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The Pleasure of Meditation | Lesson 1 

Where do get your counsel for living?

Psalm 1

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • May 14, In the year of our Lord, 2017

Prayer based on Ephesians 1.15–21

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

  1. How do you picture time in the Bible? 
    1. [a man surrounded by his Bible and many helps]
    2. [a person sitting just with his Bible]
    3. James A. Harding read the Scriptures 4 to 6 hours a day.
  2. Digesting the Word

    1 I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. … 8 Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.” 9 So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” 10 Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter (Rev 10.1–3a, 8–10)

    1. Ezekiel had a similar experience,

      1 Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness (Eze 3.1–3)
    2. Jeremiah found joy in eating God’s word,

      16 Your words were found, and I ate them,
      And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
      For I am called by Your name,
      O LORD God of hosts.
      (Jer 15.16)
    3. Solomon instructed us to do this and that it would be a sweet experience,

      13 My son, eat honey because it is good,
      And the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste;
      14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul;
      If you have found it, there is a prospect,
      And your hope will not be cut off.
      (Pro 24.13–14)
    4. The Psalmist said,

      103 How sweet are Your words to my taste,
      Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
      (Psa 119.103).
    5. Once we eat the words of Scripture,
      1. we will know what David experienced, for
      2. we find his experience to be ours.

        10 More to be desired are they than gold,
        Yea, than much fine gold;
        Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
        (Psa 19.10)
      3. What if we approached eating the way we do the Bible?
      4. What if we approached the Bible the way we do eating?
    6. Some just smell the words of Scripture.
      1. It looks good to them.
        1. It smells good.
        2. They will even talk about it.
          1. Some will go so far as taking a nibble, but
          2. they wonder why it has little affect on their lives.
      2. Some use the feast and famine approach.
        1. Again, they does not leave them
        2. in a healthy condition.
          1. They too wonder
          2. why they cannot be better Christians.
      3. Eating Scripture is like eating food.
        1. You have to eat some of it everyday or
        2. it will not do you any good.
  3. Know How to Read the Bible 
    1. It is important to read the Bible, but
    2. it is equally important
      1. that we know how to read it.
      2. Do we understand why the Bible is a magnet,
        1. pulling us into itself?
        2. Do we understand how the Bible does this?
          1. Yes, the Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures, but
          2. He used the most effective literary devices to capture us.
    3. How we read the Bible is determined by
      1. why we read it.
        1. Are we looking to refute someone?
        2. Are we looking to prove something that we already believe?
        3. Are we wanting to listen to God?
        4. Are we ready to do what the Holy Spirit tells us to do?
      2. If our motive for reading is right, it will turn into meditation.
    4. You see, we have to read the Bible,
      1. not as we want to read it, but
      2. as it begs and commands to be read, and that is,
        1. as God’s unveiling of Himself and of us,
        2. as God’s unveiling of His love for us,
        3. as God’s unveiling of His purpose for mankind, and
          1. to show the connection between
          2. our world and the Scriptures,
            1. that they are not two different realities, but
            2. our world is an expansion of the Bible.
    5. Moreover, we also have to read the Bible,
      1. not merely to know, but
        1. to be and
        2. to do.
          1. You will never fully appreciate the Bible
          2. until you become what it is urging you to become and
          3. until you do what it is leading you to do.
      2. Reading, but never doing is like
        1. reading a recipe, but
          1. never making the dish;
        2. reading how to rebuild an engine, but
          1. never getting your hands oily and greasy and
          2. turning wrenches;
        3. reading of the beauties of an alpine hike, but
          1. never getting into the mountains
          2. to see, to feel, and to hear
          3. what the literature was about;
        4. reading of gardening, but
          1. never getting in the sun and
          2. turning the soil, pulling weeds, and harvesting the produce;
        5. looking into a mirror, but
          1. never fixing the mess you see, or
          2. in the words of James,

            21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does (Jam 1.21–25).

            1. Once you do what you have been reading,
            2. you go back and read again, but
              1. this time something is different.
              2. Now, you start to meditate in the reading.
                1. What exactly is happening?
                2. In your mind, you are experiencing the text.
                  1. You see, hear, feel, etc.
                  2. It is no longer “study,” but
                  3. it is living.
                  4. It is excitement.
                  5. It is wonder.
    6. Eugene Peterson in his book, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading, says,

      …in order to read the Scriptures adequately and accurately, it is necessary at the same time to live them. Not to live them as a prerequisite to reading them, and not to live them in consequence of reading them, but to live them as we read them, the living and reading reciprocal, body language and spoken words, the back-and-forthness assimilating the reading to the living, the living to the reading. Reading the Scriptures is not an activity discrete from living the gospel but one integral to it. It means letting Another have a say in everything we are saying and doing. It is as easy as that. And as hard (p. xii).
  4. This Leads to Meditation in the Scriptures 
    1. Psalm 1 shows what is involved

      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;
      2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
      And in His law he meditates day and night.
      3 He shall be like a tree
      Planted by the rivers of water,
      That brings forth its fruit in its season,
      Whose leaf also shall not wither;
      And whatever he does shall prosper.
      4 The ungodly are not so,
      But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
      5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
      Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
      6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
      But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
      (Psa 1)
    2. Joshua 1.7–8 may have formed David’s thinking for Psalm 1,

      7 “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Jos 1.7–8).
    3. Read all of Psalm 119,
      1. slowly and carefully,
      2. drawing pictures in your mind
        1. of every action and metaphor
        2. that the psalmist used.
    4. Meditating is
      1. baptizing your mind,
      2. baptizing your feelings,
      3. baptizing your works,
      4. baptizing your life,
        1. in the Scriptures.