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Scriptural Meditation

Psalm 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Meditation is a spiritual discipline that gives the Scriptures time and space to do their work on our hearts and minds. The Hebrew word for meditate in Psalm 1:2 is “hagah” which means “to murmur” or “to ponder”. To meditate on the Scriptures is to purposefully focus on and even quietly speak the words of the Holy Scriptures to ourselves. Meditation could be thought of us approaching the Word with a desire for our hearts and minds to be excavated by the Scriptures. This contrasts with approaching the Scriptures desiring to excavate their meaning. Both are good and helpful ways to interact with God’s Word and one is likely more natural for you than the other. If meditating on the Scripture comes natural then enjoy the richness of letting the Scriptures wash over you. If meditation is a challenge, take heart, start small and let yourself grow into the practice.

Common Barriers to Meditation

Misunderstanding: Eastern religions put a great deal of emphasis on meditation which has led some Christians to categorize meditation as outside of Christianity. Like many things, meditation is not good or bad in and of itself. How it is done and for what purpose determines its value. Meditation in the Christian worldview is focusing one’s mind on something for the purpose of moving toward the God of the Bible. Meditation in other religions is focused on emptying one’s mind for the purpose of finding life within one’s self. Meditation is not a foreign concept to Scripture. Instead, meditation is encouraged in Scripture. The key mediation questions to consider are what should I be meditating on and what is the purpose in doing so.

Busyness: It is difficult to find time to slow down in our fast-paced culture. We place a great deal of value on solving problems and completing the next task. These are good goals but can make it difficult to prioritize time for slowing down. The natural pull of the immediate, good or bad, tends to consume our mind. No matter our season of life there are many good things to do. Schedules fill up with school, work, relationships, ministry opportunities and so on. Before we know it, our schedules can be filled with more tasks than can be completed in a day with only a glimmer of hope that life will slow down someday. Satan has worked hard to convince the believer they are more largely defined by what they do rather than who they are. What we do certainly matters, yet when what we do takes a higher priority than who we are, our relationship with Jesus will suffer. We will keep doing without slowing down in order to nurture our relationship with Jesus. We must become content with the reality that we may get to the end of a day with a longer list of uncompleted tasks if we take the time to live out Psalm 1:2.

5 Simple Ways to Meditate on the Scriptures Using Psalm 1:1-3

  1. Read Psalm 1:1-3 repeatedly for 5 minutes.
  2. Read one verse from Psalm 1:1-3 emphasizing a different word each time you read the verse.
  3. While driving, turn the radio off and think on one of these verses.
  4. Let the rich imagery of Scripture capture your imagination.
  5. For example: As you read Psalm 1:3 let the Scriptures paint a visual in your mind. What type of tree does the verse describe? A small struggling tree or a strong, beautiful tree? How about the river…what visual comes to mind? Do you see other trees planted along the riverbank?
  6. Pray through a verse.
  7. For example: Praying through Psalm 1:1-3 might look something like:

“Lord grant me grace and wisdom to live as the blessed man in Psalm 1. Help me to recognize and resist the counsel of the ungodly. Help me to resist the path of sin. Help me not to look down on others but instead to remember my ongoing need for thee. Lord, make thy law a delight to me and keep it in the forefront of my mind. Grant me grace to be as a tree deeply rooted in thee. Strengthen me so I may be able to reflect thee well and share thy goodness and grace with others. Help me to know and hold onto thy goodness and grace even in seasons of drought or storms. Amen”

The Law of the Lord is good and truly brings light to the path of life. If meditating on the Word is a regular practice for you, consider how to maintain this practice. If this is a new or neglected activity, consider purposefully setting aside 5 minutes every day to meditate on one of your favorite verses. Let this spiritual discipline grow and bless you as your mind is excavated by the Scriptures.