I have been meditating on Psalm 63 for several days now. So much so that I have made a point of committing it to memory. It used to be the morning prayer for believers as early as the third century, and I understand why! It is a rich and beautiful psalm with wonderful reminders for life. I have been thinking about my relationship with God, praying for a fresh spirit and a new heart in my own life as I move into a new season. I recognise the opening lines of the Psalm as an echo of my own heart:
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1 ESV)
Ever asked God to give you a new heart?
I have been spending more time in scripture as I seek to feed and refresh my spirit in the Word of God, relying on the Holy Spirit to reveal to me treasures of scripture. I was struck by verses 6-7 of Psalm 63:
“I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 63:6-7 NLT)
Why meditate on scripture?
The Psalmist differentiates between thinking and meditating on God through the night. Another version uses the words “remember” and “meditate”. In reading commentary on this Psalm, I came across a quote by John Wells, an old pastor that reminded me of a simple truth:
“The meditation of anything hath more sweetness than bare remembrance. The memory is the chest in which you lay up a truth, but meditation is the palate to feed upon it.”
I have always seen scripture study as laying down treasures of truth in your heart (like jewels in a treasure box, to be taken out, examined and appreciated.) Hence the title of this blog, Heart Treasure based on the idea of Matt 6:19-21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
I agree with John Wells in that truth memorised is like laying up treasure in a chest. But I have also learnt that storing up knowledge or memory of scripture can make no difference to your life unless you have implemented the Word into your life.
“Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.”( James 1:22-25)
The method of taking scripture from head knowledge to an application in your life is meditation. The original Word for meditation comes with the idea of chewing, like chewing the cud. Therefore, meditation takes the Word of God and chews on it mentally, thinks on it, wonders about it, reads about it, and so as meditation continues, truths are discovered to apply to your life. And then yes, I agree with John Wells, you taste spiritual food and feed on it for your spiritual life.
Which echos’ what the Psalmist says in Psalm 63:5
“I will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)
Meditating on scripture is sweeter to my spirit than just remembering it. I hide the truth in my heart, building a veritable treasure chest in heaven. But when I take that treasure and meditate on that truth, my spirit is fed with the richest of foods, and the Lord satisfies my hungry heart.
- When last have you taken a piece of scripture and committed it to memory?
- When last have you spent days meditating on the Word of God?
Thank you, Lord for your Word. Thank you, that time in scripture is never wasted, but that your Word is rich fare for those seeking it out and meditating on it. Thank you for opening up the treasures of your Word to me and allowing them to feed my hungry and thirsty spirit.