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Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.

Meditation is not a word often in the Christian vocabulary, possibly because we associate it with the practices of eastern religions.  But it is a Bible word.  Here in Psalm 1, God promises us that meditation goes with the blessing of God.  Joshua, when he took over leadership of God’s people, was to meditate on the Book of the Law day and night (Jos 1:8).   In Psalm 119 – which is full of the word – the writer goes as far as telling us that because he meditates on God’s statutes he actually has more understanding than all his teachers! (Ps 119:99). 

Meditation is sometimes thought of as sitting still and emptying the brain.  Christian meditation, however, means using our brains on Scripture.  It goes beyond the cursory glance into chewing a passage over, asking it our questions, thinking through its implications, trying to work out what’s going on, praying about it, and more.

Every Bible passage has depth – of course it does, for its ultimate author is God!  Every passage is an invitation from Him to think about this, to ponder, to chew. 

I can’t help wondering if the proliferation of devotional books – “Through the year with…”, giving us the thoughts of some famous writer – are there because we want the Bible, but are too rushed to meditate on Scripture for ourselves.  Don’t get me wrong: these can be helpful.  But they are a bit like, when we were tiny, having our parents chop our food up for us.

The practice of a daily “quiet time”, when we make time alone with our Bibles, spins directly out of this Scriptural call to meditate.  I don’t find this discipline easy. But what blessing has come!  I have found the following practicalities helpful:

  • Making this a priority.
  • Having a clear Bible reading scheme such as that in McCheyne’s famous plan (this is four chapters per day but I only manage two, and sometimes just one).
  • Having a notebook in which I write down at least just one thing which has struck me, or a question which arises which I’ll try and find the answer to.
  • Coffee or tea.
  • Eliminating the “weapon of mass distraction”, the phone.  I’ve found it helpful to remove the email facility from it, so I’m not tempted to look at it first thing.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart 

                        be pleasing in your sight,

                        LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 104:34)