Chewing On It

We don’t talk about meditation much. I guess we don’t want people thinking that we advocate some form of transcendental meditation. Yet the Bible does mention meditation quite a bit.

If fear does overtake us when we focus for too long and too hard on the wrong things, how can we learn to meditate and dwell on good and true things in God’s Word? The small groups this week will ask themselves that very question in an effort to identify practical tips for making this a reality in our lives. Maybe that screen saver on your phone can serve you better! Perhaps by memorising some Bible verses you will not only impress your children but equip yourself to fight the fear!

Psalm 1 begins:

1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

If we want to experience verse 3, we have to do verse 2. Meditate.

The root of the word used here for “meditates” is a word that means to coo, growl, mutter; to read in an undertone; to speak, proclaim. I think there’s a clue here about what biblical meditation is like — it involves the lips. The ancients didn’t read silently but out loud.

I can’t be certain, but some writers say that it’s the same word used to describe a cow chewing its cud, constantly re-digesting, constantly going over and re-digesting until it completely works itself into the physical system. (Don’t forget that this meditation is based on the law of the Lord, the Word of God.) Because of these connotations The Message renders Psalm 19:14 in this way. Let’s chew on it.

Psalm 143 says:

1 LORD, hear my prayer.
In your faithfulness listen to my plea,
and in your righteousness answer me.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one alive is righteous in your sight.

3 For the enemy has pursued me,
crushing me to the ground,
making me live in darkness
like those long dead.
4 My spirit is weak within me;
my heart is overcome with dismay.

5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all you have done;
I reflect on the work of your hands.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
I am like parched land before you.

We might feel weak and our hearts may be overcome with fear and dismay. But verse 4 is followed immediately by verse 5. I remember… I meditate… I reflect… I spread out my hands. Let’s chew on it.

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