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.
Verse four here is quite famous, but it needs to be taken in the context of verse three. Verse three essentially describes the life of a righteous person. Where the NIV says, “enjoy safe pasture,” the Japanese says, “nourish sincerity,” in other words, be a person of your word. If we’re scheming how to bring about the results we want, we are not really trusting God and we’re probably not doing good. It is in this context that David can say boldly, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Actually, if we’re not trusting God and doing good, we aren’t delighting in Him either. It’s hard to delight in something you can’t trust. That’s a major issue in many marriages. I’ve read recently that dishonesty in relation to finances is as destructive as sexual infidelity, and I can believe it. That would certainly violate the “nourish sincerity” part of this passage! We are very good at pulling “promises” out of the Bible and completely ignoring the context, the conditions that are laid down for those promises to be fulfilled. God’s love is unconditional, but hardly anything else is. It tears Him up, but God can and will reject people He loves if they reject Him and refuse to walk in the obedience of love. David tasted both sides of this. This Psalm is a pean to the good things that accrue to those who are faithful to the Lord, but David himself experienced great heartache because of his own failures. We are very aware of the incident with Bathsheba, but he was also largely a failure at parenting. It’s very hard to relate rightly to your children if you don’t relate rightly to your spouse. David is both a good example for us in a number of ways and a very cautionary example for us in others. We need to put verse three here into practice before we try to rejoice in verse four.
Of course this applies to me as much as it does to anyone else. I have been enormously blessed, but every bit of it has been grace. I have a spiritual heritage that I think is unsurpassed, but I haven’t been consistently true to it. My needs have been met, but I haven’t always been the best steward of God’s provision. I have been used by God, but at times I have held back or chosen other things. I have a broad and fairly deep knowledge of the Bible, but my track record is spotty when it comes to putting it into practice. As I have said many times, James 1:22 wasn’t written just for me, but it certainly was written for me. I need to open my heart ever more to the whole truth of God, allowing it to work both in and through me as I am obedient to what My Lord says to me.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me indeed “nourish sincerity,” being totally honest with others and with myself because I am totally honest with You. May I indeed trust You totally and do the good that You desire of me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!