(By Dr. Charles Stanley)

biblestudyseven3

Prayer:

Lord, above all other names, we worship Yours. We meditate on Your holiness, your perfection, and it brings us to our knees. We love You, God, for Who You are and we thank You for who You are helping us to become. As we study this lesson help us to come into You presence so we can meditate on Your Word, and walk upright for Your glory. We desire to live a godly life before You and others. Let the words of our mouth, and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight always, in Jesus’ name. Thank You that You make Your Word a lamp to our feet, and light unto our path, so we can see You always. Teach us Holy Spirit what we need today to be like Jesus. AMEN.

Subject Lesson: Meditation on the Word of God.

Let’s recap and then study more on meditation on the Word of God.

The psalmist said, “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches” (Ps. 63:6). Meditation includes reading Scripture, thinking about it, seeking to apply what God says, asking Him questions, and surrendering any issues He brings to mind. It’s like looking in the mirror of God’s Word to see what He says, but then looking beyond the mirror to see Him. As we focus on the Lord, worries and concerns drift away, and our minds are freed from the contamination of the things that do us no good. Psalm 119:133 should be our prayer: “Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.” Meditation keeps us alert and sensitive to whatever God wants to do in our lives. That’s why it’s so important to set aside a time to be alone with Him in His Word. As we read and think about what the Lord says, He speaks to our hearts. If we want God to fill our minds with His Word, we must guard against letting the world dominate our thoughts. It’s easy to be occupied from morning until evening with the things of this world without giving much thought to God. However, taking time to be alone with the Lord to meditate on His Word is essential if we want to live a godly life. Each day we must choose whether to carry the Lord or the world with us.

Six Steps to Meditating on the Bible:

1. Meditate to Focus

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. (Psalm 119:15) Whether we read the Bible in the morning, over our lunch break, or before bed at night, our schedules and responsibilities tend to assail us with distractions. In fact, distractions are a tool the enemy of our souls uses to take our eyes off Christ and to keep us from hearing God clearly in his Word. Aleph says in Psalm 119 that he fixes his eyes on God’s ways. As wayward humans with many pursuits, temptations, and people vying for our attention, we are greatly helped by meditation, which leads us to fix our eyes on the Lord and tune out distractions…even if only for five or ten minutes. Focusing on what we are reading in the Bible provides usclarity when we enter into prayer.

Meditate to focus on how God is speaking to you through his living and active Word.

2. Meditate to Understand

Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. (Psalm 119:27)

When we meditate on the Word of God, we seek to understand how the God of the universe is speaking: about himself, about our world, and about our own hearts. We can begin our Bible reading by praying along with the Psalmist, “Make me understand your way!” God delights to answer this prayer.

Some questions to ask during meditation include: Why is this passage important? What do I need to know? What does it say about God? What does it say about me? How does this reading point to Jesus?

Meditate to understand what God is communicating to you through his Word.

3. Meditate to Remember

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. (Psalm 143:5)

The whole Bible is one grand story thatall the way through points to Jesus Christ. When we meditate on Scripture, we do so to remember all that God has done in his great redemption story and how he sent Christ to save a people from their sin. We ponder the work of God’s hands.

Remembering in meditation may also bring us to ponder all that God has done in our own lives: how he saved us in Christ, what opportunities he is giving us to share the Good News with others, and what we have learned about who God is throughout our days.

Meditate to remember all that God has done through the gospel of grace.

4. Meditate to Worship

…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:2)

Once we have meditated to focus, understand, and remember, we will find our hearts inclined to worship! So we pause in meditation to lift our gaze to the excellencies of Jesus Christ, to take our eyes off the world, and to express to him thanksgiving and adoration when we pray. Meditation leads to delight when the Holy Spirit inclines our hearts to understand how glorious our God is.

Because of sin and its effects, there will be times when our hearts do not feel like delighting in the reading of the Bible. During these moments, the temptation is to stop reading, lose focus, and move on to other activities. So meditation is also keys to exhorting our hearts to delight in God’s Word, which is necessary for our spiritual strength and joy!

Meditate to worship the God who deserves all our thanks and praise for who he is and what he has done in Christ.

5. Meditate to Apply

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. (Joshua 1:8)

Finally, we are better able to understand how to apply God’s Word to our lives when we slow down to meditate on it. In meditating to understand we ask, What do I need to know? Here, in applying what we read, we ask, What do I need to do?

Here’s a brief example. Let’s say you are reading Titus 3:3-4:

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray…But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy…

From this passage, you might be led to confess specific ways you have gone astray or been disobedient; you might praise God for providing his undeserved loving kindness in Christ for you; and you might ask for his help in loving someone who has hurt you with the mercy you’ve received in Christ Jesus.

Our desire in meditation is to “be careful to do according to all that is written” in the Bible. Then, we bring these points of application to God in prayer, asking for spiritual strength to obey, forsake sin, humble ourselves, and walk worthy of our calling in Christ.

Meditate to apply what you have read in the Bible to your daily life and to ask for help in prayer.

