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Delight yourself in the Lord. - case study David

Delight yourself in the Lord. - case study David
Delight yourself in the Lord: Just 3 steps: 1) Obey Him as LORD; 2) Enjoy Him as Our Portion; 3) Live the Desires He puts in our hearts.

Delight yourself in the Lord.

What an idea! Delight is a word we think of in connection with babies, those we love, of fun times and lovers. I see a toothsome smiling Teddy Roosevelt saying “Delighted!” a man bubbling over with joy, full of life, love, and energy. But “the LORD” how can we delight in Him? Who produced such an idea?

It was David, about 1,000 BC. The Bible rarely gives descriptions of people but of him it says, Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. -1 Samuel 16:12. The Good News Version says, “his eyes sparkled.” How so? Where did this come from?

He was just a boy, the youngest of his family overlooked by the holy man come to anoint a king. Jesse’s 7 sons passed before the seer, and the LORD said “no” to each one. "Do you have another son?" Samuel asked his father. “Just the youngest,” Jesse answered, “he’s out taking care of the sheep.” He did not think enough of the boy to include him, but when he came in, and Samuel saw him,

The LORD spoke to Samuel, Arise, anoint him, for this is he.

What happened here? Samuel and Jesse thought each one of the seven oldest sons would make a fine king. Samuel though the eldest, a military man was the one: Surely, the LORD’s anointed is before me. But the LORD refused him and explained to Samuel for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

What do you suppose He saw when he looked on that heart? He saw he delighted in Him!

He had no one else to delight in. He was placed out in the wilderness to take care of a “few sheep,” his brother taunted him. But there he learned to delight in the LORD.

We see it when all the brothers and King Saul were scared of Goliath, but David ran quickly to meet him.

"You are coming against me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the Israelite armies, which you have defied.
This very day the LORD will put you in my power; I will defeat you and cut off your head. And I will give the bodies of the Philistine soldiers to the birds and animals to eat. Then the whole world will know that Israel has a God,
and everyone here will see that the LORD does not need swords or spears to save his people. He is victorious in battle, and he will put all of you in our power." 1 Samuel 17:45=47

David continued to delight in the LORD as he grew from shepherd to warrior and king. The Psalms are his literary record, and Psalm 34:7 his testimony:

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Puritan theologian John Howe (1630-1705) studied this text. Why delight in the LORD? Howe gives two reasons:

  • as a Lord to be obeyed,

  • and a Portion to be enjoyed,

David got this from the beginning. Out in the fields taking care of the sheep he was inspired to write “the LORD is my shepherd.” He became so skilled a musician on his harp that he was called to play before the king, while he was still a boy.

Later he came to know and write, “the earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,’ Psalm 24:1 and Psa_16:5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

The LORD is Lord of everyone, and our duty is to obey Him. David had no problem with this. He delighted in obedience. This put him in sharp contrast with King Saul who disobeyed the LORD almost immediately after he became king.

Samuel gave him this message:

But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee. 1 Samuel 13:14

Who was that “man after His own heart?” David. As King Saul and his armies hunted him and tried to kill him, David testified, He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me. 2 Samuel 22:20 And that was because he delighted in Him.

We have seen above David’s delight in the Lord as a boy. We have seen such delight among Sunday school children and experience it ourselves, if not in Sunday school when Jesus saved us and we were, as my Dad liked to say, “on fire for God.” Jesus says that was when we were in “thy first love.Revelation 2:4

David did not leave his first love. It grew and grew. Why? Because he realized the LORD was his portion, he learned to enjoy it fully. John Howe describes Him thus:

As the most excellent Portion, in whom all things that may render him such do concur and meet; all desirable and imaginable riches and fulness, together with large bounty, flowing goodness every way correspondent to the wants and cravings of indigent and thirsty souls.

What is wonderful and inexhaustible about having the LORD as our Portion is its sufficiency. He is all we need and gives us the desires of our hearts as we embrace Him as the One in Whom we delight.

For years I thought that the “desires of thine heart” meant the things my heart wanted, but this is not so. My heart wants to always be included in every event, in every celebration, gathering, in every good thing. But God has separated me “unto the Gospel of God,” (Romans 1:1), and He is my Portion. He attunes my heart for that to be my delight.

As we delight in Him, He places in our heart desires that will help us delight in Him and give us Godly enjoyments. Howe names these:

  1. sobriety of their spirits,

  2. regularity of their working,

  3. their gracious composure,

  4. the meekness, humility, denial of self,

  5. the sensible refreshing, mighty strength, and vigor which hath accompanied such enjoyments.

David is a case study in these. The sobriety of his spirit came with his anointing as king by Samuel. This is the foundation of delighting in the Lord. There must be an occasion when we meet Him, when He saves us, or fills us with the Holy Spirit.

  • We already see the regularity of his sobriety of spirit as he tends the sheep, composes psalms, and plays his harp.

  • We have seen his gracious composure in preparing to face Goliath and in holding fast and calm when King Saul tried to kill him.

  • During the years when Saul led a manhunt against him, he meekly but courageously refused to kill “the LORD’s anointed.” 1 Samuel 26:11

  • As these now characteristics of delighting in the LORD became habitual, their sensible refreshing built up the mighty strength and vigor that became deeply fixed in his heart.

Via the heart, David’s delight in the Lord lights up his body, mind, soul, and spirit.

