Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
It’s unfortunate that so often those who hold to and ascribe to the prosperity gospel use passages like Psalm 37:4 to teach that if you are faithful to God, he will give you whatever you want, whatever you ask for. “Delight yourself in the LORD,” place your faith in him, believe in Jesus, and then ask him for a Rolls Royce or mansion to live in or a private jet, and he will give it to you. But is that what Psalm 37:4 is teaching? What did David mean by this? First, here is what I don’t think he means. David does not mean that if a person has faith in God, he can simply name it and claim it, and get whatever his heart desires. There are just too many examples in the Bible of godly people not getting what they ask for from God. Jesus did not have the cup of God's wrath taken from him (Matt 26:39). Paul was not able to have the thorn in his flesh removed even though he pleaded with God three times to do so (2 Cor 12:7). Instead, David’s point is that if we delight ourselves in God, if we delight ourselves in the things of God, in knowing God, in serving God, in worshipping God, and in striving to be like Christ, then God will give us the desires of our heart. This is because when our heart’s greatest desire is to please God, to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, then God will not only place godly desires within us, but will grant us those desires as well. But when we delight ourselves in the things of this world, God will not give us the desires of our heart. As James puts it, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (4:3). If your heart’s desire is to please God, he will give you the desires of your heart.
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