"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
In my devotion today I found myself looking at several resources stopping with Psalm 37:4 as highlighted in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. The world shouts trying to get my attention about having a focus on the products of possessions, sports, entertainment and the fulfillment of my desires. However, Jesus wants to be the desire of my heart. Surrounding this verse in Psalm 37 are the words TRUST in The Lord and COMMIT my way to him. It would seem there are some conditions to having my heart's desire. Don't forget that He also wants me to DELIGHT in him. It is easy to pick and choose verses or words to affirm me or to give direction that really is not what The Lord has in mind at all.
When I read all of Psalm 37 I thought of “Jabez’s Prayer” (from I Chronicles 4:9-10) that reminded me of a little book that Bruce Wilkinson wrote in 2000 which sold over 9 million copies. Promotion of this book (The Prayer of Jabez) said, “Readers who commit to offering the same prayer on a regular basis will find themselves extravagantly blessed by God…” (Penguin Random House). I was amazed with the "word on the street, I mean in the churches" being expressed. It seemed to me that people were more interested in the prosperity results of reciting this passage than delighting in The Lord. Here is the prayer:
“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain! And God granted what he asked.’”
There are 4 points in this prayer.
1. Blessings from The Lord - praise
2. Enlarge my territory - prosperity
3. Your (the Lord) hand with me - provisions
4. Keep me from harm - protection
I am sure many people desired God's counsel from this passage, but I also wondered if people (and myself) were motivated at a time when the economy was struggling to give it a try to find relief. Could prosperity really be found in this “prayer?” In fact, I do remember that 9-11-2001 would hit impacting this country (and the world) more than what I could have imagined.
Did this prayer not work? Was it meant for individuals and not corporately as a nation? How many more books (The Prayer of Jabez) have sold after the brief "genie in the lamp" light became dimmed? My intentions are not to be judgmental with the book, the thoughts of the author or the "heart" of the person who bought it. Just wondering what God thinks when I take His word and use it for my benefit instead of His. Just saying.
It’s hard to believe 2020 is here. This year will my prayers be more of asking for His blessings on me rather than “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1)? Just asking.