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Sunday, June 29, 2014
Considering the importance of Christian mediation
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
What Christian meditation is not
In the 1960's a movement, rooted in Eastern thought, swept through our country and became popularized in what was called "TM" or "Transcendental Mediation". Movements such as "TM" spawned the wide-sweeping popularity of other practices rooted in eastern religion and mysticism such as Yoga and the like. Unfortunately, when people hear the word "meditate", they conjure up images of a person sitting cross legged with hands out-stretched, finger-tips touching and the hum of the word "um". As popular as this conception is, the Christian mediation spoken of here in Psalm 19 is of a completely different sort all together.
What Christian Mediation is
In the original language of this Psalm, the word "meditation" has to do with a "deeper pondering" over the meaning and significance of the words of scripture. Ancient Christian writers often spoke of a fourfold process one went through when interacting with the Bible:
a. Reading the text
b. Meditating on the text
c. Disciplining yourself to live out the text
d. Knowing that you got the meaning of the text by praising and worshipping God.
How do you meditate on God's Word?
When you "meditate on scripture", you may do the following:
1. Read the text
2. Read it again (out-loud or silently)
3. Read it a third time, marking down your initial thoughts
4. Walk away and think on what you read
5. Come back to the text again and repeat steps 1 through 4
Why meditate on God's Word?
Every blog I write, sermon I preach, lesson I teach, quiet time I do or sharing of God's word that I communicate requires meditation on God's Word. When you and I meditate on scripture, we are aiming to get it from our before our eyes or in our ears to reside in our hearts and out in our actions. Meditation is what you do "in between" your times in the scriptures. You can mediate while waiting in line at the grocery store, on break at work or at lunch room at school. What mediation does is break down the artificial wall between "Christian spirituality" and "the rest of life".
The benefits of Christian Mediation
Notice the benefits that comes as a result of mediating on God's Word here in Psalm 19:14:
1. Right Attitudes - The Psalmist desires to please God. Only scripture can stir up the Christian to want to live more for the Lord. (1 Peter 2:1-2)
2. Right Thoughts - How many of you want a better thought-life? Cleanse your mind with the scriptures. Meditating on the scripture cleanses your heart and mind. Jesus even talks about this particular quality of the word of God. (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26).
3. Right Words - He wants the right words to flow from his mouth. God's word makes your "have to's" into "want to's". As Jesus teaches, out of the overflow of the hearts comes forth the words of the mouth. (Matthew 15:18)
4. Right Motivation - The Psalmist ends this Psalm by praising God, His "Rock" and His "Redeemer". We know from the names of God in the Bible that the term "Rock" refers ultimately to Jesus Christ. Though the Psalmist lived 1,000 years before Jesus Christ came to this earth, He writing under Divine inspiration was referring to Him. When you and I meditate on the scriptures, we will be motivated to live for Jesus Christ.
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Pastor, Just to add some to what you have given here. (It always prompts my thoughts.) I found these on how Luther regarded meditating on the Word for himself:ReplyDelete
“For as soon as God’s Word becomes known through you,” he says, “the devil will afflict you and will make a real doctor of you, and will teach you by his temptations to seek and to love God’s Word.”
I read the Bible diligently. Sometimes one statement occupied all my thoughts for a whole day.” (LW 54:14).
“For some years now, I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant.” (LW 54:165).
“The Bible is the proper book for men. There the truth is distinguished from error far more clearly than anywhere else, and one finds something new in it every day. For twenty-eight years, since I became a doctor, I have now constantly read and preached the Bible; and yet I have not exhausted it but find something new in it every day.” (WA TR 5, no. 5193).
“You should diligently learn the Word of God and by no means imagine that you know it. Let him who is able to read take a psalm in the morning, or some other chapter of Scripture, and study it for a while. This is what I do. When I get up in the morning, I pray and recite the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer with the children, adding any one of the psalms. I do this only to keep myself well acquainted with these matters, and I do not want to let the mildew of the notion grow that I know them well enough. The devil is a greater rascal than you think he is. You do as yet not know what sort of fellow he is and what a desperate rogue you are. His definite design is to get you tired of the Word and in this way to draw you away from it. This is his aim.” (WA 32, 64f.).
The devil wants to make us tired of God's Word. He does indeed succeed too much.
Thanks for those insights. I'm reminded of the story of William Tyndale, who in a dark prison cell, awaiting execution, put in a request for someone to get him the following items: leggings (he was cold), a candle, a Hebrew Grammar, his Hebrew Old Testament and Hebrew Lexicon, for he was starved for the scriptures. May we all search the scriptures and meet the Christ who is their subject, object and chief theme.