Monday, February 20, 2017

BIBLICAL MEDITATION -What Does It Mean?

The first question we must consider concerns the meaning of meditation and what meditation involves. This is particularly important to the Christian because of the great and growing emphasis on meditation in eastern religions. Transcendental meditation, as it is often called, is not biblical meditation. It is dangerous and actually opens up one’s mind for Satanic attack as it is found in New Age thinking. My purpose here is to deal only with the meaning and blessing of biblical meditation and to point out that eastern forms of meditation and biblical meditation are miles apart.
The Actions of Meditation
Meditation means “the act of focusing one’s thoughts: to ponder, think on, muse.” Meditation consists of reflective thinking or contemplation, usually on a specific subject to discern its meaning or significance or a plan of action. Some synonyms would be contemplation, reflection, rumination, deep thinking, or remembering in the sense of keeping or calling something to mind for the purpose of consideration, reflection, or meditation. Compare for instance the following verses of Scripture:
Psalm 63:6 When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches,
Psalm 77:11 I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Thy wonders of old.
Psalm 78:42 They did not remember His power, The day when He redeemed them from the adversary,
Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Thy doings; I muse on the work of Thy hands.
The Objects of Meditation
In Eastern forms of meditation as in TM there is an attempt to empty the mind. Biblical meditation, however, is an attempt to empty the mind of the wrong things in order to fill it with what is right and true according to the index of God’s inspired Word. All Eastern forms of meditation stress the need to become detached from the world. There is an emphasis upon losing personhood and individuality and merging with the Cosmic Mind… Detachment is the final goal of Eastern religion. It is an escaping from the miserable wheel of existence… It is merely a method of controlling the brain waves in order to improve your psychological and emotional well-being.
Biblical meditation involves becoming detached from the controlling and hindering influences of the world and attached to the living God through Christ that we might, through faith and transformed values, experience the sufficiency of the Savior and reach out to a hurting world in need of the living Christ. Biblical meditation is object oriented. It begins with reflective reading and rereading of the Word and is followed by reflection on what has been read and committed to memory. In Scripture, the word meditate is generally found with an object (God, His Word, or works, etc.) or in a context where the object of meditation is understood.
In Scripture it does not mean to sit and ponder infinity or to empty the mind so some force can fill it by repeating some chant or mantra. Such is dangerous and opens the mind to demonic attack. Meditation in the Bible means reflective thinking on biblical truth so that God is able to speak to us through Scripture and through the thoughts that come to mind as we are reflecting on the Word, but that must also be filtered by the Word. The goal of Christian meditation is to internalize and personalize the Scripture so that its truth can affect how we think, our attitudes, and how we live, our actions.
The Objectives of Meditation
(1) Worship—It is designed to focus on the Lord and His works (Ps. 27:4; 77:12). It is a place and space in our lives for communion with God. It is a means of elevating the spiritual over the material world and the world of activity: the world of hustle and bustle and coming and going.
(2) Instruction—It is designed to improve our understanding of the Word and God’s ways as it applies to our lives (Ps. 49:3 [i.e., understanding comes from the meditations of his heart]; 119:27, 97f). In meditation we exchange our thoughts with God's.
(3) Motivation or Encouragement—It is designed to motivate and inspire us in service and courage for the works God has called us to do (Josh. 1:7-8)
(4) Transformation—It is designed to transform and change our lives. This would apply to all the above (Ps. 4:4; 19:14; 119:15; Rom. 12:2; Col. 3:1f). In Joshua 1:8, God promised Joshua success as part of the fruit of his meditation on the Word, but this has nothing to do with the prosperity mentality of the positive thinking and eastern meditation that is so present today in New Age thinking where, through positive thinking, one is able to control his or her destiny. Rather this is the success of obedient and godly living which experiences God’s provision and deliverance from the enemies of this life. It is not a guarantee against trials and pain.
When Should We Meditate?
(1) At prescribes times set aside for Bible study and thinking on the Word (Gen. 24:63; Ps. 4:4; 27:4; 63:6; 77:6; 119:148). It means making space in a special place for God and spiritual values.
(2) At all times throughout the day and night, as we face the varied situations of life. It involves the constant application of the Word through remembrance and reflective thinking (Josh. 1:8).
Why Should We Meditate?
(1) Because of what the Bible is—Revelation from God. In the Bible God has spoken and through this article God reveals Himself, reveals who and what man is, and what His plan for man consists of. (Cf. Ps. 19:7f; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; Isa. 55:8f.) The Bible was given to us by God to be read and meditated on. “An unread Bible is like food that is refused, an unopened love letter, a buried sword, a road map not studied, a gold mine not worked.”
(2) Because of what man is and needs—Reconciliation to God and one another. The nature of man and the nature of the world and Satan constitutes a great need for personalizing the Word: cf. Eph. 4:16f; 5:15f; 2Cor. 4:4; etc. Because man is a holistic being, his spiritual, psychological, and physical faculties are complexly intertwined.
(3) Because of what the meditation does—Reformation of the mind and life. Using the words “meditate” and “remember” which is sometimes used as a synonym for meditate (Ps. 63:6; 77:5-7; 119:55-56; 143:5-6),
 let’s note from Scripture some of the reasons we should meditate on the Word.
• It renews or reprograms our minds, exchanges our ideas for God’s, so we can begin to experience God’s ways (Isa. 55:8f; Rom. 12:1). Its the principle of GIGO or VIVO (garbage in, garbage out, or value in, value out).
• It monitors what and how we are thinking and thus protects us against the thinking and actions of the world (Ps. 1:1-2; Jer. 17:5-10). Many of our problems are symptoms of underlying dynamic mental processes going on inside. Meditating on the Word when done properly is designed to expose an often unconscious network of defenses, anxieties, and sources of self-trust (Heb. 4:12; 2 Tim. 3:16).
• It enables and motivates us to walk after or according to God’s plan and purposes rather than our own (Josh. 1:7f; Ps. 119:15).
• It produces spiritual stability and fruitfulness or success according to biblical standards (Josh. 1:7f; Ps. 1:3).
• It is a means of focusing on and resting in the Lord which enables us to cling to the Lord and find spiritual joy in the midst of suffering and testing (Ps. 63:6f; 77:6-12). It becomes a means of protection against a mental attitude of self-pity and discouragement (Ps. 4:4; 119:23, 78).
• It is a means of better knowing and understanding the Word which gives insight to life itself (Ps. 49:3; 119:27).
• It warms the heart and keeps us close to God (Jer. 20:7-9).
• It is a means of worship and seeking God which is ultimately the highest goal of meditation (Ps. 27:4; 77:12).
May we join the Psalmist who, rather than use the methods of the world to deal with his pain, declared his commitment to meditatu9ion when he wrote:  Psalm 119:78 May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; But I shall meditate on Thy precepts.