Devotional Week 47 Thursday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God – Oh, yes!
Ephesians 3: 20, 21
The Message Bible
“Lord of the unexpected moment,
Christ the surprising,
Why do we always try to own You,
mistake reality for dream,
shut the door on the impossible?
Calm our fears,
shatter the walls we build to
keep You out.
Confront our hypocrisy.
Catch us when we fail.
Son of God,
Save us from ourselves.”
Today’s Study Text:
“How blessed is the man (and woman) who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his (her) delight is in the law of the Lord. And in His law he (she) meditates day and night.”
Psalm 1: 1, 2,
New American Standard Bible
“The Ocean of God’s Word”
Psalm 1: 2 Part 8
“Meditation is the devotional practice of pondering the words of a verse, or verses of Scripture, allowing the Holy Spirit to take the written word and apply it as the living word to the inner being.”
As I study God’s Word, do I invite Him to illuminate my being with His desires for my life?
Do I take time in moments of devotion to listen to what God has to say to me?
During the day do I take time to ponder and speak the words found in the Bible?
“Devout meditation on the Word is more important to soul-health even than prayer. It is more needful for you to hear God’s words than that God should hear yours, though the one will always lead to the other.”
F. B. Meyer
“Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God.”
J. I. Parker
Having spent a great deal of my life in Arizona where the weather report is hot and very hot much of the year, knowing how to swim isn’t just an enjoyment, it’s a necessity. But when I first took to water, while I was a very good swimmer, I had one specific problem. I didn’t like putting my entire head under water and this created a problem when it came to diving.
When I was finally able to get over this hurdle, I realized that “true” swimming had everything to do with total immersion in the water. Just so you get the picture of what I’m trying to convey, the word “immersion” means to be completely covered in liquid, to be totally absorbed, to be involved to a profound degree.
Well, now that the Psalmist has gotten us to dip our feet into the water by sharing the fact that true and lasting happiness is found in God’s law, he goes a step further and invites us to completely immerse ourselves in God’s Word as we meditate upon it day and night. The way I read this second clause in Psalm 1: 2 is that a continual immersion in God’s law or the Torah as the Hebrew states, will bring blessed delight into your life and mine. Professor John C. Holbert, whose commentary on Psalm 1 both informs and instructs, helped expand my vision regarding the intent of the Psalmist who calls on us to not only take delight in God’s law, but to meditate, muse, ponder, and speak on it night and day. Professor Holbert states, “to take Torah (the Scripture) seriously, to ponder its wonders, to muse over its beauties, is the path to blessed happiness.” But then like any experienced teacher, Professor Holbert helps us “make sense” of words written thousands of years ago by drawing an ancient truth into our 21st century world of living. As he points out, in order to understand the Psalmists’ words, “one has to know what Torah is and is not. Torah is ‘law,’ but it is much more than laws. Indeed, to translate Torah as ‘law’ is to do something very unfortunate and finally misleading. Torah comes from the verb ‘to teach,’ and hence means ‘instruction’. But even that does not quite capture the full sense. More comprehensively, Torah means the sum total of all of the gifts God offered to Israel in what became the Bible: laws, poems, stories, wisdom, covenants, and rituals. To delight in Torah, to ponder Torah, is to swim in the vast ocean of God’s love of and commands for God’s people.”
Yes! It means getting your head and your total body under water, immersed totally in God’s love as expressed in His dealings with His beloved children from the beginning of time to this very day.
Getting our thinking straight about what Torah means is vital for when the Psalmist instructs us to meditate day and night on the law of God, he is calling us to take all of God’s word into our lives by careful and thoughtful study – immersing ourselves in the Word. This means that my waking thoughts each morning turn to my Father and His love for me and when I’m faced with daily challenges, I look for guidance from my wise Father. And when the day closes, my eyes will turn heavenward in gratitude for my Father’s gracious presence.
But there’s more to Psalm 1: 2 than just gaining an understanding of what Torah is. The Psalmist uses the word “meditate” when he tells us to think, reflect or ponder the words of the law day and night which I read: all the time! Interestingly, the habit of speaking very low and quiet, under-the-breath muttering is not an unheard of practice of meditation, even within a spiritual community. In explaining the portion of Psalm 1: 2 which references “meditating night and day,” Author and Pastor Dale Ralph Davis states that the word “meditate” is “a verb (which) seems to carry the idea of muttering or murmuring in an undertone. If done with a written document, it reflects a vocal activity rather than a mere silent reading.” As an example, author Davis shares this personal anecdote: “’meditating’ might be similar to what I do when I (un-male-like) have to stop and ask directions. A service or petrol station attendant may give me directions, then I repeat them to him/her to confirm that I have them correct, mutter them to myself once or twice as I walk back to our vehicle, and then repeat them to my wife when I get in. One has to work it in, so to speak. That is what one is to do with Yahweh’s Torah – the one is to do this ‘day and night,’ that is regularly and consistently. Sometimes it seems like this Torah-meditating is all that keeps Christians afloat.”
I’d like to offer what I have found in my own life to be a practical way to meditate on God’s Word and it has to do with specifically keeping before my own eyes the faithfulness and trustworthiness of my heavenly Father who I know I can trust during all the days of my life. Having made a list of special passages in Scripture, I try to keep these words in my mind and even repeat them in order to fill my life with heavenly hope, no matter what problem I face. Here is part of my list which I pray will benefit you as it does me:
l. “All things are possible.” – Luke 18: 27
2. “My grace is sufficient.” II Corinthians 12: 9 and Psalm 91: 15
3. “I will direct your steps.” Proverbs 3: 5, 6
4. “You can do all things.” Philippians 4: 13
5. “I am able.” II Corinthians 9: 8
6. “I will supply all your needs.” Philippians 4: 19
7. “I have not given you a spirit of fear.” II Timothy 1: 7
8. “Cast all your cares on Me.” I Peter 5:7
9. “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13: 52
10. “I will give you rest.” Matthew 11: 28-30
Thoughts to ponder. Food for the faithful. A swimming pool for those who choose to immerse themselves in the ocean of God’s Word.
“I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways.”
Psalm 119: 15
Thou Life Within My Life
“Thou life within my life, than self more near,
Thou veiled Presence infinitely clear,
From all illusive shows of sense I flee,
To find my center and my rest in Thee.
How shall I call Thee who art always here?
How shall I praise Thee who art still most dear?
What may I give Thee save what Thou hast given,
And whom but Thee have I in earth and heaven?”
“O let me find Thee more inwardly and verily present with me.”
Pierce My Soul
“Lord Jesus Christ, pierce my soul with Thy love so that I may always long for Thee alone, who art the bread of angels and the fulfillment of the soul’s deepest desires. May my heart always hunger and feed upon Thee, so that my soul thirst for Thee, who art the source of life, wisdom, knowledge, light and all the riches of God our Father. May I always seek and find Thee, think upon Thee, speak to Thee and do all things for the honor and glory of Thy holy name. Be always my only hope, my peace, my refuge and my help in whom my heart is rooted so that I may never be separated from Thee.”
“Lord, come to me, my door is open.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus