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Well hey, hello hello to you today. Jan L. Burt coming at ya with some beautiful promises and encouragement from Psalm 37. As we draw close to Easter, which is in just a few weeks as I record this in late March of 2022, it’s one time of year when Christians really seem to think about all that Christ has given to us. What He secured for us at the cross. What our eternal reality will be. We have a renewed sense of hope, we look forward to heaven, and we are leaning into the things of the Lord in fresh and expectant ways.
And so, here I am ready to share with you from one of my favorite portions of Scripture - Psalm 37. Now if you haven’t read this psalm in a while, then I think you are in for a treat. And if, like me, it is one of your favorites, a go-to psalm if you will, then you’re gonna be ready to go for this episode. The next couple of episodes will be looking at this psalm, because there is a wealth of promise here and as we near Easter, promise and hope are kind of watchwords. We’re looking for all the things that bring hope, all the promises God has made to us. And in this psalm, my prayer is that you will find both of those, hope and promises, in overflowing, overwhelming abundance.
You’re listening to The Burt (Not Ernie) Show, part of the Spark Network, now playing on the Edifi app. This is episode 101.
Psalm 37, in the CSB, has this title: Instruction in Wisdom (the Amplified has a longer title (Security of Those Who Trust in the Lord, and Insecurity of the Wicked)
That gives us a great description, doesn’t it? We have an idea of what we’ll gain from reading this psalm, and that includes wisdom and security. Most of us, after the last couple of years in particular, are ready for all the wisdom God wants to give us and we wouldn’t say no to a whole mess of security from the Lord, either, ya know? Plus there’s like this extra info we are going to get about the insecurity of the wicked. So reading through this psalm, like the whole thing, will talk about wisdom, our security, and how God deals with the wicked. Today we are going to look at verses 3 & 4, first from the Christian Standard Bible and then I will also read from the Amplified.
CSB - Psalm 37:3 & 4 - Trust in the Lord & do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart's desires.
AMP - Psalm 37:3 & 4 - Trust (rely on and have confidence) in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed securely on His faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires and petitions of your heart.
You may already know verse 4 pretty well, like basically from memory. It’s quoted often because it’s an amazing verse with an amazing promise. But we are going to power through both verses and sort of level up on our belief today. Can you commit to that along with me, that you are going to believe what’s written in these verses, and choose not to disbelieve it? And if you don’t feel like you can make that as a long-term commitment, that level of belief, can you believe just for today? Okay, awesome. I’m sure you said, “YES!” so let’s go! Let’s get it!
Verse 4. Trust in the Lord - Trust, rely on and have confidence in the Lord. Notice how God does not tell us to do good, just do good, do better, be better, come on. (Anybody have parents that followed the just be good, just do better model of parenting? Did it work well? Probably not because it’s really difficult to just be good, do better…based on our own willpower. Willpower falls short almost every time, but Holy Spirit power never ever falls short, no matter what.) So God doesn’t start with,”Jan be good. Do better, Jan.” Uh, thank You Lord that You start with, “Jan, trust Me. Trust in Me, in My ways, in My character, in My faithfulness, in My holiness and My mercy. Rely on Me and have confidence in Me. Then, Jan, once you are really trusting in Me and in My ways, then you are able to do what is good.” See, whe are to trust in the Lord and do good. Not do good on our own, in our own limited and all too human strength. The good we do in this world stems directly from the God in whom we trust. The more trust we have in our trustworthy God, the more good we are able to do. Does that take the pressure off a bit? I hope so because this is one powerful promise!
And never forget, God’s promises are for His people, His children. He means for us to believe them, to live our lives based on the reality of His promises to us coming to fruition. Not just here and there, willy nilly, sometimes or on occasion. But all the time, every day, we can live in the reality of His promises.
That’s the first part of verse 3, and honestly just with that much alone we’ve already been given such an incredible promise. I get excited when I see God’s Word opening the way before us for real life change. Not being Pollyanna-ish about this either. This here is life changing. God’s Word still works to change lives. Why shouldn’t one of those lives be yours? And why shouldn’t the Word of God, the promises of God, change our lives again and again and again? For the better? This is such a strongly held belief on my part, it is why I do what I do. I hope you believe this, my friend, because I’m telling you, God wants you to believe that what He has promised you in the Bible is for you, it is yours. Your enemy is who wants you not to believe it, and he is not to be trusted or listened to.
Second part of verse 3 - dwell in the land and live securely, feed securely on His faithfulness. That’s both the CSB and the AMP, what I just shared. You and I, we get to dwell in the land and live securely. We can feed securely on our God’s faithfulness. What feeds you? The news? Social media? Fears? Real security is not found in riches, not in wealth, not in your work title or position, not in podcast download numbers. It is found in the faithfulness of my God to me, of your God to you. And is He not always, eternally faithful? He is, and cannot be less. Dwell there.
What do I mean by that? That’s home. That’s where we live, you and I. We live in the sweet spot of life where we trust in our Lord, we fully rely on Him, our total confidence is in Him alone, and right there, when we dwell there, we are secure. Can’t add any more to our security, since it is already filled to the full in Christ. Dwell there. Live there. Let your security be in your God, and expect His peace to surpass all understanding. Dwell in the security of the Lord God Almighty.
Verse 4 - CSB - Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart's desires.
