OceanSide church of Christ

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Christian Meditation

Mike Wencel



# times used in Psalms




13 times


To dwell on any thing in thought; to contemplate; to study; to turn or revolve any subject in the mind; appropriately but not exclusively used of pious contemplation, or a consideration of the great truths of religion.


to murmur (in pleasure or anger); by implication to ponder: - imagine, study.


care for, attend to carefully, practice


9 times


Close or continued thought; the turning or revolving of a subject in the mind; serious contemplation.

Ü Synonyms for meditate used in Psalms    Ü Examples


5 times


Psalm 8:3When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,


2 times


Psalm 119:73 - Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. 


34 times


Psalm 46:10 - Be still, and know that I am God;

Gain Wisdom

8 times


Psalm 111:10  - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom


1 time


Psalm 119:15 - I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. 


Definitions of words used in Psalm 119 – as related to things to be meditated on:


# times used in Psalm 119




22 times



limit, something prescribed, prescribed limit, boundary, conditions, civil enactments prescribed by God


21 times


properly appointed, that is, a mandate of God; plural only: collectively for the Law - commandment, statute.


21 times


road, distance, journey, manner, path, direction, manner, habit, course of life, of moral character


25 times


instruction, direction (human or divine), custom, manner, the Mosaic Law


24 times


A command; a mandate; an order or injunction given by authority; charge; precept


22 times


justice, right, rectitude, proper, fitting, measure, fitness, custom, manner, plan


23 times


This word refers to the Ten Commandments as a solemn divine charge or duty. In particular, it represents those commandments as written on the tablets and existing as a reminder and "testimony" of Israel's relationship and responsibility to God. In some verses these tablets are called simply "the testimony" (Exodus 25:16). Since they were kept in the ark, it became known as the "ark of the testimony" (Exodus 25:22).

The word sometimes refers to the entire law of God.

u Notice the overlap in the definitions of these various words


The bible tells us the Who, What, Where, Why, When and How of meditation:


  Who   .  .


   l My Lord (God and Jesus) l My Redeemer (Psalm 19:14)    l My Strength (Psalm 28:7)     l My Rock (Psalm 31:3)

   l My Refuge (Psalm 62:7) l My Shield (Psalm 33:20)        l My Light (Psalm 27:1)         l My Salvation (Psalm 62:6)         

   l My Help (Psalm 46:1)     l My Savior (Psalm 106:21)        l My Defense (Psalm 94:22)    l My Maker (Psalm 95:6)

   l My Father (Psalm 89:26)

We can meditate on each of these attributes of God individually. Take one and really focus on it.


  What   .


Psalm 119:15  - I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.

u We should not only meditate on God’s precepts, but on the ways we will follow those precepts. For example, how will I manifest the precept to “love my neighbor” in my own life – make concrete goals for how I will put this precept into action in my household, neighborhood, church, workplace etc.   


Psalm 119:144  - The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting;

u Regardless of what the world wants us to believe, God’s Word, the bible, will always be right, righteous, relevant and true. Liberals may want to scrap and rewrite our country’s constitution, but the bible will stand throughout the ages as God’s authoritative and immutable Word.

u Recall Luke 21:33 when Jesus says: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away”. 


Psalm 145:5  - I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.

u Take some time to just meditate on the glorious unfathomable nature of the universe that God created, or the wonders of the natural world they we see around us every day on planet Earth.


Philippians 4:8  - Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

u This is a long list of things that we can use as objects of meditation. And what about this – what if we made a conscious effort to look past people’s physical appearance and instead look for these attributes in and everyone we see? What a great lens to view our fellow man through! 



  Where   .


Psalm 4:4  - … Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.

u Obviously, meditation can be done in other places besides on a bed, in fact it can be done just about anywhere where  one can get some quietude. But as this verse indicates,

u Being still is one of the hallmarks of just about every form of meditation – spiritual and secular. Stilling the body, leads to a stillness of mind, in which meditation can flourish.

u Talk a little about the best posture for meditation – spine erect, eyes closed etc. Laying down not always ideal



  Why   .


Psalm 49:3  - My mouth shall speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding.

Psalm 119:99  -  I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.

u Deep meditation on God’s Word, or God’s creation, or God’s character should give us a deeper appreciation and understanding of the things we are meditating on.

u And a deeper understanding is something we all should desire and work towards. John Gill says: men ought to meditate on the word of God, the Gospel, and the truths of it, that they may understand divine things themselves, and deliver them out to the understanding of others: their concern should be, that through meditation they may have a good treasure of wisdom and knowledge in their hearts, that out of it they may bring forth things pleasant and profitable unto others. 


Psalm 104:34  - May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord.

Psalm 19:14  - Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

u Another reason to meditate and ponder godly things is as a form of respect and gratitude to God, to be acceptable in his sight. I think it would safe to say that most criminals are not meditating on godly things right before they commit their crimes. Our meditation should direct our actions towards more godly behaviors.



  When  .


