Psalm 119:15

Psalm 119: An Exposition
Charles Bridges

"I will meditate on your precepts,
and contemplate your ways."

Rejoicing in the testimonies of God will flow naturally into a habitual meditation on them. The thoughts follow the affections. The carnal man can never be brought to this resolution. Having no spiritual taste, he has no ability for spiritual meditation. Indeed, even many sincere Christians, through remaining weakness and depravity, are also often reluctant to engage in it. They are content with a cursory reading of the Scriptures. With scarcely a struggle or a trial they persuade themselves that they are unable to sufficiently disengage their minds in order to pursue this blessed employment. But let the trial be undertaken, and it will prove otherwise. Perseverance will accomplish the victory over mental instability, and any spiritual difficulty will give way to the prayer, "Lord, help me!"

The fruitfulness of meditation will soon be manifest. Does it not "stir up the gift of God that is in us" and keep the energies of the heart in a state of readiness for conflict and resistance? Besides this, it is the digestive faculty of the soul; meditation converts the word into real and proper nourishment. This revolving of a single verse in our minds is often better than the superficial reading of whole chapters. "Your words were found, and I ate them, and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart." Thus the mind becomes the instrument of faith and love, of joy and strength.

But this meditation need not be restricted to those special times set aside for devotion. This train of holy thoughts should pass through the mind during the busy hours of the day as well. This maintains a steady flow of spiritual desires and excites the flame of love within, till at last the Psalmist's resolution becomes the implanted habit of our minds--"I will meditate on your precepts."

If indeed the salvation of Jesus has been made known to our souls, can we lack a subject for meditation? While musing upon the glorious theme, does not the fire burn within, as if our hearts were touched with a live coal from the altar of God? Chide then, believer, your dull and sluggish spirit that allows the precious manna to lie neglected upon the ground. Chide that spirit which is slow to entertain these heavenly thoughts, yes, even that heavenly guest, the Holy Spirit, whose peculiar office it is to help our infirmities, and especially to "take of Christ's and declare it to us."

Yet the exercise of this, as of every other duty, may sadly prove a barren form that imparts neither pleasure nor profit. Let each of us then ask, "What distinct practical benefit have I received from the word? Do I feast on it with prayerful meditation until I find my heart filled?"

Communing with the word is not solely for contemplation; it is for practice too. By meditating on God's precepts we learn to have respect to his ways, carefully pondering the path of our feet that we turn not aside. "Your loving-kindness is before my eyes; and I have walked in your truth" (Ps. 26:3). "My foot," says Job, "has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:11, 12).

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