Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.…
Boundless resources, it is manifest, could not be safely at the disposal of less than boundless wisdom. Only on one condition would it be a certain benefit to be assured of getting everything that we desired — the condition, namely, that we should always desire that which is best. Well, that and nothing else is what God undertakes to do for us if only we will let Him. The great aim and object of all His dealings with us — specially of the mission of His Son and the mission of the Holy Ghost — is twofold: first, to get us to desire what is best and then to give it to us. There is one desire that ought to be central in every human heart — the desire for God, the love of our Father in heaven. In a large family there may be great diversities of taste and disposition, without their interfering at all with the love which each of the children bears to the father and mother; and it certainly would be no excuse for an ungrateful son when charged with his unfilial spirit if he were to say, "Our family are not all alike; we are quite different from one another in our tastes. One is fond of reading, another of music, another of painting, and a fourth of athletic sports; and if there be some of my sisters who are fend of their father and mother, I have no objection. Every one to his taste, but I do not care anything about them." Would any one allow that to be a reasonable and proper way of getting rid of the filial obligation to love and honour our father and mother? Certainly not. Why, then, should it ever be thought a sufficient excuse for not caring for the Father of our spirits? God has created us with a great variety of lower desires, but there is one desire which ought to be in every human heart as its dominant ruling desire — the desire for God. If any one has not that desire as a controlling desire his whole nature is in chaos, and unless that is rectified his end must be destruction. But is it indeed true that when this condition is fulfilled the other always follows? Who is there, even among the best people, who gets everything that his heart is set on? But here we must, in all fairness, bear in mind that it is not said, either here or anywhere else, that every desire of the child of God shall be immediately gratified. On the contrary, it is very clearly intimated that faith and patience will be needed (vers. 5, 7). This, of course, modifies the promise, but it does not diminish its value. Rather it increases its value. We may be sure that if God keeps us waiting it is for some very good purpose. We may be sure that the blessing, when it comes, will be richer than if it had come at the same moment that we first desired it. Making all allowance for this, let us now look at the immense advantages which those enjoy who delight themselves in the Lord.
1. In the first place, their chief desire is one which can be always gratified. Now, is not that a great thing? But not only is the chief desire of those who delight themselves in the Lord one that can be always gratified; but all the desires that spring up around it are of the same nature. When a man delights himself in the Lord the merely selfish desires die out of his heart, and far better things take their place. Oh, do not think that the heart is left empty when the old desires go out. It is stocked with far better and nobler ones. Then the will becomes parallel to God's, and hence it does not need to be checked or thwarted as before.
2. Then, again, whatever is denied now is denied only for a time. We have already acknowledged that there are some of our desires that we must be content to wait for, but the time is certainly coming when they shall all be fulfilled. If only we give our hearts unreservedly to the Lord, we may rest assured that He will not allow any desire to remain in them which He does not intend to gratify to the full.
(J. Monro Gibson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.