We see the continuing enlargement of David’s as he enjoys the fullness of His Portion.

He grew up in a pasture caring for sheep. He moved on to an adventurous military career, first in King Saul’s army and then in his own as he became a leader of men.

His first territory was Ziklak, taken from the Philistines where David’s family and others fleeing Saul took refuge. When the Amalekites raided and took the women and children hostages, distraught husbands and fathers wanted to stone David, but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:11

Just after this, Saul died, and 6,800 men came to David in Hebron to make him king. He ruled Judah for forty years and his descendants for eight hundred years more.

Then he gained the other ten tribes so that he ruled all of Israel, and beyond. The Chronicler says So David waxed greater and greater: for the LORD of hosts was with him. 1 Chronicles 11:9

How so? The LORD never appeared to David, as He did to Moses or Solomon. God’s word to him was not in an audible voice, mostly the Bible shows us it came through others, Samuel, and Nathan principally.

Howe explains we know God is with us through the desires God places in our hearts, enumerated above, sufficiently proving to them that they did not hug an empty cloud, or embrace a shadow, under the name of enjoying God.

David’s Portion was indeed large as he honored the LORD in all his ways. It was he who gathered all the gold and silver for the temple his son built. A greater legacy still is the book of Psalms, 75 by David. What he wrote became the content for the worship in the temple and for every Christian congregation through the present day.

His name fills the Bible, 1139 times he is mentioned, more than anyone else including Jesus, 983 times and Moses 848. In the last chapter of Revelation, Jesus certifies the fullness of his portion,

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star. – Revelation 22:16

What does all of this about David have to do with us?

Part II

What does all of this about David have to do with us? Let’s look at our text verse again. Delight thyself also in the LORD, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4

For many years I thought this was a command from the LORD followed by a promise of His faithfulness in answering our prayers. Wrong! It is not a command or admonition; it is a testimony! It is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from the most credible witness! David

We see his life from beginning to end in the Word of God where he is mentioned 1100 times and shown to be a man after God’s own heart by God Himself! Were all that not enough, we are assured by both Peter and Paul that every word of the Bible was written by holy men of God, inspired by the Holy Ghost and is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: – 2 Timothy 3:16

The first question to ask is “Am I now delighting in the Lord”? If you are, praise God and keep on following the desires He puts in your heart. If not, we need to examine the two essentials:

viz. as a Lord to be obeyed,
and a Portion to be enjoyed,

We must obey Him as God. This means acting upon John 3:16 and believing Jesus is the Son of God who has died for our sins. This is essential and the first step to Delighting in the Lord. Jesus says “Ye must be born again!” and there is no delighting Him without this.

Most of us are there. But that does not produce the delight David testifies to.

Most Christians know nothing of this delight because they are not obeying Him as Lord.

Many are born again, spirit filled people who miss this delight because they refuse to obey every word He has spoken. Words like “take no thought for tomorrow,” or “you cannot love God and mammon.” The Wesleys were such ministers for many years, but the Holy Spirit reproved them and warmed their hearts so that they experienced this delight.

The crucial step for those who want to delight in the LORD is to confess every sin, repent and ask Jesus to wash our sins away. Obedience to God is required of everyone but there is another element for Believers. We must obey His commandments given to the world, and we must also obey the specific commandments He has given us personally.

The first of these comes when He calls us to repentance and salvation. When we believe in Jesus, we receive eternal life but the steps to delight include obeying the next steps Jesus has given us:

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. – John 3:5

When we take these steps, we delight Him and position ourselves to receive the desires He will put in our hearts.

NOW we may begin to enjoy Him as our Portion. What the Spirit shows those obedient souls who seek Him is that the LORD is their Portion and sufficient for them in every way.

The disciples of Jesus illustrate this plainly. He called them to follow Him, and they left everything to do that. He was their Portion every hour of every day and for every element of their lives.

When Jesus saves us, baptizes us with the Holy Ghost, or heals us, our love for Him abounds. We are “on fire” for Him and to do His will, reminiscent of the 120 Believers on the day of Pentecost, filled with His power and love. This is the time to enjoy Him as our Portion:

Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus,

I’ve lost sight of all beside;

So enchained my spirit’s vision,

Looking at the Crucified.


All for Jesus! All for Jesus!

All my days and all my hours;

All for Jesus! All for Jesus!

All my days and all my hours.

Mary D. James, 1871.

The enjoyment we have of Him as our Portion is complete at this point. At this point, Satan cometh immediately and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. – Jesus in Mark 4:15

If the devil cannot get you to step away from the Gospel, he will tempt you to get interested in something else, anything to keep you from the fullness of enjoying Him as your Portion. Satan does not care what is #1 in your life as long as it isn’t Jesus!

But Jesus sees our hearts and warns us. He warned the church at Ephesus, “thou hast left they first love,” Revelation 2:4 and at Laodicea “Thou art neither hot nor cold” 3:16. “be zealous therefore, and repent” -3:19.

He doesn’t leave us alone but offers to come and help:

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. – Jesus in Revelation 2:20

As we open our heart’s door, He comes in and "sups" with us and puts His desires in our hearts. Soon we see our Portion is much larger than salvation, than baptism of the Holy Ghost, of gifts of healing or discernment. Our portion extends to all things! He is our Portion.

Nothing can be greater.

It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. – Revelation 21:6-7

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