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Meditating upon the Word of God

Meditating upon the Word of God
By T. A. McMahon

“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” – Jeremiah 9:23-24

As we read through the Scriptures, too often we may go at a pace that causes us to miss not only its more profound teachings but also some very clear and simple truths. That may be why the Scriptures exhort us to meditate upon God’s Word. Biblical meditation, as I hope we all know, is the opposite of Eastern meditation.

The former is thinking deeply, reasoning through the Scriptures according to Isaiah 1:18, getting a better understanding of what God is communicating to us. The latter is thoughtlessness, clearing out the mind — turning it into a blank slate that may generate feedback from the demonic realm.

Reading the Book of Jeremiah at a somewhat hurried pace may accomplish one’s goal of getting through it in a timely fashion, but at the same time we may fail to notice some important things that the Lord has communicated.

If there’s an upside to growing old, slowing down is a condition most of us experience. Of course, I’m not thrilled with the physical consequences of aging, but in this case what I have in mind is growing old in the Lord and having a greater appreciation of how truly wonderful He is. In one sense, it’s more than just stopping to smell the roses. Rather it is taking in a host of other things that we either may have missed or haven’t fully taken to heart.

That is what biblical meditation is all about. “His delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). Not only is that activity for the delight of the meditator, it also delights the Lord! The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to read God’s Word and exhort others to do the same: “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all” (1 Timothy 4:15).

As an exercise in this, let’s meditate on Jeremiah 9:23-24. It begins with “Thus saith the LORD.” That clearly tells us that what we’re reading is God’s Word. That phrase and others, such as “the word of the LORD came to me” are found thousands of times throughout the Bible. Each time those phrases are used, we’re being told that it is God himself speaking specifically to an individual, or collectively to a group of people or a nation. It also includes those who read His Word at a later time.

Our infinite God is communicating what He wants His created finite beings to know. How important is that recognition? Sometimes when an admonition is offered, we’re told, “Don’t take it personally.” Whether it’s an admonition, an exhortation, an encouragement, or whatever the case, when we read “Thus saith the LORD,” we need to take it personally. The Person of our Lord and God is communicating to us!

Yet, too often in our day, if I told someone that I had recently received a note from God, it would be met with much skepticism for a number of reasons, which I’ll present. Probably few would realize that all I’m saying is that the note I recently read from Him is what He has communicated in the Bible to everyone who reads the Bible!

Part of the general skepticism comes from those who are aware of people who claim that they are literally hearing from God on a continual and personal basis. It’s not that we don’t believe that could happen (although there’s no example in Scripture of that taking place except between Jesus and God the Father).

In fact, we find that very thing being taught by a highly influential teacher among women: Beth Moore. She encourages her followers to engage in two-way, intimate conversations with Jesus, which she claims she has continually.

One must wonder from what “Jesus” she claims to be hearing! Moore declares that her Jesus calls her “Baby” and “Honey” and joins in playful conversation with her. Sarah Young also claims to have an ongoing personal communication with “Jesus,” which she describes in her book Jesus Calling. Based upon what her Jesus speaks, it is clear that he’s not the biblical Jesus! Furthermore, not even Daniel, who is called “beloved of God,” had ongoing two-way communications with the Lord. He even had to wait twenty-one days for God’s response to his request for help (Daniel 10:12-13)!

Men have not been left out of this communication delusion, even to the point of supporting it with a heretical practice that exists primarily among those who adhere to the hyper-Charismatic Word/Faith movement.

They claim that God communicates to Christians in two different ways today. One is known as rhema, the other as logos. The former is literally hearing from Him, while the latter is the written word. When the communications are in conflict with each other, it is said that the rhema-received information supersedes and therefore supplants the logos. That is completely false! In fact, both terms are used interchangeably throughout Scripture.

Those misrepresentations of Scripture aside, I’m concerned that too often we overlook the reality that “Thus saith the LORD” tells us that God, the Creator of the universe, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, is speaking to us! One of the reasons for this oversight is that the Adversary has sown confusion among Christians regarding their views of the Bible itself.

When I suspect that professing Christians with whom I’m having a conversation have some ideas about the Bible that are clearly mistaken, I often ask them for their view of the Bible, such as, who is the Author? Is it inerrant? Is it their authority, and do they believe it to be sufficient for “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3)?

