Psalm 1:2 Commentary

 

 

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Psalm 1:2 Commentary
Updated March 6, 2014

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. (NASB: Lockman)

English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): But his pleasure is in the law of the Lord; and in his law will he meditate day and night.
Amplified: But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.  (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
NET:  Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord’s commands; he meditates on his commands day and night.
(NET Bible)
NJB:  but who delights in the law of Yahweh and murmurs his law day and night. (
NJB)
Young's Literal: But--in the law of Jehovah is his delight, And in His law he doth meditate by day and by night:

REFERENCES
Updated 3/6/14

William Aglen
Joseph Alexander
William Alexander
Greg Allen
Paul Apple
Augustine
Richard Baker
Albert Barnes
William Barrick
Biblical Illustrator
Andrew Bonar
C A Briggs
John Calvin
C Jones
Alan Carr
Rich Cathers
Thomas K Cheyne
Adam Clarke
Steven Cole
Tom Constable
Henry Cowles
J N Darby
William de Burgh
Bob Deffinbaugh
Frank Delitzsch
David Dickson
Easy English
Don Fortner
Galaxie.com
John Gill
Bruce Goettsche
Gospel Coalition
Scott Grant
Dave Guzik
Greg Herrick
James Hastings
Robert Hawker
E W Hengstenberg
Matthew Henry
William Heslop
George Horne
H A Ironside
Jamieson, F, & B
A C Jennings
J Hampton Keathley
Keil & Delitzsch
A K Kirkpatrick
Paul Kretzmann
Henry Law
John MacDuff
Lachlan MacKenzie
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
J Vernon McGee
F B Meyer
J R Miller
Robert Neighbour
Joseph Parker
Stewart Perowne
Peter Pett
A W Pink
John Piper
John Piper
William Plumer
Matthew Poole
Ray Pritchard
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Charles Simeon
Chuck Smith
Hamilton Smith
Samuel Smith
Sermon Bible Commentary
Speaker's Commentary
C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon
Ray Stedman
Ray Stedman
Ray Stedman
Augustus Tholuck
Geoff Thomas
John Trapp
Thomas Watson
Thomas Watson
Daniel Whedon
Warren Wiersbe
Warren Wiersbe
Warren Wiersbe
Today in the Word
Kim Hill
Vocal
Fernando Ortega

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Psalm 1 - You Tube - 2:56 min vocal with slides 

Psalm 1 - Song - "I Will Delight" - Highly Recommended

BUT HIS DELIGHT IS IN THE LAW OF THE LORD: (Ps 40:8; 112:1; Ps 119:11,35,47,48,72,92; Job 23:11,12; Jer 15:16; Ro 7:22; 1Jn 5:3)

A W Pink summarizes Psalm 1:1-3 with three words that speak of the godly man or woman's...

Separation  (Ps 1:1)
Occupation (Ps 1:2)
Fertilization (Ps 1:3)

Ray Pritchard notes that...

Now we come to the positive side of the ledger. Having refused to walk in the way of evildoers, we instead focus on knowing God’s Word. We do this because the true way to float rubbish out is to pour water in. You can’t get rid of the garbage in your life simply by mental effort. You must replace the negative with something positive. (Ed: Compare "the washing of water with the word" Ep 5:26-note, cp Php 4:8-note, Php 4:9-note = think upon truth & then obey truth! = God of peace will be with you) (Trees Planted by the Water)

But - Whenever you encounter this term of contrast, pause and ponder the text, asking questions like what is being contrasted, etc, which will usually force you to re-read the preceding passages (context = "king" in accurate interpretation), which is always a good "exercise." Here the psalmist "changes direction" from the broad way leading to destruction (Mt 7:13-note), to the narrow way that leads to eternal life (Mt 7:14-note, cp the highway of holiness, Isa 35:8, the ancient paths Jer 6:16, 18:15!). Now he presents the marked contrast that accrues to those who choose to avoid the ways of the wicked, sinners and scoffers. As we have made a conscious, volitional, choice to  (Spirit enabled - Php 2:13-note, see Php 2:12-note) "flee" from the evil, now we are by the same means called to "pursue" the good. This spiritual dynamic is similar to Paul's charge to young Timothy regarding being a  vessel of honor (cp "tree firmly planted...")...

if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor (cp "like a tree planted..."), sanctified (set apart), useful to the Master, prepared for every good work (cp "bear fruit in season..."). Now flee (present imperative = command to make it your habit to do so - flee the 3 "P's" = pleasure, power, possessions) from youthful lusts, and (note that true Biblical separation is balanced - if not we become "isolated" not "separated") pursue (present imperative = command to make it your habit to do so) righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  (2Ti 2:21, 22-see notes 2Ti 2:21; 22) (cp a similar injunction to all followers of Christ in 1Ti 6:11, cp the same spiritual dynamic = avoid then discipline yourself in 1Ti 4:7 - note; the "reward" in 1Ti 4:8-note)

Comment: Why must we as believers continually flee? Because our fallen flesh is intractably wicked and evil [[ = our fallen flesh nature {Jas 1:14-note} inherited from Adam {Ro 5:12-note, Ro 5:14, 15-note, Ro 5:16, 17-note, Ro 5:18, 19-note} although made ineffective in believers by the Cross {Ro 6:6-note "done away with"} still inhabits our mortal bodies, ever crouching at the door of our heart {cp Pr 4:23-note} ready to spring into action {cp Ge 4:5, 6, 7} if by the enabling power of the Spirit {Ro 8:13-note, Gal 5:16-note; Gal 5:17, 18-note, Gal 5:25-note} we do not mortify it's strong desires {Col 3:5KJV - note}]], the devil (diabolos) is a continually roaming and roaring lion (1Pe 5:8-note, 1Pet 5:9-note), and the world system (1Jn 2:15-note, 1Jn 2:16-note, 1Jn 2:17-note, Jas 4:4-note, contrast Gal 6:14) cries out to satisfy your desire (witness the Nike commercial "Just Do It!") with the passing pleasures of sin (Heb 11:25-note). Compare 1Pe 2:11-note.

DELIGHT

What is it? What does delight look like? How does one obtain "delight" or begin to delight? How is delight maintained, nursed and nourished?

Delight (02656) (hepes/chepes/chephets) is a masculine noun which means to take pleasure or find enjoyment in something. To feel great favor towards something. To experience emotional delight (referring either to men as here in Ps 1:2 or to God - 1Sa 15:22, Ps 16:3, Isa 44:28, 46:10; 48:14; 53:10)

Hepes/chepes/chephets pictures that which is bent toward and thus is a beautiful figure of the godly man or woman who is ever leaning toward the law of Jehovah, not referring to the the "ten commandments" but to the law as representative of God's Word. And given that God's word is His "love letter" to fallen, rebellious mankind, the blessed man seeks this letter as a young man or woman would devour a love letter from they one they are courting or being courted by. Sentence by sentence. Phrase by phrase. Word by word. Reading through the letter without interruption, even unaware of surrounding distractions. Reading and re-reading. Such a picture is one of sheer delight of the beloved at having received a love letter from God Who is the essence of love. And so the blessed man or woman inclines toward the word.

Delight - a high degree of gratification or satisfaction of mind;  extreme satisfaction; something that gives great pleasure. Webster's 1828 says in English "delight is a more permanent pleasure than joy, and not dependent on sudden excitement."

Delightful - Highly pleasing. Affording great pleasure and satisfaction.

