Summary: Believe week 14 focuses on Bible Study.
Believe - 13 - Bible Study
January 11, 2015
Most Americans don’t read very much. One poll states that in the past 12 months 41% of the people had not read a fiction book. 42% had not read a non-fiction book. And 28% have not read 1 book. I won’t ask for a show of hands, but for many of us, we’d rather watch the movie than read the book.
When it comes to the Bible the results are similar. Maybe you would agree with over 50% of Americans who believe the Bible has too little influence on our culture. And yet only 37% of Americans read the Bible on a regular basis even though 88% said they owned a Bible. And the average home has 4.7 Bibles.
We’d rather watch the movie, The Ten Commandments, than read about the Ten Commandments. We’d rather watch poorly directed movies about the Bible which totally distort the Word, than to read the Word.
It’s easy to conclude . . . we just don’t read very much and Christ - followers don’t read their Bibles very much.
Now . . . here’s the question. If we aren’t reading our Bibles and letting the Word of God shape us, then “What is shaping our values and worldview!?” Is it what we read on Google or Yahoo? Is it the Huffington Post or New York Times? Is if from the editorial commentaries of on-line and TV news programs?
Folks, what is it that shapes our beliefs, worldviews and values?
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the first Psalm. In Psalm 1 we read ~
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his DELIGHT is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
The psalmist describes the “blessed person as someone who does not hang out with the sinners, scoffers nor with the wicked. That’s a great start. But what keeps them centered or grounded? It comes in verse 2 . . . as we read, 2 but his DELIGHT is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.
We’re going to focus on the words DELIGHT and MEDITATE. Let’s look at MEDITATE. The Psalmist and the Bible are not talking about eastern meditation, where we sit with our legs crossed, hold our hands out and go ‘Ooohm!’ That’s not what we’re talking about. Eastern meditation is about EMPTYING yourself, so you can be filled by whatever god you believe in.
In Biblical meditation, we are not emptying ourself, but we are filling ourself with the Word of God. The real goal is attachment with God. We try to remove ourselves from all our worries and concerns so we can attach ourselves to God. Once we attach ourselves to God, there is a new openness to experience God and have a growing life in Christ.
Sometimes we think meditation is not a very manly image. But I want you to consider what the word literally means in Hebrew. The word meditate in Hebrew means “to mutter or mumble or growl.” It was actually used to describe a lion who was standing over its prey, ready to feast. When a lion is in this position it makes a low, growling sound. That’s a pretty cool image! That’s the same word being used to describe the person who was meditating on the Word of God.
It was the habit of the people of God to meditate. They did this in Old Testament and New Testament times. They didn’t have the benefit of a printed copy of Scripture so they would take what they were taught in the Temple or early gatherings of the church and they would turn the words over and over in their minds. They would do this in the morning and during the day while they worked and before they went to bed at night.
And each time they turned it over in their minds through meditation it would go deeper and deeper into them until it became them. That’s what would happen when a lion would devour its prey. What it “meditated” on eventually became part of them.