The Holy Art of Meditation
My meditation of Him shall be sweet (Psalm 104:34).
In the Bible we are exhorted and encouraged to engage in the holy art of meditation. Look up Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-3; Psalm 63:5-6; and 1 Timothy 4:15. These references, (and of course there are many others—Psalm 119:15, 23, 48, 97, 99, 148), show us; first, that we should cultivate and practice this holy art; and secondly, that the range of our meditation is to be the whole Bible. That is, we are to meditate on the whole range of revealed truth from Genesis to Revelation.
Thus, we are not only to receive the Word of God with meekness (James 1:21), to let the Word of God dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16), to keep the Word of God tenaciously (John 17:6), to continue in the Word of God untiringly (John 8:31), to live out the Word of God faithfully (2 Corinthians 3:3), and to hold forth the Word of God boldly (Philippians 2:16), but in addition to all this, we are to meditate on the Word of God prayerfully and regularly. To do this will require:
· Quietness. Only when we are alone and quiet can we effectively meditate.
· Time. We must exclude all sense of hurry.
· Concentration. We must be able to give attention as we meditate.
· Receptivity. The prayer in our hearts must be—Psalm 119:18.
As we engage in the Holy Art of Meditation, we shall be charged with spiritual life and vitality.
One of the most significant statements that our Lord ever made is recorded in John 6:63, but where and how does He speak to us? The answer is—in and through His Word. As we read His Word and wait in His presence, the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to us, and we hear His voice and we receive new life and vitality from Him, who is our life (Colossians 3:4). As an illustration of this, read Luke 24:13-31, and then note verse 32! What was this “burning heart”? What had happened to these two disciples? They had been in the presence of their Lord, and He had revealed Himself to them and opened the Scriptures to them, and the result was that their hearts burned within them. Do you have a burning heart, or are you dull and listless? If you would practice the holy art of meditation you would receive from your Lord an abundance of spiritual life and vitality (Isaiah 40:31).
As we engage in the Holy Art of Meditation, we shall be thoroughly converted.
See what Psalm 19:7 says. This means that when the truth of God is applied to life, it is so powerful that it turns the life away from all that is displeasing to the Lord and to the Lord Himself. It produces a right-about-turn in the life. How is it, then, that some Christians are only “half-converted”? It is because they are like Ephraim (Hosea 7:8)! This is what our Lord had in mind when He spoke to Peter (Luke 22:32). Peter was converted in an initial sense, but not in a full sense. He needed to be turned right round, and by the grace of God and through the operation of the Holy Spirit, he was converted in this way, and he became a great blessing to his brethren and to multitudes. Begin to practice this holy art of meditation in the Word of God, and you will soon begin to experience the converting power of the Word in your life.
As we engage in the Holy Art of Meditation, we shall find our faith increasing until we become strong in faith.
Have you ever asked the question: How do we get faith? The answer is in Romans 10:17, which tells us that as we read and meditate in God’s Word, faith is imparted to us and developed in us. How much faith have you? “No faith” (Mark 4:40), only a “little faith” (Matthew 6:30: Luke 12:2-8), or faith “as a grain of mustard seed” (Matthew 17:20)? Is it your prayer to have more faith (Luke 17:6), to be “strong in faith” (Romans 4:20), “full of faith” (Acts 6:5, and 11:24), and ultimately to have “great faith” (Matthew 8:10 and 15:28)? There are degrees of faith. It is important to have much faith (Matthew 9:29).
As we engage in the Holy Art of Meditation, we shall know the secret of living peacefully in a distracted and chaotic world.
Notice the force of the word “stayed” in Isaiah 26:3. There is no reference here to a hurried daily reading of our Scripture portion. It refers to a quiet, unhurried and relaxed waiting in the presence of God until our minds become stabilized and garrisoned with His truth. On every hand there is fear and there are alarms. Sin abounds, the earth’s cup of iniquity is getting full, and God’s judgments are surely near. Is this pessimistic? No, for all this is foretold in God’s Word; but in that same Word we find confidence in the knowledge that God is working out His purpose for the world, for the Jews, and for the Church. Before long Jesus will come again, and ultimately He will be King of kings and Lord of lords. We do not feel the power of these great truths, however, by a casual reading of Scripture. Meditation is needed (Luke 21:28).
As we engage in the Holy Art of Meditation, we shall bow humbly to the Sovereign will of our loving Lord in all His dealings with us and with others.
It is easy to quote Romans 8:28 when all is going well, but it is not nearly so easy when we are faced with bereavement, disappointment, or some other crushing sorrow. It is only as we really get to know our Lord, through quiet waiting upon Him and through meditation in His Word, that we are able to trust Him and to lean upon Him in the dark hour. If we practice the holy art of meditation we will never get bitter when God’s hand is resting heavily upon us, for we will be able to speak with Job (Job 23:10), and we shall appreciate the truth of Psalm 37:23-24, and will rest quietly upon John 13:7.
As we engage in the Holy Art of Meditation we shall be filled with glowing words of testimony.
Look up Luke 6:45. Some Christians have a feeble testimony and rarely speak about their Lord. Is it because they do not really know Him? Look up Daniel 11:32. We only get to know Him as we spend time with Him, and as we let His Word dwell in us richly in all wisdom. Look up Colossians 3:16.
As we engage in the Holy Art of Meditation, we shall come to know Him, whom to know is life eternal.
Compare Luke 24:27 with John 5:39. The greatest blessing that will come to us, as we learn to meditate in God’s Word, is the personal and intimate experience we shall enjoy with our Lord. As we gaze upon Him in His Word we shall become like Him (2 Timothy 2:4), and obey Him (John 14:15), and we shall discover that He is “the Chiefest among ten thousand” (Song of Solomon 5:10), the One who is “altogether lovely” (Song of Solomon 5:16), and we shall be able to say with ever-deepening conviction, “I am His, and He is Mine.” Yes—Psalm 104:34!; and all day long we shall pray the prayer of Psalm 19:14.
Reprinted from “Help & Food” magazine