Meditation – Blessing or Curse?

Recently I’ve heard debate in Christian circles about the word “meditation.” Some feel it’s valuable and produces blessing, while others maintain that meditation is a tool of Satan to lead us astray. Which is accurate? Should we engage in meditation or trash the whole idea?

Since we engage in Biblical Meditation in any retreat I lead, this is an issue worth addressing. The problem seems to lie in the definition of the word, so let me define for you the Spiritual Discipline of Biblical Meditation.

The word most often translated “meditation” by our English translations is the Hebrew word haga. Haga literally means to mutter, as in pondering something by talking to oneself, reading or repeating Scripture so that one can keep his/her thoughts on God, or talking to God about what one is encountering in His Word.

The first time haga is used in the Tanach (Old Testament) is in Joshua 1:8:

“This 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.”

Haga is also found in the description of the righteous person who meditates in God’s law, and also for David whose thoughts are on God.

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2.

“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.” Psalm 63:6

Notice that God asks Joshua to meditate ON something, to fill his mind with God’s Word. The righteous person in Psalm 1 is also meditating ON the “Book of the Law” (the Bible). And David fills his mind with pondering thoughts of God in the night.

Biblical Meditation, then, is filling our minds with God and His Word. At no time does God ask someone to empty their mind. Instead, He asks us to keep our thoughts on Him.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4,5.

Girl MeditatingNow that we know what the Spiritual Discipline of Biblical Meditation is, it’s apparent how valuable it is in our daily walk with God. Without Biblical Meditation we would read a passage of Scripture and maybe learn some facts but never let the meaning of those facts soak into our hearts. Without Biblical Meditation we would not stop and ponder a passage long enough for God to reveal its message for our own life. Without Biblical Meditation we would relegate our time with God to one slot in the morning, but not give His Word thought during the rest of the day.

God invites us to meditate on Him and on His Word, so that we can be like Joshua, doing all that is written in the Bible and therefore walking the path that will prosper us.

Was this helpful in the ongoing discussion of this topic? Please leave a comment!

 

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About Pastor Sherry

Hi, I'm Pastor Sherry! I'm a Ministry and Spiritual Life Coach, and am committed to helping you Reach For The Summit of your relationship with God. This includes developing or transforming your personal devotional life as well as breaking through barriers such as Fear or Bitterness, that are preventing you from the kind of connection with God that you seek. I'd love to connect with you on Facebook (Pastor Sherry, Reach For The Summit), LinkedIn (Pastor Sherry), and Twitter (PastorSherry1). To receive my monthly newsletter, please sign in to the opt-in box at the top of this page!
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8 Responses to Meditation – Blessing or Curse?

  1. Mel Thompson says:

    I once heard a pastor say that MEDITATING on the Word of God, is an action on our part, to keep reading until the bible verse speaks back to us. If it doesn’t keep reading it until it does!
    Great reminder in your thoughts and words.

    • Yes, Mel, that’s the whole point to meditating on God’s Word — so that God can speak to us through it for our life! Meditating slows us down so we really “hear” the words.

  2. The greatest and most profound insights into God’s word have come from meditation. It happens like this: I come to a passage that I simply cannot understand, seems conflicting, complex, or unclear. I come to the point where I simply can’t wrap my head around it. It is at this point I came to realize I cannot understand scripture, only the Spirit of Gad can reveal its intent. I prayed to the Lord that if there was something He wanted me to understand that He would show me. So I just sat there and simply quit trying to figure it out. When you are speaking to someone and sincerely ask them their opinion or to share do you keep talking or do you listen? So I listened. Let me tell you, clearing the clutter of my mind is not possible, but when I asked God if there was something to say I sensed a quietness of mind that I was not used to. The temptation was to analyze any crazy thought, sound or image; my ADHD brain does not like to relax. What I realized is that I was getting in God’s way to communicate. It is here that I discovered surrender. I surrendered my mind to God that He could speak without the interruptions of the world. What happened next was extraordinary. Like a picture coming into focus, but more like pieces of a puzzle coming together to form a picture; but instead of a picture it was a concept, an understanding of what I was reading in a way I never imagined. I continue to let God speak to me in this way. The result is an understanding of scripture that continually crates a harmony of understanding from Genesis to Revelation. I am a skeptic of my own thinking so my test for thoughts entering my mind is the integrity of their message with not just a verse of scripture but the entire testimony of scripture. Are these thoughts the activity of my subconscious mind finding the connections in scripture to provide a holistic and consistent understanding? I am either the smartest man on the planet or the Spirit is speaking and making sense of a divine message that only He can reveal. I see nothing wrong with emptying the mind and laying it before the Creator of the Universe to use at His pleasure. I am a slave of Christ, a vessel, clay in His hands. I do have a problem with emptying your mind to the universe, or the next charlatan that comes your way.

