus, should do well and often. It's all a part of living His love. But sometimes, we carelessly toss around Ps. 37:4 as a pat-phrase response to very real problems. But in doing so, we relegate Jesus to genie-in-a-bottle status. It goes something like this [cue commercial announcer voice]:

'Are you pining for your special someone?
Are you desperate for a new job?
Really, really,
really want that solo? Aww, honey,
you delight yourself in the Lord and just see what happens!'


Psalm 37 has a lot more to say about taming the wild, frantic beatings of a heart desperate for answers. Cue verses 5-8:

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Don't fret. Trust in Him. He will make your righteousness [that's you, hanging on when questions and fears whirl around your mind at the speed of light] shine like the dawn. I love that, y'all. Dawn is the brilliant awakening of the sun after a dark, dark night. Is that not a promise to sink your tether into? I'm just sayin'.

But here's where a lot of people stop paying attention. It's much easier to believe that our current wishes will be fulfilled than to face the painful truth that we may be wishing for the wrong things.

It's even harder to fight the fear that He's not really delighted in us, that our righteousness is paltry and insignificant, and that we'll never know the fulfillment that we dream of.

Oh, stop it, you. Don't act like you don't know. It happens to all of us. It's that whole human thing.

Stick it out to the end, though. Verses 39 and 40 are the closing lines:

The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Jesus isn't measuring your righteousness and providing your wishes according to how full your righteous meter is. He's promising you this: if you run to Him for refuge, He will take your confusion and your agony and sing to you a song of hope.

And those wishes? Prince Charming, the solo, the job? Maybe they'll be fulfilled exactly like you plan. Maybe they'll be provided in different ways.

The promise to cling to, though, is that we'll see the hand of Jesus when the dawn breaks and the answers to our hopes and dreams are illuminated in the shining light of our Refuge.

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[the alohilana blog] by R. Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at alohilana.blogspot.com.