6. Meditate by the Spirit

It is no accident that the Bible often speaks about the value of meditation and its purposeful placement before the act of prayer. Consider that our time in the Word is like running a race: Meditation is the warm-up, and prayer is our sprint to the finish line. We cannot be effectual in our praying apart from engaging in the warm-up of meditation.

So what do we do when meditation seems impossible, when our focus is affected by outside circumstances and our hearts feel dulled to God’s Word?

We ask for and cling to God’s gracious help, poured out through the Holy Spirit, and if we’ve not meditated before today, we realize it is never too late to begin! For it is the Spirit who helps us in our weakness, fixing our eyes on Christ, giving us understanding, bringing to mind God’s wonderful works, filling us with joy, and leading us to walk in the truth. He is our great help and hope that we are never alone when we seek God through meditation, and he effectively prompts us to pray in response.

How can I meditate on Scripture?

How to Meditate on Scripture:

Letting the Word of God dwell in our lives is a good way to meditate.

The words of Scripture are living words. (See Hebrews 4:12.) They contain eternal wisdom held in the shell of human words. God wants us to “break open” these human words and begin to discover the rich wealth of personal application and understanding that they hold. This goal can be accomplished as you memorize and meditate on Scripture.

The Apostle Paul said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you [live in you] richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). Meditation on Scripture will cause Scripture to “dwell in you” and become a source of wisdom in your mind, will, and emotions.

Remember, meditation cannot be done in a hurry. It takes time. Doing studies on the meaning of a passage and committing it to memory prepare you to meditate on it. As you meditate, the Holy Spirit will teach you the ways of God through His Word. (See John 16:13.) Use the following keys to meditation:

Worship God in Your Spirit

Your times of meditation should be times of worship and fellowship with God. Worship God in your spirit as you quote God’s Word back to Him. Reverence God’s Word and purpose to “do according to all that is written therein” (Joshua 1:8).

Personalize the Passage

Turn the Scripture into a first-person prayer back to God. Personalize it by putting it in the first person, using I, me, and my. For example, Colossians 3:16 (quoted above) could be personalized by saying, “Let the word of Christ dwell in ME richly in all wisdom.” When you put Scripture in the first person, it becomes a living expression within your heart, which is one aspect of meditation.

Give Attention to Each Word of Each Verse

Focusing on one verse at a time, quote it to the Lord, pondering each word. With each recitation of a verse, emphasize a different word. For example, if you are meditating on John 3:16, you would emphasize a different word each time you repeated the passage:

For God so loved the world … .”

“For God so loved the world … .”

“For God so loved the world … .”

“For God so loved the world … .”

“For God so loved the world … .”

“For God so loved the world … .”

Be attentive. This simple method of meditation will reveal new insights and give you greater understanding of phrases and sentences. As you hear the words of the passage, you will discern nuances and associations that are often overlooked when the passage is read silently.

“Martin Luther, one of the pivotal figures of church history, gave detailed instructions on how to meditate … . ‘You should meditate not only in your heart, but also externally, by actually repeating and comparing oral speech and literal words of the book, reading and rereading them with diligent attention and reflection, so you may see what the Holy Spirit means by them.’ ” (Doug McIntosh, God Up Close: How to Meditate on His Word, Moody Press, Chicago, Ill., 1998, 65.)

Illustrate the Main Concepts Found Within the Passage

As you memorize and meditate on a passage, look for Biblical concepts and patterns. Sometimes drawing simple illustrations with stick figures and symbols can help you remember the main ideas of the passage. Not only will the actual creation of the illustration help you further meditate on the meaning of the passage, but your illustration can serve as a simple summary of what the Lord taught you through meditation on His Word.

Each illustration should represent your current understanding of the action being described in the verse or phrase. As your understanding of the verse deepens, your illustrations will expand.

Meditate on Scripture as You Go to Sleep at Night

One of the most critical times to meditate on God’s Word is as you go to sleep each night. In Scripture, there are many references to meditating on Scripture at this time. (See Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2, 63:6, and 119:148.)

The quiet moments of preparing for sleep offer an ideal setting for contemplation and fellowship with the Lord. The thoughts that are on your mind as you go to sleep will be in your subconscious mind all through the night. They will strongly influence your attitudes the next day, consciously or subconsciously.

Respond to God as He Teaches You

As you meditate, don’t be discouraged if you have to go over the passage several times before insights begin to come to mind. As God reveals an insight to you, pray it back to Him and ask Him for the grace to apply that truth in your life. If the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin in your life, confess it to the Lord and be forgiven.

Week #3

Questions:

1). What do meditation includes?

2). What drift away when we focus on God’s Word?

3). Name some steps to meditating on the Bible.

4). With a few words explain how to meditate on Scripture.

5). How do we personalize a Scripture?

6). Read Joshua 1:8

7). Give a Scripture you can illustrate personally.

8). How will the Scriptures greatly affect you if you mediate before you go to bed?

9). If the Holy Spirit convict you what should you do?

10). What do we do when meditation seems impossible, when our focus is affected by outside circumstances and our hearts feel dulled to God’s Word?

Weekly Stay Focus:

Weekly Life Principle:

Weekly reading assignments: (Hebrews 5-6)

Weekly Prayer Focus: