The purr of a cat, the sigh of a hot shower, the satisfied whoop of a good run – this is what I associate with delight. Things you delight in rub you the right way, give you energy, and bring the light to your eyes (get it, de-light?).
Psalm 37 uses the word delight three times. But according to my LOGOS Bible word study, they are not all the same meaning.
First, David is contrasting the lives of the wicked with the righteous. It is easy to be jealous when the wicked seem so successful in life. But he says in verses 3-4,
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Delight in the Hebrew has the idea of pampering or refreshing yourself. Desires is the idea of cravings, and petitioning for something. So while you trust God and focus on Him as your source of refreshment, He will answer your soul-cravings.
The same word for delight is used in Psalm 37:10-11,
“In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”
It is painful to be following God now. Delight is not always immediate. But God will bring together His plan to satisfy us.
The third time that delight is used, it has a different context, and a meaning that is closer to take pleasure in something or desire it,
“23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.”
God takes pleasure in our obedience, and helps us in the steps, even when they are hard. That’s amazing He is so invested in us!
So while we live to be satisfied by things on earth, we will always feel empty. And yet when we give them up, and delight in knowing the God who provides in good time, we have abundance.
I appreciated Isaiah 58 also, with contrasting images of “delight” tying the chapter together. It contrasts the words we say and the things we do, and what God really sees. And sometimes we cannot even recognize our lies. But instead, they were to honor God by obeying and practicing what was taught in daily living. This brought abundant blessing.
God, delight is an elusive thing to chase. It is when we stop seeing only our own goal and focus on You that we can really enjoy the journey. And You even delight in us, and our obedience. Please help my steps to be ones that bring You joy. Amen.