Meditation on God's Holy Word. text notes. --Mark Haakonson
Today we are going to take a one week break from our study in 1Peter. You might be wanting some more of that great study like we had last week but I want to share something on my heart.
I know in my personal life, I can be focused on the here and now, and forget what is essential and fundamental as a christian. I get distracted by the immediacy and not turn my eyes toward heaven. Even in my bible reading and prayer time, I can forget to turn my thoughts toward my Lord.
I want us to consider the importance of remembering and meditating upon God alone. In reality this is our purpose as created beings. To be with God and to have fellowship with Him. To worship our Creator. I have titled this message as “Our Foundation Remembered – Elohm.
Bow with me in prayer.
I would like us to read Psalm 46 together. Even though I am not going into an exposition of this passage, I want to consider some key principles contained in its verses.
1(To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.) God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
6The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
8Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
9He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
This passage reminds us that no matter the difficulties in our life God is there with us and in control. We should not trouble ourselves with worry when God's providence, love and mercy are always fulfilled.
It also has strong prophetic significance identifying how God at the end of days will destroy and remake Jerusalem, the earth and the heavens.
Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Rev 21:2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Rev 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Rev 22:2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
An important reminder at the end of the Psalm is to “Be Still and Know that I Am God” I believe this important command is neglected and overlooked. And because of this we continually stumble over the rough ground. Sometimes this phrase is taken out of context and misinterpreted with a false sense of meditation. I have heard a sermon or two that speaks about being quiet and calm. It is more than this. Be still is to surrender oneself. We certainly need to be quiet but we are quiet because Almighty God has revealed his most awesome and fearful works. This Psalm is about God and His sufficiency.
Consider a statement, and I may be going out on a limb here.... “If we dedicate our life to meditating upon God and walking with Him, then godliness becomes easier to fulfill. I even wonder if we would give it a second thought. We would naturally follow in obedience. There is a saying about how difficult it can be to do accomplish a goal. Says easy but does hard. If we were so dedicated to knowing God then just maybe the opposite happens.... Says hard but does easy.
And I believe our meditation is weak in that our view of God is like of a third person we speak about as if he were miles away. He is ever present with us even as I speak. Do we think we can hide from God and think that he doesn't know our thoughts? Do we treat him as ever present, all powerful. Do we pray to him as if it is an email thinking we have a ½ day before he responds. God does not need twitter to know what you are thinking right now.
I too am guilty of these things. This is why I believe we need to be reminded on occasion that we need to take time to meditate solely on God. To consider that everything has a purpose and a place. For instance how do we view God's word. Do we think... oh that's nice. It can be helpful. Or do we think that God specifically gave his written word to teach us things. To reveal himself to his creation. God has given us language and a mind to think critically. A mind to create.
My Thesis for today... To walk with God, to grow spiritually, to be sanctified; we must know God and meditate upon His self-revelation... moment by moment. This is foundational for christian living. If we don't apply ourselves to this we will not grow as believers and we will not be more than conquerors.
Okay the let's consider reasons to study God.
• why were we created.
To worship and fellowship with God and to bring Him pleasure.
By bringing God pleasure we bring true pleasure for ourselves. We should not be pleasure seeking but the result of bringing pleasure to God is our own needs are fulfilled.
Again and I am being redundant on purpose. I am convinced that we cannot live godly lives... we cannot grow spiritually without daily thoughts toward God. We cannot be sanctified until we understand and begin to know God. Doctrine, precepts, application and principles given throughout scripture are in one form or another revealing God. We need to stop and think on these things. This is the heart of meditation. Not voiding our mind of thoughts like eastern new age mysticism. Not thinking of the here and now, or the urgent of the immediate. Meditation is to fill our thoughts with God. The triune God in every aspect, character, and nature. His being.
Meditation on God is foundational
- Our Worship
- God alone is worthy. If we did not have God to worship we would worship ourselves.
- Prevent idolatry by falsely believing in man made ideas of God
- Spiritual Battles
- Difficulties in Life
- Our needs are met.
- Spiritual Growth
- Fear of God is the Beginning of Wisdom
Psa_111:10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Pro_9:10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
- Without knowing God we will never grow in our walk or strengthen our testimony
- I believe immersing ourselves in the knowledge of God will make the transformation into the image of Christ a natural occurrence.
