Day 17: January 17, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Psalm 1
How happy is the man
who does not follow the advice of the wicked
or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers!

Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.

He is like a tree planted beside streams of water
that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not survive the judgment, and sinners will not be in the community of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Meditation on God's Word
by Roger Severino, Adult Discipleship Minister, Brentwood Campus

Psalm 1 speaks in general terms of two kinds of people: the righteous and the wicked.

Now, you and I know that on a continuum, there’s a broad spectrum between those who relentlessly pursue evil and those who have every area of life submitted to the Lordship of Christ. Most of the time, we’re somewhere between these polar opposites. Nevertheless, let’s take a closer look at what characterizes the righteous person so we can learn to follow this example.

In verse 2, we find that “his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.”

Did you know that meditation is a biblical, therefore Christian, term? Meditation in the Bible may be different than what it means in other religions. Rather than simply attempting to empty one’s mind and oneself, Christian meditation involves filling your mind with God and His truth.

The Hebrew word for meditation in Psalm 1 means “to groan, to growl, to mutter, to speak.” So as we meditate on God and His Word, we may utter these truths under our breath and repeat them to ourselves so that they become fully absorbed into our being.

Here are a couple of ways I’ve tried to put into practice this habit in my life.

Occasionally, I’ll read and re-read a verse or passage and really let it sink in. I may read it quickly the first time, but then repeat it more slowly, often emphasizing different words so that I can focus on their meaning and what they highlight. Often, this repetition will lead to memorizing the passage which has the added benefit of taking it with me and reflecting on it at different times of the day.

A second way I try to practice the spirit of this discipline is by writing out the Bible passage I’m studying.  This forces me to slow down and think about the words I’m reading and process them on a different level. There’s something that happens as I use my mind and motor skills to put on paper what I’m reading, which allows me to absorb it in a deeper way.

Praxis

Using Psalm 1, practice Scripture meditation, utilizing some of the following suggestions:

  • Read this passage relatively quickly to get an overview, and then re-read and repeat more slowly to capture all the nuances of this Psalm. Read it in a way so that it gets absorbed into your mind and spirit. Consider writing it out to assist with this process.
  • What word pictures from this passage can you visualize? Draw a picture (in your mind or on paper) of a tree planted by streams of water. Why does it flourish? How does it flourish? What would it look like for your life to flourish and bear fruit? What habits need to be a part of your life?
  • What are the characteristics of the wicked? How can you refrain from the practices and results that characterize such a life?
  • What is one thing you can take away with you from your time of meditation?

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.