Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

— Audio Player —

Meditating on God’s Word

Episode notes:

These series make up today's Revive Our Hearts Weekend program:

"Indispensable Ingredients for Life"

"The Joy of Memorizing the Word"

---------------------------

Dannah Gresh: God’s Word is life.

Samantha Lister: “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Ps. 119:105 ESV)

Asheritah Ciuciu: “Help me to stay on the path of your commands, for I take pleasure in it.” (Ps.119:35 CSB)

Sarah Walton: “The unfolding of Your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” (Ps. 119:130 ESV)

Kristen Clark: “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” (Ps. 119:25 ESV)

Dannah: Welcome to Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh. 

When children are young we teach them to hide God’s Word in their hearts, that they might not sin against Him. That comes from Psalm 119:11.

One translation says, "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." (ESV)

And another version says, "I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you." (CSB)

And here’s another translation, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." (NIV)

Each verse is almost identical except for the word stored, or treasured, or hidden. 

Last summer we talked about memorizing Scripture, and while I know this is important, I admitted to you that it’s a hard thing for me to memorize. But in saying those words for you God pricked my heart a bit, and I began to memorize Psalm 91. 

I started out with the intent to memorize, but I also discovered the beauty of meditating on God’s Word—sitting and pondering and saying it over and over again. I’ve been hiding God’s Word in my heart, treasuring it, storing it ,and and many days these words are on my mind: 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust. (vv. 1–2)

The more and more I repeat those words, I’ve memorized, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High." I choose to dwell, to think, to meditate on, that’s my cooperation with God’s Spirit. When I do that, this passages promises I will abide or live right in the shadow of the Almighty. And then, I’ll say from experience, God is my refuge and fortress. I trust Him! It is as I dwell, think, and meditate that I’m covered in the might of God! The more and more these words become true to me, the more powerful and sure they are in my mind, in my heart! 

I’ve learned that memorization is mighty powerful to this girl’s heart! So today I want to explore the power God has for us when we meditate on His Word. We’ll hear from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Nancy Epperson.

If you’ve listened to Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth on the daily broadcast of Revive Our Hearts, you know she has memorized a lot of God’s Word. And you also know that she has been an inspiration for many women to hide God’s Word in their hearts. Here’s what Nancy has to say about meditating on God’s Word.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: In the Old Testament there are two Hebrew words that are primarily used for meditation. It’s a word that means "to murmur," "to mutter," "to sigh," or "to whisper."

One commentator says the word describes a low moaning sound like that of a dove.

It's interesting. As I've been working on this series, there has been working under my window (I've not been able to see, but I've been able to hear) what sounds like a morning dove. It's got that low, mourning, moaning sound of a morning dove. I had never noticed it before. But it's been outside of my study window for days now as I've been studying this passage.

Every time I hear this sound I think of that muttering, murmuring, sighing, whispering. It’s keeping the word on your tongue. It’s mulling it over.

There’s another word that’s used for meditation in the Psalms. It’s a similar word. It means "to ponder," "to muse," "to converse aloud or even with oneself." It’s okay to talk to yourself if you’re murmuring, muttering, meditating on the Word of God.

It’s a word that means "to consider," "to think upon something." It conveys the idea of going over a matter in one’s mind, rehearsing it, whether inwardly or outwardly. I’m quoting from a reference book that defines some of these Old Testament words for us.1 So to meditate.

Psalm 119 says, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways (Ps. 119:15). "O how I love your law. It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97). It's something I’m always thinking about, always pondering, always musing over, always considering, talking about it to myself and to others.

The picture we get in the New Testament of someone meditating is in Luke Chapter 2, where we read that Mary of Nazareth treasured up all these things that she had been seeing and hearing. "She treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart" (v. 19).

We’re a generation that has so much coming at us so quickly that I find that a lot of information just goes in and out as quickly as it came in. We’re deluged with input and information, particularly those of us who use the Internet a lot. I do a lot of research on the Internet. I can read something on the Internet and forget what I read five minutes later because I’m taking so much in.

The danger is that we would do that with the Word of God, that it would be easy in and easy out. What the Scripture is talking about here is something that helps to keep the Word of God in you—not going in one ear and out the other—but stopping and even as you’re moving throughout the day, to ponder, to meditate, to consider it, to review it, to treasure it in your heart.

We’re not talking about the kind of meditation you will hear about sometimes with Eastern religions. The concept there is that you empty the mind, that you put it in neutral. That’s not the biblical concept of meditation at all.