The Septuagint (Lxx) translates hepes/chepes/chephets in Ps 1:2 with with the noun thelema which is "generally, as the result of what one has decided will; (1) objectively will, design, purpose, what is willed." (Friberg) Thelema is what one wishes to happen or the act of desiring.

Hapes/chapes - 38 verses - 1Sa 15:22; 18:25; 2Sa 23:5; 1Kgs 5:8ff; 9:11; 10:13; 2Chr 9:12; Job 21:21; 22:3; 31:16; Ps 1:2; 16:3; 107:30; Pr 3:15; 8:11; 31:13; Eccl 3:1, 17; 5:4, 8; 8:6; Eccl 12:1, 10; Isa 44:28; 46:10; 48:14; Isa 53:10; 54:12; 58:3, 13; 62:4; Jer 22:28; 48:38; Hos 8:8; Mal 1:10; 3:12 Usage: care(1), delight(8), delightful(2), delights(1), desirable things(1), desire(10), desired(2), event(1), good pleasure(3), matter(1), pleased(1), pleasure(3), precious(1), sight(1), undesirable*(2), what you desire(1).

1Sam 15:22 And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight (Lxx = theletos = wished for, desired, also used in Mal 3:2) in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

Ps 16:3-note As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight. (Lxx = thelema)

Spurgeon - The true aristocracy are believers in Jesus. They are the only Right Honorables. Stars and garters are poor distinctions compared with the graces of the Spirit. He who knows them best says of them, "in whom is all my delight." They are his Hephzibah and his land Beulah, and before all worlds His delights were with these chosen sons of men. Their own opinion of themselves is far other than their Beloved's opinion of them; they count themselves to be less than nothing, yet He makes much of them, and sets his heart towards them. What wonders the eyes of Divine Love can see where the Hands of Infinite Power have been graciously at work. It was this quick sighted affection which led Jesus to see in us a recompense for all His agony, and sustained Him under all His sufferings by the joy of redeeming us from going down into the pit.

Pr 3:15 She (wisdom) is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire (Lxx = timios = "absolutely no precious thing") compares with her.

Pr 8:11 “For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things (Lxx = timios = "absolutely no precious thing is of equal worth") can not compare with her.

Eccl 12:1 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”;

Eccl 12:10 The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly.

Isa 53:10 But the LORD was pleased (chaphets - desired, delighted! Lxx = boulomai) To crush (Lxx = katharizo = purify, purge) Him (Messiah), putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure (Lxx = boulomai = of one desiring something - wish, desire) of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

This soul delight is beautifully captured in one of the first vocals by Fernando Ortega in a Maranatha song entitled "Blessed"...

Blessed
I will delight in the law of the LORD
I will meditate day and night

But what if His Word is not your delight (remembering that delight in His Word is another way of saying "delight in the LORD" because His Word is about Him)? You can always pray knowing that our Father's will is for His children to delight in His Name and His character. You can know He will answer according to His good, and acceptable and perfect will (cp 1John 5:14,15). Another resource you might consider to stimulate you to discipline yourself for godliness is to download the Pdf of Dr John Piper's book When I Don't Desire God - How to Fight for Joy.

Thomas Watson in his Excellent Article on Meditation writes that...

Grace breeds delight in God, and delight breeds meditation. Meditation is a duty wherein consists the essentials of religion, and which nourishes the very life-blood of it. That the Psalmist may show how much the godly man is habituated to this blessed work of meditation, he subjoins, "In his law does he meditate day and night;" not but that there may be sometimes intermission: God allows time for our calling, he grants some relaxation; but when it is said, the godly man meditates day and night, the meaning is, frequently—he is much conversant in the duty.

It is a command of God to pray without ceasing, 1Th 5:17 (
note). The meaning is—not that we should be always praying—but that we should every day set some time apart for prayer. We read in the Old law it was called the continual sacrifice, Nu 28:24, not that the people of Israel did nothing else but sacrifice—but because they had their stated hours, every morning and evening they offered, therefore it was called the continual sacrifice. Thus the godly man is said to meditate day and night, that is, he is often at this work, he is no stranger to meditation.

Doctrine. The proposition that results out of the text is this—that a godly Christian is a meditating Christian, Ps 119:15-
note. "I will meditate in your precepts." 1Ti 4:15, "Meditate upon these things." Meditation is the chewing upon the truths we have heard. The beasts in the old law which did not chew the cud, were unclean; the professor who does not by meditation chew the cud, is to be accounted unclean. Meditation is like the watering of the seed, it makes the fruits of grace to flourish.

Delight is an attitude that leads to an action (meditate). Delight is a good attitude and James says that every good thing and every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of lights in Whom there is no variation or shifting of shadow (James 1:17-note). Before we were saved by grace through faith, we were hostile toward God and His Word. Clearly, salvation is necessary for one to delight and ultimately that delight is planted in our heart by the Father of lights. But this good gift like all gifts can be squandered and abused to the point that it begins to fade into only a dim memory of times when we truly delighted in the Word like a newborn babe (see 1Pe 2:1-note; 1Peter 2:2-note). Time and the effects of sin have a way of slowly eroding one's delight if we are not vigilant to watch over our heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). If you find yourself in the "slough of despond" as Bunyan puts it, what are you to do that you might once again delight in His Word and in Him? Although it may sound simple and/or trite, I think the answer, as it is to all "sloughs", is prayer. Pray to your heavenly Father, pleading for the restoration of the good gift of delight, so that delight replaces a sense of drudgery or duty. God promises to hear and answer prayer in accord with His will and His will is that we be in His Word and His Word in us, renewing our mind and transforming us into the image of His Son. Perhaps you need to confess and repent of some secret (not to God) sin that has been nipping away at and eroding your sense of delight. Ask God to search your heart and see if there is any hurtful way in you, and if He reveals it, then ask Him to lead you in the everlasting way (Ps 139:23,24).

As the apostle John said God's "commandments are not burdensome." (1John 5:3) and David adds "Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned (and) in keeping them there is great reward." (Ps 19:11)

Once you have this good gift of delight and are acting upon it, seeking God in His Word, how do you maintain this attitude? I think Jeremiah gives us a clue as to the dynamic that begins to occur when we delight and devour divine truth. In the midst of a difficult time (which also speaks to where all saints should go when they feel overwhelmed) the "weeping prophet" Jeremiah wrote...

Thy words were found and I ate them (figuratively speaking), and Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart for I have been called by Thy name, O LORD God (Elohim) of hosts (cp Jehovah Sabaoth). (Jeremiah 15:16) (cp Job 23:12-note)

A W Pink asks: What is meant by "ate them"? Appropriation, assimilation. Meditation stands to reading—as digestion does to eating. It is as God's Word is pondered by the mind, turned over and over in the thoughts, and mixed with faith—that we assimilate it. That which most occupies the mind and most constantly engages our thoughts—is what we most "delight" in.

When we are truly eating God's Word we find it stimulates even greater delight for His Word. Jesus gives a parallel thought in Matthew 5 in His Sermon on the Mount...

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (see note Matthew 5:6)

Taking in the Word not only satisfies but stimulates a delight and desire for more of the pure milk of God's Word of Truth and Life. There is one additional condition that needs to be fulfilled in order for these principles to be "energized" for Jesus also said...

Blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe (present tense = as your habitual practice, your lifestyle)  it. (Luke 11:28)

If you know these things, you are blessed if you do (present tense = as your habitual practice, your lifestyle) them. (John 13:17 )

GOD'S WORD:
DELIGHTING
DEVOURING
DOING

Clearly delighting and devouring must be followed up with doing. Obedience does not save us but it is the key to the blessed life. If you are not experiencing the good hand of the Lord upon you (see Ezra 7:9, 10) as described in Psalm 1:3, perhaps you have deluded yourself that by simply reading God's Word (eg, reading through the Bible in a year) you are growing in grace and Christlikeness. Wrong! You must apply the Word in order to experience blessing...

But prove (present imperative = commands habitual practice or lifestyle) yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. (see note James 1:22)

Comment: Don't misinterpret James' charge to be a "doer" as if he is commanding legalistic obedience ("Obey or else!"). The truth is that without God's indwelling, enabling Spirit, we cannot truly obey (at least in a God pleasing way -- see Php 2:13NLT-note for "how" believers now are given the supernatural desire and power to obey God's Word.)

It is not enough to read the Bible as a duty--we must come to it with delight. If you are having trouble with delight (and have separated from the world as instructed in Psalm 1:1), I would suggest requesting the Lord to give you such an appetite.

F B Meyer...

It is not enough to read the Bible as a duty - we must come to it with delight. This is possible if you eschew light and foolish literature which cloys the appetite. Read the Book in happy fellowship with its Author; meditate until it is assimilated.

Pritchard writes...

The word “delight” means to take great pleasure in. It has the idea of a consuming passion that controls your life. Everyone “delights” in something. Some people delight in food. Others delight in a job or a hobby or a career. Some delight in a particular friendship. Many people delight in money or the things money can buy. And many delight in evil pleasures and wrong desires. Mark this well. Your “delight” determines your direction. What do you delight in? What gets your motor running? What gets you excited in the morning and keeps you awake at night? What do you daydream about?

Tell me the answers to those questions and I’ll tell you something crucial about who you are. To delight is to be so excited about something that you just can’t wait. Watch a young couple in love and you’ll know what “delight” means. Or take a young man who has fallen in love for the first time. Ask his friends and they’ll say, “He’s not the same guy he used to be.” They mean he has radically changed. He doesn’t want to hang around with them anymore. All he does is talk about “that girl.” Just look at him. He’s got this goofy grin on his face. He’s in love. Now apply that principle to the Word of God. We are to delight in God’s Word as a lover delights in a letter from his beloved. (Ibid)

THE LAW OF
THE LORD

Law of the Lord - This phrase describes God’s entire word, not just the "10 Commandments" or the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible). The righteous man delights in (not just "on" but "in" picturing a more intimate involvement with) the word of God!

In the great Psalm 119 (virtually every verse of which deals with some aspect of God's Word) the psalmist gives us a beautiful picture of what it means to delight writing...

Psalm 119:131 I opened (LXX = anoigo - see Rev 3:20-note) my mouth wide and panted, (Why did he "pant"?) for I longed for Thy commandments.

The English rendering of the Greek Septuagint (LXX) translation is...

Psalm 119:131 I opened my mouth, and drew breath: for I earnestly longed (see study of epipotheo; the verb tense is imperfect = pictures the psalmist over and over longing) after Thy commandments.

Beloved, does this describe your Christian walk? If not perhaps you might dare to pray this prayer to God, asking Him to give you a desire that pants for and cannot live without His Word of truth and life. When we pray boldly in God's will, we can be assured that He hears us and that He will give us the requests that are in accord with His good and acceptable and perfect will - see 1Jn 5:14,15.

Matthew Henry comments on Ps 119:131...

When he was under a forced absence from God's ordinances he longed to be restored to them again; when he enjoyed ordinances he greedily sucked in the word of God, as new-born babes desire the milk. When Christ is formed in the soul there are gracious longings, unaccountable to one that is a stranger to the work.

The degree of that desire appearing in the expressions of it: I opened my mouth and panted, as one overcome with hear, or almost stifled, pants for a mouthful of fresh air. Thus strong, thus earnest, should our desires be towards God and the remembrance of his name, Ps. 42:1, 2. Lk. 12:50.

C H Spurgeon comments on Ps 119:131...

So animated was his desire that he looked into the animal world to find a picture of it. He was filled with an intense longing, and was not ashamed to describe it by a most expressive, natural, and yet singular symbol. Like a stag that has been hunted in the chase, and is hard pressed, and therefore pants for breath, so did the Psalmist pant for the entrance of God's word into his soul. Nothing else could content him. All that the world could yield him left him still panting with open mouth.

For I longed for thy commandments. Longed to know them, longed to obey them, longed to be conformed to their spirit, longed to teach them to others (cp Ezra 7:10-
note). He was a servant of God, and his industrious mind longed to receive orders; he was a learner in the school of grace, and his eager spirit longed to be taught of the Lord.

Panting for holiness. A rare hunger; the evidence of much grace, and the pledge of glory.

Puritan Thomas Manton writes on Ps 119:131...

I opened my mouth, and panted. A metaphor taken from men scorched and sweltered with heat, or from those that have run themselves out of breath in following the thing which they would overtake. The former metaphor expressed the vehemency of his love; the other the earnestness of his pursuit: he was like a man gasping for breath, and sucking in the cool air.

I longed for thy commandments. This is a desire which God will satisfy. "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it": Ps 81:10.

William Cowper comments on Psalm 119:131...

I opened my mouth, and panted. By this manner of speech, David expresses, as Basil thinks, animi propensionem, that the inclination of his soul was after God's word. For, this opened mouth, Ambrose thinks, is os interioris hominis, the mouth of the inward man, which in effect is his heart; and the, speech notes vehementem animi intensionem, a vehement intension of his spirit, saith Euthymius. Yet shall it not be amiss to consider here how the mind of the godly earnestly affected moves the body also. The speech may be drawn from travellers, who being very desirous to attain to their proposed ends, enforce their strength thereunto; and finding a weakness in their body to answer their will, they pant and open their mouth, seeking refreshment from the air to renew their strength: or as Vatablus thinks, from men exceeding hungry and thirsty, who open their mouth as if they would draw in the whole air, and then pant and sigh within themselves when they find no full refreshment by it. So he expresses it: "My heart burns with so ardent a longing for thy commandments, that I am forced ever and anon to gasp by reason of my painful breathing."

However it be, it lets us see how the hearing, reading, or meditating of God's word wakened in David (Ed note: Some think Psalm 119 was written by the scribe Ezra) a most earnest affection to have the light, joy, grace, and comfort thereof communicated to his own heart. For in the godly, knowledge of good increases desires; and it cannot be expressed how vehemently their souls long to feel that power and comfort which they know is in the word; and how sore they are grieved and troubled when they find it not.

And happy were we, if we could meet the Lord with this like affection; that when he opens his mouth, we could also open our heart to hear, as David here doth... For it is His promise to us all -- "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." (see Ps 81:10 -
Spurgeon's note) Let us turn it into a prayer, that the Lord, who opened the heart of Lydia (see Acts 16:14-note), would open our heart to receive grace when He offers by His word to give it.

Henry Melvill writes on Ps 119:131...

There are two ways in which these words may be understood. They may be considered as expressing the very earnest longing of the Psalmist for greater acquaintance with God in spiritual things; and then in saying, "I opened my mouth, and panted," he merely asserts the vehemence of his desire.

