On Sunday, I wrote about the phrase “place me like a seal over your heart” (Song of Songs 8:6) and suggested an approach to meditation where we take time to chew over a verse or even a short phrase. It is possible to work through a longer passage, especially a Psalm or a series of proverbs pausing to meditate on each line.
The approach I suggested (though this is not meant to be legalistic) was that first you pause to consider a couple of questions. The ones we used with Song of Songs 8:6 were “what would it mean for me to say this to Christ” and “what would it mean for Christ to say this to me.” Either or both of these questions will actually work well with many mediations. I suggested that you might then reflect on the phrase by reading it allowed, slowly from a few different translations and in other languages. After this you can mull over the words, re-reading the statement placing the emphasis in different places. Our aim is to hear God speak to us and so there should be application at the end. Personally, I see space for prophetic words and pictures at this point. Finally, we pray, using the words of Scripture.
So, the pattern I’m suggesting is Consider è reflect è mull è hearè pray è
I should say that this is not about departing from clear exegetical principles and our meditation should be controlled by all of those rules. So, before you do this, you should have done the hard work, either in your own studying or through hearing preaching/participating in Bible study of knowing and understanding the text in context. Indeed, my preference would be to encourage people to meditate on the portion of Scripture that has been preached on the previous Sunday. So, for example, this last Sunday we were looking at the topic of justification in our all age service. We did so through three scripture passages: So, if I were encouraging people from our congregation to meditate this week, I would suggest that they use the following
““Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” (Rom 4:3)
“him who justifies the ungodly” (Rom 4:5)
““Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;” (Rom 4:7)
“blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (Rom 4:8)
“we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. “ (Rom 5:1)
“we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand,” (Rom 5:2)
“we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom 5:2)
Here are some further suggestions for you to plan in some meditations on.
“Blessed is the man[ who walks not in the counsel of the wicked” (Psalm 1:1)
“kiss the son lest he be angry” (Psalm 2:12)
“Be angry and do not sin” (Psalm 4:4)
“O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me (Psalm 7:1)
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side” (Psalm 124:1)
With the last one, my suggestion would be that you read the Psalm to see how Scripture completes the phrase. Then, why not think about how you would complete the sentence. This would work well in a small group as you get each person to complete the sentence. This should prompt prayers of praise and thanksgiving and intercession for those who cannot say that the Lord is on their side.
I didn’t include this in the last post but one final element in our meditation should be “delight”. We seek to enjoy God in Scripture.