The Value and Purpose of Meditation
In the Bible God calls His people continually to interact with His Word. This is why He has given us His Word in written form. It's tangible, it's fixed, it's eternal in the heavens. This Book is to be in our minds and on our tongues all the time.
When God commissioned Joshua as the new leader of Israel, He told him, "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it." (Joshua 1:8) There are several principles we can extract from this verse:
In order to meditate on the Word of God day and night so that it does not depart from our mouths, we have to know it—well. We have to commit it to memory.
Memorization of God's Word is not just to acquire mental knowledge. Rather, memorization is for the purpose of meditation, turning it over and over in our minds, thinking on it, wanting to get the full meaning out of it.
Meditation is for the purpose of obedience. We meditate so that we will obey.
Receiving the Word of God as James 1:23-25 says and not turning away from it, but allowing it to show us the truth about ourselves, calls us to action or, to put it another way, to obedience. It is obedience that transforms our lives, obedience to the Lordship of Christ. Obedience to Christ's lordship means believing that what God has said in His Word is true and right; therefore, I will base my life on it. It is this obedience to the Lordship of Christ that saves us (Romans 10:9), moment by moment, day by day, from sin.
So we have this three-step process:
This is the process of sanctification: getting the Word of God into our lives (reading, studying, memorizing it), mulling over it constantly (meditation), and asking God for His Spirit within to teach us how to live that Word out in full obedience. As the Holy Spirit convicts us, corrects us, and instructs us through His Word, we reach up in faith to lay hold of the power He has promised to live it out.
Last night I was reading a blog my daughter had written on Philippians 2:14 (October 1, 2018, http://thesmallestsmall.blogspot.com/2018/10/what-about-me-putting-life-back-into.html). She was meditating on a single verse and drawing her readers to meditate on it with her, thinking about the ways that one verse should change our lives. As she says in her blog, that verse in Philippians is just 7 words long, but they are some of the most powerful, life-changing words we could ever encounter: "Do all things without complaining or arguing." If we would all fully obey just that one 7-word verse, what a different world we would live in! How different our homes would be!
It got me thinking about other life-altering verses in the Bible. God is able to pack so much into such pithy statements, like I Thessalonians 5:18: "In everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Wouldn't our lives, our families, our world be totally different if we just did that?
But we forget. Like the people of Israel, our memories are faulty and weak. We so quickly fall back into our natural patterns of thinking and behaving. This is why God tells us to meditate on His Word day and night. Have you ever tried to do that for just one day? We know these things, but Jesus said we are only blessed if we DO them. Well, that's the subject for next week's blog, so I won't say more.
How about, during this week of Thanksgiving, trying to meditate day and night —all throughout the day as you go about your daily tasks, then as you drift off to sleep, if/when you wake up in the night, and when you awaken in the morning—on Philippians 2:14 (7 words) and I Thessalonians 5:18 (14 words)? Memorization leads to meditation, and meditation circles back around to solidify memorization. As you memorize to meditate, meditate to memorize, pray that God will transform the written Word into the Living Word in your life. You'll never be the same.