Did you know that meditation is in the Bible? This often surprises people, but God’s Word reveals that it was God’s created intent for us to meditate on our Creator.
If meditation is in the Bible then it’s important Christians know what it means to meditate on the word of God. This post will define what modern mindfulness meditation is, what the biblical meaning of meditation is, and then go to God’s Word to discover what meditating on God’s Word means.
I pray this post helps shape how you use and value God’s Word. The Psalm 119 section is peppered with Bible study questions for you to answer as you read through this post or spend time later, meditating on God’s Word.
Now for those two meditation definitions. Gotta love good ‘ol Wiki.
It has an answer for everything. Because of this, we’re going to use Wiki definitions to start defining both mindfulness meditation and biblical meditation.
Don’t worry – Wiki isn’t the only definition used.
Click on one of the links below to jump to a section.
Here’s a PDF with the Bible verses and questions from today’s post. Meditating on God’s Word – a Walk through Psalm 119
Read (or listen to) last weeks posts
Click the links now…they’ll open in another window so you can listen to them when you’re finished with this one.
What is Mindfulness Meditation
Wiki’s definition of mindfulness meditation is “a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.”
Psychology Today believes that mindfulness meditation can be used to “take responsibility for our own states of mind – and to change them for the better.”
The reason those at Psychology Today and the creators of modern mindfulness believe mindfulness meditation works is because Buddha taught that suffering happens because we try and escape from our experiences. And…science indicates it kinda works.
Since, according to Buddhist teachings, “self” is responsible for their own suffering, it makes sense that they teach mindfulness meditation as a remedy to this.
Modern mindfulness practices, all of which are rooted in Buddhist teachings, place the blame for sorrow and the responsibility for handling anything you’re experiencing squarely on your shoulders.
You’ve got to fix it.
You’ve got to meditate away your suffering and pain and stress.
You’ve got to.
That’s enough to cause anyone more stress and anxiety. There’s Good News though!
Biblical meditation is different. Very very very different.
What is Biblical Meditation
Back to Wiki we go…Wikipedia defines Christian meditation as a “form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God. Christian meditation is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts (such as a bible passage) and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God.”
The Gospel Coalition defines meditation as “to think deeply about what God has said to us in Scripture and to prepare our minds and hearts for prayer. Scripture fuels meditation, and meditation fuels prayer.”
We’re covering prayer next week so be sure and subscribe so you won’t miss how prayer connects to meditation.
In the Bible meditation can be translated as
- utter, or
The question becomes then, how exactly do you meditate on God’s Word. Before answering the “how” question we’re going to spend time exploring what it means to meditate on the Word of God.
Our next post will answer the how question and provide practical tips for meditating on God’s Word.
What Does it Mean to Meditate on God’s Word
Exploring Psalm 119 we find 6 explanations for what it means to meditate on God’s Word.
Looking at the verses where meditation is mentioned we find
- what we’re to do with God’s Word,
- how we’re to use it, and
- how we benefit when we meditate on God.
This section goes chronologically through Psalms 119, explains the passage, and provides you with related questions to answer.
Hiding Your Word
I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
God wants us to treasure His Word more than the finest of jewels and all the money in the world.
The imagery of hiding is how you’d hide and securely tuck away those jewels and money.
You hide God’s Word because you treasure it, not because you’re keeping it a secret though.
But where you hide it, the heart, is not how we imagine. Instead it’s referring to the “very midst of your being, the deepest roots of self, and the substance of your soul”.
Every nook and cranny of you filled and covered with God’s Word.
Why do you do this?
Because it protects against sin. Truly, it’s the only safeguard against sin.
But meditating on God’s Word is also so much more. It’s also what we’ll dive into next.
- How have you hidden God’s word in your life?
- Is there evidence of God’s Word being tucked into every nook and cranny of your life?
- Describe why or why not.
Life’s How-to Book
I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways. I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your word. Psalm 119:15-16
Precepts are “general rules intended to regulate behavior or thought”.
We’re to meditate on God’s precepts, His rules and instructions, so we know how to live.
Every word, thought, and action that flows out of Christians should be regulated by God’s Word.
As we meditate we’re to also respect, find delight and our happiness in God’s Word.
God’s Word should be delighted in and not neglected because it was given to free us and teach us to be image-bearers of God.
The restrictions on thoughts, words, and deeds are there because they tear down the beautiful image-bearing identity God gave us.