Or you may separate the clauses: you may regard the first as the utterance of a man utterly dissatisfied with the earth and earthly things, and the second as the expression of a consciousness that God, and God only, could meet the longings of his soul. "I opened my mouth, and panted." Out of breath, with chasing shadows, and hunting after baubles, I sit down exhausted, as far off as ever from the happiness which has been earnestly but fruitlessly sought. Whither, then, shall I turn? Thy commandments, O Lord, and these alone, can satisfy the desires of an immortal being like myself; and on these, therefore, henceforward shall my longings be turned. (Amen)

His delight - Not his obligation. Not his job. Not his duty. (Although there is some truth in each of these descriptions). Not his drudgery. But his delight! His great pleasure. His emotional delight.

Delight reflects one's attitude, an attitude that precedes an action (meditates day and night).

Men understand the emotion of delight for the Bible uses it to describe Shechem's "delight" in Jacob's daughter Dinah (Ge 34:19), a delight that indeed led to an action but not a God honoring action as in Psalm 1:2! We see a similar picture of delight in the Persian court of King Ahasuerus where young ladies from his harem would be paraded before the king...

She would not again go in to the king unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name. (Esther 2:12b)

You can mark it down - Whatever delights your heart will end up directing your heart. If you delight in the Word, you will eat it (memorize) and chew it (meditate).

Note also that delight in the Word of God leads to eating of it and eating leads to increasing delight in the Word, and so the circle continues.

Adam Clarke -  his will, desire, affection, every motive in his heart, and every moving principle in his soul, are on the side of God and his truth. He takes up the law of the Lord as the rule of his life; he brings all his actions and affections to this holy standard.

F B Meyer - It is not enough to read the Bible as a duty - we must come to it with delight. This is possible if you eschew light and foolish literature which cloys the appetite. Read the Book in happy fellowship with its Author; meditate until it is assimilated (Jas 1:25-note) Better one verse digested than a whole chapter bolted. (Gems from the Psalms)

Jeremiah in the context of a difficult time of ministry to rebellious Judah said...

Thou Who knowest, O LORD, Remember me, take notice of me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. Do not, in view of Thy patience, take me away. Know that for Thy sake I endure reproach. Thy words were found and I ate them, and Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I have been called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:15,16)

Note Jeremiah's ministry mindset which called for a (the) cure. Specifically note that the effect of eating (cp meditating or "chewing the cud", digesting, assimilating) the Word was an to enhance his sense of "taste". God's Words actually stimulated delight, delight being the psalmist's "starting point" in Psalm 1.

And so as we choose to separate from the profane and seek to delight in God (something He places in our heart for no man seeks after God on his own) and savor (meditate) His Word, His Spirit transforms our hearts (according to Jeremiah 15:16), stimulating even greater delight, so that the cycle begins anew with ever deepening intimacy and fellowship with the infinite, holy God. It is easy to see how such a man or woman who is being progressively transformed by the Word and the Spirit (see John 6:63), begins to grow into an oak of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified (Isa 61:3, Ps 1:3)

Oh, how the body of Christ needs to delight to get into the Word of God today that thereby the Word gets into us. We don’t need just a little surface learning of a few rules (not "on" the Word but "in" the Word!), or just a little guideline with a few steps to take to make us "feel better". We need to delight and digest God's living and abiding Word (Heb 4:12-note, 1Pe 1:23-note) , so that it becomes part of our being and gives life to our soul (cp John 6:63, Dt 32:46, 47).

Steven Cole asks...

What does it mean to delight in God’s Word. The word is used in the Old Testament (Ge 34:19; Esther 2:14) of a man delighting in a woman. Ah! That tells us something! Have you noticed that when a young man delights in a woman, he rearranges his priorities so that suddenly he has plenty of time to spend with her? And he doesn’t do it because he has to; he wants to! Nothing interferes with his time with the object of his delight!

Now let me ask: Do you delight in God’s Word in that sense? Do you make time to spend in the Word because you delight in it? Or has it become a duty? It’s easy to fall into the duty mentality toward the Word: “A chapter a day keeps the devil away!” Besides, it alleviates your guilt to read it. So you grind through a chapter and check it off on your list, but you didn’t commune with the living God or apply His Word to where you need to change.

The Bible is God’s love letter to you. You’re reading the counsel of a loving, all-wise Heavenly Father as to how you should live. His commandments are for your blessing and good. It should be no more of a duty to spend time in God’s Word than it is for a young man to spend time with an attractive woman. The way to true happiness is to delight in God’s Word. (Ibid)

Do you delight in God's Word? If not, beseech Him to "whet your appetite" with the hors d'oeuvre or appetizer (food or drink usually served before a meal to stimulate appetite) of delight, which will stimulate intake of the pure milk of His Word and in turn will stimulate even greater delight. As an aside, what of value do we really have to say to anyone (edifying, equipping, encouraging, etc) unless we first eat God's Holy Word and He speaks through us (unction) as vessels of honor, sanctified, useful to the Master for every good work?!

William Heslop writes that...

He is blessed because his delight is in the law of the Lord.

- He not only reads the Bible, he delights in it.
- He not only studies the holy word, he enjoys it.
- He not only reviews truth, he relishes and revels in it.

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Richard De Haan gives us an illustration of how delight can be dulled and end up as drudgery...

The first morning I heard the mockingbird practicing his bagful of imitations outside my window, I was thrilled by the beauty of his songs. Gradually, however, I began to take this early morning songster for granted. One day as I awoke, it dawned on me that I no longer appreciated my regular visitor. It wasn't the mockingbird's fault. He was still there. His beautiful song hadn't changed, but I was no longer listening for it.

As believers in Christ, we may have a similar experience hearing God speak to us in His Word. When we are first saved, the Scriptures, with their soul-stirring instruction and vital spiritual food, are deeply satisfying. As time goes on, however, we routinely read those same portions over and over in a manner that no longer speaks to us. Our spiritual senses grow dull and lethargic, and God's exhilarating Word becomes commonplace to us. But then, what joy we feel when a passage reveals an exciting truth, and once again we "hear" the Lord!

Are you reading the Scriptures out of a tired sense of duty? Or do you still possess the delight and fresh expectancy you had when you first believed? Today, when you read God's Word, listen closely for His voice. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

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Then let me love my Bible more
And take a fresh delight
By day to read these wonders o'er
And meditate by night.

 -- Isaac Watts

John Piper writes that...

The deepest mark of this happy person in Psalm 1 is that he delights in the Word of God. Bible reading and Bible memory (see Memorizing God's Word) and meditation (see Primer of Biblical Meditation) are not a burden to him, but a pleasure. This is what we want. What a sadness when Bible reading is just a drudgery. Something is wrong.

What shall we do?... We struggle with Bible reading and memory and meditation because we don't find pleasure in it. We have other things we want to get to more. TV or breakfast or work or newspaper or computer. Our hearts incline to other things and do not incline to the Word. And so it is not a delight.

Did the psalmists ever struggle with this? Yes they did. Take heart. We all do. How shall this be changed? This is Prayer Week, and so the answer we will stress is that it is changed through prayer. This is what I will focus on next week. We must pray for God's enabling to help us delight in his Word. (
Meditate on the Word of the Lord Day and Night)

I scanned the Scriptures thoughtlessly--
My haste had closed my ear;
Then prayerfully I read once more--
This time my heart could hear.

