In the previous Replicate TV Episode, I shared about my confusion over the meaning of meditation.
If you missed the Episode, you can watch it here.
After studying the Scriptures, I have realized that looking within oneself for answers is not a biblical approach.
Nor is biblical meditation turning off the lights and spending hours pondering nothingness. It is not mental passivity, but, rather, focused mental activity. Through meditation, a believer focuses on the Word, ponders the Word, savors the Word, delights in the Word, and Marinates on the word like my Friend Derwin Gray says.
The Hebrew word for meditate means “to murmur or mutter.” The Hebrew language is an emotive language. The Old Testament Jews thought in pictures. Westernized Americans think in bullet points and lists.
For example, If I say, “Who is God?” What would you say?
Close your eyes and describe the emotions that arise when I say these terms. “God is Holy, Righteous, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, or Omniscient.” Most of the time, words come to mind.
However, if you travel to Israel and poll students in the yeshiva, or a Jewish school, you will hear a very different response. Close your eyes and tell me what happens when I say, “God is a Rock, God is Fresh Baked Bread, God is a Door, God is Living Water.” Do you see the difference? Is it any wonder that Jesus, as a Jewish Rabbi, taught in Pictures.
So what does this have to do with Psalm 1? The author of Psalm 1 used the image of a pigeon cooing.2 Imagine the noise this bird makes over and over. This is the picture the Scripture draws of a person meditating: murmuring the Scriptures over and over in one’s mind, or even aloud. In Israel, it is not uncommon to observe a Jewish rabbi walking with his head down, talking to himself. He’s not crazy; he is reciting from memory the portion of the Torah [Old Testament Scripture] for the day.
Scriptural meditation is difficult without memorization. Before the Word can become a part of your being, you must first implant it in your memory. Memorizing God’s Word affords you the opportunity to contemplate God’s Word anytime and anywhere, to chew on it until it becomes a part of you.
Here is a System for Meditation:
Some people do struggle with memorization, and many feel that they cannot memorize God’s Word. Others want to meditate on God’s Word, but don’t know where to start, or specifically what to do. Here is a simple system that will help with both memorization and meditation:
Picture It – What does this spiritual truth look like? Visualize what the text is saying in your mind. Picture it as a reality in your life.
Ponder It – To use an old expression, mull it over. Think on it. Repeat it over and over to yourself. What does this text mean? What do the individual words mean? What is God trying to express?
Personalize It – What does it mean specifically in your life? What does this look like in your life? What actions need to happen for the truth to become a reality?
Pray Over It – Ask God to bring this truth to life in your everyday experience. Ask Him to make the truth real, and to reveal how you should respond.
Take a second look at Psalm 1 with this four-fold method for meditation.
Did you understand the text in a deeper way? How so?