My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of Your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. – Proverbs 4:20-22 NKJV
When we refer to “meditating,” we mean we ponder something and give it our full attention. A French couple helped me see that meditation is like eating. They will take a bite of food after they have enjoyed the way it looks on the plate. They comment on the pleasant aroma and often mention one or two special ingredients. They chew slowly and deliberately, and they sometimes even comment on how it makes the inside of their mouth feel.
That seems a bit too much for most Americans, but that’s a good picture of meditating on God’s Word. We don’t just wolf down a few words or a verse and hurry on to the next. We pause to reflect on a word, a phrase, or a concept. We compare that scripture with others that come to mind. We feel in no hurry to dash to the end of the chapter. The words are there for us to savor and enjoy. We should learn to be more concerned about quality than quantity: It is more important to get a deep understanding of one verse of Scripture than it is to read five chapters and understand nothing.
Meditating on God’s Word demands discipline. We live in such a fast paced world that few of us make time to meditate. We should form a habit of setting aside time just to sit and think about God’s Word and the wonderful promises He has made to those who believe in Him. The blessed person mentioned in Psalm 1 is the person who meditates on God’s Word “by day and by night.” The expression “by day and by night” means that it is a major part of a person’s life. It’s a way of say¬ing that thinking about the Word of God should be a regular part of daily activity: This will require casting down wrong thoughts when they come and choosing to think on things that will benefit us. If we keep ourselves focused, it pays off spiritually.
I spend time with God in prayer and in study of His Word each morning, but I also apply the Word to situations that I deal with all throughout the day. During the writing of this devotion, I got some bad news by phone, and my response was to quote and think about various promises in God’s Word His Word strengthens us and helps us keep our peace and joy.
I titled this “Meditation Produces Success” because it’s important for us to understand that contemplating the meaning of Scripture isn’t simply a good thing to do or an activity reserved for scholars. It’s God’s command to all of us. It is a requirement for true success.
I thought of the instructions to Joshua as he prepared to lead the people into the Promised Land. The first few verses of the book of Joshua provide God’s direction for him. There were at least two million people going into the land, and the responsibility of leading them was immense.
God promised to be with Joshua as He was with Moses, and He urged the new leader to be very courageous. Then He said, This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success (Joshua 1:8).
The instructions seem clear. Joshua had the commands of God, and his primary responsibility was to contemplate those words. By immersing himself in the law, he was learning to understand the mind of God more fully. God went on to say that if Joshua kept his mind and heart on the law, he would be prosperous and successful.
Too often people focus on their problems instead of meditating on God’s promises. As they do, their problems seem to get bigger, and God’s power diminishes.
God doesn’t want Satan to fill your mind. He doesn’t want you to give him the opportunity to inject wrong and negative thoughts into your head. For the devil to control your life, all he needs to do is to control your thoughts. Make a decision right now that you will not allow him to do that. Don’t let him defeat you.
Father God, You have told me to meditate on Your Word, and I ask You to help me do that. I want Your Word to be the focus of my life. When problems come, help me turn to Your Word immediately. When Satan attacks my mind, remind me to counterattack with Your Word. As I meditate on Your Word regularly, I believe I will see good progress in my life. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.