--Gustafson

AND IN HIS LAW HE MEDITATES DAY AND NIGHT: (Ps 40:8, 104:34, Ps 119:11,15,97, 98, 99,  Joshua 1:8, 1Ti 4:15 cp Ps 19:14, Pr 2:1,2, 3,4, 5,  Pr 3:1,  Col 3:16)

As we continually meditate on God's Holy Word (you are meditating aren't you and not simply passively reading the text?) and by the Spirit obey what He illuminates, we continually are transformed from glory to glory by the same Spirit, growing in grace and Christ-like holiness, even as a tree grows and thrives and flourishes in a well fertilized and well watered soil.

How do you know whether you delight in God's Word? From the context the Psalmist would say you demonstrate your delight by meditating on it day and night! Using this as your benchmark, would you say you "delight" in His Word?

MEDITATION:
SCRIPTURE SATURATED
SAINTS

As Thomas a Kempis quaintly put it

I have no rest, but in a nook, with the Book.

Talk with the Word and the God of the Word and they will speak to you...

Proverbs 6:20 (Commentary) My son, observe the commandment of your father, And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually on your heart. Tie them around your neck. (sounds like meditation!) 22 When you walk about, they will guide you. When you sleep, they will watch over you. And when you awake, they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life.

In His law - By the use of the preposition "in" one gets the picture of not just a "surface scanning" but immersing one's self in the pure milk of His Word (1Pet 2:2-note). Get "in" His Law, so that His Law can get "in" you and carry out it's transforming work. When you truly delight in the Word, you will have a desire to spend time in it and to meditate on it.

His Law (08451) - John Piper describes law or Torah as ""instruction: God's Words about God's ways."

Someone has written "The Bible is bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions."

God feeds the birds, but He doesn't throw the food into their nests.

The Bible is like a table, laden with nourishing food we need every day: promises, instruction, wisdom, comfort, and encouragement. Like any good host, God tells us, "Come and get it!" But we often fail to do this. We depend on everything but Him and wonder why our faith is feeble. But if like our feathered friends (God feeds the sparrows) we'll come and feast daily, expectantly, and actively, our divine Host will provide for all our needs. Depend on it!

See related resources on Biblical Meditation...

Discussion of Biblical Meditation
Primer of Biblical Meditation
Quiet Musing - Spurgeon's stirring motivation for meditation on God's Word

A Treatise Concerning Meditation - Thomas Watson

Meditates (01897) (hagah - see word study) strictly speaking means to utter a sound and hence it is employed of inward utterance, of the words a man speaks to himself; and also of giving open and loud expression to the thoughts. And so in Hebrew thought, to meditate upon the Scriptures is to quietly repeat them in a soft, droning sound, while utterly abandoning outside distractions.

Meditation has the idea of digesting something thoroughly, of ruminating (going over in the mind repeatedly, slowly) on it, of chewing the cud (of God's Word of Truth), of considering a verse by pondering it from various angles.

The Septuagint (Lxx) frequently translates hagah with the verb meletao (Ps 1:2, 2:1, 35:28, 38:12, 63:6, 71:24, 77:12, 143:5, Pr 8:7, 15:28, 24:2, Isa 16:7, Isa 59:3, Isa 59:13)

As stated, the original Hebrew idea is to mumble under one's breath. I get the picture of one "brooding" over God's Word, almost like a mother hen sitting on her eggs until they hatch! Have you ever been to the "Wailing Wall" in Jerusalem and seen the men facing the wall rocking back and forth muttering or chanting. That's a picture of meditating, but only a partial picture because without the Holy Spirit our Teacher, such mumbling becomes a rote, mechanical exercise.

Hagah - 24 verses - Usage: declare(1), devise(2), devising(1), growls(1), make a sound(1), meditate(5), meditates(1), moan(3), moan sadly(1), mutter(2), mutters(1), ponders(1), utter(2), uttering(1), utters(1).

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.


Job 27:4 My lips certainly will not speak unjustly, Nor will my tongue mutter deceit.


Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.


Psalm 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing?


Psalm 35:28 And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And Your praise all day long.


Psalm 37:30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice.


Psalm 38:12 Those who seek my life lay snares for me; And those who seek to injure me have threatened destruction, And they devise treachery all day long.


Psalm 63:6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,


Psalm 71:24 My tongue also will utter Your righteousness all day long; For they are ashamed, for they are humiliated who seek my hurt.


Psalm 77:12 I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.


Psalm 115:7 They have hands, but they cannot feel; They have feet, but they cannot walk; They cannot make a sound with their throat.


Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands.


Proverbs 8:7 "For my mouth will utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips.


Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.


Proverbs 24:2 For their minds devise violence, And their lips talk of trouble.


Isaiah 8:19 When they say to you, "Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter," should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?


Isaiah 16:7 Therefore Moab will wail; everyone of Moab will wail. You will moan for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth As those who are utterly stricken.


Isaiah 31:4 For thus says the LORD to me, "As the lion or the young lion growls over his prey, Against which a band of shepherds is called out, And he will not be terrified at their voice nor disturbed at their noise, So will the LORD of hosts come down to wage war on Mount Zion and on its hill."


Isaiah 33:18 Your heart will meditate on terror: "Where is he who counts? Where is he who weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?"


Isaiah 38:14 "Like a swallow, like a crane, so I twitter; I moan like a dove; My eyes look wistfully to the heights; O Lord, I am oppressed, be my security.


Isaiah 59:3 For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters wickedness.
11 All of us growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We hope for justice, but there is none, For salvation, but it is far from us.


Isaiah 59:13 Transgressing and denying the LORD, And turning away from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words.


Jeremiah 48:31 "Therefore I will wail for Moab, Even for all Moab will I cry out; I will moan for the men of Kir-heres.

While James does not use the word meditate, the idea is certainly alluded to in his description of the blessed man...

But one who looks intently (parakupto) = stoop down amd look into in order to see something exactly ) at the perfect law, the law of liberty (eleutheria - Freedom in Christ is not the right to do as one pleases but the Spirit enabled power to please God by doing what is right!), and abides (tarries, remains) by it, not having become a forgetful hearer (James 1:23-24-note) but an effectual doer (speaks of obeying the Word - not legalistically but controlled and empowered by the Spirit), this man shall be blessed in what he does (Notice the promise is "conditioned" on looking intently and obeying unhesitatingly!). (James 1:25-note)

Comment: Notice that this passage begins with "but" which is a term of contrast. which signifies a "change of direction" and always begs the question "What is the author contrasting?, Why?, Who is involved?, etc" As you query the text with the 5W/H'S., you will find yourself re-reading the passage as well as the preceding passages. In effect you are "meditating" on James 1:25. You are "looking intently" at the Word. Notice the other benefits - You are forced to slow down. You are establishing the context (which is always key to accurate interpretation). You are re-reading the passage and you are much more likely to retain the truth in this passage then if you were "speed reading" in order to make sure you get through your daily Bible reading so that you don't fall behind on your "through the Bible in a year" reading program! You may go through the assigned chapters for the day, but the real question is how much of the truth of those passages "went through" your heart and mind and soul and spirit. It is better to chew one verse well, then to read through one chapter and not even recall what you read by the end of the day! As F B Meyer said "Read the Book in happy fellowship with its Author; meditate until it is assimilated...Better one verse digested than a whole chapter bolted ("swallowed" hastily without chewing!)."

Matthew Henry - To meditate in God’s word is to discourse concerning the great things contained in it, with a close application of mind, a fixedness of thought, till we be suitably affected with those things and experience the savour and power of them in our hearts.

