I switch gears for a few days. I don’t want to let the one-another verses wear out their welcome. We will get back to them.
I thought I’d share a favorite verse of mine today, actually a pair of verses found in Psalm 37 – Psalm 37:3-4.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
I share this passage often with people in anxious situations. I have been going to it a fair bit myself lately. The verses before and after are also great. You should read them. Psalm 37 once a day keeps the terrors at bay.
Trust….this is what we have been talking about all through Hebrews 11 and 12. Only as we actively and consciously entrust our lives to the One who knows and loves us do we find peace and purpose.
Do good…We don’t just sit there trusting and otherwise doing nothing. Rather we commit ourselves to doing – to doing good. In the context of the Psalm this means a choice not to respond to the evil doers trying to undo the Psalmist. God will take care of the evil doer; he, the Psalmist, is to commit his energy to being and to doing good – those things which please God. So often in face of temptation, pressure, persecution, or just old fashioned anxiety, we act in a way aimed against the source of our troubles in order to circumvent their impact on us. This usually ends badly and does not glorify God.
Dwell in the land….This has a double meaning I think. There is the obvious physical reality and wisdom of committing your energies to where you are, not where you aren’t. When anxious, when unsure, don’t go anywhere, stay put and do good things there. Dwell there, make your habitation there. Dig in, grow roots, commit. This physical sense of dwelling is a necessary corollary to doing good. People who flit about in body or heart never really do much good. But this idea of “dwelling” also speaks to our true and deeper dwelling place with Christ. Life in the land has been replaced in a sense by life in Christ. Dwell with Him. Stay put with and in Him while the storms of life roar about.
Befriend faithfulness…..Make faithfulness to God and to His word and to your church-mates, neighbors, and employers – make that way of faithfulness your friend. Get to know faithfulness well. Become intimate with it. Be a faithful person.
Delight yourself in the Lord….I love this couplet – the pair of half verses starting here. It holds in many ways the secret of Life itself. We are to make the Lord our delight. We are to set our hearts and affections and hopes upon Him. We are to seek to please Him above all others. We are to look to His provision and His reward.
And He will give you the desires of your heart…..OK, here is what this does not mean: write down all the things you want and desire, hang out with God a while, and then he will then give you all you want.
As we delight ourselves in the Lord, such Delight will frame and change our deepest desires. Our desires will begin to conform to His desires. Soon we will find that He delights to give to us what we desire because what we desire is what He desires for us. We have begun to desire, as well as pray and act, after His will.
This is also the flow of the Lord’s Prayer. In that prayer we focus first upon the Lord, upon His glory and His kingdom; only after do we focus on our needs. I realize that “needs” and “desires” are often not the same. But they become more and more the same as we delight in Him.
I know of no better short summation of living life before God than we find in the first part of verse three – “Trust God and do good.” This sounds a lot like the well known hymn ‘Trust and Obey.” Unless you were wondering I think that that hymn pretty much wraps it all up nicely as well.
So, your day has started. Trust God. Do good. Dwell in the land. Be Faithful. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your hearts.