This Sunday we took a break from our series in Ephesians to focus on meditation, which will continue for the next three weeks. You can view the sermon here.
Meditation is the bridge from our Bible reading to applying it in our lives. Psalm 1 is a pivotal text on meditation.
A Messianic Psalm
If we, and the preacher, are not careful, we can turn this Psalm into a moralistic Psalm. That is, we mainly make it about what we should and should not be doing.
We are not to walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers. But we are to delight in and meditate on God’s law; His word. And while it is true that we are not to do those actions, and we are to delight in and meditate on God’s law, that is not the complete picture.
The psalm begins with a pronunciation of blessing, “Blessed is the man.” The definite article “the” is important in this case. The Psalmist is not talking about any man but a specific man. In the sermon, we heard that this is a messianic Psalm. The man described in this passage is Jesus Christ, the Messiah of God and Savior of His people.
Jesus is the blessed man who did not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers. He delighted in God’s word and He meditated on it.
Did Jesus Meditate?
It is easy enough to find examples of Jesus living out the commands against specific actions in this text. Jesus was sinless, therefore we know He did not join the wicked in their pursuits.
We also know that Jesus placed a high priority on God’s word. This is seen throughout His teaching in the Gospels. Jesus quoted Isaiah when beginning His public ministry and He quoted Genesis when the religious leaders of his day asked Him about divorce.
So, Jesus had a high view of Scripture and they played an important part in His life. But how do we know Jesus meditated on Scripture? It is admitted that we do not have an account in the Gospel that explicitly says, “and Jesus went off and meditated on Scripture for three hours”, such as we have where Jesus did go off to pray.
The Fruit of Meditation
We do not have an explicit example of Jesus’ meditation of Scripture, but we do see the fruit of meditation in His life.
One example will do for now, you can listen to the sermon for more. In Matthew 4 (and Luke 4) the Gospel writers record Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness by Satan. Each time that Satan tempts Jesus to do something, Jesus responds by quoting Scripture to him.
It does not appear from the text that Jesus had a scroll for each place of Scripture He quoted. Jesus did not tell Satan, “Wait one minute, I am looking for a verse that I know will rebut what you’ve said.”
No, Jesus quotes it. He hid those truths in His heart, He memorized them and He was able to pull them out when He needed them the most. This happens through meditation. Jesus absorbed the truth of Scripture to the point where He could use it to fight temptation and He could apply the truth in the moment to fight sin.
We underestimate what Jesus did as a man. Jesus was filled with the Spirit, which is shown by His Scripture saturated life. Jesus’ life is an example for us. In His life we see the fruit of meditation.
Meditation as a Means of Grace
How does Psalm 1 apply to you and me?
Jesus lived this Psalm, and if we are in Him we now have the ability to do so as well. We do this because we are in Christ. Because the Spirit has regenerated us and placed us in union with Christ, we can delight in and meditate on God’s word so that we will not be joined with the wicked in their pursuits.
There are two positive truths here. First, we are to delight in God’s word. When you read the Bible you are not reading some ordinary book. What you hold in your hands is the very word of God. It is the same as if God were right in front of you talking.
We love God, therefore we should love His word. His word should bring us joy because they are His very words.
Second, we should meditate on His word. Meditation is intentionally and purposely thinking through a verse or passage of Scripture, with a view of applying the truth extracted. Meditation is a means of grace. This means that God reminds us of His grace through meditation. As we meditate on Scripture, we will be freshly reminded of God’s lavish grace toward us in Jesus Christ.
Our affections and our minds are engaged in this process. This is why the Psalm says we delight in and we meditate on.
The blessed man is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields fruit in its season. In John 15, Jesus taught that we bear much fruit and glorify our Father when we abide in Him.
The Psalm teaches that through meditation we bear fruit, the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Our responsibility is to delight in God’s word and to meditate on it; God will supply the fruit. This is much like our responsibility in John 15 to abide or remain in Jesus, through which God gives the fruit.
Meditation and abiding in Christ produce the same results in our lives; bearing fruit. Without meditation we will not get on in the Christian life as God would have us do. We will not grow, or mature, in our faith apart from meditation.
Meditation is a gift from God, for our joy in Him! Let’s use it to our fullest advantage so that God is glorified and we become more like Christ.