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From Dwelling to Delighting (Psalm 37)

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

When we first “put our hands to the plow” as we begin to follow the Lord, there is an exhilaration. There is an inner zeal to never look back and an ease about delighting in the Lord Jesus. He is the joy we have always lacked, the hope we have always needed, the peace we have always chased in the empty places of sin. He has radically transformed our hearts and lives, and it is almost as if we cannot help but be enamored with Him.

But there comes a time soon after, when the Holy Spirit will chasten us to take heed to the plow in our hands. Our delighting in Christ and in heavenly things is very good, but it must come back down with us into the practical duties of everyday life. “There is a plow in your hands, and you must take heed to this task I’ve set before you,” the Spirit says to us.

And if we will heed God’s discipline, we become diligent about the work He puts in front of us. We take seriously the practical obedience which Jesus Christ expects of a disciple in everyday life. And yet, further on along the path, as we have been continuing to set our hand to that plow, we find that there are challenges. We have days and seasons which stretch us to capacity, try the constitution of our being, and bring us to places where only the grace and calling of our Lord Jesus can keep us going.

At these moments, we may find ourselves looking around at lost people lounging in the sun, feasting on picnic blankets, or resting on hammocks, and a sense of indignation begins to arise. How can they be so content and at ease, while I am laboring, being tried and stretched? The sin of envy knocks on our door. But the scripture firmly tells us, “Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb” (Psalm 37:1-2). In other words, refrain from locking eyes on the current state of things; keep in mind the end. I dare to say, if we obey this wisdom from God, we may soon be praying with compassion for those poor contented sinners who do not see the destruction approaching at the threshold of eternity! An eternal perspective will replace that indignation with deep gratitude because of the eternal reward God promises in this path of loving obedience.

We choose to trust in the Lord. We choose to see through the lens of an eternal heaven and hell. Looking in front of us once again, we move the plow forward. Committing to do good because He is faithful, we start to cultivating a faithful life right where God has planted us (37:3).

But even here, brothers and sisters, we can fall short. We may be persevering, trudging through, continuing to go the Lord’s way, yet without the delight we had at first. He wants us to follow Him with delight, not with a will of steel and a joyless heart. “Delight yourself in the LORD,” (37:4). As you go, as you obey, as you keep your hand to the plow in this life of faith, delight in Him. That is where your joy will come from. Set your affections and your praise upon Him. Let Him once again be the passion and fire within your heart. He is worthy. If we are apathetic about the Lord Jesus and our heart’s passion is cold, it is because we are either walking in disobedience or simply not seeing Him clearly. A child of God who begins to look at Jesus' face will be freed from a cold heart and find their delight in Him refreshed.

Alex Mack

Teaching Pastor

The Rock Church

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