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Biblical Meditation in the New Year

Biblical Meditation and the New Year  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Beloved congregation in the Lord Jesus Christ, tomorrow a New Year begins. At the beginning of each year, people make New Years resolutions in hopes to better their lives. Most of the time, these resolutions pertain to a person’s physical health. Either they will promise to quit smoking or get a gym membership to work off the weight that was gained due to the end of the year binge on Christmas cookie. Don’t get me wrong, exercise is great and can make you feel better, but should our New Year be focused on our bodies over our souls?
1 Timothy 4:6–8 ESV
If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
According to the Apostle Paul, spiritual exercise and training for godliness is far more profitable than trying to get the six pack abs that you have always wanted. So what type of spiritual exercise can we do to train ourselves in godliness that can help strengthen our faith and live holy lives for the glory of God. Our answer is found in
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Blessed is the godly man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
and on his law he meditates day and night.
and on his law he meditates day and night.
and on his law he meditates day and night.
The spiritual exercise we are going to consider is biblical meditation
I. What is Biblical Meditation
What is Biblical Meditation?
A. The word meditate or muse means to “think upon” or “reflect.” It also means “to murmur, to mutter, to make sound with the mouth…. It implies what we express by one talking to himself.”
The word meditate means to “think upon” or “reflect.” It also means “to murmur, to mutter, to make sound with the mouth…. It implies what we express by one talking to himself.” We all know what it is to think upon or reflect on a particular subject.
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Wives, remember when you preparing for your wedding? How many hours did you spend pondering on what dress you were going to wear? What songs were going to be sung? Who would be in your wedding party and who would you invite to the wedding? In that process, you were meditating.
Men, you likewise have ponder and think about various subject as well. Farmers, when you go to the sales barn, what questions do you ask yourself before you purchase cattle? You ask yourself, how much should I spend? How many heads of cattle should I buy? Should I buy or pass on this auction? I know that we have men out there who like to do fantasy football. A week before your draft, you probably spend a good chunk of your time thinking about who you should draft and should not draft. Should you draft a QB or RB first? Who are the sleeper picks or who are the busts?
I use these examples to show you that meditation is not foreign to your lives though the word mediate is not a word that you use on a regular basis.
B. Meditation is not the emptying of the mind as some eastern religions teach. Biblical meditation is filling one’s mind with Scripture while pondering and applying it to the heart
Probably the reason you do not use to word meditation very often is because people have a misunderstanding of what the word actually means. When you hear the word meditation, you probably think of eastern religions and yoga where the purpose clearing or emptying the mind to reach some type of spiritual enlightenment or peace, but Biblical meditation as mentioned in is the exact opposite of what the world thinks. Biblical meditation is not the emptying of the mind, but the filling the mind with Scripture while pondering and applying it to the heart. We have various men and women such as Isaac, Joshua, David, and Mary all thinking upon and reflecting upon Scripture.
It also means “to murmur, to mutter, to make sound with the mouth…. It implies what we express by one talking to himself.”
Genesis 24:63 ESV
And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming.
Psalm 77:12 ESV
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Psalm 104:34 ESV
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
These godly men could
Then we have our passage in
Psalm 1:1–2 ESV
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Biblical meditation is thinking upon God and His Word, “Blessed is the man who mediates on the law of the LORD. The one meditates on it takes delight in it. That word delight means extreme pleasure. Beloved do you enjoy spending time in God’s Word? Does it give you pleasure, or is it simply a chore or burden in your eyes? According to , you should look forward thinking upon God’s Word more than anything else in this world!
C. Meditation is like chewing and digesting a delicious steak
When David speaks of biblical meditation, he is not simply speaking about reading God’s Word. If you read the Bible like the newspaper just to learn a few facts here or there, you will get little benefit from it. That would be like chewing on a piece of steak and spitting it out. Sure you received a little bit of enjoyment from the steak, but without digesting it, you won’t receive the true nourishment from the steak. Meditation on the Bible is chewing the steak slowly, enjoying each bite and appreciating the flavor. Once you chewed upon it for a while, it time to swallow so that you can digest so that you can receive true nourishment!