Psalm 92:1-2 - It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; 

To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night, 

u I would say that once in the morning and once at night would be the minimum guideline for meditation. Other Psalms give us the maximum guideline:



Psalm 1:1 - Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;  But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 

Psalm 119:97 - Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.

u These verses tell us that there really is no time in the day that we cannot meditate, but it takes discipline to set aside time to do that. A good practice is to set aside a block of time (preferably the same time every day, because then in becomes a habit) to do our meditation. Many people find early morning the best time, because they are rested and more alert and their mind is less cluttered and more able to focus.

Barnes says this about the phrase “he meditates day and night”:

(a)  he does this habitually, or he intentionally forms the habit of meditating on divine truth, by disciplining his mind in order that he may do it;


(b)  he takes time to do it - designedly setting apart suitable portions of each day, that, withdrawn from the cares of life, he may refresh his spirit by contemplating divine truth, or may become better acquainted with God, and with his duty to him, and may bring to bear upon his own soul more directly the truths pertaining to eternal realities;


(c)  he does this in the intervals of business, the moments of leisure which he may have during the day - having thus an unfailing subject of reflection to which his mind readily reverts, and in which, amid the cares and toils of life, he finds relaxation and comfort; and


(d)  he does it in the wakeful hours of night, when sick and tossed upon his bed, or when, for any other reason, his “eyes are held waking.”


Spurgeon says: “It is not only reading that does us good; but the soul inwardly feeding an it, and digesting it.”

u Barnes makes some very good points – pay attention to the underlined phrases. 

u And Spurgeon warns us that simply reading the bible is not the same thing as meditating on it or really digesting it. We have so many tools at our disposal – internet, books (digital and printed), commentaries, bible dictionaries, tools like e-Sword, digital bibles with search capabilities, Nave’s Topical Bible, Lexicons (Strong/Thayer/Vine) etc. etc. etc.  We really have no excuse for not understanding any part of the bible if we are willing to devote some time to study.

u If you need assistance finding or using these tools, I would be happy to help you.  


  How   .


1st Timothy 4:13,15 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. …  Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.

u While Paul gave this instruction specifically to Timothy to help him progress as a minister of the Word, it can really apply to all of us in regards to our meditation on bible teachings. Paul tells us our bible study can’t be a half-hearted or infrequent effort, when we are studying the bible we must give ourselves entirely to it. This is the only way we can sufficiently progress in our spiritual maturity. 

u Paul is expressing the same sentiment that Spurgeon espoused many hundreds of years later – learning takes effort - but it is an effort that reaps huge dividends.

u It’s interesting that Paul tells us what the result of our diligent bible study should be – our maturity in the Word should be “evident to all”. The wisdom we attain, the love and concern we show to our brothers and sisters in Christ, the compassion we have for lost souls and our general deportment of grace, mercy and love should be obvious to everyone.

u Having the knowledge but not sharing it with others, or hiding it under a bushel is of no value. Jesus talked about this very thing in Matthew 5:14  "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 



  Summary Verse:  What, When,  How, Why   .


Joshua 1:8 - *whatà This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it *whenà day and night, that you may *howà observe to do according to all that is written in it. *whyà For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

u Here God is telling Joshua directly how important it is for him to know - and not just to know - but to really understand God’s law: l why it is necessary l what the benefits of following it are  l what the ramifications of not following it are.

u Joshua needed to understand (and so do we) that God’s Word was there to: l help him and his people navigate through life’s difficulties l help them learn to trust in God l give them understanding of God’s character and will l warn them of the price of disobedience and disloyalty

    The now complete Word of God is immeasurably valuable to us for these reasons and others too: 

    l It tells us what our relationship with God should look like.

    l It tells us what our relationship with others should look like.

    l It gives us instructions on how to be effective leaders in our family, our business, our church and our


    l It gives us guidance on how to live a happy life.

    l It warns us of the perils of living in sin.

    l It gives us examples of good people to emulate and bad people to eschew.

    l It tells us what we must due to have eternal life with our creator.

u Would Joshua have been the great leader that he was without a deep understanding of God law and God’s sovereignty – most likely not. And the same goes for us. If we want to be pleasing to God, we have to understand and obey God’s commands. Fortunately for us we have God’s ENTIRE revealed word available to us in numerous different forms. It is a fountain of the most important information we as humans need to succeed in this life and the next life.    



  Things That We Can Meditate On    .


   l The wonders of the human body – in total or individual parts (brain, hands, heart, lungs …)

   l Being made in God’s image (consciousness, morality, volition)

   l The human capacity for good (particularly mine)

   l The vastness of the universe

   l The intricate design of our solar system

   l Earth’s incredible diversity of plant life, animal life and human life (Psalm 104)

   l The blessings God has given me, each one can be meditated on individually (health, prosperity, country,

       family, fellow Christians, friends …)

   l God’s character as a loving Father, a shepherd (Psalm 23)

   l The gift and the availability of the Bible

   l The crucifixion of Jesus and what it did for us

   l The victory that Jesus will have over Satan

   l The wonders of heaven and the horrors of hell

   l Add your own …