Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we are told to “meditate” on the scriptures:
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8, NIV)
“but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2, NRSV)
“Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” (Psalm 4:4, NAS)
“Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” (1 Timothy 4:15, KJV)
In the original Hebrew, this word carried the meaning of “to ponder, study, muse”. Looking the word up in a Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, one of the synonyms is “ruminate”, which is defined as, “to think carefully and deeply about something.” It has a secondary definition: “of an animal: to bring up and chew again what has already been chewed and swallowed.” This is the process known as chewing the cud. Chewing the cud is where a cow chews its food, swallows, regurgitates, chews some more, then swallows again. It does this because of the way its digestive system works. A cow spends about 8 hours a day chewing the cud, which works out to about 30,000 chews.
Our Bibles are so big, so we break out a plan for reading them. I’ve seen a lot of read-your-Bible-in-a-year plans. That is great, for getting general knowledge into our brains. But, the Bible is very specific when it says, “meditate on it day and night.” In other words, we are to study the Scriptures. I think it’s great that meditate is synonymous with ruminate, which also describes a cow chewing the cud. Then, Joshua tells us to “not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate (ruminate) on it day and night.” We need to chew on some scripture (considering its meaning, breaking it down into manageable bites) and then swallowing (applying to our lives). If we still need more understanding, then we need to regurgitate (bring it back) and repeat the process, making even smaller bites. Joshua tells us that this is what will make us both prosperous and successful. So, meditate 1st, become prosperous and successful 2nd.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t read the Bible in bulk. On the contrary, I believe that you need to have both a good overall understanding of the Bible, and an in-depth understanding of scriptures that the Lord is leading you to study.
But what do we meditate on? Well, like I said, it’s a big Bible! There are a lot of things to meditate on. I recommend finding a topic that interests you. You probably won’t want to select one of the many genealogies in the OT, but maybe you do. All Scripture is there for a reason, sometimes you just need to study to find to reason.
Well, I messed up my streak last week of doing an entry every week. I did go out of town, and forget to do it early.
Let me get your thoughts on this, and please, go back to my entry on Faith, and give me your thoughts there. Thanks.