Psalm 1 is the Bible’s best-known passage on meditation. The psalm begins by drawing a contrast between two men. One walks in the counsel of the wicked, stands in the way of sinners, and sits in the seat of scoffers. The other delights in God’s law and meditates on it day and night; he prospers in all that he does (vv. 1–3).
Don Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life likens meditation to “steeping a tea bag in hot water.” It is a vivid picture; over time the cup of hot water is changed, it takes on the flavor and color of tea.
Meditation is being attentive to the Word of God. It is delighting ourselves in God so much that our conscious focus is on His will and not our own, on His truth and not our speculation, on His way and not the way of the scoffer. Reflection and meditation on God’s law produces confidence in his goodness.
Meditation is a way of seeking the things that are above (Col. 3:1). Spending time in the Word of God is to set one’s mind and heart on things above. Meditation is the means of renewing the mind (Rom. 12:1–2). Meditation on Scripture allows God’s Word to penetrate our inner being. Meditation brings the light of illumination to our hearts. It brings the power to resist being conformed to the world. Meditation transforms and renews the mind by giving weight to God’s interpretation of life.
Notice that in this Psalm, meditation takes place day and night. When my heart faints within me because I am despairing; I need to meditate on the Word of God. When doubts rise up within me, tamping down every reason for hope, I need to meditate on the Word of God. When I am struggling to break free from sinful habits, meditation on the Word of God will usher me to God, who has grace and power to deliver. When I wake up in the morning wondering if anyone really cares for my soul, the Word of God will remind me that God has loved me everlastingly.
The pleasures and delights of knowing God—of being mesmerized and enthralled and thrilled by God—are experienced as you meditate on His law day and night. You will never be a person who sees God as glorious and more delightful than the pleasures of sin unless you are in the Word beholding God every day.
If you are not delighting in God in his Word, you will become enthralled and thrilled by something else, some lesser thing. Remember that you are hardwired for pleasure and delight. God has made you like that because He made you for Himself. You must be feeding the life of faith to grow strong, and you feed it through the Word of God. No wonder Psalm 119 says, “Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
You will flourish as a Christian as you meditate on God’s law day and night.