Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.…
Without cheerful prayer we cannot have gracious answers. Note —
I. WHAT THIS DELIGHT IS. Delight properly is an affection of the mind that springs from the possession of a good which hath been ardently desired. Delight properly is a silencing of desire, and the banquet of the soul on the presence of its desired object. But there is a delight of a lower stamp.
1. In desires. There is a delight in desire as well as in fruition.
2. In hopes (Romans 5:2).
3. In contemplation. The consideration and serious thoughts of heaven do affect a gracious heart and fill it with pleasure, though itself be as if in a wilderness. As the union with the object is nearer, so the delight is stronger. Now, this delight the soul hath in duty is not a delight of fruition, but of desire, hope or contemplation. Now, delight is active or passive, as Isaiah 64:5. When we delightfully clasp the throne of grace God doth often cast His arms about our necks.
II. WHENCE THIS DELIGHT SPRINGS.
1. From the Spirit of God. Not a spark of fire upon our own hearth that is able to kindle this spiritual delight. It is the Holy Ghost (Psalm 138:8; Isaiah 56:7).
2. From grace. Dead men cannot perform a duty (Psalm 115:17).
3. From a good conscience (Proverbs 15:15). He that hath a good conscience must needs be cheerful in his religious and civil duties. Guilt will come trembling, and with a sad countenance, into the presence of God's majesty. A guilty child cannot with cheerfulness come into a displeased father's presence.
4. From a holy familiarity with God. Hence there is delight in one another's company.
5. From hopes of speeding (Romans 12:12).
6. From a sense of former mercies and acceptation. These quicken our desire for and expectation of more (Psalm 116:2).
III. THE REASONS OF THIS DOCTRINE, that without cheerful seeking, we cannot have a gracious answer. For —
1. A fiat and dumpish temper is not for His honour; and prayers in such temper do not reach Him, and they speak an unwillingness that God should hear us.
2. And without delight we are not fit to receive a mercy. Delight in a mercy wanted makes room for desire, and large desires make room for mercy. If no delight in begging, there will be no delight in enjoying; if there be no cheerfulness to quicken our prayers when we need a blessing, there will be little joy to quicken our praise when we receive a blessing. Had not Zaccheus had a great joy at the news of Christ's coming by his door, he had not so readily entertained and welcomed Him.
1. Of information.
(1) There is a great pleasure in the ways of God, if rightly understood. Prayer, which is a duty wherein we express our wants, is delightful. There is more sweetness in a Christian's asking, than in a wicked man's enjoying, blessings.
(2) What delight will there be in heaven! If there be such sweetness in desire, what will there he in full fruition! There is joy in seeking; what is there then in finding! Duty hath its sweets, its thousands, but glory its ten thousands.
(3) The miserable condition of those that can delight in anything but prayer. It is an aggravation of our enmity to God, when we can sin cheerfully and pray dully, when duty is more loathsome than iniquity.
2. Of examination. We pray, but how are our hearts?
Parallel VersesKJV: Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.