The things it restricts us from doing are the things that lead to the death of our true purpose: imaging God as the people of God.
- Do you neglect or delight in God’s Word?
- What happens, based on past experience and scripture, when you meditate on God’s Word?
Protection in Night Hours
I have remembered your name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept your law. Psalm 119:55
Here, night can have a few different meanings. It could mean
- a season of affliction and distress,
- the hour when evil doings abound, or
- simply the time when you lay down to rest and sleep.
Remembering the Lord’s name involves
- thinking on God’s perfect nature,
- His work of creation,
- God’s protective care for His children, and
- the grace He shows.
It also includes remembering God’s Word. No matter the night you’re experiencing meditate on the Lord and keep His laws.
- What “night” season are you in right now?
- How could meditating on God’s Name affect your current circumstances?
Our Guide When Wronged
Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in your precepts. Psalm 119:78
Ever have people speak lies about you or have people with higher positions (financially, work, etc.) shame you and make you feel less than?
I think we’ve all been there.
It hurts and our inclination is usually to get back at them or get even. We often respond by saying hurtful things, gossiping, and plotting revenge.
This isn’t what God tells us to do though.
Those are sinful responses and responses that discount God.
Instead we’re to meditate on God’s rules for behavior and thoughts, His precepts. Then our response to those that wrong us will be inline with God’s Word and will reflect our deep trust in God’s promise that “vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
- Is there someone who’s recently wronged you?
- How did you handle it?
- Is it still affecting you mentally or emotionally?
- If so, how?
- Based on this scripture what does God ask you to do?
- How might meditating on God’s Word help with your current situation?
Life Changing Knowledge
Oh how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on Your statutes. Psalm 119:97-99
See that exclamation mark?
It’s there because we should have jump up and down excited kinda love for God’s Word.
Henry’s commentary says “Our relish for the word of God will be greatest, when that for the world and the flesh is least.”
The more we meditate on God’s Word, the more we hide it in our hearts, and incorporate it into all aspects of who we are, the more we’ll hate the things of the world and ignore sin’s beckoning call.
Meditating, thinking and pondering, on God’s Word throughout the day brings another promise.
The promise of wisdom.
True wisdom doesn’t come from knowing the most things, it comes from applying knowledge in a life-changing way.
Changed lives are wisdom’s fruit brought from a branch connected to the Lord.
- Is there something that needs to change so the life-changing promise of wisdom can take root in your life?
- If so, what?
- How could you begin meditating on God’s Word all day long?
More Valuable than Sleep
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your promises. Psalm 119:148
Imagine you’re going to your mom’s house and she’s promised to make your all time favorite meal.
You’re so excited to get there your stomach begins rumbling and growling hours before you even leave home.
This is what’s being conveyed in this Psalm but meditating on God’s promises, is the eagerly anticipated meal.
The Psalmist so wants to meditate that his eyes won’t even let him sleep through the night, waking him long before his time to rise.
I wish I hungered for God’s Word more than I do sleep but I’ll be honest, I love my sleep.
Granted, sleep is important but God’s Word is more important.
If sacrificing sleep is the only way you’ll have time to meditate on God’s Word then…sleep has to be shortened.
God knows what you need and if you cut your sleep short, in order to spend time in God’s Word, He will miraculously enable you for all the day holds.
That’s part of the blessings received when time is spent meditating on God’s Word.
- Do you make time to meditate on God’s promises each day?
- Why or why not?
- If the responsibilities of life are leaving you with no time for meditating on God’s Word, what needs to change?
Meditating on God’s Word is valuable!
So valuable it should be an unmovable part of every single day. It’s our how-to book for life that we’re to hide into every little part of who we are.
It protects us in the night seasons of life and guides us when we’ve been wronged.
Meditating on God’s Word is more important than sleep and fills us with life changing knowledge.
- Will you ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to make space in your schedule for meditating on God’s Word?
- Will you ask Him to guide you as you spend time in God’s Word?
- Ask Him to make it active and alive, causing the things of God to jump off the pages and into your life?
God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths. I pray you use it to guide you in all things. That it directs your steps, shapes your thoughts, and forms the words you speak.
As always, if you have any questions about what you read please share it with your pastor. If you don’t have a pastor, Sarah and I are always available to help and can be reached here.
Until next time remember that…
“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.” Joshua 1:8