That conversation usually provides a great opportunity to help a believer, especially a recent convert, to search the Scriptures in order to get biblical understanding regarding things they haven’t read or about which they’re confused.

That confusion often includes whether or not the Bible is solely the Word of God, or is it partially from God, or does it contain human contributions in various places?

The numbers of different translations, such as the cultic New World Translation, the messed-up and ego-centric Message, the NIV, the NASB, the NKJV, the KJV, and others, at the very least, may distract Bible readers from the fact that God’s Word (in its original autographs, and as it was later translated correctly) is His Word. It is therefore inerrant, meaning it is completely trustworthy.

“And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4).

“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5).

So, taking the time to meditate on the simple phrase, “Thus saith the LORD,” will enable us to better understand and receive what follows, especially the recognition that it contains instructions coming from God himself!

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD…”

In God’s own words, He is underscoring mankind’s chief problem: self — his wisdom, his might, his riches…Self is not only at the root of humanity’s dominant sin, but it is promoted in the world as the solution to all of mankind’s problems! Self is at the heart of psychological counseling.

It is also at the heart of so-called Christian psychology, which is the attempt to integrate the antichrist teachings of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and their fellow disciples with the teachings of God’s Word.

In the decades of the 1970s and ’80s, those leaders who professed to be Christians rejected the sufficiency of the Scriptures and turned to secular psychotherapists for their godless theories. One such Christian psychologist explained: “It was humanistic psychologists, Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, who first taught us the need for self-love and self-esteem.”

Arguably, the most influential Christian psychologist of that time period, Dr. James Dobson, declared, “If I could write a prescription for the women of the world, it would provide each one of them with a healthy dose of self-esteem and personal worth (taken three times a day until the symptoms disappear). I have no doubt that this is their greatest need.” (Dobson, James, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Women, Tyndale House, 1975, 60.)

Greatest need? That conclusion was not arrived at by meditating upon the Word of God or even reading it casually. There’s no verse that can be found to support such a statement, yet the belief in the value of self-glorying (a.k.a. self-love and self-esteem) is still a delusionary stronghold in Christianity today.

“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me….”

Understanding and knowing God is the foremost way of becoming aware of our lowliness before the great “I AM.” Any attempt at making a self-promoting comparison is both the height of rebellion and an act of insanity.

Yet that didn’t hold back Lucifer in heaven from declaring that he would “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14), nor did it keep Eve from buying the lie that she could be as God (Genesis 3:5). Both self-oriented desires preceded and then brought about sin, first for some angelic beings, and afterward for all humanity.

Understanding and knowing God can only come about through the enablement of the Holy Spirit after a person is born again, which is also necessary for anyone to be able to meditate upon the truth of God’s Word.

As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he “ceased not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That…the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power…” (Ephesians 1:15-19).

John the beloved adds, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life” (1 John 5:20, emphasis added).

Those verses and many more refute the lie of the Contemplative Movement that is gaining followers within the church. Although Isaiah 1:18 declares “Come let us reason together…”, their claim is that we cannot know God through our reason but only through a mystical experience. The list of influential professing Christians who promote some aspect of this error is huge and increasing daily. It includes Richard Foster and his Renovaré ministry, Beth Moore, John Piper, Rick and Kay Warren, Max Lucado, Larry Crabb, the late Dallas Willard, Brian MacLaren, Tony Campolo, and many, many more. The meditative approach they advocate stems from the practices of the Roman Catholic Desert Fathers, and is clearly rooted in Eastern mysticism, the goal of which is to merge with God. It is also at the heart of the religion of the Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

As we noted, the Word of God exhorts us to meditate upon what God Himself has communicated to us. That’s the only way we as believers can know Him better and grow stronger in our relationship with Him. How else can we truly love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind except we immerse ourselves in His Word (Luke 10:27)?

He proclaims, “I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth…”

In getting to know His character, we meditate upon the numerous verses in which He exercises lovingkindness. Psalms 143:8: “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.” We study the different ways He executes judgment and learn that His judgments are always righteous.

John 7:24: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

Finally, in meditating upon what God Himself has communicated, we find that that joyful activity not only increases our understanding and knowledge of Him, but it delights the One “who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15).

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).


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