Princess Bride is one of the most quotable movies of all time. I think I have watched it more than any other single movie. In college, my friends and I didn’t have TV’s in our dorm rooms, so one friend made an audio recording of Princess Bride. We must have listened to it at least thirty times. We memorized whole sections of it and entertained our sleep-deprived minds by quoting the best dialogues. One of my favorites was when Vizzini kept using the word “inconceivable”. Inigo Montoya informed him, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Recently, I stumbled upon a favorite Bible verse from those college days…a verse with a word that doesn’t mean what I thought it meant.
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 ESV
I claimed it as a promise from God that if I lived for Him, then He would fulfill the desires of my heart. I wanted to get married, teach piano, and have children. I understood this verse to mean that he would give me the things I wanted, the things my heart desired. Does this sound anything like a fairy godmother granting a wish in a fairy tale?
Only now, I realize that the word “give” did NOT mean what I thought it meant. Just as Vizzini misunderstood the meaning of “inconceivable”
“Give” is from the Hebrew word, “nathan”, which is translated in many ways in the King James Version of the Bible: give, put, deliver, made, set, up lay, grant, suffer, yield, bring, cause, utter, laid, send, recompense, appoint, and show. Notice that the word “fulfill” is not found anywhere in that list.
I had understood Psalm 37:4 as meaning that “He will [fulfill] the desires of my heart.” But that’s NOT what it means at all. The same Hebrew word for “give” is used in Ezekiel 36:26:
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”Ezekiel 36:26 ESV
Now that puts a different spin on it, doesn’t it? God did not intend to fulfill the fleeting wishes of our hearts. Instead, He intends to remove those wishes and give us His desires…ones that are eternal and beautiful.
When we seek God and get excited about knowing Him more, He gives our hearts the desires He wants us to have. Wow! This is even better! By pursuing God, we can be set free from the evil desires of our hearts! It’s like a child’s desire for a candy-machine necklace being replaced by the gift of a genuine diamond necklace.
This brings us hope.
- This means that when we crave food, alcohol, or anything else to satisfy our longings, there is hope that God WILL change our hearts as we persistently seek Him.
- This means that when we constantly struggle with the same sin over and over, there is hope that God will deliver to us a new heart with new desires. We just have to seek and act.
- This means that when our hearts are petrified with regret and shame, there is hope that God will remove that stony heart and give us a heart that FEELS again.
- This means that when we are sidetracked by wanting what is bad for us, there is hope that God will replace the bad desires with healthy ones.
God is much better than a fairy godmother. He is a heavenly Father who only wants what is best for us…and His gifts don’t end when the clock strikes midnight.