You’ll remember John from last week’s sermon who worshipped marriage. He pinned his happiness and fulfillment on getting married. It consumed him. It was his heart’s desire and he couldn’t understand why God did not meet it. His initial disappointment turned into disillusionment and before long, he became enraged toward God and wanted nothing to do with him. It is one of the most tragic stories I’ve come across.
Does John have a case? After all, doesn’t Psalm 37:4 say, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart”? His thinking was, “God, I’ve tried to live right by you and for you and you promised that if I did that, you’ll give me the desires of my heart. That is what you said. You have not lived up to your side of the bargain”.
At first glance, it appears that is what King David is saying. To get what you really want, get close to God and please him. Firstly, I don’t think that is what this verse means at all and I’ll come to this later on but have you ever considered that getting our heart’s desires can actually be dangerous at times?
Going back to John, if he got married, I am pretty confident his marriage will not last. One of two things or both will happen. His expectations on his wife to fulfill him and make him happy will become an unbearable burden on her, crushing her eventually. The other scenario will be that he will idolize her and become so overprotective, he’d want to control every detail of her life. In the process, he’d smother her and suffocate the relationship.
Calvin was right when he said that man’s nature is a perpetual factory of idols. The default setting of our hearts is to fashion desires – that are often good and wonderful in and of themselves like marriage – into idols. We have a tendency to look to something created to give us meaning, hope and happiness rather than God. That is what John did. He made an idol out of his desire to get married.
That is why God doesn’t always give us what we want or what we think we need. Instead, he calls us to ‘delight ourselves in the Lord’. This means he becomes our very pleasure and delight!
When we delight in the Lord, what we really want and what God wants for us will begin to merge. Furthermore, when we make God our pleasure, our desires and dreams will no longer enslave us.
“Father, please show us how to delight in you. Give us hearts that delight in you more and more!”