The Secret of Fulfilled Desire
‘Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thy heart.’—Ps. xxxvii. 4.
ONE often hears this promise quoted without its conditional precept;1 but we have no right to put asunder anything that God has joined together. Every heart has desires, but not even every Christian heart delights itself in the Lord. This is the reason of the great wail of unfulfilled desire—the very howl, one might say, which makes a howling wilderness of this fair world.
1 Prov. x. 24.
It stands to reason; if our delight is absolutely and entirely in the Lord, all our desires will be not only ‘ before Him,’1 but the whole ‘desire of our soul’ will be concentrated upon Him,2 radiating from that centre along the bright rays of His ‘ good and perfect and acceptable will.’8 Now, of course, His will must and will be carried out; for ‘He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand.’4
So, if we delight truly in the Lord, and thereby have our desires so harmonized with His will that they float out on the same great tide of perfect music, there will be no damper upon their vibrations, but they will be fulfilled for us because His will is fulfilled.5
His will is not, as we are tempted practically to think, something quite separate and apart from Himself, so that we may think Him gracious, and yet think His will rather stern; or so that we may love Him, and yet very much dislike His will. His will is the very essence of Himself going forth in force; it is the primary difference between what we know of Jehovah and what the Hindoo imagines of Brahma.
We must not overlook the important word ‘also.’6 This points us to a preliminary condition:
1 Ps. Ixxiii. 25 ; ib. xxxviii. 9. 2 Jsa. xxvi. 8, 9 ; 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 3 Rom. xii. 2. ?* Dan. iv. 35. 5 Eph. v. 17. ^ Ps. xxxvii.3.
‘Trust in the Lord, and do good.” Trust, evidenced by obedience, is the stepping-stone to delight in the Lord, and the only one. Obedience is the result of trust, and the condition of delight.
Two great cases of this condition of delight are distinctly given us—one spiritual, the other practical.
1. ‘If thou return to the Almighty, . . . then thou shalt have thy delight in the Almighty.” It is not said to saints, but to repentant sinners3—not to the eldest son, but to the returning prodigal.4 To me, the wanderer, it is offered. To me, the backslider, it is held out. We can never say: ‘The Lord does not mean such a one as I to delight in Him; that sort of thing is only meant for those who have always been consistent Christians.’ If so, He would not have said, ‘If thou return.’6 Without true returning, there cannot be delight in the Lord; but, conversely, if there is no delight, ought we not to ‘consider our ways,’6 lest some ‘returning ‘ should be needed?
2. ‘If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.’7 On our knees before Him let us examine ourselves as to every clause of this great condition. Perhaps here we shall find the joints in the
1 Isa. xii. 2, 3. 2 Job xxii. 23, 26. 3 Matt. ix. 11, 13.
4 Luke XV. 2, 32. 5 Job xv. 11. 6 Hag. i. 7.
7 Isa. Iviii. 13, 14.
harness, the secret controversy1 which hinders the realization of delight in the Lord, and therefore of the annexed promise.
A word about the delight itself. There is something so real, and natural, and childlike about it. It is joy realized—joy in flower, bright, growing, alive, beautiful. It is the sparkle of the upspringing fountain in the clear sunlight. This childlike delight is to be in the Lord Himself. It is quite another thing to delight in what He does for us. The Israelites ‘delighted themselves in Thy great goodness.’ Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled.’ Not under the shadow of even a Godgiven gourd,3 but under His own shadow, may you sit down ‘ with great delight.’ * Then all His fruits shall be sweet to your taste; you shall delight in His will, in His comforts, in His commandments, and in His people.5 You shall desire ‘what His soul desireth,’ * and ‘ He shall give thee the desires of thine Heart.”
Oh, blessed life!—the heart at rest
When all without tumultous seems—
That trusts a higher will, and deems
That higher will, not mine, the best.
Oh, blessed life!—heart, mind, and soul,
From self-born aims and wishes free,
In all at one with Deity,
And loyal to the Lord’s control.
W. T. Matson.
1 Micah vi. 2. 2 Neh. ix. 25, 26. 3 Jonah iv. 6.
4 Cant. ii. 3. ^ Ps. xl. 8; ib. xciv. 19 ; ib. cxix. 47 ; ib. xvi. 3.
6 Job xxiii. 13. ^ Ps.cxlv. 19.