Can Meditation On God’s Word Bring Joy and Banish Darkness? #221
Hello friends and happy Tuesday to you! Super-long show yesterday, so let’s calm it down a bit for today. I try to keep it under 30 minutes, but sometimes it just gets away from me! Today’s Bible readings include Judges 18, Jeremiah 32, Psalms 1 and 2, and Acts 22. Our focus passage is in Psalms 1, and yes! We are back in Psalms. With the Robert Murray M’Cheyne reading plan we are going through, we will read all of the Old Testament except Psalms once. We will read all 150 Psalms AND the New Testament twice – so today begins our rereading of the Psalms. Ever since our first read through, I have adopted a new habit of reading a Psalm in the morning before I read any news, or whatever, and it has been a blessing to do so. Much of the news we read these days is negative, so beginning the day at the very start in the Word has been fruitful for my life and my thought patterns. Today we ask the question: Can meditation on God’s Word bring joy and banish darkness, and I believe the answer to that question is ABSOLUTELY! Let’s read our two Psalms passages and then talk about the power of meditation.
Meditation on God’s Word is A key weapon given to us to combat unhealthy and destructive thought patterns with the supernatural Word of God. Recall that the difference between biblical meditation and Eastern forms of meditation is quite significant. The goal of biblical meditation is to fill one’s mind and thoughts and emotions with the powerful truth of God’s Word, but the goal of Eastern meditation is more often to empty one’s mind. A key verse to guide us and to differentiate between Eastern meditation and biblical meditation. Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Consider Hebrews 4:12
- Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.
It is almost as if this passage, written almost 2000 years ago, is screaming – THE WORD OF GOD IS A FANTASTIC WEAPON AGAINST DEPRESSION AND EVERY UNHEALTHY THOUGHT, FEELING OR ANXIETY!! Right now so many people are struggling with depression, anxiety, fear, worry, and all of their relatives – probably more so now than any time in the past 50 years. Depression can be serious, and can be treated medically, but I want to tell you that the Word of God is living and effective and is a powerful weapon against overwhelming thoughts of fear/depression/anxiety/despair. When you are fighting a powerful wave of those negative emotions, then sometimes a mere small dose of God’s Word will not have the same impact as a much larger dose, and the best way I know of to receive the Word to the deepest level of our spirits is to meditate on it. Consider all the promises ofPsalm 119 about the TRANSFORMING POWER OF THE WORD:
Vs 11 I have treasured Your word in my heart
so that I may not sin against You.
Vs 25: My life is down in the dust;
give me life through Your word.
Vs 28 I am weary from grief;
strengthen me through Your word.
Vs 49: Remember Your word to Your servant;
You have given me hope through it.
Vs 103: How sweet Your word is to my taste—
sweeter than honey in my mouth
Vs 105: Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
Vs. 107 I am severely afflicted;
Lord, give me life through Your word.
Vs. 111: I have Your decrees as a heritage forever;
indeed, they are the joy of my heart.
Vs. 114: You are my shelter and my shield;
I put my hope in Your word.
Vs. 130: The revelation of Your words brings light
and gives understanding to the inexperienced.
Vs. 147: I rise before dawn and cry out for help;
I put my hope in Your word.
LIFE Comes from the Word. HOPE Comes from the Word. LIGHT Comes from the Word. STRENGTH Comes from the Word. HEALING Comes from the Word. SWEETNESS Comes from the Word. JOY comes from the Word. How? Because the Word of God is LIVING and ACTIVE and POWERFUL and SHARP.
HOW – How can we partake rightly of this divine source to help us wrestle with depression and overcome? Simply by reading our Bibles? That helps certainly, but there is a better way! Almost like hacking our brains by MEDITATING – on the Word of God.
Psalm 1: 1
How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.
When we fill our minds with the Word of God, ANY unhealthy thoughts – especially those brought on by depression – will be much less likely to take deep roots in our thinking and feelings, and health, God honoring thoughts will be MORE likely to grow and prosper. Think of meditation on the Word of God as a sort of Godly, supernatural Weed ‘N Feed. The Word of God helps to suppress and uproot bad/harmful thoughts and causes good and helpful and Godly thoughts to thrive.
What does the word meditation actually mean? Verb. meaning moan, growl, utter, speak, muse, So, meditation on God’s word is technically akin to moaning it, or muttering it, musing over it, turning it over in our minds, as a Living and Active thing. MENTAL CHEWING.
In meditation, the Word goes from a shallow place, barely on the surface of the soil of our hearts, to a much deeper place where it can take root.
Consider this analogy – Cup of tea. One dip of the tea bag into the water does not make tea. Hearing the Word is one dip, Reading is two dips, Memorization is a few more dips…meditation, however, is a long dunk in the Word – in the same spot.
Let me close with a beautiful word of encouragement from Spurgeon on the benefits of walking for exercise and the much greater benefit of meditation on the Word of God:
THOSE who would be in health do not sit still in their houses to breathe such air as may come to them, but they walk abroad and seek out rural and elevated spots that they may inhale the invigorating breezes; and thus those godly souls who would be in a vigorous spiritual state, do not merely think upon such holy doctrines as may come into their minds in the ordinary course of thought, but they give time to meditation, they walk abroad in the fields of truth, and endeavour to climb the heights of gospel promises. It is said that Enoch walked with God: here is not an idle but an active communion. The road to bodily health is said to be a footpath, and the way to spiritual health is to exercise one’s self in holy contemplation.
C. H. Spurgeon, Feathers for Arrows (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1870), 142.