Building a Life Rhythm: Why Meditation?

“Be still, and know that I am God…I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”

Psalms 46:10-11 KJV

Throughout the Word of God, especially in the Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament, God repeatedly gives us examples of meditation.  The one above is probably the best known. 

What does it take to “be still, and know”?  It takes trust.  The psalmist rejoices that God can be trusted. Even when the earth is “melting into the sea,” God can be trusted.  The result is a fearless silence and relaxation. The words, “Be still,” in Hebrew means to simply relax, refresh, reverence, and revere our God who can be trusted.

For those of us in leadership, the challenge to meditate is given as a direct command.  Look at God’s words to Joshua, who took the senior leadership position in Israel after the death of Moses and just before the nation was to move into the promised land.

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; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Joshua 1:8 NASB

God tells Joshua to meditate upon the Word of God.  There are several positive results.  First, it will make Joshua “careful” and help him preserve or keep as cherished God’s law.  Second, it will make Joshua obedient.  One of the most unexpected character changes that come from meditation is easy obedience to what God has asked of us.  Third, he would find success in two ways:  He and Israel would advance or succeed, and they would become wise.  (The words, “have success,” literally mean “to act wisely.”

Meditation changes us.  It causes us to see God’s Word in a whole new light – one in which we cherish it and long for its counsel. 

The quiet contemplation in meditation changes my desire.  It’s no longer important to me to do what I want to do.  I long to accomplish what God desires of me.  Finally, I see life as Jesus did – “I do only what the Father tells me to do.”

My time in meditation will lead to my advancement in the kingdom of God, and as I grow, others grow with me.  This is why it is so very important for those who are in leadership.  God changes me as a leader through time spent in quiet, meditative contemplation of Him and His Word.

Finally, time with God makes me wise.  This just makes sense. When I spend time with a wise older mentor, I become wise, too.  What do you think will happen when you become intimate with God as your mentor?

There are several obvious reasons for us to meditate based on God’s Word.  The experience those who have gone on before us adds weight to the powerful Words of God.  They prove to us, yet again that it simply works.

“I found I had less and less to say, until finally, I became silent, and began to listen. I discovered in the silence, the voice of God.”

Soren Kierkegaard

“When you cease from labour, fill up your time in reading, meditation, and prayer: and while your hands are labouring, let your heart be employed, as much as possible, in divine thoughts.”

David Brainerd

“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”

C.S. Lewis

Our lives are overrun with noise and color.  And they are fraudulent.  They appear to give joy and beauty.  In reality noise and color only gives temporary excitement and pleasure.

We need the intentional act of silence so that we can hear His voice.  When we get serious about our silence, He will flood us with His presence.  And we’ll discover that His presence was there all along.  We were just too busy to notice!

For Your Further Illumination…

“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”

1 Kings 19:11-12 KJV

The true beauty of God, as it did with Elijah in the passage above, came in a “still small voice.”  How can we hear it if we are so elated and overcome by the fraudulent noise and color of our world?  We can’t.  We have to seek solitude, silence, contemplation, and meditation.

Try It For Seven Days

Today and each day for the next seven days.  Begin by reading a very small passage of Scripture – maybe read just a paragraph of Scripture; perhaps Ephesians 1:3-14.  The Spirit is our Illuminator of the Word of God to our minds, so ask Him to illuminate your mind by giving you one word, only one, that you will use as your word of openness to God.  Then sit up straight in your chair, quiet your mind and body, breathe deeply, and repeat this word to God, inviting Him to your openness to Him.  Visualize God inviting you into His presence and invite Him to be with you too.  If you are able, take 10-15 minutes to simply “be still and know” that He is your God.