“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2, ESV)
Meditate (הגה hagah)
The Hebrew word from which we translate as “meditate” is found primarily in Hebrew poetry. It appears frequently in the collection of Psalms.
The basic meaning of haga is a “low sound.” The best way to describe it is the “moaning made by a dove” or the “low growling of a lion as it stands over its kill.” It is used a few times in relationship to “mourning.” It is used at least once in reference to the “whispering” of Israel’s enemies when Jerusalem collapsed.
It seems that those who meditated read the Scripture out loud but in a very low voice or whisper. They may have “repeated” the passage and/or in a soft whisper like voice mused over it.
The purpose of mediation was to gain the meaning of a particular Scripture or passage. Meditation was thinking and musing on a passage until the meaning and application was discerned.
Mediation is not indicative of a trance or non-lucid state generated in order to “hear a voice from God, nor a special word from God.” Meditation is not repeating the same words or phrases in order to achieve a spiritual status.
The blessed man, the man who is truly blessed of God is the man (woman) who does not spend time in the company of sinners nor follows the philosophy of this world, but is the man who delights in God’s word. This blessed or happy man also murmurs, mutters, or muses over God’s word until the meaning and application has been discerned.
After selecting a passage of scripture to read employ the following guidelines:
- Read the passage at a normal speed
- Re-read the passage a little slower, observing and absorbing
- Re-read the passage again, lingering on words and phrases
- Re-read the passage again praying over words and phrases
Speak your thoughts and ideas about what the passage says and what it means. Ask and answer the following questions (out loud)”
- Who is speaking?
- Who is being spoken to?
- What is being said?
- Why is being said?
- Why is being said in the manner in which it is being said?
- What does it mean?
- What benefit is derived from what is being said?
- What negative is noted from what it is being sad?
- Where is the action taking place or to take place?
- When is the action to take place?
It is from these questions that you are able to determine or discern the meaning and/or application of a passage. Naturally these questions are not exhaustive. What other questions can you think of?