For children, delight is easy to come by. A new toy. Recess. A trip to the zoo. A loose tooth. Christmas. Yes, each of these things and many more bring a gleam to the eye and a smile to the face of youngsters across the globe. But in the grown-up world of jobs, traffic, deadlines, and bills, delight is harder to come by. Perhaps that’s why so many of us struggle with the concept of delighting in the Lord. We want to be happy and joyful. We want to sing praises and give worship to God because we know He’s worthy. But how do we force ourselves to feel delighted when the emotion isn’t there?
“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
— Psalm 37:4
Does anybody else cringe when reading this verse? Delight thyself also in the Lord. Up to this point in the chapter, the psalmist (under the inspiration of God) has ordered, “Don’t worry, don’t be envious of others, trust in the Lord, and do good." And then, on top of everything else, he continues, “And delight yourself in the Lord.” Seriously? I can’t even get the first command in check, and now you want me to smile and praise like I don’t have a care in the world? I read that verse, and instead of finding comfort, I see one more demand on my time, energy, and resources. But more than that, I see one more area in which I feel like a spiritual failure.
This morning, however, I took the time to dig into the meaning behind the command, and I discovered something that changes everything. Once again, I had limited God’s Word to my feeble understanding by concluding the word “delight” meant only one thing—to be happy. But if you study it out, you’ll find the word actually has multiple meanings, and those other meanings transform this command into a reprieve or respite.
The Hebrew word translated “delight” means “to be happy about; to be soft and pliable; to be pampered.” Yes, the Lord wants us to be happy in Him and to experience joy in His presence. He longs for us to desire and obey Him, to long to please Him. But, it goes beyond that. He also wants to see us soft and pliable, as clay in the Potter’s hands, ready and willing to be molded as He sees fit. The good news for us here is that we don’t have to do the work. We only have to be willing to allow God to work in and through us. We don’t have to determine the how or why, nor do we have to figure out how to make everything come together as we feel it should. God does the work. He is the Potter, and we are the clay.
Better still, to delight in the Lord is to be pampered by Him. We rarely think of the Lord pampering us, but isn’t that precisely what He does when He pours down blessings on us time after time. He responds to our every cry and meets our every need. When He asks us to delight in Him, He does not intend to burden us with another item on our to-do list but rather to invite us to rest in His presence and allow Him to lavish attention on us. Think about it for a moment. One-on-one time with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That’s something special—remarkable even. And we’re invited to spend time in His presence anytime we want for as long as we want. We can talk, listen, or just enjoy the silence. God offers us a time to come away from the world—the grown-up world of jobs, traffic, deadlines, and bills—and to reunite with delight.
Delight thyself in the Lord. It's more than an emotion. It's a choice. A choice to rejoice even when we don't feel like it. A choice to allow God to mold and make us into what He wants us to be. And a choice to rest in His embrace and allow Him to pour out His goodness upon us. Now that I understand it fully, I think I can do that. How about you?