The other night my family and I were discussing what Scripture meditation actually means, what it looks like, and it’s place in the Christian life. Personally, I believe that Scripture meditation is simply opening God’s Word, reading a passage of verses, and then being still before God. It’s a time when I ponder the meaning and significance of the passage in front of me, the biblical importance and background, and the personal application.
Meditation is a vital discipline for a healthy Christian walk. As my mom always told my siblings and me, it is like a cow chewing its cud. A process that seeks to break down every single grass blade and extract all the nutrients that may be found.
Anyways, during our family talk, the main point of discussion was what does Scripture meditation actually look like? Does it mean that you take one or two verses, set a timer, and repeat those verses in your head until the timer is up? Or is it more along the lines of a Bible study, where you take a few verses and look up all the historical and cultural background, original language definitions, and other places that topic or word is used throughout the Bible?
We live in a day and age in which meditation and eastern mysticism is trendy and popular among contemporary culture. So the word meditation kind of has a negative connotation associated with it. However, throughout the Bible Christians are commanded and exhorted to meditate.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
“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; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
Therefore, what does meditation mean and look like for the Christian?
As we sought to verbalize an accurate definition for this vital Christian discipline during our family discussion, a verse popped into my mind from Genesis 24:63a:
“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening…”
This is the first time the word meditate is used in Scripture. Isaac lived before the days of Moses and the written Law. He worshiped God before the Bible was written, before there were Scriptures, passages, and verses. So what did Isaac do when he went out to meditate? What repeated itself in his mind when he went out into the stillness of the evening? It most definitely wasn’t verses from the Psalms or Pauline Epistles. So what did Isaac meditate on?
Isaac pondered the person and character of God. He was still before the God of his father. He wasn’t going through the motions of repeating verses in his head but was going out to just BE with God. It was a time for relationship building and an opportunity to simply worship the God of heaven and earth.
This is what I believe Christian meditation should be. A time to seek the heart of God, to be still before Him and attentive to His still small voice. An opportunity to just sit at the Father’s feet and simply BE with Him.
It may look differently for different people. Isaac went out to the field near evening. I prefer the early morning wrapped in a heated blanket with a cup of coffee handy. The psalmist David used the hours during the dead of night, while he lay restlessly on his bed.
But the time and place doesn’t matter. It’s what you do with that time and in that place. Do you spend it daydreaming about your own life, your own future, how great you are or is that quiet time before the Lord spent in glorifying Him, praising Him for what He’s done, and pondering the greatness of who He is?
So will you join Isaac in going out in the stillness of the evening or quietness of the morning to meditate? Will you set aside time to just be still before the Lord and contemplate who He is, what He’s done, and what He will do?
Will you seek the heart of God through this vital Christian discipline?
“When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.”
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