Sunday, March 8, 2009

Do you meditate on God, his works, and his testimonies?

Good day, everyone.

Today, I write about something that I believe we have lost in the hustle-and-bustle of the contemporary fast-paced life.  That something is meditation.

Numerous verses in the Bible reference it, and in the Old Testament a few different Hebrew words are used, but they seem to share the elements of meaning that I mean to focus on.

First, three verses which mention the practice:
Psalm 104:34: "My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.";
Psalm 119:99: "I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.";
Psalm 143:5: "I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.";

The Hebrew references I have been through indicate that these all refer to 'meditation' or 'muse'.  These terms have similar but slightly different meanings.  Both carry the element of silent thought on a subject.  Meditation, I believe, is more focused on the pondering element while muse tends more toward the inspiration which is received in such silent contemplations.

Why is this important?  I have heard of stories of many artists and inventors receiving their inspirations from quiet contemplation or dreams.  I recall seeing statements that Edison often took afternoon naps, after which he often had inspiration for his inventions; and others of people who, from either dream or sitting in quiet contemplation, proceeded to write out detailed inventions or music that had been unknown to them prior.  Am I saying that meditation is some sort of magic?  Not at all.  However, my perspective will be more clear after visiting this passage about Elijah listening for God, from 1 Kings 19:9-13:

"9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?"

Carefully note that Elijah did not find God in anything but the voice, here - and, more importantly, verse 12 describes the voice, the only thing not discounted from being God, as being a still small voice.

If we attempt to 'keep up' with today's fast pace, we often fall short.  In trying to do so, our mind is filled with that clamor, so that we can hear nothing else - some people often even go so far to say that they cannot even hear themselves think.  If we are so overwhelmed by such things, how can we expect to hear a still small voice from God?

Similar, from Acts 13:1-4:
"1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus."

God can keep up with the fast paces of these times or any other.  Such things are even easy for Him.  He has the answers, and He wants to give them to us, but He will not force us to hear.  He tries to tell us how to prosper, how to cope, how to overcome.  When we do not listen, we do not know what to do, so we walk in fear the unknown paths we follow.  We often walk these paths alone, and we feel the painful solitude.  This practice consumes us and leaves us empty.

The solution?  Meditate on God, His works, His testimonies, His instruction, and be glad in Him.  How?  You don't have to become some Far East guru to accomplish this.  Set aside a quiet time to be with God, without external distraction.  Some time every day is preferable though God's plan was to set aside a day every week (the day of rest, the seventh day, the Sabbath), and I believe it was to be a blessing not a burden, as from Jesus in Mark 2:27, "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath".  If you do not make a choice to do this, it will not happen.  You will not find time if you do not set it aside.

God listens to you and He wants to hear you but He also wants to talk to you.  He wants to walk with you and to fill you with His love, His character, and His instruction.  Why not let Him help you out by giving Him some time to be heard?