Not long ago, I was reading this verse and realized something. “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16, ESV). I get joy out of God’s Word, even though the process of allowing it to work in me is not necessarily that pleasant.
I believe this is especially true of the Book of Psalms. Some people treat this book of the Bible like poetry and say things like, “How beautiful these poetic songs are!” Other people go into Psalms as an intellectual pursuit or academic research. If we honestly go into Psalms, though, it’s a study of our own hearts. It’s a study of our own relationships and how we’re working with them.
On a personal note, I've noticed that I take pleasure in being in my study at home with my Bible and books. Being created as an introvert means I take great pleasure in being alone. I’m just totally at peace reading in the quiet.
Well, my wife is more social, so she wants to have guests over. If we have company, I’m engaged and happy for them to be there for about the first hour or so. After a while, though, I’ll look at the clock and say, “Shoot, it’s 7 o’clock. They’re still here. I hope they leave soon.” If any of our guests are reading this, bear with me until the end of the story here. I realized as I was reading the psalms that this went beyond just my personality. Isolation and lack of being comfortable in other people’s presence is not okay. I started seeing “Okay, there's something wrong here. I'm hiding from something in my own heart.”
Instead of dealing with some of the painful history I've had in my life, I was repressing it to some degree and then feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and therefore uncomfortable around other people. It was easy to hide, but I was not being relational like the Psalms teach us to be. We’re not just to love God but also to love others as ourselves. If we're truly loving God, we're going to love others. There’s a joy and delight to these commands, even as they do hard work in our hearts.