DayBreaks for 2/07/18: Meditative Growling
From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:
Psalms 1:1-3 (KJV) – Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Isaiah 31:4 (KJV) – For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.
Meditation. It’s a term that many Christians have come to fear and to run away from. We associate it with images of saffron-robed figures sitting in a far-away temple, chanting while billows of incense laden clouds rise in the background. Because New Age and others have made such use of the term “meditation”, we seem to avoid it like the plague as Christians. And that’s too bad because it is a biblical term describing a spiritual practice in which we should be engaged!
In the verses above, in English there are two words that relate to this topic. In the first passage, it’s translated “meditate”. In the Isaiah passage, it’s “roaring”, or as the NIV puts it, “growls”. In Hebrew, the word in both places is identical: hagah. Interesting, yes?
What’s the implication? Our meditation should be like the lion that growls or roars over its prey. What makes a lion roar over its prey? I’ll grant you that I don’t know what lions really think, but here’s some thoughts:
FIRST: the lion has captured the prey but is in turn captivated by it. It is enamored with it – the lion may not have eaten for days, and it has finally got something that can satiate its hunger and give it peace. The Word of God is that way!
SECOND: the lion is so captivated by his prey that even though others come and try to scare it away by yelling, the lion ignores them. It stays focused on what is right in front of it, on what it has found, and it refuses to let it go in spite of distractions or hostility. As believers, this describes how our meditation should be – it is something that we should let no one take from us in spite of how much noise they might make!
THIRD: when the lion is consuming the prey (as we should consume the word in meditation), everything about the lion is caught up in the process. It uses its tongue, teeth, stomach, intestines, it tastes, savoring what it devours. In short, as Eugene Peterson put it, the lion is lost in what it is doing. Not lost in a bad sense, but a good sense. It should be that way with Christian meditation. Haven’t you experienced times when the Word transported you away from everyday life and lifted you up higher than you thought you’d ever be?
It’s time that we take back meditation as a Christian discipline – let us growl over the Word and let nothing distract us from that time!!!!
PRAYER: Lord, in our busy lives we seem to have lost the time to meditate and we are the poorer for it. Let us hunger for time alone with you and not settle for anything less! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.