Psalm 37:3-4 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
This Psalm as a whole deals with the contrast between the righteous and the wicked, specifically addressing the envy or even jealousy to which we are tempted when we see people who flaunt their wickedness seemingly flourishing. Some of the statements seem like truisms or platitudes, but they are in agreement with various other statements throughout the Bible. Verse four here is particularly famous, and it agrees perfectly with what Jesus said: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) These two verses taken together express the fundamental attitude of a believer: trusting God and delighting in Him, which will result in full obedience to Him. If we aren’t doing good, that is, being obedient to God, then we don’t really trust Him. If we don’t delight in Him, making fellowship with Him our highest joy, then our desires aren’t going to line up with His, and He will have no reason to grant them. As Jesus pointed out in Matthew, God knows full well what we need, but He has given us the privilege of asking Him for things. When we trust and delight in Him, we will know much better what to ask for!
Back when I was just reading the Bible in English, I interpreted verse four as saying that God would give us the impulse to desire the right things, but now I see that the Japanese backs up the more traditional interpretation, saying that God will grant our requests. However, there is a distinct difference in verse three that I find very interesting. Where the NIV says, “enjoy safe pasture,” the Japanese says, “nurture sincerity.” I would think that sincerity, that is, having our actions line up with our words, would be very much in line with “doing good.” This passage isn’t telling us to be hypocritical, but rather to be good from the inside out, letting God Himself be our model and our goal. That has actually become much easier since He sent His Son so that we can see how that works out in daily living. I am not to dismiss anything God says, but rather to seek it out and let it become part of me, so that I in turn may become an extension of Christ, (2 Corinthians 5:20) for His glory.
Father, thank You for teaching me to trust You and delight in You. Help me do so more fully and more effectively. Thank You for the joy of being Your instrument in the prayer service yesterday. I pray that there would be abundant harvest from what You said through Cathy and me. May my obedience bring You pleasure and glory, today and every day. Thank You. Praise God!