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  • Pastor Trevor Killip

Verse Memorization: Psalm 37:4-5

This week we go to the book of Psalms, to the 37th psalm, verses 4 and 5. These two verses are great verses to memorize and meditate on as you seek to be faithful in all that you do. Let's take a look at them and then consider what David is teaching us.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

Psalm 37:4-5 ESV

(Logos Bible Software)

Psalm 37 is an acrostic psalm with every other verse being a new letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Verse 4 ends the two verses of ב, which is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, while verse 5 begins with the third letter of the Hebrew alphabet, ג. This acrostic poem is about the faithfulness of Yahweh towards His people in preserving them and their land, while the wicked are cut off both from the land and from Yahweh. In the midst of this psalm David exhorts his people to lives of faithfulness and righteousness, in spite of the wicked, so that they may be preserved and remain in the land, and not cut off from it.

This is the context of which we find verses 4 and 5, which helps us understand them, but especially with verse 4. Unfortunately, many today misunderstand verse 4, especially in regard to the verb "delight". Some think you simply have to have joy, passion, desire, love, or some other kind of positive emotion towards God, and by having such an emotional desire for or towards Him, God will grant you your desires, your wishes. This kind of understanding leads to name it and claim it theology as well as other unbiblical and unhealthy Word of Faith practices.

What David means here is not merely an emotional response towards God nor merely a type of affection towards Him, absent true faithfulness or obedience (consider the context of the psalm). David speaks of more than that, he certainly includes an emotional response, but he doesn't leave it there. To delight in Yahweh is to find your satisfaction in Him, and to desire to know Him all the more. To know His righteousness, His holiness, what His will and desire is for you and for all. To obtain a knowledge that is only found in obedience and faithfulness. In short, to delight in Yahweh is Micah 8:6 - He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does Yahweh require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly (obediently) with your God. This also falls in line with the main verb of verse 3, which is "trust in Yahweh", and of course, it sticks with the verb of verse 5 which is "commit to Yahweh". If you are continually chasing after sin and your selfish desires, you are not trusting nor are you committing to Yahweh, and you are certainly not delighting in Him. For in committing willful sin you are choosing to delight in something other than Yahweh.

When we delight in Yahweh, in all that He is, then He will give the desires of our heart. He gives the desires of our heart not because we have earned it, but because in our delighting in Yahweh, our hearts desires are no longer our desires, but the desires of Yahweh. In other words, our will desires to do His will. This is what Jesus is getting at in John 14:13-14, when he says if we ask anything in His Name, He will do it. For if it is in His Name, then it is in accordance to His will, and it will glorfiy Him, thus He will do it. So it is, when we delight in Him and seek faithfulness and righteousness. He will give us the faithfulness and righteousness we seek, along with all the blessings of joy, peace, and strength that come with such requests.

Now, it may be good to memorize verses 3-5, though it could be just as well to memorize only verse 4, as I think it captures the intent of all three verses rather well. I've included verse 5 here as it helps clarify exactly what David is calling us to do. In verse 5, David is explicity stating that we are to commit ourselves, our way of life to Yahweh. We are, in every aspect of our life, to be faithful to His Word, His Name, to who He is... remembering that He will act, and that we shouldn't compromise or give in to the ways of the wicked. For, as David goes on to tell us, the ways of the wicked lead to being forsaken by Yahweh, but those who delight, who commit to Yahweh, they will be preserved, protected, and blessed.

Delighting in Yahweh and committing our lives to Him is why we are seeking to memorize His Word, bit by bit. So that we may know Him and continue to grow in our love and faith in Him.

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