Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law
they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by
streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and
their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
In George Mueller’s remarkable 93 years he housed, fed and educated more than 10,000 orphans, prayed in millions of dollars for their care, preached in 42 countries, and recorded 50,000 specific answers to prayer in his journal. Mueller saw all of this flowing out of daily Bible reading, meditating on it and turning it into prayer.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived by a similar outlook, telling his students in the underground seminary that daily meditation on God’s Word and prayer would provide “solid ground under our feet.” (Peter Frick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Meditation and Prayer) Amidst the horrors of Nazi Germany Bonhoeffer advised in the seminary handbook: “There are three things for which the Christian needs a regular time alone during the day: meditation on the Scripture, prayer, and intercession. All three should find a place in the daily period of meditation.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together)
Whether you are caring for orphans, outwitting the Gestapo, or searching for solid ground under your feet, daily meditation on Scripture and prayer are indispensable. Eugene Peterson cautions that the reason why many prayers are “stagnant and stale” is that they have been “uprooted from the soil of the word of God.” (Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity) Prayer needs to be rooted and nourished in Scripture. “Prayer means nothing else but the readiness and willingness to receive and appropriate the Word.” (Dietrich Bobhoeffer, Life Together)
Note carefully the imagery of today’s Scripture in which the person meditating on God’s Word (or Torah = instruction), is likened to a thirsty tree putting down its roots deep into streams of water. Such a person’s life will be genuinely fruitful and will not wither in life’s harshness.
In the brutality of Nazi Germany, Bonhoeffer instructed his students to put their roots deep down into God’s Word. He urged them to “ponder the chosen text on the strength of the promise it has something utterly personal to say for us for this day and for our Christian life.” (Life Together)
God’s Word has something personal to say to you for this day. Sink your roots deep down into it! Listen for God’s voice! Pray!
- Take a few moments to meditate on Hebrews 13:5-6, below. When you have completed your meditation, turn your meditation into a conversation with God.
Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content
with what you have; for he has said,
“I will never leave you or forsake you.”
So we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.”
“After the input of a passage of Scripture, meditation allows us
to take what God has said to us and think deeply on it, digest it,
and then speak to God about it in meaningful terms.”
Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life