1My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. 2Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. 3Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. 4Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: 5That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.Proverbs 7:1-5
Solomon’s Command to Meditate
We hear a lot of talk these days about meditation. One of the common phrases we hear about meditation is that it means “to empty your mind.” I know that is an oversimplification of what is often meant by the word, but it is one you hear often. And that is very much in contradiction to what biblical meditation is.
The idea of the words translated as meditate in the Bible (Joshua 1:8, Psalms 1:2, etc.) is to turn over an idea in the mind. It is often compared to a cow chewing her cud. Spending a long time working out every nutrient from the grass and food. It means to think about and to allow that idea to affect your daily life. This is exactly what Solomon is speaking of here.
Solomon is telling his reader to keep (pay attention to, heed) and lay up (hide like a treasure) his words and commandments. Then he says that if you will keep his commandments, you will live.
The reader is to bind his words and commandments on their fingers. (I wonder if that is where we get the idea of tying a string around the finger as a reminder?) And to write them on the heart. The idea is that it would be something you are carrying with you and constantly thinking about. That is what the Bible means when it says to meditate.
Example of Biblical Meditation
If you are around me long, you will find that I hear phrases that remind me of songs. Then, I must sing the song. And if I don’t have a song that quite fits, I will often just make one up.
You can know what I have been listening to recently because of the songs that immediately come to mind. That which is freshest is what has been filling my mind in recent days. It may be old fashioned hymns, gospel songs, cowboy music or Broadway show tunes.
Solomon Tells Us Why We Should Meditate
Solomon’s example is that of a young man being lured by a strange woman. As we learned a couple of days ago, when Solomon uses this term, he is talking about a woman that is not your wife. In this case he specifically says she is a prostitute.
Solomon implores the reader to heed the words of wisdom and understanding so that he can see beyond the temptation of the moment. We should have God’s Word hidden in our heart and ready to call to mind immediately in any situation.
By spending time in God’s Word regularly you can begin to ingrain the wisdom of the Bible in your mind. Like playing music on my ukulele, or listening to music will cause those songs to come to mind more quickly, having regular contact with the Bible will help you quickly remember what God has to say on a subject.
How to Meditate on God’s Word
There are various ways to fill your mind with the Bible. First, I think reading the Bible is a primary way to fix God’s Word in your heart. We have the written Word, now we need to read it.
Reading certainly isn’t the only way, and it may not be the best way for you. There are plenty of places these days to get the Bible in an audio format that you can listen to over and over. I’m a fan of BibleGateway for much of my study. They have audio bibles. There are also many apps you can get for your phone. One I have used before is from Bible.is, but there are many others to choose from.
Hearing God’s Word preached and explained is another way you should be filling your mind with the Bible. Also, hanging out with people who will help remind you of what God’s Word says in a given situation. These would be the people you get to know through regular church attendance.
But just hearing God’s Word and reading it does not mean that you are meditating upon it. Take time to think about what you have read. That is where the biblical meaning of meditation comes in. Spend time mulling over the words. Ponder them. Maybe even pull out a dictionary or commentary to help you get a better understanding of a passage.
There are many Bible study tools that you can use to help you learn more about God’s Word. I have written about how to use a concordance as well as given a list of books that can be beneficial as you study the Bible.
Take time to hide God’s Word in your heart. Maybe even tie a ribbon on your finger to help you remember a Bible truth.