We’ve spoken here many times about abiding in the Lord and the fact that without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Nonetheless it is in our fallen nature to hurry through God’s revelation of Himself to us more as a duty than in joy. Puritan pastor Thomas Watson said, “The reason we come away so cold from reading the Word is because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation.” When we get into a daily habit of seeking God, the longings of our hearts shift. It begins to shift to a desire, a longing, a craving to get up and spend time with Him. But we aren’t to approach it looking for a blessing; for the blessing itself is the time we have in His holy presence.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Ps 1:1-3) The tree of our spiritual life thrives best with meditation because it helps us to absorb the water of God’s Word.
The Hebrew word for “prosper” is tsaleach, which means to “push forward”. Instead of absorbing this sinful world’s viewpoint, we are to seek God and His wisdom. When we are washed daily by the Word of the Lord, we will have a firm foundation, become well-rooted in His truth to persevere (or push forward) through hard times, which prospers us as God did for Joseph – providing the strength to push on despite the obstacles.
Jeremiah said, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jer 17:7-8) In the midst of the weeping prophet’s sharp accusations and strong condemnation of the idolatry of Israel, who had turned from their faithful God to idols, we discover a refreshing oasis in the midst of Jeremiah’s condemnatory proclamations.
Only the one that rests in the Lord, trusts their lives into His hands, and places their trust in God alone gains hope and strength from Him, and is able to be like a well-watered tree. To truly rest in Him we must linger in His Word, mull it over all day, holding it up as a mirror to see what the Lord is trying to show us so that we become more Christ-like because we can be confident “that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).
Merely hearing or reading the Bible from a sense of duty can be like a short rainfall on hard ground. Regardless of the amount or intensity of the rain, most runs off and little sinks in. Conversely, meditation opens the soil of the soul and lets the water of God’s Word percolate deeply. The result is an extraordinary fruitfulness and spiritual prosperity. I can think of no better end to this post than Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephasus:
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:14-19)