When you meditate upon Scripture, your eyes see the words, the mouth recites them, the ears here them, the mind thinks upon them, the heart believes them, the hands and feet live them out. It is an engaging spiritually exercise that effects our whole being.
II. What is the Benefit of Biblical Meditation
After hearing all that, you might be saying to yourself, “Wow, that sounds exhausting and time consuming.” It is, like physical exercise, you are going to have to set some time and exert effort in order to practice true biblical meditation, but like physical exercise, the more you do it, the more benefit you will see in your own life. Even David speaks of the fruit and spiritual happiness God works in the lives of those who spend time digesting God’s Word:
Psalm 1:2–3 ESV
but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
(READ) For the Puritans, meditation was a daily duty that enhanced every other duty of the Christian life. As oil lubricates an engine, so meditation facilitates the diligent use of means of grace deepens the marks of grace (repentance, faith, humility), and strengthens one’s relationships to others (love to God, to fellow Christians, to one’s neighbors at large).
What that is saying is: The more you spend meditating upon Scripture, the more benefit you will receive from reading Scripture, hearing sermons, and prayer. It will improves the overall condition of your spiritual life.
A. It is beneficial for spiritual growth.
Why do you want your children to eat more than cookies and chip? Because you want them to grow into healthy and strong adults. Shouldn’t you want them to grow into healthy and strong Christians? Then you will want them to have a daily dose of Scripture so that the Holy Spirit will sanctify them in the process.
Even those who are adults can be immature in the faith, so how do they grow so that they will be able to understand deeper doctrine and live a more godly life? The answer is the same, feed and chew upon the Word of God day and night!
B. It is beneficial in hearing the Word and prayer
Have you ever left Sunday worship not knowing what the pastor was talking about or maybe you didn’t know how it applied to yourself? Maybe you are having a hard time knowing how to pray or what to pray for. If you struggle in these areas, maybe you need some biblical oil to lubricate the spiritual engine of your heart!
Scripture says that the Holy Spirit sanctifies us and helps us to know what to pray for. What then is the means that the Holy Spirit uses to make you more like Christ and to pray according to the Will of God? It is His Word. Without the Word, we couldn’t fully know God as our redeemer nor could we know the will of God for our lives. Biblical meditation will help you know the LORD more, and then as a result cause you to love the LORD more than you already do!
(READ) Puritan Edmund Calamy (1600–1666) wrote, “A true meditation is when a man does so meditate on Christ as to get his heart inflamed with the love of Christ; so meditate of the Truths of God, so to be transformed into them; and so meditate on sin as to get his heart to hate sin.”
D. It is beneficial to improve prayer life
E. It is beneficial to defend the truth
III. How to Perform Biblical Meditation
Now that you know what biblical meditation is and how it is beneficial to your spiritual life, now we must ask, how do we do or perform biblical meditation?
A. Divine meditation must be frequent—ideally, twice a day, if time and obligations permit; certainly, at least once a day. Also, it is important for set times
A. Begin and end with prayer trusting that the Holy Spirit will give you understanding and apply it to your heart
Before any type of biblical meditation can be done, prayer should be present. Yes, we are to use our minds, but without the Holy Spirit’s direction, we will not be able to understand or apply a passage properly. Even if you do understand the meaning of a passage, it will have little or no benefit unless the Holy Spirit is applying a particular passage to your life. You can the right amount of oil and gas in a car, but if the car doesn’t turn over or start, it will go nowhere. Likewise, if we fill our minds with a good amount of Scripture, but the Holy Spirit is not igniting the heart to respond in faith, there will be no spiritual growth or movement in your life.
B. Meditate on the right things, therefore meditate on God’s Word
After you have put your trust in God to direct your understanding, it is important to go to the source of your spiritual nourishment. When you are hungry and in need of food, where do you go? You go to the refrigerator. When you are hungry for the truth and spiritual food, where do you go? You open your Bibles and read. What did Jesus say to the devil, “Man does not live on bread alone, but from every word that proceeds from God.” If you want to grow spiritually you must spend your time feasting upon God’s Word.
