Psalm 37:1-27

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither,like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret-it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.

The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. But the wicked will perish: The LORD’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish-vanish like smoke. The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; those the LORD blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be cut off. If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed. (1-27)

“The Lord must love poor people,” Abe Lincoln said, “Because He sure made a lot of them.” Somehow it’s come to be accepted in some circles that Christians shouldn’t prosper. Quotes like “Money is the root of all evil” and “It’s harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle,” are bandied about to underscore this view.

The first one is a misquote. It should read, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Tim 6:10) and the second is like it in that it alludes to the effect that the love of money has on people. In both cases it’s the motive for achieving wealth that’s in focus, not the wealth itself.

If you believe that the Bible is an integrated message system incapable of self-contradiction, then these verses should cause you to stop and think. “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10) “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. (Luke 6:38) “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.” (2 Cor. 9:11) These cannot be reconciled with the notion that believers are meant to be people of modest means.

But they can be reconciled with Psalm 37 and taken together can show us the real problem. Verse 4 especially is a cause and effect statement that summarizes the whole Psalm. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. We all want to be given the desires of our heart, but are we first delighting ourselves in the Lord?

If not, the issue is one of priorities. First things first. Delight yourself in the Lord. The Hebrew word means to be happy about or make merry over.  It also means to let yourself be pampered.  Here’s the best way I’ve found to make that happen. Begin demonstrating your sincere gratitude for what He’s done for you by giving generously (and anonymously) to support His work. Not because He needs your money, but because you need to improve in the way you express your gratitude. Do it in a spirit of happiness, making merry over sharing what He’s given you.  The Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7).

And as for the desires of your heart, I recommend giving the Lord permission to erase your list and letting Him place in your heart the things He wants you to desire.  Then you concentrate on the cause (delight in the Lord) and let Him handle the effect (desires of your heart).  Let Him pamper you with the things He knows you’ll love.  Based on the verses I quoted above, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion (2 Cor. 9:11).