Psalm 119: Meditating on the Word

Small Open Bible

Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.

Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
for they are ever with me.

I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.

I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.

I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.

I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!

I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.

Psalm 119:97-104 (New International Version)

When I was a young’un I loved to go visit my grandparents. They lived just over 100 miles away in a small cotton farming community called Ackerly, TX. My grandfather was the minister at the Church of Christ there, and on Sunday afternoons after lunch he would often grab his Bible and go lie down. He’d read the text of his evening sermon, pray, and eventually begin “meditation”. At least that’s what he called it. We both knew he was snoozing. He meditated loudly (a trait I may or may not have inherited…it’s none of your business).

Not long ago a friend was sharing with me the difference between the Hebrew practice of meditation and that of what we normally think of. Basically, we think of a more Buddhist practice of sitting and listening to the “sounds of silence”, while the psalmist would have had an entirely different thought in mind–he would have been reading out loud, or listening to someone recite out loud, the Word of God. His idea would have been one of active absorption of the Word, not passive introspection. I think that starts to bring much of Psalm 119’s references to the poet’s love of meditation on the Word into much clearer view. He had a passion for hearing and absorbing God’s truths.

I wonder, in our whiz-bang, ADD/ADHD, X-Box world do we ever stop and listen? Have we ever had such deep passion to hear and absorb God’s Word (not a preacher, a sermon…God’s Word)? Or 30 seconds into such a listening time would we be doing the “I gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now, gotta go, gotta go, gotta go” dance like the lady in the commercial with the troubled bladder and overly large eyes? And if we were doing the dance, is it really a low attention span, or a low passionate drive?

Whatever the answers are for you, I know this–the psalmist loved listening to the Truth of God’s Word. What would spark that passion in you and me?

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