I once knew a man who read the Bible through from cover to cover every year for many years running. We got together often and talked about the Word, but all too often when I referred to a particular passage, I just got a blank look from him. He would then look up the passage in question and remark, “I don’t remember ever seeing that before.” He was evidently going over the chapters mechanically, but not taking the time to dwell on them, to take them into his soul and be spiritually fed by them. His time spent in the Bible had been wasted.
Reading the Bible without meditating on what you’ve read is like chewing great food, but not swallowing it. It may taste wonderful, but there’s no nutritional benefit. It’s better that we only read, each day, as much as we can absorb through prayerful mediation, rather than several chapters with no understanding.
As we meditate prayerfully on what we have read, the Holy Spirit will light up a portion for us (in His timing, not ours), downloading heavenly nutrition into us, filling us with His guidance, wisdom and growth.
Meditating can be thought of as simply thinking about God; not daydreaming, but thinking of Him and His attributes in a worshipful way. These verses capture the idea:
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. (Psalm 63:6)
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. (Psalm 77:11-12)
When I find myself feeling discouraged or confused, the last verse above is a great source of renewed strength. I have seen wondrous miracles from God in my life, so I bring them back to mind and focus on the loving provision of my Deliverer.
Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles… (Psalm 105:5)
As I meditate on his miraculous care of me, I am renewed by His grace.
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 119:27)
I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. (Psalm 143:5)
Remembering what God has done for us up until now is one of the best sources of encouragement we can have.
Meditation is also productive in overcoming particular struggles in our spiritual lives. We all face these battles as we grow; no one is above them. My favorite theologian, A. W. Tozer, in his book “The Pursuit of God,” gave advice which has changed my life: “The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the Perfect One. While he looks at Christ the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do.”
© 2017 Darvis McCoy