Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. -Psalm 37:4
a. I was going through a dry spell. A tough period and I was getting increasingly frustrated to the point one day I said this is not what I signed up for. This is not the desire of my heart to go through this. I got one of those little prompts: That is not what the Bible says. OK, delight thyself in the Lord and He will give thee the desires of thy heart. Ok, what am I missing? The little prompt came back saying that it is still not right. OK, I’ll show you let’s look this up. And can you believe I was wrong. The Bible does not say that. What the Bible says is: Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. So I missed a little four letter word, no big deal right, WRONG! As I meditated on the psalm I realized it was a pretty big miss on my part.
b. So I learned a few things, some I have been led to share tonight with you. If we are in a place of desert and not desires there can be three problems (ok, there can be a lot of problems, but we will deal with three of them here tonight): There is a heart problem, we do not really understand what delight is, or we are missing the also’s.
II. A Matter of the Heart
a. The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? –Jeremiah 17:9. First fact: Our hearts are wicked.
b. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. –Psalm 51:10. Second fact: We cannot change our hearts. The best we can try to do is turn over a new leaf. The only problem with a leaf that turns over once, it will keep turning over again and again every time the wind blows. I like how C.S. Lewis put it in his book, Mere Christianity:
i. If I am a field of grass I can never produce a single kernel of wheat. I can be kept trimmed and looking good but I will still produce nothing but grass. If I want wheat I must be torn up, turned and re sown with wheat seed.
c. Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. -2 Corinthians 5:17
i. This newness comes at salvation.
ii. This newness does not come easy some will resist it. It is a change and people by nature seem to resist change. It can seem frightening. Take a look at these toy soldiers. I remember playing with ones like these when I was young and I remember imagining what they were real, but think about the transformation. As their hard plastic changed to soft flesh they may thing you were trying to kill them and would resist the change. You may think this an odd illustration but the sinner who is being convicted by the Holy Spirit is going to be asked to repent of what he is and turn himself over to a God he does not know yet.
iii. Repentance needs to change us. We are new creatures. Repentance that does not change us has not changed us. There needs to be signs of growth and change. A baby is cute when she is three months old. A child in the same condition at 12 years would seem tragic.
iv. There is a difference between sorrow and repentance. We can be sorry we got caught. We can be sorry we hurt someone. Sorrow can lead to repentance but is not repentance. (For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. -2 Corinthians 7:10)
d. The sower soweth the word. these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive [it], and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. –Mark 4:14-20
e. Here we see four hearts. The difference is in the soil in this parable, the seed is always the same (The Word of God (Luke 8:11) They are:
f. The Unsaved Heart: Did not receive the seed so they lost it.
g. The Immature Heart: Received the word. But with gladness also. But when things don’t go their way, they’re gone.
i. Offence at the Word: A man complained to his pastor at the front door of the sanctuary on the way out he said “Every time I come here it is the same thing, either Christmas or the resurrection!”
ii. If we seem to hear the same thing week after week it can be because God is trying to tell us something. Like when we were spending so much time in the book of Acts (one month in Children’s’ church, Sunday School, Pastor’s preaching) God is trying to get me moving in this visitation program.
h. The Carnal or Worldly Heart: Allows other things to come up to distract them and they become choked up and not fruitful.
i. The Mature Heart: They hear, receive, and become fruitful.
III. It depends on what the definition of “is” is.
a. The intriguing thing is there are several words translated desire:
b. chaphets2654: Take pleasure in. This is a broad kind of term and can cover anything good (as in the Giants beating the Cowboys, the Jaguars beating the Cowboys, anybody beating the Cowboys) or bad (like when David desired to count the troops)
c. Ratsown1 -7522: Pleased with, delight, enjoy. I liken this to a parent delighting when their child does well.
d. Anag1-6026: That is the one used here and is not used often. It actually means soft or pliable. Think back to when you first started dating and you found the one and you desired to spend time with them and you found yourself slicking your hair back, the “sniff and stick test” was not good enough but you wore clean clothes for her. When you found out her favorite flower she got them. “No, I don’t want to see ‘Terminator’; ‘When Harry Met Sally’ is just fine.”
e. This pliability is the characteristic of good clay
f. Hard, unyielding clay is a sign of an immature or carnal heart, it has and attitude like: Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? –Isaiah 29:16
g. In contrast the mature heart: But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. -Isaiah 64:8
IV. Seven Also’s
Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against 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; [so] shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring [it] to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked [shall] not [be]: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it [shall] not [be]. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. –Psalm 37:1-11
a. Fret Not (Three Times!) My Dakes’s Bible translates this phrase as “heat not thyself with vexation” or a more modern phrase may be “don’t get yourself worked up into a lather”, don’t obsess over the situation.
i. What are we fretting over? What is occupying our minds to the point of distraction? We are not to ignore our problems in hope it will go away but not let them take us down either.
