What does it mean to delight yourself in the lord?


Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.  (Psalms 37:4 NIV)
What does it mean to delight yourself in the Lord?

The word delight (‛ânag; aw-nag') means to “be soft or pliable” (Strongs). BDB says, it means “to be of dainty habit, be pampered”, “to be happy about, take exquisite delight”, or “to make merry over, make sport of”.

The verb form is “Hithpael”, which expresses “reflexive” action (TVM). This means the subject is both performing, and receiving the results of the action (“Reflexive”) Thus, we have, “delight yourself”.

“Delight” (‛ânag) is used in several OT passages, that may help illustrate its meaning. In Isaiah 66:11, it pictures the happiness of a baby being nursed by its mother:
For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight [‛ânag] in her overflowing abundance. (Isaiah 66:11 NIV)
In Psalm 37:11, it shows the enjoyment of peace and prosperity.
But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy [‛ânag] peace and prosperity. (Psalms 37:11 NIV)
In Isaiah 55:2, it describes the way someone enjoys the “choicest of foods”:
Why do you spend silver on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and you will enjoy [‛ânag] the choicest of foods.  (Isaiah 55:2 CSB).
As I understand it, then, to delight yourself in the Lord means you make God your enjoyment in life. You should fix your desires on God, on His will, on His promises, on His heavenly inheritance which He offers His children. Make yourself happy about these things. By contrast, the context of Psalm 37 shows we should not be agitated by or envious of those who do evil, yet seem to prosper in this life.
Don't be annoyed by anyone who does wrong, and don't envy them. (Psalms 37:1 CEV)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2 NIV)
When we desire and make ourselves happy with God, His will, and His promises (instead of being envious of earthly gain and those who do evil), He will give us the desires of our hearts. This doesn’t mean you get the worldly things you want. It means you will be satisfied and content with God Himself, and with the eternal inheritance and blessings He promises you in heaven.

Photo by Nghia Le on Unsplash

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