Today we conclude our look at Biblical meditation. Hopeful now your don’t become so puzzled or even alarmed. The New Illustrated Bible Dictionary comments that meditation today is a “lost art for many Christians.” Some of our popular translations even substitute other words when they translate “meditate” or “meditation” in the scriptures.
Biblical meditation is recorded in the Bible that many of the great men of God meditated. Isaac went out into the field to meditate (Gen. 24:63). The Psalmist certainly meditated even in the night watches (63:6). He meditated in the Law of God (1:2); on God’s precepts and ways (119:15); in his statutes (119:23); and on the mighty works of God (143:5).
The Psalmist prayed that the meditation of his heart would be sweet (104:34) and acceptable to God (19:14). Thus we can see in scripture that the Psalmist used meditation as an approach to God. His meditation then led him to greater understanding (49:3).
Even Joshua, the great military leader, spoke of the values of meditation. In Joshua 1:8 he advises: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” A similar thought is expressed in the New Testament as Paul advises young Timothy: “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all” (1 Tim. 4:15 NKJV).
Now, what exactly is meditation? When we meditate we muse, contemplate and reflect on the things of God. One of the Hebrew words used for “meditation” is the word ha-gah, which means to “mutter.” This is almost like talking out loud to oneself, however, the muttering or mumbling reaches the ears of God. To meditate is a little like a cow chewing her cud. We first eat the word, then we bring it up and “chew” on it some more. When we do, we get extra nourishment and understanding. Biblical things begin to fit together much better and mysteries begin to be revealed.
We can meditate almost anywhere, on our beds, at work, washing dishes, or walking in the field like Isaac. It is probably best to find a quiet place, ideally in the natural setting.
The one who meditates in the spiritual realm is very much like a scientists in the natural realm. In a very real sense it involves revelation, experimentation, and “discovery” of God’s laws. The discovery is, of course, God’s revelation to us.
We often hear complaints that today the Church is almost irrelevant to our modern culture. We wait breathlessly for the world to make new discoveries or for the latest computer program to be released. I wonder if we have it all backwards. If we will meditate day and night on the Lord and on his word, we will be the ones bringing the latest revelation to the world. The people in the world will be the ones waiting breathlessly.