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The question that this Psalm prompts in my mind is this: I know that I should delight in God’s Word. I know that I would be blessed if I delighted in God’s Word. But I don’t delight in God’s Word. It feels more like drudgery than delight. How do I get to the point where pondering the Word of God is a delight and not a duty?
Great question. I want to give you an illustration and then some thoughts by godly men who have wrestled with this very question.
Most people know that they should exercise. They know how much better they would feel if they exercised. They know that exercise would benefit them physically, emotionally, and mentally. But the idea of exercising defeats them before they get started. They don’t like the idea of all that sweat; those sore muscles; those dirty clothes; the cost of a gym membership or running shoes. They don’t like the time it will take and what they will have to give up if they are going to exercise consistently. But they do like the idea of feeling better; looking better; sleeping better. So they decide to start and find it to be drudgery just like they thought it would be. But they keep at it even when they don’t feel like it; even when it just feels like they are going through the motions. And after six weeks they begin to notice the benefits starting to kick in. The have lost weight. They can run a mile without feeling like dying. They have gone from an ab to a two-pack. And before too long they realize they are looking forward to their scheduled exercise time rather than dreading it.
What once was drudgery and duty has now become delight!
Thoughts from John Piper:
So someone may ask: How can I come to delight in the word of God? My answer is twofold:
1) pray for new tastebuds on the tongue of your heart;
2) meditate on the staggering promises of God to his people.
The same psalmist who said, “How sweet are your words to my taste” (Psalm 119:103), said earlier, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18). He prayed this, because to have spiritual eyes to see glory, or to have holy tastebuds on the tongue of the heart, is a gift of God. No one naturally hungers for, and delights in, God and his wisdom.
But when you have prayed, indeed while you pray, meditate on the benefits God promises to his people and on the joy of having Almighty God as your helper now and forever. Psalm 1:3–4 says that the person who meditates on God’s word “is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.”
Thoughts from David Platt:
I just want to encourage you to pray for this kind of delight in the law of the Lord. Ask the Lord for this. And pray this, and then think through, “Okay. How can I meditate on this word day and night? How can I make sure at the beginning of my day to fill my mind with God’s word? At the end of the day, to fill my mind with God’s word in a way that saturates the whole course of my day with God’s word?”
I guarantee you that if you are intentional about meditating, fixing your mind, your heart on God’s word in the beginning of your day, at the end of your day, and thinking through how can that saturate your life during the day, I guarantee you, you will see, discover, experience this word as delightful. Full of delight.
Thoughts from George Mueller:
I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord…. I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the word of God, and to meditation on it…. What is the food of the inner man? Not prayer, but the word of God; and… not the simple reading of the word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts.
May this brick help you to experience delight as you come to the Word of God each day – anticipating how the Lord is going to use His Word to strengthen you with everything that you will need to deal with whatever comes your way that day.