ii. Because of evildoers: over the wicked and their success. Remember all they are going to get is what they get in this life.
iii. Don’t be tempted to be like them! Shall we sin that grace may about, God forbid!Jesus goes on and tells us not to worry about things like clothes or food (Matthew 6:24-34) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Through verse 29). This is not a call to laziness or irresponsibility but a reassurance that God will take care of us.
b. Trust in The Lord
i. “I Am with Thee”
At one time a man of refinement was sentenced to spend twenty-four hours in an underground cell in an old English prison. The steps of the wardens died away in the distance. The man felt that before long terror would drive him mad. Then suddenly there came the sound of footsteps above, and in a quiet tone the chaplain called him by name. “God bless you,” gasped the poor fellow. ”Are you there?” said the chaplain, “and I am not going away from here until you come out.” “Why, I don’t mind it a bit now, with you there like that.” The terror was gone while his friend was so near, unseen, yet just above.
And so beside us all is the unseen yet loving Saviour.
c. Do Good: When you are going through a bit of a rough time one of the best ways to forget about a problem is to help someone else in theirs. Jesus touched the leper when he could have just said, be thou clean. (Matthew 8:2-3)
d. Commit Yourself: and He will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5): During the 1930s, 250 men were holding the ropes to a dirigible (an airship similar to a blimp) to keep it from floating away. Suddenly a gust of wind caught one end of the dirigible, lifting it high off the ground. Some of the men immediately let go of their ropes and fell safely to the ground. Others panicked, clinging firmly to the end of their ropes as the nose of the dirigible arose to greater heights. Several men who couldn’t keep holding on fell and were seriously injured. One man, however, continued to dangle high in the air for forty-five minutes until he was rescued. Reporters later asked him how he was able to hold on to the rope for so long. “I didn’t hold on to the rope,” he replied. “I just tied it around my waist, and the rope held on to me.” Instead of trying to hold on to God, let God hold on to you.
e. Rest in The Lord
f. Wait Patiently on The Lord
i. We live in a society that seems to have the dual values of praising the workaholic and having no patience. A 90-hour workweek with the stress it brings (My first management job was at a national pharmacy chain. A 50 hour/5.5 day work week grew to a 7 day/75 hour work week with a 3 hour daily commute as I worked towards my quest of becoming a regional manager. I had my first ulcer by the time I was 21. I was a manager and I worked hard for it, I earned it and nobody was going to deny it to me!)
g. Cease From anger/Forsake Wrath. We want God to get them now! But God is not willing that any will perish but all come to repentance.
V. What happened to My Desires?
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. –1 Corinthians 12:7-9
a. I was attending a workshop one time my employer required on stress management. One of the most significant things I remembered the teacher telling us is: we are not the center of the universe, or it is not all about me.
b. I hear a preacher one time said this: seek God’s face not His hands. Our main concern needs to be delighting in the Lord not our desires.
c. God knows the deepest desires of our hearts. He will get us what we need just as He did for Paul. (See passage above.)
d. Also as we grow up our desires will change. I did not grow up to play center field for the Yankees but as I grew up my desires changed and what I got now is a lot better.
e. Desires go beyond the temporal. It is not about driving a caddie or living in a 9000 square foot mansion (I am not condemning this, if you have either of these that is good for you but it is not the center of my desires). From personal experience two of the deepest desires of my heart are for acceptance and peace.
i. Peace, v.11. When you don’t have peace nothing else matters.
ii. Acceptance. I remember growing up I was not much of an athlete and I would be one of the last two or three picked every time. I would have given about anything back then to be picked first on a team, to be accepted as one of them. God has gone beyond that: He has made us accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6)
a. We all go through some tough times. God will never leave us that is His promise to us. Why do we seem to forget Him when tough times come? We stop praying, reading and forsake church just when we need Him the most.
i. Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. –Ecclesiastes 5:1
ii. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them. –Ecclesiastes 12:1
b. We do not have to go through this alone.
c. We delight in God not because we want our desires met but because we desire Him. It goes back to the heart issue.
d. It may seem like a lot here today but don’t forget the main points:
i. Delight in the Lord
ii. Remember the Also’s
iii. It’s not about our desires, it is about God. Romans 8:28-29 (And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren) the point is to become like Jesus not what we can get.
e. A closing Thought:
The Bridge You’ll Never Cross
Fret not–He loves you (John 13:1) Faint not–He holds you (Psalm 139:10) Fear not–He keeps you (Psalm 121:5)
f. If anyone here is lacking peace, desiring acceptance, or just has a care he needs to lay at the feet of God we are going to have a time of invitation now and you can come down and lay your cares before the Lord.
g. This sermon is primarily for those who are saved. If you are not saved, why not? You can not have real peace without a relationship with Jesus.
Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (
Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.