Looking in my Bible’s concordance the words meditate, or meditation seem to be all in the Old Testament. One of the best-known examples of this would be God’s instructions to Joshua as God placed him in leadership of the Israelite nation, following Moses. Three times God tells Joshua there is nothing to fear; God calls him to be courageous ( Joshua 1: 6a, 7a, 9). The basis of Joshua’s confidence is two-fold. The promise – “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (1:9). As well the law would protect him. “Be careful to obey all the law….do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth” (1:7, 8).
What does it mean to meditate? Synonyms for meditate are muse, ponder, and ruminate. While all these words mean “to consider or examine attentively or deliberately,” meditate implies a definite focusing of one’s thoughts on something, so as to understand it deeply.
In 1 Timothy 4:15 Paul uses the Greek word for meditation. He did this because he knew that it was not immoral for the Church member to do so and because he knew that they could relate to this language.
“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress”
Writing to the Philippian church he admonished them with a final thought: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). Oh that the media today could be trained to bring us this kind of news! Our hearts grow weary hoping for some good news as wars and hatred, sex and violence , graft and corruption dominate the news. Satan has ways of drawing our thoughts far away from things that are holy.
Sadly Christians are sometimes led astray, hoping to have quick and easy devotions. Books have been written to give us just a thought for the day. Is this enough to know our God, to know either His character or His laws? David, known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), wrote about mediation at least twelve time in the Psalms.
He found God’s unfailing love irresistible (Psalm 48:9). Along with that He also praised God as he meditated on all His works and wonders (Psalm 77:12, 119:27, 143:5, 145:5). David mentions God’s precepts, decrees and statutes as worthy of his focus (Psalm 119:15, 48, 99).
I’ve just completed a study of the Pentateuch. The laws of the Lord are so detailed, covering every aspect of life. What does this tell us as we mediate? God cares about every detail of our lives – Jesus said that even the hairs of each head are known (counted) (Luke 12:7). When misfortune falls we want to know that God understands the minutiae of our situation. When we turn to Him, the Creator of our minds and bodies, we pray with confidence that He knows above and beyond what we can see with our mortal eyes and understanding.
Meditation is intentional. God told Joshua to “be careful” (1:7). The success of his mission would lie in his personal obedience to the law of God, if he took the time to ponder, to muse on what Moses had received from the lips of God, and had carefully written down. We know that God’s promises to Joshua held true. Because he made the right choices “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15), his life made an impact on the nation he served. “Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him” (Joshua 24:31).
What glorious truths do we miss when we scan over a scripture, rushing to get into our day? How exciting it is to find thoughts which permeate each moment of our day with the greatness of our God! These are the thoughts which prepare our hearts to share His presence, His love and His watch-care with others whom we meet during the day. May God bless you as you meditate!
by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)