Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.…
It would be most calamitous for the world did God give to all men the desires of their hearts: that human wishes should thus become the measure of the Divine mercies. God's great laws could not be modified to our desires without deranging the harmony of the universe. Thus, for example, the ignorance of a traveller might desire the quenching of a volcano, or the arrest of some torrent of lava; but the fulfilment of such a desire might cause a terrible earthquake in some crowded city, and substitute the misery of thousands for the inconvenience and alarm of one individual. The stormy wind hushed here, might breed and then dispense the dire breath of pestilence on every side; and even the war and bloodshed which the strivings of philanthropic desire would righteously avert, may in God's grace bring untold blessings on successive generations. But mere ignorance of the mysterious and inscrutable reasons which guide the Divine government would be the least of the evils at work, for human desires are so deplorably selfish in their operation, that the moment of their gratification would be that which should give the signal for the outbreak of fearful passion and widespread misery. If it were allowed to us to choose for ourselves what we would have, there are perhaps few moments when the most sanguine of us would dare to make the choice. He must be a bold man, or a fool, who would dare to take his lot into his own government, and be the master of his own destiny. But is there no paradox in this, that though "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord," "The prayer of the upright is His delight"? Is there no delusion in the command, "Ask, and ye shall receive"? or in the assurance of the apostle, "Ye have not, because ye ask not"? If we still hear these words with delight, it is because we have been forced back on the other mode of explaining this blessed fact; namely, that God hears the prayers which He has Himself prompted, that He hears certain prayers, and grants to certain men the desires of their hearts, because He has inspired those desires. He gives to certain long-ings of the heart the fullest satisfaction, because He has by Ills Spirit suggested those longings. The question now arises, How are we to know whether the desires of our hearts are divinely implanted, and are such as God will hear? The child may cry for a knife, for fire, for food, which it would be cruel to grant. It is better that the child should be unhappy, vexed, angry because its request is denied, than that the gift should be bestowed and instantly abused. When Paul was pierced by the "thorn in the flesh," he thrice besought the Lord to remove it from him; but God had a greater blessing in store, and gave him instead of such deliverance, the assurance, "My grace is sufficient for thee." Does the Holy Scripture, and will the Holy Spirit, help us to solve this great problem, or guide us to the class of desires which will foreshadow the Divine purpose? Have we any magnet that will point out to us the eternal pole of the will of God? The text gives us abundant help here; "Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thy heart;" or, as it might be paraphrased, "Delight in the Lord, and then thou mayest trust thy desires; they will be the forerunner of blessings, the beginning of their own realization." "Blessed are riley that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." Delight thyself in the Lord, and thou wilt desire strongly only what is in harmony with His will, and best for thyself. All thy wishes will be brought into subjection to His will, and thou wilt crave only those things which He is ready and anxious to bestow upon thee.
(H. Reynolds, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.