The Immense Value of Meditating Upon ScriptureFebruary 3, 2017
It was an inconceivable task. Joshua had to mobilize, organize, and unify millions of people across the Jordan river into the land of Canaan. Leading Israel across the waters meant facing cities where the walls were built to the heavens. It meant fighting armies that were fortified and prepared for war. It meant struggling through the complexities of guiding an entire nation into a land where everyone was staking their own territories. He would have to do all of this as the successor of Moses, Israel’s great prophet and lawgiver. I cannot image the pressure, the stress, and the responsibility that was placed upon Joshua’s shoulders. How would he be equipped and prepared? How could he do it?
One word: Meditation.
Sounds a little New Age-ish, right? Meditation? Seriously?
The Lord said, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
There it is. Short, simple, and scriptural. The triumph of Joshua hinged upon his willingness to meditate on God’s Word on a regular basis. Joshua implemented this practice into his life and ministry and thus brought Israel into the covenantal, promised land of Canaan. Joshua found success, Israel found soil, and we find a secret: There is immense value in meditating frequently on the Word of God. The “blessed life” of Psalm 1 is contingent upon this truth. The writer, who likened his life to a tree planted by the rivers of water and enjoyed his seasonal fruit, understood that such prosperity came from meditation, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:3).
The psalmist, in Psalm 119, frequently exhorts the reader to engage his heart and mind in this practice:
- Psalms 119:15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
- Psalms 119:23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
- Psalms 119:48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
- Psalms 119:78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.
- Psalms 119:148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
What, then, are some of the benefits and blessings of it?
It Brings Familiarity
I believe we, too often, get in a hurry during the devotional hour. We read a passage of Scripture just to mark it off the daily-reading schedule so that we can say we read through the Bible in a year’s time. I admit, there is great value in reading through the Bible on an annual or semi-annual basis, but reading God’s Word and meditating on God’s Word are two different things. The primary difference is that in meditation we retain more of what we read. When we only read a passage, we tend to store it away or possibly toss it away; but in meditating upon a passage, we become familiar with the text. We consider it, think about it, we mull over it until the text becomes a part of us.
Recently, I have been flooding my reading time with the “spiritual blessings” of Ephesians 1. After I read the passage, I go back over those passages throughout the day in my mind. I consider the punctuation, the tone, the words, the thoughts and ideas. I don’t try to simply memorize the passage, but rather, I get in the passage, and seek for the passage to get in me. When I say meditation brings familiarity, I mean that we think about the passage more than we read the passage.
It Births Fellowship
Christ Jesus is the eternal Word, and so, when we flood our minds and thoughts with Scripture, we are inviting Him to wash us and cleanse us with His presence. The truth is, the Word of God is a spiritual book. I realize we must implement hermeneutical principles of grammar, context, history, and the such; but the ultimate goal is not necessarily dissecting the various indicatives and imperatives of the Hebrew and Greek. Even though these principles must be in place, the ultimate goal is know Christ and to be like Christ.
In my ongoing intake of Ephesians 1, I stand overwhelmed at the depth of God’s grace. I think often about God’s will in salvation, the Son’s work in salvation, and the Spirit’s witness in salvation. I repetitively reflect of God choosing us, adopting us, redeeming us, forgiving us, accepting us, and bestowing grace on us. These wonderful realities of biblical salvation have been revealed in Scripture, but they have also been illuminated in my heart as I consider all these spiritual blessings. Such meditation has opened the door to many moments of sweet fellowship with the Lord. This is the desire, then; not to have information only from the Word, but to have intimacy ongoing with the Word.
It Breeds Fruit
Someone has said, “The greatest translation of God’s Word is how it is translated into our hands, feet, heart, and mind as a believer.” It’s ironic…when we meditate on God’s Word, it may appear to the onlooker as though nothing is happening; but in reality, we are working relentlessly in the harvest fields. As we meditate, we are planting seeds of truth, the Holy Spirit is watering and nurturing and growing those seeds, the Son is communing with us in those efforts, and God the Father gives the increase. The fruit of meditation is ultimately a life of fruit that abounds. Meditation changes us and it helps us change the world around us.
Ephesians 1 is a storehouse of theological truth. Such truth regarding the grace of God has given me a greater desire to live for Christ. It has burdened my heart to tell others of His saving grace. It has created a stronger desire to worship and praise Him for the glory of that grace. My ongoing meditation of the passage has brought wonderful fruit in my life. The joy, the bliss, the truth of it all translates into action. Therefore, meditation is not just the act of sitting around thinking the day away. No, God never permitted Joshua to be placid in his actions. Meditation fueled His cause, gave strength to his leadership, and gave way to courage in his heart. Joshua, along with all of God’s people, crossed over into Canaan and was blessed to enjoy the fruit of that land! Meditation is a valuable thing.