Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Meditation on Meditation ~ Part 2

"... but by every word 
   that comes from the mouth of God"
Matthew 4:4

Hi!  And welcome back.   For those of you who are just joining us, we spent yesterday focusing on meditating on God's Word.  Whereas today we're going to focus on meditating on God's Word. 

We're nothing if not tenacious. 

As I shared yesterday, I was surprised and interested to learn all the different definitions of the word "meditate," and all the ways to apply it to our learning of His Word. 

Today, I'm all about how to do that. 

This topic came up in my mind after a conversation I had with a friend of mine.  She was sharing a trick she sometimes does to really focus on a verse.  She writes it out or says it out loud several times, each time focusing on a different word, such as:

For God so loved the world, He sent His only Son

       For God so loved the world, He sent His only Son

              For God so loved the world, He sent His only Son

                     For God so loved the world, He sent His only Son

etc.  It really highlights the details of that sentence, and you're forced to think about it in a slightly different way.   I thought that was interesting, and I started to think about all the ways I study, or think about, or meditate on a passage or verse.

One of my favorite ways to focus on a verse, is to dissect it.  I look up words ~ even words I know ~ in the dictionary.  Many times, I find out that the word means far more than I thought it did.  Say, for instance, the word "livid".   That word has several definitions, including:  "to go pale", "of a blue color", and "reddish".  Now that's a word with diverse meanings!

I also like to focus on word origins.  The word "spirit" for instance, comes from the Latin word for breath.  This knowledge gives new meaning to the idea of the Holy Spirit, and to Genesis 2:7, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

And then, as I shared yesterday with the word "meditate", I'm also interested in what word was used when the Scripture was first written; either the Hebrew (Old Testament) or the Greek (New Testament).  English is a befuddling and contradictory language (see:  "livid") and it helps to try to come closer to knowing what the writer was trying to say.

I also mentioned yesterday the idea of singing.  A lot of Bible verses are already set to music, but we can do it ourselves, too.  It helps us to memorize Scripture, but it also helps us to focus on different parts of the verse.  A friend of mine once told me that any verse can be set to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb," which I have found to be largely true.  So give that a shot sometime!

And of course, never underestimate the value of memorization.  Several years ago, over the course of a summer, I memorized all of Deuteronomy 32.  I could say the whole thing.  I can't any more, of course.  You gotta keep up with something like that.  But even today, if I hear a verse from that chapter, I know it immediately.  Makes me feel like that chapter belongs to me!

The other thing I like to do is visualize a passage.  Who's speaking?  To whom?  Where?  Are there others there?  If I were there, where would I be and what would I be doing?  Remember:  this stuff really happened. 

One of the reasons I got on this obsession recently, is because I was having to work to understand a verse in John.  It's 13:32, and it says (in the New King James) "If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately." 

And when I read it, I thought, "Huh??"

At first glance, it seems like an odd statement.  Or at least, in an odd place in history.  Jesus had just dropped a bombshell on His disciples, telling them that one of them would betray Him.  Then He gave a piece of bread to Judas, and told him to hurry up with what he was going to do.  Judas left, the door closed behind him, and then Jesus started talking about God being glorified.  So I really wanted to appreciate the statement.

So one of my first moves was to look at the verse in several different translations.  This can be done in actual books, or online.   This verse was so cool when all those translations were all lined up.  It was just variation after variation of God, and glory, and Jesus, and glory, and glory glory hallelujah!  I almost shouted "Hosanna!" right there in my LaZboy! 

Just another way of exploring His word.  But even better ~ then I understood it.  I understood it so much, that I decided to stretch my muscles a little bit.  My grammar-nerd muscles, that is.  And so I diagrammed it.  Here's what it looks like:

Diagramming for fun.... 'Cause that's how I roll!

Meditating is a lot about understanding.  But it's also about focusing and concentrating, and really internalizing His Word.  No matter how you do it, it's all about the why you do it.  His Word is not meant to be fast food, it's meant to be a feast!  So dig in!

~ "And he said to me, 
'Son of man, feed your belly 
with this scroll that I give you 
and fill your stomach with it.' 
Then I ate it, 
and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey." ~
Ezekiel 3:3

No comments:

Post a Comment