Yet, if there ever was a formulaic process found in Scripture, it would be the passage we looked at in last Sunday’s message. That one verse–Joshua 1:8–will be a primary theme throughout our summer series, and if you have not yet memorized it, I hope you’ll be sure to “hide it in your heart” this summer.
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
Those words were spoken by the LORD to His people as they prepared to enter the long-awaited Promised Land. As often in Scripture, there is a promise, and a premise. The promise is for nothing less than prosperity and success. The premise? That they would be devoted to God’s word (the Book of the Law), meditating on it “day and night” so that they would be careful to live by it. A simple formula for success, not unlike Psalm 1.
A key word in that verse is the word meditate. I have often come across Christians who are uncomfortable with the whole concept of meditation. Isn’t that what Buddhists do? As a matter of fact, it is. But as one pastor I know says, they also eat breakfast too, but that doesn’t keep us from doing that.
It would probably help us to understand what the word “meditate” means. I mentioned Sunday that the Hebrew word means “mutter,” almost to suggest someone talking to themselves under their breath. It comes from a root word that originally described a cow chewing its cud, swallowing it and then bringing it back up to chew on some more. That speaks of the way we are to “digest” God’s word: we chew on it, keeping it “in our mouth,” and on our mind.
The reality is we all meditate regularly, on something. It may be SportsCenter, it may be the Dow Jones, it may be the Food Network or what we’ve read or seen on Facebook. But there’s always something occupying our mind. The key is to intentionally and purposely think about His word, so that living it out becomes almost second nature. That’s the process through which God renews our mind and transforms our lives (Romans 12:2).
Pastor and author John Ortberg says that meditation is just “positive worry,” so if you know how to worry, you know how to meditate.
Let me recommend, again, that you “choose you this day” to actively and intentionally fill your mind with the truth of God’s word this summer, so that you can experience the “success” that God intends for you to enjoy as you walk with Him. That’s not a formula, that’s a promise.
I am praying for you, and I look forward to seeing youon Sunday.