    • Beautiful experience, David! Certainly I agree that there must be a stillness of the mind in order to “hear” God. There are so many distractions in our daily lives and even in our own mind, as you pointed out, that to let our own thoughts run free in our communication with Him is to block Him out and not be able to hear Him. So yes, we empty our minds of our own stuff.

      I think we’re saying the same thing, only my preference would be to call it a stillness or silence or quieting rather than an emptying. Many people view the word “emptying” to refer to a non-focus of our minds, allowing anything to come in who will. Our minds in Biblical Meditation are not really “empty” in that sense — they are focused on God. Empty of our own daily life, but tuned to God, turned toward God, “facing” God. Does that make sense? Are we saying the same thing?

      I concur with your test for thoughts, as well. The thought must be tested against the entire testimony of Scripture — and if the thought is from the Holy Spirit, it will fit. A good reason to know what the Bible says, huh!

      I appreciate your comments. And by the way, it happens that way for me, too. Sometimes a picture or words, but more often a “knowing” or “understanding.”

  3. It’s interesting you wrote this Sherry, as one of my most recent posts is on mindful meditation. My own personal perspective is that the Hebrews coming from a non-western tradition meditated a lot, this practice I feel is inherent within Judaism particularly those who study and teach the Word. Many Believers meditate without even knowing that they do, and many are taken to that scared space when they do, this is indeed a blessing. But God also calls us to meditate on things outside of His Word, He asks us to meditate on His creation for example, to meditate on things which are pure and lovely, this can be a vision given to us from Him, or a beautiful melody which stirs us. Why? Because all good things come down from the Father of Lights. There is a lot of fear surrounding meditation, and I think this is due to faulty teaching, if my body is the temple of God then surely to be able to be in peace both inside and out only aids in jy ability to live out this truth? Of course this is my own personal opinion, and I would say that I probably go where others might find it difficult to tread but that’s my make-up. I am a Seeker by nature.

    Sorry this is so long, but if you would like to read the blog post here is the link xxx

    http://ontheroadtohealing.org.uk/blog/2014/05/21/mindful-meditation-in-the-bible
    Achama U (On the Road to Healing) recently posted..Behaviour Modification God’s Way (Book extract 28)

    • Hi Florence! So good to see you here! I think you’re right — many Believers meditate without know what it is they are doing. It’s the word itself that throws many people off. And I agree with you that we meditate on other things. Even the Tanakh says to meditate on the works of God — nature, but one could include all His works such as in history. And certainly in music. Yes, all good and beautiful things come from God!

      I guess my point here is that meditation, while it has a negative connotation in some circles, is simply thinking deeply on something. We usually think of meditation in the sense of thinking deeply about the things of God, however.

      Thanks for the link. I’d like to read your blogpost.

  4. Bruno Buergi says:

    I personally use meditation to get more focused in life and to connect with my inner being.
    Bruno Buergi recently posted..Make Money From Home To Live The Dream You Want

    • Hi Bruno, welcome to my blog!

      I think we may be talking about a different kind of meditation. As I’ve read blogs by internet marketers, I think what they (you?) are saying is to focus on the inner being or inner child, or the universe, or something like that? Maybe I’ve misunderstood. In Biblical Meditation one’s focus is on God or the things of God, and the connection is made with Him. Make sense? And am I right about that?

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