Friday, June 29, 2007

Scripture Meditations - W.F. Bell


Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; I Timothy 4:15

We are told that "meditation" means "quiet thought, reflection; contemplation on sacred or solemn subjects, especially as a devotional exercise." To "meditate" is simply "to think quietly; engage in deep and serious thought." Synonyms are "ponder, muse."

How we need "holy" meditation in our busy world, with so much noise and so many things to distract us from study and prayer. Not that anyone can just sit and think, study and pray, all the time. We cannot. But, this makes a time of serious reflection, with deep and serious thought, all the more needful.

The sixty-six books of the Bible are given to us in God's gracious providence to reveal to us who He is, what man is, how God saves sinners through the work of Christ, how the Holy Spirit comes to indwell believers, and how we are to daily "deny" ourselves, "take up" our cross, and "follow" our Lord (Luke 9:23). No one can rightly do this apart from "meditating day and night" in God's words to us (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2). Paul clearly tells Timothy, "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all" (I Timothy 4:15).

Everyone agrees that we should meditate. Our problem seems to be finding the time, or knowing exactly how best to do it. Personally, I have found that daily discipline is the key. We should rarely ever put the Bible on a shelf. Keep it out; keep it handy. If you don't do anything but look at one verse, that is keeping up "meditation" on a daily basis. Better yet, though, to take time to regularly read a portion of Scripture, giving thought to words and phrases, memorizing them if possible. This is "hiding" God's word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11), and is true meditation.

So, "meditate" now on this need of "daily meditation." Read and study the Scripture. Think about the words. Look at the contexts. Memorize portions that are especially meaningful to you, and that speak powerfully to you. Assuredly you will be able to say with the psalmist, "Oh, how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day" (Psalm 119:97). And, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105).

Meditating in and upon God's Word means (first and foremost) that you also meditate upon the Person of Christ Jesus: "My meditation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord" (Psalm 104:34). Fellowship with Christ is what the Christian life is all about. So daily let us be "looking to Jesus."

"We have no control over what people do about God's message, but we can see to it that they get it." Vance Havner

Unconfessed Sin- Mark Woodruff

My thoughts have turned this week to this portion of scripture: "Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity" (Isaiah 59:1-4).

God was telling Israel through Isaiah that it was not the fault of God that their prayers were not being answered; it was because of their unconfessed sins. God had hidden His face from them to cause them to feel the shame of their sins. This is certainly in agreement with David's words in Psalms 66:18 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:" It is apparent that the sins that God referred to in the life of Israel were sins that they had given a place of honor, reverence, or respect. These were their "pet" sins. They were the ones that they did not care for God to touch, or rebuke them for, yet the Lord told them that as long as they kept these sins He would not be their help. They must turn and repent of these sins before they could expect God's blessings.

I want to encourage each of you to read the context of Isaiah 59 to get a feel for the sins that God was talking to them about. The truth of these words is certainly applicable to us today. As the people of God, we have the responsibility to make sure that there is nothing between us and Him, nothing to bar our hearts from communing with His heart, and certainly nothing that will keep Him from hearing our prayers. It is time to be honest with ourselves and with God and not trust in the vanity of our own ways.

In the words of the well-known hymn:

Nothing between my soul and the Saviour,
naught of this world's delusive dream:
I have renounced all sinful pleasure,
Jesus is mine, there's nothing between.

Nothing between like worldly pleasure;
habits of life, though harmless they seem,
must not my heart from Him ever sever,
He is my all, there's nothing between.

Nothing between, like pride or station;
self or friends shall not intervene;
Though it may cost me much tribulation,
I am resolved, there's nothing between.

Nothing between, even many hard trials,
though the whole world against me convene;
watching with prayer and much self-denial,
I'll triumph at last, with nothing between.

Nothing between my soul and the Saviour,
So that His blessed face may be seen;
Nothing preventing the least of His favor,
Keep the way clear! Let nothing between.

Words & Music: Charles A. Tindley, 1905


"Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3).

God encourages us to pray. They tell us that prayer is a pious exercise which has no influence except upon the mind engaged in it. We know better. Our experience gives the lie a thousand times over to this infidel assertion. Here Jehovah, the living God, distinctly promises to answer the prayer of His servant. Let us call upon Him again and admit no doubt upon the question of His hearing us and answering us. He that made the ear, shall He not hear? He that gave parents a love to their children, will He not listen to the cries of His own sons and daughters! God will answer His pleading people in their anguish. He has wonders in store for them. What they have never seen, heard of, or dreamed of, He will do for them. He will invent new blessings if needful. He will ransack sea and land to feed them: He will send every angel out of heaven to succor them if their distress requires it. He will astound us with His grace and make us feel that it was never before done in this fashion. All He asks of us is that we will call upon Him. He cannot ask less of us. Let us cheerfully render Him our prayers at once.
From Faith's Checkbook

June 29