I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways (Psalms 119:15).
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The Bible can certainly be read on a surface level (as any book can) for the story that it tells. But the Bible also contains an entire framework of thinking; a perspective on basic human questions (such as the meaning and purpose of existence); information that could only have been available to humanity through divine revelation; and multiple levels of meaning that require further contemplation first to see, then to fully comprehend, and then to apply to one's own life. The more one engages in such purposeful study and contemplation (which I take David's word "meditate" to be expressing), the greater the benefit to the individual with respect to personal salvation, dealings with others, and conforming to the way in which God intended humans to relate to each other and to Him when He created them. (And David did not even have the completed canon of Scripture to which to devote such study, as we do today. As a result, such meditation is even more beneficial now.)
Ken Puls says, "Meditation is pondering the Word in our hearts, preaching it to our own souls, and personally applying it to our own lives and circumstances." David also speaks of remembering God: When I remember you upon my bed And meditate on you in the watches of the night (Psalms 63:6). This is the verb hagah in the Hebrew. It is found in numerous places in the Old Testament and is translated as “ponder” or “meditate”: 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 good success (Joshua 1:8). But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And on his law, he meditates day and night (Psalms 1:2).When I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night (Psalms 63:6). In Psalms 2 it is used of the nations “plotting” against God: Why do the nations rage and the peoples PLOT in vain? (Psalms 2:1) The word literally means “to let resound.” It is used in Psalms 92:3 of the sound or tones of a musical instrument as it resonates. On an instrument of ten strings, On the lute, And on the harp, With HARMONIOUS [or resounding] SOUND (Psalms 92:3). We find the term also at the end of Psalms 19: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer (Psalms 19:14). In other words: Let the inward tones of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord... This is how we want the truth of Scripture to fill us and impact us—as we hear it and sing it and pray it—as Paul tells us in Colossians 3:16, let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly! Let it dwell in us in a way that resounds and reverberates in and through our lives. We see another use of the word in Isaiah 31:4 that helps us understand its intent. Isaiah uses the word in reference to a lion: For thus the LORD said to me, “As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey” (Isaiah 31:4) The word for growl or roar is this word for meditation. Have you ever heard a lion when he roars? He does not just use his voice. His entire being reverberates. This is meditation. Letting God’s Word resound from within the very center of our being. Meditation involves remembering, and resounding, but finally, Asaph speaks of MEDITATING: I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds (Psalms 77:12). This word siyach means to muse and wonder and dwell on—to think deeply about something. Used literally it means to murmur, mumble or talk to yourself. In a negative sense, it can mean “to complain.” It is the idea that something has so taken hold of your thinking that you can’t stop thinking about it. So on the negative side—it troubles you and disturbs you and draws out complaint; but on the positive side—it captivates you and enraptures your thinking so that you “dwell on” it. This is the way we want God’s truth to lay hold of us—so that we can’t but dwell on it, so that it captures our thinking and finds it way into our choices and decisions. The Puritans thought of meditation this way as they described it as “preaching to yourself.” We take the Word of God that we hear and read, and we mull it over in our minds and then bring it to bear upon our lives in personal exhortations. It is a word that is found often in the Old Testament, especially in the psalms:May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD (Psalms104:34). I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways (Psalms119:15). Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day (Psalms 119:97). When we meditate we think about God’s Word. We dwell on it and then as opportunities arise, we preach it to ourselves. We inject it into our thoughts as we make decisions, as we admonish and instruct our souls to choose right things and walk down right paths.
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