“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.”
Many people associate meditation with emptying the mind; to empty the mind is to open the mind and inner person indiscriminately to influences that can be dark and seductive – whether they appear so or not. Biblical meditation is mediation with a focus on God and His Word.
Psalm 1 is in effect saying, “Meditate on these Psalms. Meditate on the Word of God. Focus on God and His Word, think about Him, live in Him and in what He says.”
I am a proponent of meditating on a passage for an extended period of time, at least a week. Once a passage is assimilated it becomes a partner, a friend, a shelter on life’s journey. It becomes a place one returns to again and again, inviting friends and sharing special vistas and enjoying new discoveries. The passage must be in context, a verse is not enough, a phrase is not enough; verses and phrases take their meaning from their context.
Biblical meditation is foreign to most Christians, the idea of mulling a passage over for 10 or 20 or 30 minutes is uncomfortable for many, and the thought of doing this with the same passage for 7 days seems unpractical in a society that values production, that esteems utilitarian knowledge and data, where knowing the Final Jeopardy question to an answer is more important than understanding the context of the answer. The idea of incorporating a passage into a week’s thought-life, 24/7, may seem just plain weird – yet we are called to live in the Way of the Righteous, and to live in the Way of the Righteous we must know the Word of the Righteous One, else we shall find ourselves gravitating to the counsel of the wicked. Our calling is to mediate in His Word both day and night – meditation is to be a way of life.
The Word of God sanctifies us in Christ (John 17:17); we experience cleansing, consecration, and purity in His Word. Christ sanctifies and cleanses His Church by the washing of water with the Word (Ephesians 5:26). Paul writes in Colossians 3:16: Let the Word of Christ richly live in you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thanksgiving in your hearts to God. God’s Word is to be our way of life; our Way of Life. There is the Way of the Wicked and there is the Way of God’s Word.
In the midst of so many Christian books, do Christians know The Book? What do we talk about? What do we center our thoughts on? Is the Bible our main course or are trendy and transitory teachings our delight? The living Word is dynamic, it is immutable and unchanging while also dynamic. So Peter writes (1 Peter 1:23): …for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring Word of God. The Word is living and enduring, it is vital and vibrant.
When the Word of God lives in a man or woman, eternity lives in frail flesh forming and shaping an eternal person into the image of Jesus Christ. When the veil of flesh is put off, it is put off that the person eternal in Christ may be clothed with an ever-enduring home (2 Corinthians 5:1-6). The Word renews and refreshes us, keeping us mindful of who the Trinity is and of who we are (individually and collectively) in the Trinity.
Yahweh speaks to Joshua (Joshua 1:8): 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 success. Joshua was on the verge of leading God’s people into their inheritance – whatever our inheritance may be in Christ, and it has many facets, we cannot know the fullness of that inheritance without living and breathing the Word of God, for all inheritance in Christ begins in His Word and culminates in the fulfillment of His Word.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD and in His law he meditates day and night.