This is such a simple, straightforward promise that we struggle to believe it. Seems too easy, too good to be true. Like, that’s it? I just take delight in God and He will give me my heart’s desires? Uh, yeah. That’s actually what it says. See, you’ve heard this before, but let me say it again anyway. Your delight in Him will flood your life, flood your thinking and your feeling, your emotions, your behavior, all of it. Delighting in Him leaves little to no room for delighting in self, delighting in the big 3 from 1 John - the lust of the flesh, the lust eyes, the pride of life. If we kid ourselves and say we delight in the Lord, we are delighting ourselves in the Lord, but there is all this lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride…well, that’s not a total giving over to Him. There is not room for the big 3 when all the room is consumed by the Lord. Delighting yourself in Him, enjoying His presence, loving your time with Him in prayer, in the Word, really making Him the only thing that really matters in your life, well, that is delighting in Him. So how could your heart’s desires be misaligned with His heart’s desires if you really, truly delight in Him? They won’t be. There will be no mismatch. So yes, He can give you your heart’s desires. Because your heart belongs to Him, so you won’t be wanting all the things that line up with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. Won’t drool over that certain car or that dream kitchen you saw on Pinterest or have all this pride in the way your project turned out at work or in your kids sports achievements. It’s gonna be really difficult to continually feed the flesh when you continually delight yourself in your Lord. It’s also important to remember that your flesh, it ain’t goin’ with you into eternity so it don’t care about that; the priority of the flesh is always here and now, that’s what it’s screaming for and it don’t have no need to stop it’s screaming cuz this here life, that’s all the flesh has got. Which is why the NT tells us to crucify the flesh and all its evil desires. Crucify, not anesthetize. Kill it off, finish it off. Don’t rock it to sleep with a lullaby.
I hope that brings a smidge of clarity about how to delight yourself in the Lord and then to believe that He is going to give you - give you - what your heart desires. Right now, my heart desires to have an expanded reach to talk about God’s Word, specifically His promises, and to write about prayer, promises, and the huge benefits of daily Bible study time on a personal level. I do think those are in line with God’s heart and so I am expecting Him to expand the reach I have in those areas - my speaking, my writing, podcasting, what I share on social or YouTube even on my Pinterest boards. Can I say that was always what I wanted most? If I’m honest, no. But dwelling much with Jesus, being much with my Lord, altered my life which impacted my number one wants.
In the AMP, verse 4 reads like this: Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart.
Petitions of your heart. Are there maybe some things we will never, ever get in this life, this side of eternity, unless we petition God for those things?
I think it’s very possible, and I think James in the NT tells us that exact thing when he says you have not because you ask not.
So very true so very often. What are you petitioning God for? Are you praying, asking Him for the things that are in your heart? If you, say, want more income because you want to work less overtime so that you can spend more time with your spouse and kiddos, are you asking Him for that? If I want a traditional publishing book deal, am I asking Him for that? If you want your health to be improved so you can dedicate more time and energy to your favorite local ministry, are you praying and petitioning God for that?
The word petitions in Psalm 37 verse 4 is not accidental. A petition can take some serious asking, some effort, think about the door to door sign this petition efforts that you’ve seen happen. Get to a million signatures or something like that. Takes a lot to get the petitioning done, right? So this is not a bullet prayer, an arrow prayer, a real quick, “God, please help!”. This is more dug in, dedicated. Are dedicated in your praying, in your asking, in your petitioning? If not, get dedicated.
Always expect God to answer, absolutely. And also, always be willing to go to the mat in prayer and petition. Both/and, my friend, both/and, not either/or.
Next week we are going to look at verses 5-8, and dig into more of what is promised to us in Psalm 37. It’s incredible, these promises the Lord God of all creation makes to us. And all we have to do is believe. Can’t we do that? Oh that we might believe the Word of God with a level of belief that would honor Him. That's my prayer this week, that we will believe in honorable measures. Let’s honor Him with our very lives and one huge way to do that is to live a life of belief.
Hey, if you wouldn't mind leaving a review of the podcast, that is super helpful for reach and growth. And if you’d like to skip on over to Amazon and grab one of my books, my 60 Day Prayer Journal for Parents or The Power of God’s Will, 40 Days of God’s Promises devotional those may be beneficial for your prayer time or just an encouragement in believing God’s promises, just search Jan L. Burt in Amazon and should show right up.
Lord bless you this week as you continue to walk in belief and see the promises of God play out in your life in powerful, amazing ways. Won’t He do it? Oh, yes He will! You can’t stop Him, so might as well join Him!
I’ll see ya next time!
You’ve been listening to The Burt (Not Ernie) Show, part of the Spark Network, now playing on the Edifi app.
Jan L. Burt is an author, speaker, podcaster, homeschooling veteran, mother to five, and has been happily married to Tony for thirty years. She served in youth ministry alongside her husband for twelve years & has led several Bible studies for women as well as hosting two online prayer retreats.
Jan is the author of the new book “A 60-Day Prayer Journal for Parents” & “The Power of God’s Will – 40 Days of God’s Promises Devotional” (available on Amazon) & “The Once-A-Year Homeschool Planner” (a multi-grade, multi-subject planning system) – which can be found at JanLBurt.com. She has also been a regular contributor to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Find Jan Instagram: @JanLBurt or at her website JanLBurt.com or at her YouTube channel, “God’s Promises for You with Jan L. Burt”.