One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 37… “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart….” I mean what is not to love?
Yet, if you keep reading there is much more to this Psalm, that the often quoted verse. As I was reading it the other day, I was struck by verse 3 second part, “Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.”
This struck me because quite honestly I wasn’t exactly loving my place at that moment. Instead I was grumbling about the dust, tired of the food, and feeling like I’d rather be anywhere than there.
Yet, as I read, “Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” It was as if God spoke directly to my heart.
So I began to meditate and pick apart this verse.
In searching I found the Hebrew word Shakan for dwell. This word means to settle down. To abide. To reside. To continue. To stay. To rest.
Basically, it means to be all there. To live fully in that place, to stay there, continue there, rest there, live there.
And the Lord whispered to my heart, “Dwell in this place I’ve called you, be all here.”
Then I looked at the second part, “and cultivate faithfulness.”
To cultivate mean to grow or maintain. In farming it means to plan and prepare for growth.
See it isn’t enough to dwell where God has you, we have to cultivate faithfulness. We have to grow, and maintain our relationship with the Lord.
When a farmer cultivates the land, he prepares the soil for farming. Which means he gets rid of the weeds, removes the rocks, fertilizes the soil, plants the seed, and waters it. It is a process, all needed to bring about the crop he desires to grow.
As I thought on this, and what the Lord commanded, I realized that the same is true and necessary for the child of God. In order to cultivate faithfulness, we have to remove the sin that entangles, cut out that which weighs us down, and prepare our hearts to grow in our walk with Him.
In the NASV, there is a small letter next to the words, “cultivate faithfulness.” When you click there, or read the small print in the Bible, it gives another interpretation to this.
It says, (or feed on His faithfulness).
I think it is a definite both and. We are to cultivate faithfulness in our own lives, but we do this as we feed upon His faithfulness. For though we will fail, we will mess up, the Lord never fails. He is always faithful. And it is through His faithfulness, we are able to be faithful.
And once more the Lord spoke to my heart, saying, “Dwell in the land, be all there, live there, abide there, and remain faithful to that which I have called you to, as you feed upon My faithfulness!”
Your place and mine will be different, and yet God’s message to us both remains the same.
In the place God has put you (literal and figurative) be all there. And while you are there, be faithful in your walk with the Lord, be faithful in the work He has called you to. Which is all possible as you depend entirely feed upon His faithfulness.