Psalm 1:1-3, Isaiah 31:4, Psalm 34:8
How to use your sword, the Sword of the Spirit, God’s word. Sometimes we need some practical strategies for how we can do this. Jesus lived a perfect devotional life in our place and now we just get to enjoy meditating on God’s word. Psalm chapter 1, the first few verses talk about the blessings we get from studying God’s word.
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way the sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season. Who is leaf does not wither. Whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)
As we’re in God’s word, we’re connected to his word. That picture again of just fruit growing, life filled with faithfulness, sustained by Christ. Our delight is in the law of the Lord, our God’s word is delightful and it gives us joy and peace. But the phrase I especially want to focus on is this word meditate. In Hebrew it’s the word hagah. Meditating on God’s law, on his word, on his promises. I had a professor at seminary who used to teach about this word like this: what does it mean to meditate on God’s word?
Well, this word hagah is used in other places in the Old Testament scriptures, too. There’s a verse in Isaiah, chapter 31, verse 4, that uses the same Hebrew word, but in a different context. It says, as a lion or a young lion growls over his prey. As a lion meditates on this food that it’s eating, it’s that same kind of a word, it’s a really visceral reaction. Maybe you have a dog at home and they have a bone and they’re just sitting and chewing on it and they have this kind of reaction. It’s just like [growl] a little Chewbacca noise coming from the back of its throat, if it’s anything like my dog, and just really enjoying chewing on that bone, that’s kind of how we can be with God’s word.
Sometimes we get into an idea that we just have to read and read and read and get as much volume done as we can. But here we also have this encouragement to delight in God’s word by just chewing on it, just enjoying it, just reading a little bit and thinking about it and meditating on it and just enjoying how good God is. It’s like the Bible verse that says just taste and see that the Lord is good from Psalm 34 for just really being able to taste and see that.
So what are some ways to just slow down and meditate on God’s word? I have one bookmark that I keep in my Bible that I use that goes back to what Martin Luther gave for examples when he was asked about how do you study God’s word? And I ask these four questions of myself sometimes.
First, I’ll just read a small section and then say, what is God telling me in this section of the word? What does he mean? And just go back and think about it. What happened?
Next, what sin does God’s word point out that I need to confess to him and ask for his forgiveness? Usually we’ll see something where we’re not meeting the mark and ask for forgiveness from God. Maybe you’re jotting it down in a little journal.
Number three, what does this section of God’s word lead me to thank God for? Where am I seeing Jesus? Where am I seeing the gospel? Where am I seeing God’s blessings? How can I thank him?
And after you’ve thought through these, the number four is very easy. What does this lead me to pray for? And then we’ll be able to bring those prayers that we’ve received from God after really chewing on it and bring it all back to him, praying his promises back to him.
So maybe that’s one way that you can chew on God’s word and really enjoy it.