Saturday, July 10, 2010

Your heart's desire

You have given him his heart's desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Psalm 21:2

I sometimes hear from other Christians that all we need to do is to "do God's will," and "walk in his ways," ... of course, this seems self-evident.  Of course we know in our heart of hearts that what we should do is what God has made us for; that we should do God's will.  Of course, it seems quite obvious that this is what we are to do.  The question, of course, is having any earthly idea of what that is.  Aside from obeying the commandments, aside from striving to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, it can be quite hard at times to know what to do.  Do we tell a white lie when a friend just got a heinous haircut?  Do we show our frustration at a coworker for not following through on a project?  And, what about when the decision is between two "goods," how do we discern the greater good?

These are, of course, the tricky decisions of life - and whole fields of ethics have developed around how we should live.  However, here in Psalm 21, one of the psalms appointed for this morning, we read an interesting phrase, "you have given him his heart's desire."  This term, "heart's desire," is one that we use in common language, and I had forgotten that its roots were in the psalms.  It also shows up in Psalm 20.  God has given the just king his "heart's desire."  What is our "heart's desire"?  Something here to reflect upon, indeed.  What is your "heart's desire"?

Assuming that we are listening to the "better angels of our natures," it would be, perhaps quite important to listen to our "heart's desire," for there in the deep and abiding desire of our heart may also be the desire of God.  Deep in our own longing may be a piece of God's own longing for this broken world.  Deep in our own desire may be the essence of joy and abundant life that God desires for us.  What is the desire of your heart?  What is the desire of mine?

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Psalm 20

1  The LORD answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
 2 May he send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion.
 3 May he remember all your offerings, and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices. Selah
 4 May he grant you your heart's desire, and fulfill all your plans.
 5 May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.
 6 Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand.
 7 Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the LORD our God.
 8 They will collapse and fall, but we shall rise and stand upright.
 9 Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.

Psalm 21

1 In your strength the king rejoices, O LORD, and in your help how greatly he exults!
 2 You have given him his heart's desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah
 3 For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold on his head.
 4 He asked you for life; you gave it to him-- length of days forever and ever.
 5 His glory is great through your help; splendor and majesty you bestow on him.
 6 You bestow on him blessings forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
 7 For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
 8 Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you.
 9 You will make them like a fiery furnace when you appear. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them.
 10 You will destroy their offspring from the earth, and their children from among humankind.
 11 If they plan evil against you, if they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
 12 For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows.
 13 Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.

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