During the last few days we have celebrated Independence Day, a holiday where we are reminded of our national freedom. Did you take a little time to meditate on what a blessing our freedom is? Perhaps some of you did, but I wonder if most of us were so busy with picnics, family reunions, and different forms of recreation that there was no time left for mediation.
But let me ask, do we know how to meditate?
I remember my grandfather, who was at the height of his delight when he could sit in his rocking chair with the Boston Globe and a White Owl cigar. He worked on that paper for a long time giving serious thought to some of the articles he read. Grandpa’s roots were in southern Denmark, close to the German border. His father was a Dane and his mother, a German. It was in a “border town” between Germany and Denmark that he lived for the first few years of his life.
The year was 1934, and Hitler was coming to power. While I was only 10 years old, my grandfather would talk to me about Germany’s problems and his concern about what would happen to his family and friends who lived there. It was evident that this man, with little formal education, knew how to meditate in his not-so-busy world.
His grandson, even in retirement, spends little time in meditation with the newspaper. He is part of a society who does well to glance at the headlines and skim only those articles that have special interest to him.
Do we know what it is to meditate? Meditation plays a vital role in the Christian’s spiritual growth. The Bible counsels us to meditate on God’s Word. The Psalmist writes, “On my bed I remember you. I think of you through the watches of the night.” (Psalm 63:9) Let us meditate on Psalm 65.
David is the author of this Psalm. Remember, David was a shepherd boy who lived in the hills tending the flock and marveling at God’s creation. Later in life, when he saw himself as a helpless sinner, he meets God as the One who forgives him and walks in a personal relationship with His child. All of these truths are mentioned in this Psalm.
David writes, “When we were overwhelmed by sin, you forgave our transgressions.” Look at the word overwhelmed. Think about it. When we are crushed by our sins, God forgives us. What kind of sins would these be? Might it be my unkind treatment of a loved one, or my poor example to the children and grandchildren when they saw my temper explode?
Meditate on the kind of person I really am. Some would say that is unhealthy, but God’s Word tells us it is absolutely necessary if we want to understand God’s grace Ð that He will forgive.
In this meditation, we should spend a little time not just thinking about our behavior, but the motive behind our behavior. It was not a mistake in neglecting to do some deed of kindness that would have helped an old friend, but it was my motive behind why I didn’t help him. I came up with an answer that I had been waiting for years to get even with this person, and now I have my chance to retaliate.
Wow! This kind of knowledge is hard to accept. Then I can confess with the Psalmist, “I am overwhelmed with my sin.” The Holy Spirit has been speaking to my soul, but in the midst of my depressed state of mind, I hear the words of God, “In Christ you are forgiven.” John says it so well, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sin.” (I John 1:9)
Meditate on your sinfulness and God’s forgiveness. God will give you a spiritual bath in His grace.
Move on in the Psalm and you read, “Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts.” David is referring to the Levites who had been chosen by God for a special relationship. You can read all about them in Numbers 3. This relationship with God was more personal for the Levites than the rest of the populace.
Today these “special people” are those who have received Christ as their Savior. These are the people who live with the assurance of their salvation. They know that when they die, there is a heavenly home prepared by Christ for them. They also live securely while in this life, because God holds them “in the palm of His hands.”
Isn’t this unfair for God to have favorites? Well, God is God, and He can do as He pleases. However, He loves all people and wants to be in this personal relationship with them, but those who want this relationship must first receive Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Here is another place to set aside time to meditate on your relationship with God. God has chosen you in Christ. He has initiated the action to have a father-child relationship with you. Have you accepted His invitation to come? Remember, God’s Word says, “Whoever comes, I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:3,7)
And then in this glorious time of the year, what an opportunity we have to meditate on God’s creation. If we are driving in the mountains or walking by the sea, we experience God’s power. David writes, “You formed the mountains by your power having armed yourself with strength. You are the one who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of the waves. You are the one who cares for the land and waters it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide people with grain.” (vs. 6-13)
Where does this summer time find you? On this particular Sunday, I am in the state of Maine where it will be my privilege to walk beside the Atlantic as it throws its waves at the rocky coast. Last week I taught at a Bible camp in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. There I saw the majesty of God’s power in those mountains. On Tuesday of this week, I will be back home right in the midst of the rich soil that is capable of producing enough grain and feeding enough cattle and hogs to feed the world.
Isn’t it time to meditate? This is our God, who has done all things well. Only the fool will deny that there is a God. To those who struggle with how this all happened, turn to the Scriptures. There you will learn that your Heavenly Father is the Creator. He hasn’t told us how He did it. But He does say, “I’ll let you try to figure out some of the answers. But in the meantime, realize it is only after you get to heaven that the answers will come, and the only way you can get to heaven is through trusting my Son, Jesus Christ.”
God has a word for us. He says, “Take some time every day to be alone with Me and meditate on what My Word. Then you will be adequately prepared to face life in a broken world.”