Delighting in Yahweh
(H) (A psalm) of David. (1) Do not fret because of evildoers. Do not be envious of those who do wrong, (2) for they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. (3) Trust in Yahweh and do good. Dwell in the land and feed on his faithfulness. (4) Delight yourself in Yahweh, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (5) Commit your way to Yahweh. Trust in him, and he will act. (6) He will bring out your righteousness as the light and your justice as the noonday. (7) Be still before Yahweh and wait patiently for him. Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out evil devices.
Two repeated phrases, “do not fret” (vss. 1 & 7) and “trust in Yahweh” (vss. 3 & 5), lead us to David’s message in this opening segment. Negatively, we are not to be preoccupied by the wrongdoing of evil people that surround us. Instead, adopting a more positive attitude, we are to entrust ourselves to Yahweh’s gracious care and leave evildoers up to him.
The author uses several synonymous phrases to show how believers should respond to Yahweh in the midst of life’s struggles: “trust in Yahweh” (vs. 3), “delight yourself in Yahweh” (vs. 4), “commit your way to Yahweh” (vs. 5), “be still before Yahweh” (vs. 7), and “wait patiently for him” (vs. 7). In essence, we are to turn our worries into trust, our anxious yearnings to see something happen quickly into a willingness to wait on his timing and his perfect will.
I. Negatively: do not fret because of evildoers. (1 & 2)
II. Positively: trust in Yahweh’s loving care. (3-7)
We should replace our fretting about evildoers with a firm confidence in Yahweh’s loving care.
The Scriptures are filled with many wonderful promises for the believer. One of the most encouraging is found here: “Delight yourself in Yahweh, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (vs. 4). To grasp the significance of this statement, we need to understand what David meant by “delight in Yahweh.” Jeremiah used this Hebrew word to describe the daughter of Zion as “beautiful and delicate” (Jer. 6:2). Moses employed the same word to portray a “gentle and sensitive woman” (Deut. 28:56). In other words, we are to experience the same kind of joy and admiration in our relationship with Yahweh that a young man might feel in the presence of a beautiful young woman to whom he is attracted. While our response to Yahweh would never involve any kind of inappropriate sensuality, David’s point is that we should feel strongly and appreciate deeply the beauty and power of Yahweh’s steadfast love for us.
As we relate to Yahweh with an ever growing devotion and affection, we will find that he responds to such delight by giving us the desires of our hearts. This verse was never intended as a blanket promise or guarantee that he will give us anything we ask whenever we want it, nor was it designed to motivate us to trust Yahweh as a means to receiving more of his blessings. Rather, it indicates how we should grow more like Yahweh as we learn to love him more deeply. In essence, the more we delight in our great God, the more he will transform our desires into his desires so that our hearts beat in synchrony with his great heart. Paul spoke of this process of growth in godliness as a ministry of the Holy Spirit: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:17 & 18).