A Brief Meditation for the Month

February 2019

In the opening Psalm we are introduced to an important and profitable spiritual exercise: meditation. While we are aware that there are meditation classes, meditation gurus, and many diverse schools of meditation available to our modern society, all claiming to give calm and peace within the mind, the Psalmist has something quite different in mind. The Psalmist is focusing upon an exercise which does not clear the mind, but rather fills the mind. This is a delightsome exercise, which draws the soul out after God. God’s law, which reflects His holy character, is the subject upon which the mind quietly concentrates. Since however we cannot separate God from His law, any thoughts upon that law must inevitably direct the mind towards the lawgiver. The divine law to which the Psalmist refers of course, consists of much more than ten commandments, which but summarize that law. God’s law consists of all His precepts, commands, exhortations, counsel, and warnings. This is obvious from the teaching of Jesus when he was expounding the law of God in what we refer to as “The Sermon on the Mount,” Matthew 5–7. There Jesus emphasized the internal keeping or breaking of the law. We may keep God’s law either lovingly as we ought, or merely legally out of fear.

While outward acts of a sinful nature may be avoided, the heart remains “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked,” Jeremiah 17:9, and may be inwardly lusting for what is outwardly avoided. It is through the exercise of sacred meditation, that the believer comes to face his or her own inward corruption. Thus, they are often brought to lament like the great apostle, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death,” Romans 7:24. Their language may even be that of the Psalmist when he lamented, saying “my sin is ever before me,” Psalm 51:3. A sight of personal sinfulness does not drive the child of God to despair, but rather causes him or her to apply by faith to the great advocate of whom the apostle John wrote, “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” 1John 2:1. In our ever-busy generation, where there is so little opportunity for quietness, God’s dear children need to reserve time for the exercise of meditation. To maintain a healthy spiritual life, we require not only to have time alone with God, but we need to discover our own inner corruption which is so offensive to God. We need to be humbled and made penitent because of what we find in ourselves that is so contrary to the spirit of God’s law and so grieving to Him. However, we should by this be brought to love the Saviour more and more, as we comprehend how totally dependent, we are upon him for acceptance with God. The outcome from such meditation must surely be a growing appreciation for the blessed Saviour, who not only died the just for the unjust, 1Peter 3:18, but who is now exalted; living to make intercession for those for whom his blood has made a full atonement. It is his blood that atones for the sin of the soul, and because that blood speaks in the presence of God, the poor penitent believer is reassured that he is accepted in and through God’s beloved Son, Ephesians 1:6. Thus, at the very centre of biblical meditation is the glorious Redeemer, who kept the law perfectly and died a substitutionary death under its curse, meriting a perfect righteousness to be imputed to his believing people. May it be with you as it was with the Psalmist, “My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.” Psalm 104:34.

G. G. Hutton.