J. Vernon McGee writes that...

Meditate is a very figurative word. It pictures a cow chewing her cud. I’m told that the cow has several compartments in her tummy. She can go out in the morning, graze on the grass when the dew is on it in the cool of the day. Then when it gets hot in the middle of the day, she lies down under a tree and begins to chew the cud. She moves the grass she had in the morning back up and now she masticates it, she goes over it again. That is what we do when we meditate. We go over what we have read. Way back in 1688 Bartholomew Ashwood said, “Meditation chews the cud.” My, how that is needed today in the lives of believers. Remember that James spoke of the man who beholds his natural face in a mirror, then “… immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.” (Jas 1:24-note).

We are to meditate on the Word of God (which is God’s mirror that shows us what we really are). We are to allow the Word to shape our lives. My friend, God has no plan or program by which you are to grow and develop as a believer apart from His Word. You can become as busy as a termite in your church (and possibly with the same effect as a termite), but you won’t grow by means of activity. You will grow by meditating upon the Word of God—that is, by going over it again and again in your thinking until it becomes a part of your life. This is the practice of the happy (blessed) man. (Ps 1:1, 2). (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary:  Thomas Nelson or Logos)

Martin Luther said that...

Prayer, meditation, and temptation make a minister.

Meditation is to our inner person what digestion is to our body and thus if you make the Word a part of your life (hearing and heeding it) you will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (see 2Pe 3:18-note)

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
--Author Unknown

Wiersbe - We saturate ourselves with the Word by meditating on it... When we meditate on the Word, we allow the Spirit of God within us to "digest" the Word of God for us. So not only do we delight in the Word, it becomes a source of spiritual nourishment for us.

Ray Pritchard - If we are serious about this, we will find the time to meditate. And we will have some sort of regular reading program. Perhaps we’ll read through the Bible in a year. Or perhaps we’ll use one of the many Bible study guides that are available. And certainly we will try to memorize Scripture. This has become something of a lost art today. In an earlier generation, it was commonplace for Christians to emphasize Scripture memory. Today we have more or less relegated that practice to the Awana program. That’s a pity because when we hide the Word of God in our hearts, we are protected from sin and given strength to obey God. I know that many people, men especially, like to say, “I just can’t memorize. I’m too busy. My brain’s too fried. I can barely remember my phone number.” Women seem to do better at this, but we men have a thousand excuses. The truth is, we lack motivation. Suppose that Bill Gates came into the sanctuary with a 50-gallon drum filled with crisp, clean $100 bills. And suppose he offered $100 for each verse anyone memorized by next Sunday. That would change things, wouldn’t it? I’m sure we’ve got men who would figure out a way to memorize 100 verses by next Sunday because they need the money. But God’s Word is more precious than gold or silver. If we delight in the Word, we will find a way to read it, to meditate on it, and even to memorize it.

In the following verses from Psalm 119, observe the association between delight and meditation.

15 I will meditate on Thy precepts, and regard Thy ways. (note)
16 I shall delight in Thy statutes; I shall not forget Thy word. (
note)

23 Even though princes sit and talk against me, Thy servant meditates on Thy statutes. (note)
24 Thy testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors. (
note)

47 And I shall delight in Thy commandments, Which I love. (
note)
48 And I shall lift up my hands to Thy commandments, Which I love; And I will meditate on Thy statutes. (
note)

77 May Thy compassion come to me that I may live, For Thy law is my delight. (note)
78 May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; but I shall meditate on Thy precepts. (
note)

If God's Word is not the delight and desire of your heart, beseech Him without ceasing to cultivate in your soul an appetite for the pure milk of His Word. If you pray this with clean hands and a pure heart, you can be assured God will answer it affirmatively for it is in accordance with His good and perfect will. Will you take the challenge to pray this prayer?

A. T. Pierson says that...

 

Meditation is simply thought prolonged and directed to a single object. Your mystic chambers where thoughts abide are the secret workshop of an unseen Sculptor chiseling living forms for a deathless future. Personality and influence are modeled here. Hence, the biblical injunction: 'Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life'

J. I. Packer says that meditation is the practice of turning each truth we learn about God into matter for reflection before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.

Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God...It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God. (Packer, J I: Knowing God)

Saturation with the Scriptures is the...
Secret to Satisfaction in your Soul

Muse (used twice in OT Ps 39:3, 143:5, once in NT in KJV of Lk 3:15) describes giving deep thought, close attention or contemplation which abstracts the mind from passing scenes. Muse was the name given to ancient Greek deities (nine goddesses who presided over the arts and sciences) who spent much time in solitude and thinking. The statue of "The Thinker" is the artistic concept of deep concentration and absorption. Add an "a" to the beginning of "muse" and you have: "amuse" -- sports, games, television and a score of other tools used by the enemy to keep God's men from concentrating on man's God.

 

Beware of getting alone with your own thoughts. Get alone with God's thoughts. There is danger in rummaging through waste and barren desert-thoughts that can be labeled -- daydreaming or worse. Don't meditate upon yourself but dwell upon Him -- seek God in your inner thought life. There is always danger in meditating upon problems. Develop the habit of reflection upon the Word of God and therein find the answers to your problems.

 

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips: When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches" (Psalm 63:5-6). (See Spurgeon's notes verse 5; verse 6)
 

TRANSFORMATION
( Ro 12:2-
note)


The crown fruit of meditation is the changed life. Without the transformed life, meditation is useless. This was the problem Jesus had with the Pharisees of His day. They knew the facts and were experts in doctrine. They were conscientious, sincere and dedicated men. But the Lord called them sons of Satan -- "Ye are of your father the devil." Why this stinging indictment? All their study of the Old Testament didn't change their lives. There was no heart application. They still oppressed the poor, defrauded the widows and pursued doubtful business practices.

 

Beware of meditation that ends in just pious words (cf Jas 1:22-note). True meditation ends in moral action. A changed attitude toward God and fellow man is the result. A changed work habit. A changed relationship to your family. In short -- a changed life! Anything less is not enough.

 

O how I love Thy law: it is my meditation all the day (Ps 119:97-note)

 

Regarding the phrase it is my meditation all the day Spurgeon wrote that...

 

This was both the effect of his love and the cause of it. He meditated in God's word because he loved it, and then loved it the more because he meditated in it. He could not have enough of it, so ardently did he love it: all the day was not too long for his converse with it. His main prayer, his noonday thought, his evensong were all out of Holy Writ; yea, in his worldly business he still kept his mind saturated with the law of the Lord. It is said of some men that the more you know them the less you admire them; but the reverse is true of God's word. Familiarity with the word of God breeds affection, and affection seeks yet greater familiarity. When "thy law," and "my meditation" are together all the day, the day grows holy, devout, and happy, and the heart lives with God.
 

Bring the fruit of your meditation and offer it to the Lord for His blessing. Ask the Holy Spirit to apply the Word to your heart and enable you to live today in conformity to it.

 

Let the words of my mouth,
And the meditation of my heart,
Be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord,
My strength, and my Redeemer
                                      
Psalm 19:14-note

 

Spurgeon  commenting on Psalm 19:14 said that this verse is...
 
A sweet prayer, and so spiritual that it is almost as commonly used in Christian worship as the apostolic benediction.

Words of the mouth are mockery if the heart does not meditate; the shell is nothing without the kernel; but both together are useless unless accepted; and even if accepted by man, it is all vanity if not acceptable in the sight of God. We must in prayer view Jehovah as our strength enabling, and our Redeemer saving, or we shall not pray aright, and it is well to feel our personal interest so as to use the word my, or our prayers will be hindered. Our near Kinsman's name, our Goel or Redeemer, makes a blessed ending to the Psalm; it began with the heavens, but it ends with him whose glory fills heaven and earth. Blessed Kinsman, give us now to meditate acceptably upon thy most sweet love and tenderness.

