January 20, 2015
By Ed Dudek
God said to Joshua, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Josh.1:8, NASB). Well, who doesn’t want to succeed and prosper? But part of “getting there” involves meditation.
If you’re like I am, the word “meditate” brings up different ideas and images. But what is the meditation that God is talking about and how do you do it?
The Psalmist David asked God to keep him from willful and arrogant sins, and to not let them rule and have dominion over him. Then he would be upright, and innocent of great transgression. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer” (Ps.19:14, HCSB). Meditation involves the heart. The heart is our very person at the core, and so embraces our whole inner being with its thinking, feeling and volition, and is the source of our actions. Biblical meditation consists of actively filling the heart with God’s Word and pondering His perspective by going over it in our mind repeatedly with the purpose of applying/obeying it. It’s focusing our attention and thoughts on a spiritual truth to understand it more deeply. It’s deliberate reflective thinking about such a truth. *Ps.19:13*
So Biblical meditation isn’t just reading God’s Word, as important and precious as that is. And spiritual growth is even slower with hurried reading.
Biblical meditation is thoughtfully contemplating a specific truth, somewhat like a cow “chewing” its cud. We deliberately and thoroughly “chew” on that truth. The more we chew the better we assimilate and “digest” it, and then “be careful to do it” (Josh.1:8). We should study the Word, and use various translations and commentaries to help interpret it. Jot down your thoughts as you mull over God’s perspective about the truth, and then ask, “How can I apply this Word in my life?”
The mind, the wisdom and the will of God are revealed in the Scriptures. When the Word of God is our meditation David said that he had more understanding and deeper insight than all of his instructors who formerly taught him. *Ps.119:99*
The Psalmist tells us how important and beneficial Biblical meditation is. He begins by stating, “Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers” (Ps.1:1, GWT). He then says that this person finds delight and pleasure in the Law of the Lord, and he pores over and meditates on it day and night. And what is the result? He stands firm like a tree that is planted by running water, a tree that brings forth its fruit in its proper season (including transformed character and godly conduct). Its leaves do not wither and whatever he does will prosper—success attends all that he does! *Ps.1:2-3*
May you and I love God’s Word and be so saturated with it that it becomes our meditation “all day long” (Ps.119:97)!
Are there any specific Biblical truths that we should meditate on? We will answer that question in our next blog.