Have you ever heard, you are what you eat? If you eat junk food, you are going feel like junk. If you eat healthy food, you are going to feel healthy. Likewise, what you meditate on daily will end up having an effect upon your spiritual life and condition. If you spend most of your time thinking about violent things, it will lead to violent tendencies. David said:
Psalm 38:12 ESV
Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin and meditate treachery all day long.
If you were to have a conversation with a serial killer, you would find that before they ever committed a violent crime, they spent many long hours meditating and thinking about the very crimes that they would commit. Now look at it from a biblical light now. If you spend your time meditating about God’s will and living righteously, it will lead to you living righteously.
Psalm 119:11 ESV
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
What is on your mind daily, do you think more about sinful and wicked things, or do you spend more time pondering and hiding God’s Word in your heart. If you sit with lustful, covetous, and greedy thoughts, do not be surprised when you act upon those thoughts. If you sit with holy thoughts and a mind filled with the Word of God, you will be more equipped to resist the temptation to sin and will grow in holiness by the Holy Spirit that dwells in you.
C. Biblical Exercise
E. Meditate on the sermons that you hear
Lets put this to practice. Turn with me to
Judges 2:10–15 ESV
And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.
Similar to your every day meditations, you should ask yourself questions about the passage.
1. One very important question to ask of the text is: What is the main point of the passage? If you were to read , you would see the main point is that there are consequences for unrepentant sin and it has effects on the people of God.
2. Next question you can ask: What are the consequences of the sin of the Israelites?
In Judges, the Israelites disobeyed God by not destroying all the pagan nations in the land of Canaan as He had commanded: As a result of their disobedience:
It led to a generation of Israelites rose up and didn’t know the LORD
It led to the worship of false gods
It led to being oppressed by the pagan nations that they didn’t destroy
It led to the wrath of God was upon them because of their sin.
3. Were there other examples in the Bible of men who faced consequences for unrepentant sin?
Solomon disobeyed God by marrying multiple pagan wives: As a result of his disobedience:
Solomon’s heart turned away from the LORD
He worshipped the gods of his pagan wives
It resulted in his kingdom being split into two after his death
4. How does this apply to us now?
Disobedience to God
Unrepentant sin can have a negative effect in our earthly life: It can effect our job, our family, and our relationship with others
Unrepentant sin can have a negative effect on our spiritual life: It will cause conflict with our relationship with God, it will lead to more sin, and it will rob us of any joy and assurance I have in Christ.
5. How should we respond knowing what we know about this passage?
I should repent of our sins and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation because it is only through Christ that our sins can be forgiven and our relationships with God and people sin be restored.
We should hate sin because of what is does to us and to others. Sin destroys lives and it destroys souls. This is just one example of doing biblical meditation.
Beloved, know this, the purpose of biblical meditation is not to earn points with God or somehow earn His favor by doing this exercise. Your acceptance with God solely rests in the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Biblical meditation should be done for the glory of God so that you will know, love, and live for Him more and more!
There might be some sitting here who that believe that their is not enough time in the day to read and meditate upon God’s Word. Think about this.
How much time to you spend checking Facebook? 1 Hour
How much time do you spend watching TV? 2 Hours
How much time do you spend reading the newspaper? 15-20 mins
Would it be possible to take 15-20 minutes of your day to read and think upon the Word of God? Even if you are super busy, take 5-10 minutes to read the Bible and then think about it as you shower, eat breakfast, drive to work, or clean your house. Joshua was a commander of the army of Israel yet the Angel of the Lord commanded Joshua to meditate upon the Law of God day and night.
Beloved, let take time together as a church to digest God’s Word this coming year and see the fruit that God will produce in our lives and see how truly spiritually happy we will be at the end of next year.
Psalm 1:1–3 ESV
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
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