God Wants Us To Chew On His Word

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8 NIV)

I can remember hearing great sermons or in-depth Bible teaching and wondering how the teacher found all those great nuggets of truth in God’s Word. That’s why I wrote my first book 35 years ago: to help people like me. Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methodsshares 12 methods of Bible study, such as the chapter summary method, the topical method, and the verse-by-verse method.

One of my favorites is the devotional Bible study method. If you were to summarize the devotional method in one word, it would probably be “meditate.” For many, the word “meditate” is a bad word. They associate it with Eastern or New Age religions. Some Christians, when they think of meditation, picture people folding their bodies into pretzels and contemplating the lint on their navel.

That may be Eastern or Buddhist meditation, but it’s not Christian meditation. The Bible uses the word “meditate”29 times in the New International Version to describe a believer’s devotional life. God wants us to meditate.

He promises us that if we meditate on Scripture, he’ll bless us. Joshua 1:8 says, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (NIV).

So, according to God, you have to meditate on his Word if you want to be successful.

So how do you do it? Grab a dictionary and look up a synonym for “meditation,” and you’ll probably find the word “rumination.” You probably don’t know that word unless you happen to be a farmer. Rumination is what a cow does when she chews her cud. She rolls her cud over and over in her mouth.

That’s similar to how you meditate on Scripture. Cows eat the grass, chew it up, and send it to their stomachs pretty quickly. There it lies in the stomach, soaking up all of those acids and chemicals. Then, after a while, the cow burps it back up with a new and renewed flavor, chews on that grass and some other grass, and does the whole process over again. Cows repeat this several times. They get every ounce of nutrition out of the grass.

Biblical meditation is kind of like that; it’s thought digestion. God wants us to get every ounce of spiritual nutrition out of his Word. He wants us to chew on it, digest it, and then chew on it some more.

Talk About It

  • Do you have a place, time, or process for how you spend time with God? How can meditation enhance your quiet time with God?
  • What does it mean to you to be “prosperous” or “successful”? What do you think God equates with success?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


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