We are people who are so quick to forget! Living in an unprecedented era of 24/7 newsfeed cycles and information overload, we are often very hesitant to intentionally limit ourselves, choosing to slow down and reflect. Our brains, which were designed by God to use a 1/3rd of our lives to recharge, and commit our knowledge and experiences to long-term memory, have taken hits in the name of “productivity” and FOLO (fear of losing out). Screen-time fills every spare moment we could be using for personal interaction, prayer, and reflection! We are increasingly declining involvement in the “Real World”!
We could bring up any number of issues that have resulted from this, but I want to focus on one that is rarely considered: The Biblical Practice of Meditation. We have the secular propensity to think that we can get by in our world with an hour-a-week “sacrifice” at church and 5-10 minute devotional/prayer time, and somehow manage to “thrive” in our relationship with God, though we manage to push Him out of every other sphere! In this day & age, we are never more needful for Biblical Meditation, to pause, reflect, and filter the messages that are freely flowing through us.
I am told that our house furnace will break down without regular filter replacement and periodic tune-up, and I am not willing to challenge that assumption! I can see that over the course of a month, the filter gets clogged, and the fresh flow of air becomes hindered. In the same way, the dirt in our lives gets stuck to us, and after being “filtered” (or discerned), needs to be thrown out! A clean spiritual filter (Biblical Mediation) enables the Holy Spirit unrestricted flow through your life.
Although I didn’t appreciate it nearly enough in my youth, I am increasingly indebted to the book of Psalms as I get older. They are refreshingly honest, help me formulate my prayers, and change my outlook towards my life around me, in meditating upon them. Psalm 119 in particular reminds me to love and cherish His Law. EIGHT times it tells us to “meditate” upon it! For example: 119:97 “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” David tells us in Psalm 143:5, “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.”
Meditation is about THINKING (not mindless repetition), and it is intended for us to commit God’s ways to heart, that which is on the front of our minds. I don’t gain much by listening to a pastor’s message just once, and then going about my day. Something from it MAY come out when I need it, by God’s Grace, but then again, it may also be long gone! I need to commit to memory those things that I consider worth remembering. For me, that means taking notes, then going over it several times! Dwelling on something, is in essence, meditation. So what do you meditate upon, maybe after your head hits the pillow?
The book of Deuteronomy is helpful for me. After Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers details the journey of the Israelites out of Egypt, and prepares them to be the distinct “People of God”, despite many failings, Deuteronomy is essentially a long speech Moses gives at the end of his life, as a reminder to them! Only two people who had come out of Egypt and remembered it, were allowed to enter the Promised Land. The older generation were destined to perish in the wilderness due to their failure to trust God. But to the younger generation, Moses was permitted to instruct and remind them of their past, before he was to pass on.
Moses reminded them of their unique place as God’s Chosen. He reminded them of God’s covenantal agreement with them and His laws. He reminds them of God’s mighty acts & faithfulness, and their parents’ unfaithfulness. Finally, he reminds them of the blessings & curses, the pattern by which they would succeed and thrive, and not be wiped out in their sin like the other nations!
Moses says, again and again in Deuteronomy, “Be careful to follow, pay attention, and remember”. Remember God’s Holiness & Anger! Remember God’s long-suffering and compassion! Deuteronomy 11:18 “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, (WHY?) 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
Why should WE remember the ways of the Lord, in the Old Testament and New? Why should we strive to commit His ways to heart and mind? Two reasons:
Psalm 119:10-11 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
AND Malachi 3:6 “For I the LORD do not change”
God, in turn, promises in Jeremiah 31:34, that “He will remember (our) sins no more”!