Joshua 1:8(NKJV) 8This 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.
Yesterday we came to the understanding that in order to meditate in the Word we must first study the Word. When we study the word we are coming to the place where we have a clear natural understanding of what a particular section of scripture says. (See yesterday’s post for the details of how to study.) Once this is done we can begin to meditate on the passage of scripture.
There is a distinct difference between study and meditation of the Word of God, however I want to make sure we understand that these processes work together. I have separated the two and put study first. This is generally correct. We have to start with the study process, but often as we meditate more avenues of study will open. We will go back and look at more definitions or examine the culture more closely.
In the same way, we may be in the midst of study and something will so catch our attention that we will stop and begin the meditation process right then and there. This is a living thing we are talking about and, although there are principles we can learn which will help, there are no “laws” that say you must do this part at this time. It is a flowing interaction between you and the author of the book, the Holy Spirit.
This brings me to the idea of meditation in the Word of God itself. As I said yesterday, this is not eastern transcendental meditation, yoga or anything of that nature. It is not emptying the mind it is reprogramming the mind. It is not open to any and all input, it is only open to a very specific channel. It is opening our minds to the Word of God and the influence of the Holy Spirit. Nothing else is acceptable in this process.
The difference between Bible study and meditation in the Word of God is that the study process primarily involves our minds and our natural effort, while the meditation process involves the intimate interaction of the Holy Spirit with your spirit. That is not to say that the Holy Spirit will not help you in study, but meditation is more intimate. In the process of meditation we allow what we have learned to be underneath and we open our minds to the input that comes from the Holy Spirit himself. As we look at the elements of meditation in the Word from Joshua 1:8 this will become more clear.
The first thing God tells Joshua is “This book of the law.” We must first understand that the only thing we use as the standard of our meditation is the Bible. Anything that we think we see in our meditation time must agree with the Bible. If it does not we should put it aside until we can see how it does or until we can check it with someone who knows more than we do. Meditation is an inward and personal thing. As such it is open to the influence of our own preconceived ideas as well as deception by the enemy. Making sure the Bible is the foundation will protect us.
The next things God says to Joshua is to keep the Bible in your mouth. This might seem a little strange since we are talking about something that is inward not outward, however one of the meanings of the word translated “ meditation” is mutter.
Muttering is repeating something quietly to yourself. Let me explain this process with one of the scriptures that my wife and I had to learn to meditate on early in our ministry.
Philippians 4:19(NKJV) 19And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
From the day we began in the ministry we have had to trust God for our natural provision. My wife quit her job in January of 1978 and I quit mine in April of the same year. We did not know you could work and be in the ministry. It just never crossed our minds. We stepped out and God began to meet our needs. Although he has been faithful over the years, you can imagine that we have faced some challenges in this area.
Early on in our ministry life we learned the truths I am sharing with you today. When my wife and I began to face some desperate times financially, God led us to this scripture. We studied it, heard some teaching on it and began to do what God told Joshua to do in Joshua 1:8. We began to meditate on Phil. 4:19.
As we began the process, one of the first steps was to walk the floors confessing, or speaking, this scripture. We were not confessing it to anyone but our selves. I would say it over and over again. As the worry tried to come into my mind I would replace it with the declaration that “my God is supplying all my need.” It started out as a battle, but soon I felt that there was another presence involved leading me and giving me insight into this verse. I began to stress each word until that word sank in.
My God: Not someone else’s God and not some other god was going to meet my need. My God was going to meet my need. What does the word “God” mean. It means almighty. It means all-knowing and he is not just my God he is my Father. I am a father and I know what I will do for my children, so what will God not do to meet my need.
Space does not allow me to take you through the whole process, but you can begin to see how it works. The more I “muttered” this verse the more the Holy Spirit revealed to me the depth of what it truly meant. The same process was at work in my wife. There came a day when we looked at each other and the revelation of Phil. 4:19 had dropped into our hearts. “My God will meet our need.” It was not words on a page it was a personal message to us.
I cannot say that I knew more than what I had gained in studying the verse, but I knew it on a different level and in a different way. It was as if a sheet was pulled back and I did not just know the verse I could see the revelation of it. I do not know any other way to say it, but when it happens to you, you will recognize it.
For the last 38 years we have been living on that revelation. God is the supplier of our needs. We have never had a “home office” to ask for help. We have never had anything that we could really depend on except the truth we saw from this verse. In those 38 years we have had some financial challenges. We have known worry, but we have always seen God come through. When the worry would try to overtake me I would go back to the Word again and begin to mutter it to myself. Soon the same sense of confidence and faith would rise in my heart.
I like to say that in more than 38 years, “what if” has never happened. You know what I am talking about. “What if we lose the house.”, “What if we can’t pay that bill?”, “What if God doesn’t do it this time?” It has looked like “what if” might happen a few times but it never has.
Find a promise that speaks to your need. Once you spend some time studying it, put it in your mouth and you will see the same process work in your life. Once you “see” the truth of the verse you will never be the same and the faith to see the need met will rise in your heart.