3 Interpretations on a commonly quoted scripture

Over the past few years, I have felt a special closeness to a particular verse, Psalm 37:4

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

I think it is very interesting how people interprete this 3 different ways. I want to share my progression through mainly the last two interpretations… I am including the first for completeness.

  1. Prosperity interpretation – “if I serve God, he will give me what I want… a big house, nice car, ya know… lots of money and stuff.” (emphasis on “he will give you”)
    Honestly, I don’t think this one lines up with the Bible at all. The focus of our relationship with God is not US.
  2. Directing God through prayer – “when I pray, I tell God what my heart desires. Then He makes it happen.” (emphasis on “desires of your heart”)
    This is the way I used to think… especially about Arabella. When I worked at Camp Barnabas in Summer 1999, I had a cabin full of Down Syndrome angels. And I fell in love. So I prayed, “God, if you have an extra child with Down Syndrome, who you need a family for, send them to me.” Then Arabella was born in 2001!

    But I don’t think this is Biblical either… it implies that God doesn’t already have a plan, that I know what is best, with the focus still on ME…

  3. God directing us as we pray – “when I pray, I begin to hear from God, and understand Him, and I am able to see his Desires and they become my desires.” (emphasis on “he will give you desires“)
    I think this one is actually what happened with Arabella – God, in his infinite wisdom and fore-knowledge, placed in my heart the desire for what He had planned from the beginning of time. That way, I was able to see His blessing in something that scares others. This is consistent with the God of the Bible – focusing on getting GLORY for GOD out of a situation that the world sees inaccurately. Attention on God by all parties!

Isn’t it weird how the same verse can be taken so many ways? Do you have examples of this?


One response to “3 Interpretations on a commonly quoted scripture

  1. AMEN Heather! I wanted to say more, much more but this is all I could get out.
    I love you

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