Silence for 2-5 minutes: If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
Scripture reading: Psalm 1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. Reading: The Psalmist calls us to delight in the Lord and meditate on His word day and night. Meditation might evoke thoughts of eastern religion, seeking nothingness and sitting in a lotus position, but that is not what the Psalmist is advocating. Meditation in the ancient world meant to mutter, murmur, or to chew.
Murmuring is typically identified with grumbling and complaining. We know that the Israelites grumbled against Moses and God. They paid dearly for their actions. Paul encourages the Philippian church to, "Do all things without grumbling or disputing." (Philippians 2:14) Murmuring has ignited many an argument between husbands and wives when one party says something under their breath, and the other retaliates by uttering, "What did you just say?"
Here though, God is saying I want to give you a way out of this fruitless type of practice. Resist the desire to go down the "rabbit hole" of constant grumbling. Instead, murmur and mutter my words to you and I will bring you to a place of gratitude and fruitfulness rather than grievance and despair.
The Hebrew word for meditating also connotes the idea of savoring and chewing. The Message puts it this way, "You thrill to God's word. You chew on scripture day and night."
Jesus taught us that we could not live on bread alone, but will only be nourished by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. God's word is so abundant and enjoyable that we must relish every single word. Scripture is like the choicest cuisine and the most lavish feast. We cannot approach God's word like fast food, for if we do, like fast food, we will receive little nourishment.
Soren Kierkegaard once said that Christians treat the Bible more like a textbook than a love letter. No one wants to meditate upon a textbook day and night. But a love letter, well, that's worth savoring again and again!
Tomorrow, we will learn a lesson from a classic work on how we might routinely meditate upon the scriptures in a spirit of prayer.
Questions/Actions to Take: Find a passage of scripture that speaks hope rather than despair and "murmur it" throughout the day. Replace the mutter of a complaint by murmuring the promises of God.
How does your approach and reading of scripture need to change? Ask God to give you eyes to see the Bible as a love letter or a glorious feast.
Lord, I am so prone to complain about my circumstances, though you have proven yourself faithful in all things. Today, help me only to murmur your praises and promises. Lead me to those passages of scripture that speak hope rather than despondency to my heart. Help me savor every word of the "love letter" you have sent me. In Jesus' name. Amen.