I have often marveled when reading the book of Psalms how the psalmist loved the
Lord and His Law so much, he meditated upon them day and night.
Psalm 119:147-148 "I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped
in thy word. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
Another translation of the same text above: "I rise before dawn and my eyes
anticipate the night watches and I wake before the cry of the watchman. My eyes stay open
through the watch of the night that I might meditate on thy word."
Psalm 1:2 "His delight is in the Law of the Lord; and in His Law doth he mediate
day and night."
Psalm 119:97 "O how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day."
What is meditation? Meditation is focusing the mind continuously on one thought,
phrase or prayer for a period of time. In this discourse, I'm not talking about meditation as taught by the
world, i.e. transcendental meditation, yoga, etc. but filling the minds with the thought of God
and His Word.
Do we find time to meditate upon the Word of God like the psalmist did? If we are to find Christ in the pages of His Word, we will not find Him by a casual, haphazard seeking for Jeremiah 29:13 says "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search me with ALL your heart."
Christ is revealed in every chapter and every book of the Bible. The beauty of
His righteousness and purity would not be seen unless the scripture is searched and
meditated upon day and night.
What does it mean to meditate upon the scriptures day and night? Does it mean reading the Bible for ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes at night, or 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night, or maybe one hour in the morning and one hour at night? 'Day and night' means all through our waking hours we are to meditate upon Christ until mind and heart and soul are filled with the King in His beauty. How many times have we heard that we need to be in an attitude of prayer all the time? You know something? We need to be in an attitude of Bible study throughout the day.
Unfortunately, in this day and age where we live in the fast lanes of life's superhighway, we do not have time to meditate. We do not study our Bibles reflectively and meditatively. We read our Bible so hurriedly, we have failed to develop the skills needed to dig into the mines of truth as for hidden treasures. We do not take the time to sit still and listen to the still small voice. Many times our minds wander and we do not know how to bring it back. It seems we are always in a rush--rushing in and out of God's presence and missing out tremendously on His blessings. We have not trained and disciplined ourselves to persevere in our quest to know God whom to know is life eternal. Too often, we are satisfied with surface truths, and as a consequence, we get only surface religion, and our Christian experience is dwarfed and superficial. Sad, but true, isn't it?
How then should we study the Word of God? In the same way Jesus Himself did. Moment by moment He was in communion with His Father. Early in the morning before the sun was up, he was out in the queitude of nature to pray to His Heavenly Father. During these quiet moments, He listened to His Heavenly Father and received instructions pertaining to His mission. He read the scrolls, and on the Sabbath, he went to the synagogue and He stood up to read the scriptures. Sometimes Jesus prayed ALL night.
Another Bible character that communed with God was John the Baptist. By day and by night, Christ was his study, his meditation, until mind and heart and soul were filled with the glorious vision. He saw the King in His beauty and self was lost sight of. Oh, how we need to lose sight of self, don't we? And, oh, how we need to see the beauty and majesty of God on the pages of our Bibles. This can only happen through earnest study, prayer, meditation and reflection. Then SELF, the culprit of all our spiritual woes, will be lost sight of!
"It was God's message that John the Baptist was to declare. It was in God's
power and His righteousness that he was to stand. He was ready to go forth as heaven's
messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand fearless
in the presence of earth monarchs, because with trembling he had bowed before the King of kings." --Testimonies to the Church, Volume 8, Pages 331-333
When we become diligent Bible students--steady, earnest, and energetic in our efforts to read and meditate on the Word of God, not rushing in and out of God's presence, but taking our time to ponder and reflect and to enjoy the time we spend with Him--we gain a wonderful personal relationship with our Lord. When every spiritual muscle, every sinew stretched to the max in our search for truth, when we compare scripture with scripture, translation with translation, spiritual things with spiritual things until we have exhausted all our energies in our quest to know God, then we are on the right track, and we will gain a wonderful experience with our Lord similar to the experience of John the Baptist and others like him.
"Many seem to begrudge moments spent in meditation, and the searching of the
Scriptures, and prayer, as though the time thus occupied was lost. I wish you could all view
these things in the light God would have you; for you would then make the kingdom of heaven
of the first importance. . . . As exercise increases the appetite, and gives strength and
healthy vigor to the body, so will devotional exercises bring an increase of grace and
spiritual vigor." --Our High Calling, Page 116.
Enoch walked with God and gained sweet intimacy with Him because "he had thoughts
of God CONTINUALLY before him. As he went out and as he came in, his meditations were
upon the goodness, the perfection, and the loveliness of the divine character. And as he was
thus engaged, he became changed in the glorious image of his Lord; for by beholding that we
become changed." --Lift Him Up, Page 265.
Many pioneers of the faith studied the Word of God with earnestness and
intensity unequaled to anything we know today. They studied way into the night and sometimes
through the entire night, praying for light and understanding. They were earnest Bible students
who were well acquainted with the Scriptures. J. N. Andrews, for example, enjoyed severe study
much more than physical activity; in later years he could read the Bible in seven languages and claimed the ability to reproduce the New Testament from memory. How many of us can do this today?
Some of us are familiar with the name George Muller. George was a pastor and
an administrator of an orphanage in England at the turn of the
century. If any man was a man of God, he was. He talked, and the Lord listened. We are
familiar with the many amazing answers to his prayers. And why do you suppose this was so?
Because of the spiritual life he led. He said he threw out all the Bible commentaries
and relied only on the Holy Spirit teaching him the Word of God. He read his Bible with
understanding four times a year, which equated to 12 chapters a day and 24 on Sunday. Through the reading and meditation of the Bible, George was acquainted with the God of the Bible. God was real to him. God spoke to him, and George heard Him. When George spoke, God listened. George Muller received divine impressions as clearly as if God had spoken to him face to face.
Take, for instance, the account of the ship and the heavy fog. The fog was very heavy in Bristol, and it had been like that for several days. George approached the captain of the ship and told him he needed to be in Quebec in three days. The captain looked at George as if he was crazy and told him that it was impossible. There was no way that he would take the ship out on a heavy fog like this. But George was not deterred nor intimidated. He boldly told the captain that he would get down on his knees and ask God to remove the fog. His prayer was simple: "Dear Lord, you want me to be in Quebec on Saturday, please remove this fog." The Lord removed the fog, and the ship left for Quebec.
What made George so certain that the Lord would answer his prayer? Because He took the time to hear the still small voice. He heard God speak to him distinctly about going to Quebec. Now, if God wanted him to be in Quebec, certainly He would remove the fog, wouldn't He? The two-way communication line between George and God was not obstructed by anything whatsoever. There were no interferences in the line. The message was clear, the transmission was successful, and the prayer was answered. What a relationship he had with God!
What about us today? Are our communication lines to God clear of obstructions and interferences? Do we have a personal and intimate relationship with God? Are we so acquainted with Him that we can hear Him speaking to us distinctly? Can we come boldly before the throne of grace in the presence of others and know that He will answer our prayers because we know His will and have heard Him beforehand speaking to us about the matter? Or, will we be embarrassed? If God had not removed the fog after George had prayed, he would have been greatly embarrassed before the captain, wouldn't he? But he knew his God; he heard Him speak distinctly about going to Quebec. Oh, how we need to have an experience like this, don't we? And we can by zeroing in on God through prayer, Bible study and meditation.
Meditation - how sweet and wonderful it is! I never saw my mother asleep. No matter what hours of the night I woke up--2 a.m., 4 a.m, 5 a.m, she was up praying or reading the Bible. I usually got upset with her telling her to go to sleep because she would get sick, and who was going to take care of her? I guess she never really required a lot of sleep, and she
utilized her sleepless night productively in reading the Bible, meditating, memorizing texts, praying, etc. What was the fruit of all this Bible reading and meditation? I didn't realize it so much back then, but it was her Bible reading and meditation that she became the Christ-like person that she was up to the time she passed away. She was such a sweet little lady--never upset; never sad or gloomy. She was always cheerful. Doctors and nurses never failed to comment on how delightful and pleasant she was. Amidst pain and suffering in a nursing home, she still reflected the character of Jesus--calm, collected, cheerful. In intense pain and suffering,
people without Christ react like wounded tigers--watch out!
When we do these things, the Lord is constantly before us, and it would be almost impossible to entertain sinful thoughts in our minds. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Psalm 119:11. It is by beholding Him that we are changed into His likeness.
Resolve in your heart to spend more time with your Bible and meditate on the
Word of God. Start out slowly and build up gradually. Ask the Lord to help you; He will. Claim God's promise in Phil 3:8 which says "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me." In time, the Bible will become fascinating; its quickening principles will vitalize your life and transform your character into the image of Christ.
Maybe you are just utilizing your time doing things that have no eternal
values. In this short time that the Lord has given to us to prepare for Heaven, we need to prioritize what we do, and do the things that have eternal consequences. We must turn away from a thousand topics that invite attention and consume time and energy but end in nothing.
"If the mind is educated to contemplate heavenly things, the appetite
will not be satisfied with that which is cheap and common." --This Day With God, Page 300.
We need Christ to be our study and our meditation day and night until mind
and heart and soul are filled with the glorious vision. This is the only way we can overcome sin in our lives and be victorious. This is the only way that the Holy Spirit will prepare and equip us to tell the message of salvation to others. This is the only way that we will be with our precious Jesus through the endless ages of eternity.