In Psalm 119:97 we read a most amazing statement. “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.”
The psalmist has a passion for God’s truth. He is so enthralled by God’s Word that he thinks about it constantly. For this writer, pondering the Word of God has become a habit.
Please consider that the psalmist makes this claim to meditate on Scripture eight times in Psalm 119. He meditates on God’s precepts (v. 15 and 78), decrees (v. 23 and 48), deeds (v. 27), law (v. 97), statutes (v. 99) and promises (v. 148) – each of these nouns is a synonym for God’s Word or “law”, His written instruction which we find today in the holy Bible.
What does it mean to meditate on the law? To meditate means to think about, ponder, reflect on, contemplate. The idea is to focus one’s mind on God’s truth and to remain fixated on it for a period of time. It is an active, purposeful, intentional use of the mind, not an emptying of the mind. It is to think about what God is saying to us on the pages of Scripture.
To mediate about anything is a lost art, is it not? We can get so busy with life, can’t we? Whether you are working a full-time job or spending your days raising children, who has time to just sit and think about anything but the task at hand?
So I’m confounded by this writer’s confession that “I meditate on it all day long“. How did he do that? Who has the time to spend all day thinking about the Bible? Did this man withdraw from society and live in a cave or a monastery?
Well, we don’t know who wrote Psalm 119. The author’s name is not provided in the heading, as is the case for many of the psalms. But we do know that whoever wrote this psalm was suffering much (v. 107) at the hands of his enemies (v. 157), who also happened to be those in authority over him (v. 23, 161). He was being persecuted unjustly (v. 86) by arrogant, wicked men (v. 61, 69, 110) and so repeatedly pleads with God to deliver him from imminent death and preserve his life (v. 153, 154).
That doesn’t sound like a guy who had nothing else to do but read his Bible all day, does it?
Here’s a verse that might unlock the key to this man’s obsession with Scripture. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). The English Standard Version translates this as, “I have stored up your word in my heart”; and The Message also captures the meaning quite well, “I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart”.
This man spent much time literally running for his life. Yet he was able to meditate on God’s Word in the most stressful situations because he had memorized it. He could think about it all day long because it was buried deep in his heart and always just a thought away.
When was the last time you memorized Scripture? It doesn’t take much time to memorize a verse or two, or a treasured passage. And then, once you’ve done that, it is right there whenever you want to think about it.
I like to use old business cards or index cards and write a verse on it. Then I stick that little piece of paper in my pocket and carry it with me. I’ll pull it out while I’m waiting in line at the store or stuck in traffic or walking from the car to the office, or whenever I have a few moments of idle time. And within a day or two, that verse becomes part of me. And through that simple exercise of meditating on a verse throughout the day by memorizing it, I have allowed the Creator of the universe to speak to me and fill my mind with His truth – all day long!
What do you say? Will you give this a try? I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed, for God loves to bless His people when they spend quality time with Him in His Word.