Hampton Keathley, III in his excellent summary writes that...

"Meditation means “the act of focusing one’s thoughts: to ponder, think on, muse.” Meditation consists of reflective thinking or contemplation, usually on a specific subject to discern its meaning or significance or a plan of action. " (click for entire article BIBLICAL MEDITATION - highly recommended)

Warren Wiersbe rightly said that...

Meditation is to your inner person what digestion is to your body: you make the Word a part of your life and you grow.

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Ongoing Meditation - Meditation on God’s Word doesn’t have to end when your devotional time is over. You can continue the blessing by taking Scripture with you throughout the day.

Some people memorize a passage or write it on a card so they can have it available to read when they get a few moments. An engineer uses his coffee breaks to continue his reflection on God’s Word. Homemakers attach verses to the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Truckers put portions of the Bible on their dashboard.

Leslie B. Flynn tells of a brilliant college student who volunteered to work at a church camp and ended up as the designated potato peeler. A friend who admired her intelligence said, “It’s too bad you had to end up peeling potatoes.” She replied, “I don’t have to think about potatoes while I’m peeling them. So I think about my Bible verse for the day.”

The psalmist indicated that he didn’t read God’s Word and then forget it. He meditated on it all day (Ps 119:97). Likewise, the “blessed man” of Psalm 1 reflected on God’s Word “day and night” (Ps 1:2). And when the Word of God is in our minds from morning to night, we’ll be more likely to obey it and far less likely to violate it. That’s the value of ongoing meditation.— by David C. Egner

We must read Scripture every day
And meditate on what God said
To fight temptation from the world
And live a life that's Spirit led.
—Sper

Reading the Bible without meditating on it
is like eating without chewing.

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Think About It  - According to one little boy, “Thinking is when your mouth stays shut and your head keeps talking to itself.”

The way our head talks to itself tells a lot about how we are doing morally and spiritually. To guard our mind and to keep out the influences that will hinder our walk with God is to use our mind in the way He desires.

The Bible gives us clear guidelines—spelling out the kinds of things we should think about. For example, Psalm 1:2 and Psalm 119:97 tell us to meditate on God’s Word day and night. That should be our first priority in the thinking department.

But we have a life to live, and we can’t spend all of our waking moments meditating on Scripture. Yet even when we are thinking about the mundane aspects of life, we need guidance. Paul told us that we should think about things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). In our daily activities, those words should govern what is on our mind.

When our head “talks to itself,” it needs to say, “Keep the impure and ungodly thoughts out of here!” When we’re thinking that way, we’ll know what to do, how to behave, where to go, and what to say.— by Dave Branon

Let us think about what's good—
What's right and pure and true;
May God's Word control our thoughts
In everything we do.
—Fitzhugh

Right thinking leads to right living.

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Day and night - Our continual practice. Not our occasional or spasmodic practice! Anytime (every time!) is a good time to meditate on God's Word! If one takes the text literally, it might suggest a good practice would be to begin and end each day by meditating on the Word of God, for a good beginning and ending to each day! Such a practice might take some Spirit enabled discipline but Oh the benefits thereof! Paul calls on Timothy and all believers to...

Discipline (Gumnazo [Eng = Gym, gymnastics!] in the present imperative calls for this to be our lifestyle and would include the discipline of meditation) yourself for the purpose of godliness for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness  is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1Ti 4:7, 8-note)

TO FACILITATE MEDITATION...
RELENTLESSLY
QUERY THE TEXT

In Paul's last letter before he died, while not using the word meditate, he did command Timothy to...

Consider (Think about, carefully consider continually - present imperative) what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. (2Ti 2:7-note)

One of the best ways to "think over" the Biblical passage is to interrogate with the 5W/H using questions. As John Piper commented Paul gives Timothy (and saints of all ages) "a command and a promise. Paul commanded, “Think over what I say.” And then he promised, “God will give you understanding in everything.” Some people see tension between cogitation and illumination. Not Paul. He commands cogitation. And he promises illumination. How do the command and promise fit together? The little connecting word for gives the answer. “Think … because God will reward you with understanding.” We must form the habit of being systematically disturbed by things that at first glance don’t make sense. Or to put it a different way, we must relentlessly query the text. One of the greatest honors I received while teaching Biblical studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, was when the teaching assistants in the Bible department gave me a T-shirt which had the initials of Jonathan Edwards on the front and on the back the words: “Asking questions is the key to understanding.” (From "Brothers We Are Not Professionals")

I think Piper is spot on, for one of the crying needs for the SAINTS is to SLOW down and SAVOR the SPLENDOR of the SAVIOUR, the Living Word. As Piper says in another place...

You can learn more from a book if you stop and ask it questions than if you just read it passively. That includes the Bible too. One of the great problems in Bible reading is that we move our eyes over the words and come to the end of a column and don't know what we've read; we don't feel our minds or spirits expanded because we saw nothing fresh. It was purely mechanical. There was no discovery, no life, no breakthroughs to new insight.

One of the best ways to change that is to
train yourself to ask questions of the text.

(Ed: Amen! Hallelujah!) Often the posing of the question itself will already carry its answer with it and will open your mind to new things. This fairly prosaic, historical text in Luke 3:21–38 gives me an opportunity to show you what I mean. I'll simply take you with me through this text, pointing out the questions I asked and the answers I came up with. My guess is that as you follow me, questions of your own will arise. Good questions usually beget other questions, and that's how insight grows and grows. (From his sermon intro - The Baptism and the Genealogy of Jesus)

Wesley describes "night and day" as...

Not seldom and slightly, but diligently, and constantly.

Steven Cole explains the value of meditation in the context of Psalm 1 noting that...

As we saw in verse 1, the mind is the first bastion we must defend. Whatever shapes your thinking will shape your life. The only way for a person to reject the counsel of the ungodly which bombards him from every side is to be continually meditating on, thinking about, chewing on in his mind, the Word of God and how it applies to life.

That’s our responsibility: to delight in and meditate on the Word of God. Do you do it? Matthew Henry wisely comments,

“We may judge of our spiritual state by asking, “What is the law of God to us? What account do we make of it? What place has it in us?” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary [Revell], 3:23 9).

To the extent that you build your life on God and His Word, you will have true happiness. (Ibid)

A W Tozer had this to say about the value of meditating on God's Word...

Read it much, read it often, brood over it, think over it, meditate over it—meditate on the Word of God day and night. When you are awake at night, think of a helpful verse. When you get up in the morning, no matter how you feel, think of a verse and make the Word of God the important element in your day. The Holy Ghost wrote the Word, and if you make much of the Word, He will make much of you. It is through the Word that He reveals Himself. Between those covers is a living Book. God wrote it and it is still vital and effective and alive. God is in this Book…and if you want to find Him, go into this Book.

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(Tozer) Let the old saints be our example. They came to the Word of God and meditated. They laid the Bible on the old-fashioned, handmade chair, got down on the old, scrubbed, board floor and meditated on the Word. As they waited, faith mounted. The Spirit and faith illuminated. They had only a Bible with fine print, narrow margins and poor paper, but they knew their Bible better than some of us do with all of our helps.

