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Desires of the Heart

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Delighting in the Lord

The Source and End of all our desires

by John J. Parsons

Psalm 37:4 (BHS)

Delight thyself also in the LORD;
and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalm 37:4)

Vehitanag al Adonai... "Delight thyself also in the Lord."

This is an imperative statement, a command.  Note that the verb translated "delight yourself!" is related to the word oneg, a noun that means "delight" or "exquisite delicacy," and today refers to a party or festive meal celebrated during Shabbat (Isa. 58:13) or on other special occasions (such as a holiday or bar mitzvah). 

Shabbat Oneg

The first part of the verse, then, commands us to celebrate the presence of the Lord as we would "ooh and ahh" over the choicest of foods sumptuously spread out over a beautiful banquet table in the presence of our dearest of friends during a special occasion.

Veyitten lekha mishalot libekha. "And He shall give thee the desires of thine heart."

When we celebrate the presence of the LORD as our chief delight, He will give us the "desires" of our hearts.  Note that the word translated "desires" (mishalot) comes from the Hebrew verb sha'al, which means to ask or request something (a she'elah is a question you might ask a teacher).  The deepest needs, desires, and questions of our hearts are all bound up in the life and love of God.  Whatever else we might think we desire, God knows that what we truly need is His love and delight within us.

When our affections are centered upon the Lord and we delight in Him, the deepest yearnings of our heart will be fulfilled by His personal love and grace for us.  We shall ask what we will, and it shall be given unto us (John 15:7).  And we shall be completely satisfied in Him, since our enjoyment and worship of Him is our greatest gift and good, in this life -- and in the life to come.


Psalm 37:4 (BHS) Transliteration

vehit'anag al Adonai v'yitten lekha mish'alot libbekha

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