Meditate on God’s Word
Psalm 1:1–6; Philippians 4:8
You are what you think. Human minds are an amazing gift from God. According to bebrainfit.com, the average brain contains about 86 billion brain cells. The laboratory of neuroimaging at the University of Southern California estimates the average brain generates 70,000 thoughts per minute.
We live in an age of information overload. Eastern religions are known for the practice of meditation — often understood in terms of emptying our minds. The Bible commends meditation as a means of filling our minds with the thoughts of God rather than emptying our minds. Christian meditation seeks to “think God’s thoughts after Him,” a phrase coined by scientist Johann Kepler. Rather than emptying our minds, the Bible admonishes believers to meditate on God’s word, thereby filling our minds with God’s truth.
Meditating on Scripture provides blessing and delight. (Ps. 1:1–3)
Psalm 1 introduces the entire book of Psalms. Notice the progression in the life of one who makes lifestyle choices in line with God’s instructions. The blessed person does not do three things: walk in the advice of wicked people, stand in the pathway of sinners, nor sit in the company of God mockers. Notice the progression of closer intimacy in the verbs: walk, stand or sit.
In contrast, the blessed person delights in God’s instruction and meditates upon God’s word. The proper attitude towards God’s instruction is twofold: delight in it and meditate upon it.
In biblical meditation, the believer meditates upon the law of God for the purpose of obeying the law.
“This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it” (Josh. 1:8). Psalm 1 describes the blessing of meditation on God’s word — fruitfulness.
Meditating on Scripture helps us pursue righteous living. (Ps. 1:4–6)
The statement of the Psalmist, “The wicked are not like this,” raises the question, “Not like what?”
The wicked do not enjoy the blessing of the life described in Psalm 1:3: a life of rootedness, fruitfulness and prosperity in the sense of success. The wicked lack deep roots. Neither the wicked nor sinners will stand in the assembly of the righteous. God watches over (knows) the path of the righteous. An individual’s walk determines their destiny, either blessings or ruin.
Meditating on Scripture keeps us focused on the right thoughts. (Phil. 4:8)
Philippians 4:2–9 provides a prescription for right thinking. Notice the strong admonitions: Rejoice, do not worry, pray and think God’s thoughts — whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable and praiseworthy. This is a passage a believer should read regularly.
By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida