Recently I heard Bill Johnson say that he has read Romans 4 every single day for the past four years. A married couple I know used to read Proverbs 3 nearly every night together as they went to sleep. They did it for a year and then decided to stay with the same chapter until they felt God gave them permission to move on. Thirty years ago I was moved by one line from a song, and I still sing that line several times a day.
What do you think of when you hear the word, meditation? Eastern religions? Passing thoughts? A guru sitting upon a mountaintop? I’d like to suggest that the Biblical notion of meditation is closer to saturation.
You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows
and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers
and bless its crops.
You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
The grasslands of the desert overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing. (Psalm 65: 9 - 13)
Richard Foster’s liberating book, Celebration of Discipline, opens with these simple words, “Superficiality is the curse of our age.” True that. It’s no surprise that the first discipline he recommends is meditation. Watchman Nee observed that one sign of the natural man is an unwillingness to hear the same sermon a second time. As if the Holy Spirit wouldn’t use repetition to teach, lead, and guide.
Last week I kvetched about the tendency to value knowledge above relationship, but there is a knowing which leads to relationship. It’s the knowing of meditation: allowing the scripture to saturate our whole being, to overflow our head and seep into our heart. Our culture is word-weary. Too many blogs, too many comments, and the constant need to publish more. Yet it’s still true that God’s words are life giving. What will saturate your heart today? And tomorrow, and tomorrow?