"Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness."
That phrase, "cultivate faithfulness," also means "feed on God's faithfulness" or "feed securely."
I ruminate on this idea, that God's faithfulness to me is something that's supposed to nourish and feed my soul. It's a food/farming metaphor, but David the poet loves metaphors, so I'm on safe ground.
God's faithfulness to me is like soil, good garden soil. It's solid and you can stand on it, but it's also loamy and you can dig into it, examine it, and bury seeds into it. Like physical soil God's faithfulness is life-giving, so seeds that are buried into it will germinate, grow, flourish, and eventually feed me.
What kind of seed do I bury into God's faithfulness? What do I take of my own, and I give it to God, and I say, "Here, God, please do something with this. Make it grow."
I think the seeds are our hopes. We can't make them grow and feed us, but God can. On our knees we scoop up a handful of God's faithfulness to us, and we examine it. How do we know He is faithful? We think about our lives, the decades behind us, and remember how He has brought us out of many troubles, how He has guided us to make good decisions, how He has redeemed and transformed our bad decisions, how He has loved us anyway. That faithfulness is the soil to which we now take our tiny, last, precious seed of itty-bitty hope, and into which we bury that seed. Our last hope.
Then what? We wait. Seeds don't sprout immediately. Hopes don't mature today. But God is faithful, and His soil always brings life, and in time the hope will pop through into the daylight and grow and become beautiful.
But that's not the goal -- the goal, as Ps. 37:3 says, is to nourish and feed us. God's faithful soil isn't lawn grass, it's vegetables! It will enrich our souls and satisfy our spirits and make us trust Him more for the next round of troubles that will come.
Bury your hopes. Give them up. Hand them to God and He will hand them back to you -- better, bigger, satisfying, mature. As the very next verse says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." If we delight in Him, of course, He is our desire.
Many, many thanks to the dear friend who shared this psalm again with me this week. It has been a blessing over and over.