“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2
I believe that if you randomly asked people on the street what it means to meditate, they would give you the Eastern New Age religion definition. What’s interesting is that that definition is the antithesis of what the word meditation actually means in the Bible.
The Eastern form of meditation is an attempt to empty the mind. The problem is that the human mind doesn’t work that way, you can’t empty it and then decide what to fill it back up with. It’s always full! Full of something. The only way to change the content of your mind is to purposely force new stull in, which in effect, pushes the other stuff out. How’s that for a scientific explanation of mind and meditation.
In good-old down-to-earth Hebrew, to meditate is to chew one’s cud.” Now, I grew up on a farm, so happen to know exactly what that means, and I’ll explain it to you – though I must warn you it’s not necessarily a pleasant word picture.
It’s common to see cows lying out in the pasture on a summer’s day doing nothing more than chewing their cud. The cow nibbles on grass until its stomach is full and then lies down, regurgitates what it has swallowed, and then chews, and chews, and chews on the mealy mush – or what’s called “the cud” – until it is fully digested. Not there’s a word picture you won’t soon forget!
What I just described is the best explanation of the Biblical definition of meditation.
Cows don’t look like they are accomplishing much just lying in the pasture chewing. However, without that process they would not get all of the nutrients out of what they have eaten. They would starve.
Let me ask a question. Are you a fast eater? Most people today, including myself, eat way to fast. There are all sorts of techniques that can be applied to slow down your eating, such as put the fork down and then pick it back up between each bite, count how many times you chew, and so on.
The same applies to the reading or study of God’s word. Many people, including myself, get into the bad habit of rushing through a passage of scripture, never really meditating on it, or chewing on it long enough to extract the nutrients which the Holy Spirit needs us to digest, in order to really feed our journey of faith.
So slow down, chew on the Word of God, swallow it. Then bring it back up a little later and chew on it some more. That’s how you get spiritually nourished. That’s how you meditate.