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The Pleasure of Meditation | Lesson 2 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • May 28, In the year of our Lord, 2017

  1. The Necessity of Meditating 
    1. Brother Raymond Kelcy wrote,

      “There is no denying the fact that character is shaped by one’s thinking; and if one’s speech is to be purified, then the source must be purified. He whose meditations are on that which is vile and unlovely will betray his true character in slips of speech, in facial expressions, or in some other way. But he who thinks on that which is good, that which is true, that which is of good report, will likewise show by his words and actions what type of person he is. It is true that only God knows what a person is thinking—that is, God and the one who is doing the thinking. But the fruits of wrong thinking will come out in a person’s life. It is possible to hide selfish and lascivious thinking from one’s fellowmen, but it is not possible to hide the dwarfed and misshaped personality that eventually is formed by a lifetime of such thinking (Firm Foundation, 06.10.1980).
    2. Scripture confirms brother Kelcy’s words,

      23 Keep your heart with all diligence,
      For out of it spring the issues of life.
      (Pro 4.23)

      34 “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt 12.34).

  2. The Differences Between Study and Meditation 
    1. Study says, I know.
      1. Meditation says, Wow!
    2. Study says, I know.
      1. Meditation says, I will change!
    3. Study says, I know.
      1. Meditation says, Look at this!
    4. Study says, I know.
      1. Meditation says, I am humbled!
    5. Study says, I know.
      1. Meditation says, I will do the will of God.
    6. Study says, I know.
      1. Meditation sheds a tear.
    7. Eugene Peterson says it well,

      “We obscure the form when we atomize Scripture by dissecting it, analyzing it like a specimen in the laboratory. Every detail of Scripture is worth pursuing endlessly; no scholarly attention expended over this text is ever wasted. But when the impersonal objectivity of the laboratory technician replaces the adoring dalliance of a lover, we end up with file drawers full of information, organized for our convenience as occasions present themselves. It ceases to function as revelation for us” (p. 46).

      1. Have you noticed that the apostles did not treat texts the way that we do?
      2. Again, listen to Peterson,

        “Instead of attempting to iron out the wrinkles of inconsistency and disharmony, we have to listen for resonances, echoes, patterns—the swarming complexity of lived truth, not pinned-down and labeled facts” (p. 47).

        1. Some only want to cover all four Gospel Accounts simultaneously
        2. that they might figure out how they all fit together
          1. rather than figuring out
          2. how the Gospels fit into their lives and
          3. how their lives fit into the Gospels.
            1. They believe that teaching one Gospel Account wastes time.
            2. Why did the Holy Spirit give us four accounts?
          4. Did He give them merely as a jig-saw puzzle to figure out?
  3. Studying Is Digging for Diamonds; Meditation Is Finding Flowers 
    1. Digging for diamonds is hard work.
      1. Therefore, very few people do it.
      2. Then again, flowers are diamonds.
    2. Growing flowers is too simple, but work.
      1. Therefore, few people do it.
      2. In fact, many people look at
        1. a field or a forest and
        2. see nothing but a field or a forest.
  4. Meditating Is Getting Lost in the Bible 
    1. Meditation is a young lion roaring over his prey.
      1. Eugene Peterson uses the analogy of
        1. a lion, his dog, and eating Scripture,
        2. that I discovered true in our dog and in my time in Scripture.
      2. Let me tell you something that our dog Coda does.
        1. When we give her food,
        2. she eats it, even if we are standing right there petting her.
          1. If we give her a biscuit,
          2. she gobbles it down and wants more.
            1. If we give her a special treat for obeying us,
            2. she sucks it in and looks to see if more is in our hand.
              1. If we give her a bone,
              2. she does something much different.
                1. She takes it and
                2. gets away from us.
                  1. She then slowly gnaws and munches on it,
                  2. enjoying it in ways that she does not the food.
          3. She does not want me to bother her.
            1. As a boy, we had dogs and
            2. I would try to take their bones, but
              1. they would growl at me,
              2. not wanting to hurt me, and
                1. not wanting to give up
                2. their bones either.
      3. Isaiah 31 makes this interesting observation about a lion with its prey.

        4 For thus the LORD has spoken to me:

        “As a lion roars,
        And a young lion over his prey
        (When a multitude of shepherds is summoned against him,
        He will not be afraid of their voice
        Nor be disturbed by their noise),
        So the LORD of hosts will come down
        To fight for Mount Zion and for its hill.”
        (Isa 31.4).

        1. The lion delights in his prey.
          1. He will make noises as he eats.
          2. He will certainly make threatening noises,
            1. if anyone tries to take his meal.
            2. He not only consumes the meat and gnaws on the bones
              1. with his mouth and stomach, but
              2. he does so also with his mind.
        2. Take the image of the lion and the dog and
          1. see the connection with
          2. these two Psalms.

            2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
            And in His law he meditates day and night.
            (Psa 1.2)

            6 When I remember You on my bed,
            I meditate on You in the night watches.
            (Psa 63.6).

            1. Where is the attention of the lion and dog as they eat?
            2. Do you read the Scriptures in that manner?
      4. Like the lion and the dog, so should we be with the Lord and His word,

        8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
        Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
        (Psa 34.8)

          1. Get lost in the text.
          2. Even as you savor your favorite food,
            1. discovering and enjoying every taste,
            2. so discover and enjoy every detail of Scripture.
    2. Meditating is ingesting material
      1. which is not merely information, but
      2. life changing knowledge.
        1. You are getting in touch with God.
        2. When you read a love letter from your spouse
          1. are you gathering information?
          2. No, you are experiencing further
          3. your relationship with your spouse.
            1. Do you handle the Word of God
            2. as a technical manual or
              1. as a story from God and
              2. your place in that story?
    3. In meditation you recognize the power of words.
      1. What word does John use to symbolize Jesus?
        1. See John 1.1, 14.
        2. Why is Jesus the Word?
      2. The words of Scripture
        1. are intended to get into us
        2. in ways that other writings cannot.
      3. The writers of Holy Scripture want to form within us the mind of Christ.
        1. Therefore, meditating is more than reading,
        2. although it starts with reading, but
          1. it gets into us, and
          2. we have to sit back from time to time and
            1. picture what we are reading.
            2. We have to hear what is being said.
            3. We literally have to feel what is before us.
            4. We have to experience the text.
    4. In meditation, the Spirit barges right into our locked minds.
      1. Although we fight His intrusion.
      2. He comes in to inspect our hearts.
        1. He wants to remodel, but
        2. we like the way we have things arranged.
    5. Why do we refuse to meditate in Scripture?
      1. It requires our lives, not just our intellectual powers.
      2. We do all we can to avoid the risk of living by faith in God.
        1. We pre-determine what we are going to believe and do.
          1. It seems like a lot of hard work.
          2. It seems like a waste of time.
        2. We do not know how to do it.
  5. Some Concluding Passages for this Lesson

    82 My eyes fail from searching Your word,
    Saying, “When will You comfort me?”
    (Psa 119.82).

    92 Unless Your law had been my delight,
    I would then have perished in my affliction.
    (Psa 119.92).

    1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious (1Pe 2.1–3).