“May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
Psalms 20:4, 7 ESV
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalms 37:4 ESV
I often come to frequently trodden portions of Scripture and read carelessly. I believe I mined all of the goodness and truth out of passages and that I have nothing left to learn or understand from them. But, in regard to the above Psalms, I found myself riddled with questions that, by thinking on the text, were immediately answered.
I always thought these two Psalms seemed simple enough. We make plans, he fulfills them. If we delight in him, he gives us the desires of our hearts. But, as I read with my selfish gain in mind, I missed the real meaning of the passage. For so many years, I read the words, but did not understand.
Desire is a complicated topic. Where do these impulses and longings come from? Which are good and acceptable and pleasing in his sight, and which are not? What do they exist for? Why do I feel them? I often wondered how I might make sense of these questions. But something surged from these Psalms one morning that shattered my previous conceptions of these verses and brought me to a stop.
Why does the Psalmist “trust in the name of the LORD our God” as opposed to chariots and horses (Psalm 20:7)? Chariots and horses are strong and assured and signifiers of power and prestige. They seem to give safe refuge. Why trust in the LORD? Here is why. Someone is only worthy of our trust if they have a greater grasp on our life than we do, if they possess more power and resources and ability and strength and knowledge than we do. If they know who we are and what we were made for more than we do. The LORD fulfills all of these and more.
For these reasons, the Psalmist knew that the Lord would “give [him] the desires of his heart” (Psalm 37:4). And I believe that the Psalmist means that the Lord does not merely give us what we want, but that he is in fact the author of the desires that rise in us when we delight in him. He gives you the desires of your heart. The desires in your heart were given to you by him. Yes! They were given to you that he may “fulfill all your plans” (Psalm 20:4). Our desires come from him and exist for him and work to fulfill our plans, which he planted in us to align with his purposes.
We cannot trust in horses and chariots. Because they do not know us, nor do they compare with the Lord. And we do not even know our own desires. On our own, following our own desires, we walk aimlessly, blinded by confusion and desperate attempts to make sense of our lives. “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). But, when we walk by the Spirit, we delight in him. And when we delight in him, he will give us desires that he will fulfill, and plans that align with his purposes.