- Transformation begins with fully knowing God
- Without knowing God we will never grow in our walk or strengthen our testimony
- Witness and Testimony
- Command - The hope that is within you 1 Peter.
- We will walk with God - fellowship
- Enoch Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5,6
- Jesus, throughout the gospels, spent time in communion and prayer with the Father. He often took time alone to fully set aside undisturbed attention.
Practical Application (3 basic steps)
• To gain Knowledge of God. Get to know him through reading His Word.
◦ He reveals himself through his Word and why he gave us written revelation: His attributes, His nature, His essence
◦ God's word was written to be read. The word is written so that everyone can understand. This is not a puzzle that only the gifted can understand. There are no hidden clues or special codes to calculate. Certainly God is so infinite that we cannot possibly understand Him fully. That will take an eternity in His presences. But what he has revealed, we are responsible to understand. It is a charter...our created purpose... inherently given to mankind .
◦ Study the attributes of God: e.g. The trinity; immutability; omni's; justice; wrath; jealous
• Meditate upon what is revealed about God.
▪ Example: Genesis 1:1In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.
▪ 1:26Let Us make man in our Image.
◦ Singing of Hymns
◦ Scripture Memory
◦ without ceasing
◦ In worship - our prayers often times are self-centered. We need to spend time just speaking our thoughts to God. We need to pray back our understanding of Him in worship, in awe, in fear
▪ The Psalms are excellent examples of prayers.
▪ God knows us. Nothing is hid from him. Just speak what is in your heart. This is important because you are no longer deceiving yourself but admitting your frailties or sin.
Be Still and know that I am God
A command to cease effort. To quit your activity. In context it means to quit striving against God. To surrender and give over to His will. Remember that striving with God can also mean a lack of Faith and Trust that results in Fear of events and people around you. Striving brings Anxiety and Frustration. These are areas in my life I battle and in reality I am striving against God.
To gain understanding and wisdom. That is to fear God. When our knowledge causes us to Fear God then we are just beginning to understand Him.
If we focus primarily on love and mercy then we distort and have an imbalanced view of God. We don't understand a just and righteous God who demands without compromise his wrath towards sin.
Knowledge does not happen on its own. We have to work to gain it. We need purposeful activity with goals to achieve. And in gaining knowledge we need to be dedicated to seek the full counsel of God, not just what we like. This includes the difficult and hard.
I AM God
One primary implication is that God is sufficient. We need nothing else in life. Remember the wonderful Psalm 23
David Psalm 8, 19, 91, 139
Psalm 8 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
• God questions Job about understanding creation:
the universe, stars, oceans, clouds, springs of the sea, treasures of the snow, lightning, animals and their instinctual behaviors.
• Jobs answers
◦ Job 40:4Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
◦ Job 42:1-6 Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Names of God
ELOHIM: God, Judge, Creator
EL SHADDAI: All-Sufficient One, Lord God Almighty
EL ELYON: The Most High God
EL OLAM: The Everlasting God, The God of Eternity, The God of the Universe, The God of Ancient Days
ADONAI: LORD, MASTER
YAHWEH: LORD, JEHOVAH
This name of God which (by Jewish tradition) is too holy to voice
JEHOVAH NISSI: The Lord My Banner, The Lord My Miracle
JEHOVAH-RAAH: THE LORD MY SHEPHERD
JEHOVAH RAPHA: THE LORD WHO HEALS
JEHOVAH SHAMMAH: THE LORD IS THERE
JEHOVAH TSIDKENU: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS
JEHOVAH MEKODDISHKEM: The Lord Who Sanctifies You, The Lord Who Makes Holy
JEHOVAH JIREH: THE LORD WILL PROVIDE
JEHOVAH SHALOM: THE LORD IS PEACE
JEHOVAH SABAOTH: The Lord of Hosts, The Lord of Powers
To meditate upon God is to begin the journey of Godliness. Meditation often will reset our compass so that we stay on course. I am convinced that we cannot live godly righteous lives without an ever growing knowledge of God. We cannot be sanctified without our thoughts toward heaven and our Creator each and every day... even each and every hour. To know and fellowship with God fulfills the very purpose we are created for. Take time this week and meditate upon God. Think upon his name and what the meaning implies or what it encompasses.