On Delighting in the Lord

Psalm 37:3–4 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.


When my two sisters and I were young, our dad would come into each of our rooms every night and say our prayers with us. After the prayer time, we would then begin to press him with these words, “Plant a crop! Plant a crop!” Then he would close out the bedtime ritual, by planting a crop on our backs. It was the best thing ever. He would walk through the whole process, pulling his hand like a plow and a disc and a cultivator across the fields of our backs. Next would come the planter, sowing the seeds of soybeans or rice or cotton or wheat. Then would come the rains and the seeds sprouting and growing. The weeds would need to be plowed and then chopped out. At the end came the harvest with the churning combine bringing in the grain and the grain carts dumping it on the truck and the truck taking it to the grain dryer—and all of this with commentary and sound effects from Dad. It’s a treasured memory and one I passed on to my four children when they were young. 

And it’s true to form isn’t it? I was the field. Dad was the farmer. It was an experience of joy and delight I never tired of; a blessing of careful and loving attention. I remembered this story as I reflected on today’s text.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

This process of cultivation and growing—of our gardener God landscaping our lives with the Word and making a salvation-garden of our lives—is a process of trust and delight; of enjoyment and desire. It reminds us of the famed Psalm 23 with its nourishing green pastures and restorative still waters and paths of righteousness and overflowing cups and anointing with oil and so on.

The God of heaven and earth really is better than we can possibly imagine. What’s most broken about us is our broken image of who and what God is truly like. And we have come by it honestly haven’t we—through broken promises and dreams and traumatic interventions and all manner of broken people. We live in a Genesis 3 reality yet we were made for a Genesis 1 and 2 world. 

Notice how the text speaks not of anxious striving but of peaceful receiving; of dwelling in the land and enjoying safe pasture. It’s fascinating how other translations render that last phrase. The NASB has it as live in the land and cultivate faithfulness, with a footnote referencing the alternate translation, and feed on his faithfulness. The ESV says dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. It rings so true. This is about a growing depth of trust in God, a confidence in relationship, a befriending of the faithful one who is Jesus Christ. 

This is about delight. 

Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

We can let go of the need to control and master our own lives. We can release the assignment to be the farm manager of our lives. We have two jobs on this farm: 1. Trust in the Lord. 2. Take delight in the Lord. Then Jesus does two things. 1. He befriends us with his faithfulness. 2. He cultivates and fulfills the desires of our hearts in an alignment of union with his own. 

Here’s where taking delight begins. 

“Jesus, I want a crop!”

It’s another way of saying, 

“Jesus, I belong to you.”

Wake up, sleeper! Rise from the dead! You belong to Jesus. Take delight in him. And Jesus delights to belong to you. It’s really true. 


Farmer Father God, thank you for being a God we can trust and not only trust but take delight in. I get this on one level yet I want to get it on all levels. I still have a distorted view and sense of who you really are. And there are ways I know you with my mind that I have yet to really trust in my heart. There is so much clutter from life and static in the lines. Clear the field and make it simple again. Trusting you with all my heart, dwelling in the land and befriending the Faithful One, delighting in you and receiving the desires of my heart. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen. 


How does your broken past cloud, color, and clutter your vision and experience of God? How are you kept from trusting in Jesus and taking delight in him? Can you bring that before him in simple words today? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

5 Responses

    1. Yes! Me, too, Sandy!!
      What glory it is to know I belong to Jesus! I am His daughter created in His image!

  1. We were told by Jesus himself that as His followers, we’re to let our light shine in order to bring glory to God above. Unfortunately, because we live in a broken world with it’s distorted view of spiritual reality, we tend to reflect it’s light instead. This is the very place where the Awakening must begin. O Lord open our hearts and minds to receive and inwardly digest the Truth revealed in Christ alone. Grow us into His image as we yield our wills to your will. In Christ’s most Holy Name we pray.

  2. May Jesus always be my first delight

    I frequently see people
    Take delight in coffee,
    Celebrate sports,
    Appreciate family,
    Brag about a politician,
    Go gaga over music,
    Gush about romance,
    Glory in their nation,
    Get excited about an award,
    Applaud alcohol,
    But not very many
    Who continually
    “Delight in the Lord”
    And keep Jesus first!

  3. Genesis 1 & 2- There is a God, and it’s not me.
    Genesis 3 until Jesus returns- I am my own God Genesis 3:5), and I’m known as prIde.
    but I’ve been born again, giving my Godship to the Lord. The old has passed, and the new me has come (2Corinthians 5:17). But the old man is not quick to go, and until Jesus returns, he fights to survive (Romans 6:16-25; Ephesians 6:10-20). But each day, pride withers away because the war has already been won, and the new me is on the winning side because of the Son.
    Learning to become like the One.

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