A lot of people are saying that the world right now is a mess. This has been more evident these past months due the emergence of Covid-19. This pandemic has messed up almost everything we know – from governments, businesses, vacation plans, sports, entertainment, employments, worship gatherings, to our very own family, and health. Many are losing their sense of security and peace of mind about everything that is happening, even to the point of speculating that the world is soon coming to an end, with little hope to look forward to in the next life. The tragic effect of this is a Christian life characterized by dispassionate and mediocre obedience to Christ. Now as His true followers, what must we do in this time of mess? Here is one of the answers: practice meditating on God’s Word (Psalm 1:1-2). In this article, we will learn the importance of this spiritual discipline.
We all know that sunlight is necessary for much fruit-bearing and rich foliage of plants and trees. However, intense and prolonged heat during dry seasons can cause their leaves to wither and thus be unfruitful. Fortunately, these things will not happen if they are planted near a good flowing water source either in a natural stream or in irrigation ditches. In Psalm 1:2-3, the person who meditates on God’s Word is compared to a tree planted by streams of water [i.e. Word of God], that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither. The imagery of foliage and fruit-bearing is interpreted in the last part of verse 3 as being prosperous in everything that he does. I do believe the prosperity mentioned here is not material, nor having a safe and comfortable life here on earth. I said this because the book of Psalms teaches that even the wicked experiences these things (Psalm 37:7), and that the righteous on the other hand go through sufferings in this life (Psalm 34:19; 44:22; 119:71,75).
Now, what exactly is Psalm 1:3 saying when it says that the person who meditates on God’s Word prospers? Also, when do we experience this? The way I see this passage, the prosperity mentioned here occurs to us in this present life in terms of not withering when the intense and prolonged heat of trials and adversity come our way, and also in the next life in terms of bearing fruit for the coming season of God’s Final Judgment.
In what ways then does meditating on God’s Word cause us to not dry up when the difficulties of this present life, such as this pandemic, arrive? Firstly, practicing this brings us deep and enduring joy in God. Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man…his
delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night (ESV).” This condition of being blessed refers to having “deep seated joy and contentment in God (MacArthur).” So everyone who delightfully meditates on the streams of God’s Word day and night will experience further and deeper joy in Him, flowing to the roots of their hearts, which will endure even the most severe heat of adversity (Psalm 119:69-72,143; 2 Cor.12:7-10). We can also see this truth in Psalm 19:8 which says, “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart (NIV).” The bliss that we will experience is like the one described in Habakkuk 3:17-18: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation…”
Secondly, meditating on God’s Word produces in us abundant and persevering obedience in God. Psalm 40:8 says, “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart (ESV).” So the person who delightfully meditates on God’s Word will also delight in doing His will (Psalm 119:129,167). And of course, when obeying God is the deep and enduring joy of our hearts, our deeds of obedience to Him (which includes our love for others) will be abundant, and will persevere even in the midst of various pressures from this world (2 Cor.8:2-4; Heb.10:34; 11:24-27; 12:2).
Going back to Psalm 1:3, aside from meditating on God’s Word causes us not to wither under the heat of adversity, it will also lead us to bear fruit on the Day of God’s Final Judgment. Our future in eternity will not be like that of the wicked who in verse 4, are described as useless chaff that the wind drives away. Verse 5 says that they will not stand in God’s judgment and in the assembly of the righteous. Since those who meditate on God’s Word have deep and enduring joy in Him, which results to having abundant and persevering obedience to Him, we will then receive by grace what He has promised us now: fruitful and everlasting rewards, when our Lord comes and usher in His Final Judgment. As 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “…knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain (ESV).” Indeed in view of all these things, we can say that those who delight and meditate on God’s Word do really prosper in everything they do.
This is why our topic is very crucial for us; the reason why we should practice meditation in this time of mess. We all need to be reminded that even as we endure daily the difficult global effects of this pandemic: economic recession, financial problems, health risks, etc., we can still be truly prosperous both in this life and in the next. We can experience the abiding joy of the Lord and the delightful hope of eternity, which gives us durable strength to obey Him, love others, and let our light shine especially during these dark times. All of these are the wonderful benefits of meditating on God’s Word.