I thought we would step away from the subject of our present plight and consider once again the subject of meditation. If you remember, our theme verse for this year is Psalm 1:3, which says, “He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” It has been a little while since I have reflected on this verse, and I noticed something new about the image presented. You see, a tree grows through its roots. Roots locate themselves, close to “rivers of water” which enable them to be continuously fed or nourished. For a plant to grow and bear its fruit, it needs to be close to its supply of food. If there is a lack of food, the plant may not die, but the lack of nutrition hinders it from bearing fruit. Let’s make some spiritual application to this for us today.
It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by
Every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
The tempter is confronting Jesus to tempt him after being in the desert for “forty days and forty nights” (Matthew 4:2). The first temptation is His need to eat, for the tempter knows He is hungry…very hungry. Turn the bread to stone, the tempter urges. What would your response be, especially if you could do it as Jesus did? Jesus’s response is the above verse and, in it, reveals a profound truth. Our spiritual life needs nourishment, and the word of God is what will sustain us through all of life’s adversities and guide us down all paths of righteousness. Consider this often-quoted text anew, “All Scripture is given by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right. Using the Scriptures, the person who serves God will be capable, having all that is needed to do every good work.” (NCV, 2nd Timothy 3:16-17). Like a tree, planted by the river’s edge, the child of God stays close to God’s word because it allows nourishing to take place so they can bear fruit for the Lord; that is, do good work. Staying close to God’s word is what the act of meditation is all about. Joshua, now given the task to lead God’s people into the promised land, is urged by God to meditate on the Book of the Law “day and night” (Joshua 1:8), and the result will be “good success.” Proverbs 4:20-22 (NCV), “My child, pay attention to my words; listen closely to what I say. Don’t ever forget my words; keep them always in mind. They are the key to life for those who find them; they bring health to the whole body.” If that were not enough to ponder, consider the very next verse, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life” (NCV, Proverbs 4:23).
The act of mediation enables us not merely to read the word, but to consider it and seek to understand how it applies in my life. I am presently reading a book entitled God’s Battle Plan for the Mind by David W. Saxton. Its focus is to try and grasp a deeper understanding of biblical meditation. As I was reading it, I came across this thought; everyone meditates on something. In other words, we all are focusing on something, dwelling on it in our minds. Someone who is unjustly hurt may ponder in his thoughts on seeking revenge. Someone who is looking to get ahead in life is looking for a better paying job. Even when we spend time worrying about something, whether we realize it or not, we are meditating. The point is, something has our attention. What we focus on in our minds will eventually bring us to a location: We become a little more transformed. The question is, “Where is our meditation bringing us? What are we being transformed into?” God wants us to meditate on Him and His ways because when we do, we become more like Him.