Take delight in the Lord, and God will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
This is one of the most famous Psalms and is regularly quoted. But we often miss how the meaning of Psalm 37:4 applies to our lives. Many have misused this verse as proof that God will give us whatever we want if we simply trust him.
There’s so much in this verse that can challenge us and encourage us in our faith. Let’s take a closer look.
The Context Of Psalm 37:4
In order to understand the Psalm 37:4 meaning we first need to look at the context.
In Psalm 37 David compares God’s people with the wicked. He shows how God protects his people while the wicked are heading toward ruin. The challenge from this psalm is to listen to God’s wisdom and keep trusting God.
We see in Psalm 37:1-2 that people were looking at these evildoers and saw how they were seemingly thriving. In contrast, while they were living it up the Israelites were struggling. They saw no reward for their virtuous living, and they became envious of the evildoers.
In this Psalm, David is reminding them that while they might appear to prosper, they will fade. But the righteous will be preserved forever. (Psalm 37:28)
Really Psalm 37 is a life lesson. Play the long game. Delayed gratification is better than instant gratification. Those things we think we need to be happy in the moment don’t lead to true happiness and satisfaction. Only following God and what he says is best will lead us to true satisfaction.
Psalm 37, and specifically Psalm 37:4, is not a promise that we will get what we are specifically after in this life. Rather, it’s an encouragement that God hasn’t forgotten his people, and one day things will be in the right order. Therefore we should choose to trust God now.
The Meaning Of Psalm 37:4
Many take the meaning of Psalm 37:4 as a personal promise that God will give us what we want and when we want it. But really this verse is encouragement that even when things aren’t going our way God is still in control.
Let’s take a deeper look at these words David wrote.
Take Delight In The Lord Meaning
To delight in something or someone means that you find joy or take pleasure in that person or thing. People commonly delight in their significant others, kids, friends, prized possessions, and sometimes even sin.
To delight in the Lord means to enjoy the blessings he gives us. We find delight not because the blessings are so great, but because they are from him. In other words, we are to value the giver more than the gifts.
What David is telling his readers is to delight in God. To find our joy and pleasure in him before anything else.
Psalm 37:4 shows us that we cannot find true life, true happiness, and true delight apart from God. Now this doesn’t mean that we cannot delight in anything else; rather we recognize nothing and no one else can completely satisfy.
And God Will Give You The Desires Of Your Heart Meaning
The promise of Psalm 37:4 is that when you take delight in the Lord, God will give you the desires of your heart.
We know from the context that this isn’t a promise that God will give us whatever we want. Rather this verse refers to those whose desires are aligned with God. When a person delights in the Lord they are showing that they have righteous desires.
God will not fulfill desires that are selfish or harmful to us. We cannot expect God to give us something that is contrary to his will. Plus, those desires don’t actually lead us to peace and joy; instead they take those things from us.
It is when we delight in the Lord and allow him to shape and mold our hearts that we will desire what he does. And in that process, he will give us what we desire.
How Psalm 37:4 Applies To Your Life
The meaning of Psalm 37:4 is not a promise that we will get what we are specifically after. It’s not a verse that we can pull out as proof that God will give us what WE want. And it’s not assurance that our life will go smoothly.
Instead, Psalm 37:4 is a life lesson, a challenge, that if we follow God he will lead us to happiness and satisfaction that cannot be taken away. Those other things we think we need to be happy won’t, and can’t, lead to true satisfaction. Only God can provide that.
This passage encourages us to play the long game. Don’t look at what we want or desire in the moment. Instead look at God.
The next time you are tempted to think you need something or someone else to make you happy, pause and reflect on this verse.
This verse reminds us to keep our eyes on what is ultimately important: God. Anything or anyone else will ultimately disappoint us.
Now check out: How To Guard Your Heart (5 Powerful Ways)
Looking for a great resource to help you grow in your faith and step into the story God has for you? I HIGHLY recommend Mark Moore’s books Core 52 and Quest 52. These simple 15 minute daily readings will help you connect with God and understand the Bible better. They are INCREDIBLE. Plus there’s kids/teen versions as well!
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