Let's practice the art of Bible meditation.... Let us open our Bibles, spread them out on a chair and meditate on the Word of God. It will open itself to us, and the Spirit of God will come and brood over it.

I do challenge you to meditate, quietly, reverently, prayerfully, for a month. Put away questions and answers and the filling in of the blank lines in the portions you haven't been able to understand. Put all of the cheap trash away and take the Bible, get on your knees, and in faith, say, "Father, here I am. Begin to teach me!" (from The Counselor)

John Piper writes that...

meditation in Hebrew means basically to speak or to mutter. When this is done in the heart it is called musing or meditation. Here is where I plead with you to get involved in the Fighter Verse memory program or some other pattern of Bible memorization. Unless you memorize Scripture you will not meditate on it day and night. But O the benefits and delights of knowing communion with God hour by hour in his Word. If you have ever wondered, What is hour-by-hour walking in fellowship with the living God? the answer is: it is his speaking to you by his Word through your memory and meditation and illumination and application and your speaking to him words of thanks and praise and admiration and desire and seeking for help and guidance and understanding. The Word is the basis for your hearing him and for his hearing you. The depth and solidity and certainty of your walk with God and your communion with God will rise and fall with whether God's own written Word is the warp and woof of the fabric of your fellowship...So I urge you to memorize Scripture, and meditate on it day and night. It will change your life in many good ways. (Meditate on the Word of the Lord Day and Night)

In A Godward Life (Book 2) John Piper emphasizes the important relation between the Word and our faith or trust in God (in His Word, in His promises, etc.)...

Faith feeds on the Word of God. Without a steady diet it gets weaker and weaker. If you are dissatisfied with your Christian courage and joy and purity of heart, check the way you are feeding your faith.

Compare the way you eat. Suppose that you start the day with a glass of orange juice. It's good, and good for you. It takes you maybe five minutes to drink it if you read the newspaper at the same time. Then you go off to work or school. You don't eat anything else until the next morning. And you have another glass of juice. And so you go on drinking one glass of juice a day until you drop.

That's the way a lot of Christians try to survive as believers. They feed their faith with five minutes of food in the morning, or evening, and then don't eat again until twenty-four hours later. Some even skip one or two mornings and don't give their faith anything to eat for days.

Now the effect of starving your faith is that faith starves. Not hard to understand. And when faith is starving, it is getting weaker and not able to do much. It has a hard time trusting God and worshiping and rejoicing and resisting sin. It gasps and stumbles.

Henry Blackaby gives a somewhat more "mystical" definition of meditation writing that...

Meditation means “to think deeply and continuously about something.” For a Christian, this means remaining in the presence of God and pondering each truth He reveals about Himself until it becomes real and personal in your life. This takes time. (Experiencing God Day by Day)

Wiersbe reminds us that...

God desires to bless us, but we must meet His conditions for receiving blessings. By staying separate from the world and keeping saturated in the Word, we may expect God's blessings. Resolve to meditate on the Word of God and obey it. He will make you a blessing to others. (see Matthew 5:3-note)

C H Spurgeon in his inimitable pithy style pictures meditation this way...

Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord; not crawl ever its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models , and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the LORD.

I would quote John Bunyan as an instance of what I mean. Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like reading the Bible itself. He had studied...[the Bible] till his very soul was saturated with Scripture; and, though his writings are charmingly full of poetry, yet he cannot give us his Pilgrim's Progress - that sweetest of all prose poems - without continually making us feel and say,

"Why, this man is a living Bible! Prick him anywhere; his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God."

I commend his example to you, beloved, and, still more, the example of our Lord Jesus. If the Spirit of God be in you, He will make you love the Word of God; and, if any of you imagine that the Spirit of God will lead you to dispense with the Bible, you are under the influence of another spirit which is not the Spirit of God at all. I trust that the Holy Spirit will endear to you every page of this Divine Record, so that you will feed upon it yourselves, and afterwards speak it out to others. So the Jews began less and less to be like Ezra 7:10 (see note) and to delight less and less in the pure milk of the law of the LORD, so they grew less familiar with Who God really is and what He really requires of men. (Ed: And fewer and fewer experienced the blessing of the good hand of the LORD upon them.)

O HOW I LOVE THY HOLY LAW!
by Isaac Watts
(play hymn)

O how I love Thy holy law!
’Tis daily my delight;
And thence my meditations draw
Divine advice by night.

My waking eyes prevent the day
To meditate Thy Word;
My soul with longing melts away
To hear Thy Gospel, Lord.

How doth Thy Word my heart engage!
How well employ my tongue!
And in my tiresome pilgrimage,
Yields me a heav’nly song.

Am I a stranger or at home,
’Tis my perpetual feast;
Not honey dropping from the comb
So much allures the taste.

No treasures so enrich the mind;
Nor shall Thy Word be sold
For loads of silver well refined,
Nor heaps of choicest gold.

When nature sinks, and spirits droop,
Thy promises of grace
Are pillars to support my hope,
And there I write Thy praise.

Alan Carr - THE PLEASURE OF THE SUCCESSFUL BELIEVER

Ill. The successful believer is genuinely and completely in love with the Word of God.)

A. The Word Has Captured His Full Affection – Delight = Pleasure! The Word of God isn’t a Book of fables, myths and legends. To the child of God it is the very Word of Truth. it is God-breathed and infallible, inerrant and absolutely perfect. He loves it and he lives it, finding in its pages all he needs to grow and prosper for Jesus.

Ill. The value of the Word:

1. It is Food – Job 23:12; Matt. 4:4

a. Milk for the baby – 1 Pet. 2:2 (Ill. It gives the baby Christian everything he needs to grow up strong and healthy!) (Ill. It needs to be prepared and served right however!)

b. Meat for the growing – Heb. 5:12-14 (Ill. It provides all we need to make us strong in the Lord!)

c. Bread for everyone – John 6:51 (Ill. Bread is the staple food of the world! No matter where you go, people need the Bread of life!)

d. Honey for those in need – Psa. 19:10 (Ill. nothing has the power to encourage as does a Word from God!)

2. It is Light – Ps. 119:105

3. It is Truth – John 17:17

4. It is a Mirror – James 1:23-25

5. It is Water – Eph. 5:25-27

a. It Cleanses – Eph. 5:26

b. It Quenches – John 4:13-14

c. It Refreshes – Ps. 119:150

6. It is a Seed – 1 Pet. 1:23

7. It is a Sword – Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17

8. It is a Hammer – Jer. 23:29

a. It can Build Up – Pro. 16:24

b. It can Tear Down – Rev. 2:16; 19:15, 21

9. It is a Fire – Jer. 20:9; Luke 24:32

Ill. The successful believer is in love with the Bible. He knows that in its pages, he can find all that his soul requires. It embodies the complete revelation of God to men. It meets the need of the Christian life.

Do you love it as you should?

B. It Has Captured His Full Attention – Not only does the successful believer love the Book, but he lives out the Book daily. The Bible is internalized and it becomes the singular standard for faith and practice. Every thought, every move, every decision is made against the backdrop of God’s Word, and what it has to say about an issue. However, before life can ever be lived in this fashion, the Bible must be consumed and made a vital part of who you are – 2 Tim. 2:15. (Ill. The Psalmist declares that the successful believer spends his days and his nights in the pursuit of the Book. Does the Bible fill your thoughts? Do you find yourself consumed with its content and mesmerized in the meditation of it? The Bible is never better than when it is read and then lived out!) (Sermons and Outlines)

 

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Last Updated July, 2013

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