We’re talking in Scriptural terms about consciously pondering, dwelling on, and filling our minds with the Word of God, not to vacate our minds, but to fill up our minds. Let me say this, you can’t be filling your mind with the Word of God if you’re always filling it with all kinds of other stuff. You’re going to overload.

If we’re going to be filling our minds with the Word of God. That means that there are some other things that we’re not going to have time to put into our minds.

So how do we meditate? I don’t want to give you any formula, but let me just give you some thoughts that have been helpful to me. I’d say that the starting place is to read the Scripture. You say, “Well, that isn’t very profound.” Maybe not. But maybe it really is profound.

There’s no shortage of Bibles in our country. There are more different kinds of Bibles available now than ever. More different translations. We have versions that are geared toward every conceivable demographic. Fancy covers—your Bible can now be a fashion statement.

The key is not what does the cover of your Bible look like? The key is what’s inside the cover and do you know it? Are you familiar with it? Are you reading it?

Surveys show that over 90% of Americans own at least one Bible. The average household has three. Most committed Christians own far more than that. I own scores of Bibles. Yet according to Gallup polls 40% of Americans do not read the Bible even occasionally. We have Bibles, but we are not reading them.

David Jeremiah, I read recently said, “The real issue is not whether you own a Bible or how many, but whether your Bible owns you.” That’s what meditation does for us. It keeps us from just owning Bibles and gets us to the place where the Bible owns us.

Let me encourage you as you set out to meditate on God’s Word—and if you want to be successful in whatever God has given you to do at this season of life, that is the key. God said, “If you do this, you will be successful.” One way to meditate on it as you read it is to look for ways to keep God’s Word in front of you when you’re doing other things to have Scripture in front of you.

I love having in my house framed pieces—sometimes they’re pictures, sometimes not—that have Scriptures on them. I have them in my bathroom and in my bedroom and in my sitting room and in my dining room and in my living room and in my guest room. So any place I go in my house I’m going to have the opportunity to be exposed to the Word of God.

Listen to the entire episode, "Planting Your Life in God's Word." This comes from the series, "Indispensable Ingredients for Life."

Dannah: Thanks, Nancy. I needed that. Did you hear that quote Nancy shared from Dr. David Jeremiah? He said, “The real issue is not whether you own a Bible or how many, but whether your Bible owns you.” That is one powerful statement, and . . . convicting. Is your Bible so ingrained in your life that it owns you? Does it pull you in during the day? Do you lose track of time when you’re reading it or meditating on it? 

One old-time commentator said, “Meditation is to reading the Word, what digesting is to eating. Without the slow and lengthened process of digestion, food would not nourish the body. Without meditation, the Word read will not nourish the soul.”

Nancy Epperson loves God’s Word and has been memorizing and meditating on Scripture since she was a young Christian. She told Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth that she wanted God’s Word to dwell in her,  like the digestion process. She wanted God’s Word to spill over in her heart and life. And so she started to memorize and meditate. Here’s Nancy Epperson reciting Joshua 1:8.

Nancy Epperson: "This book of the law shall not depart out of [your] mouth, but [you] shall meditate therein day and night, that [you may] observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then [you] will make [your] way prosperous, and then [you’ll] have good success." (Joshua 1:8)

I thought, “Oh, that’s so interesting. This promises if I’ll meditate on God’s Word, God promises I’ll be a success.” I wanted to be a success. I wanted at that time to be a successful student, witness, church member. I just wanted to bring glory to God. I didn’t want to be mediocre. I wanted to be the best I could be for the Lord.

When I stumbled on that, I got so excited, and then I read Psalm 1:

Blessed [happy] is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (vv. 1–3)

I got excited. God Almighty promised that He would honor His Word. He would honor me if I would meditate on Scripture and what I would do would be a success. Now, I don’t think that means that I was going to be rich or have a lot of material things, but I do believe that means God’s hand of blessing will rest on your life if you will hide His Word in your heart and meditate on it.

Then I began to look into it even more, and I found in Psalm 63:5–6, it says:

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.

There is such a joy that comes with meditating on God’s Word. I am often awakened in the night. In fact, every night of my life I wake up at some point, and I think on God’s Word. Obviously, I don’t want to turn on the light and wake up my husband, disturb him, but I just lie there and meditate. It’s such a blessing.

Then I stumbled on Psalm 119:97–98 which says:

Oh how I love thy law. It is my meditation all the day, thou through thy commandments has made me wiser than my enemies which are ever before me.

So God promises to give more wisdom than our enemies.

Then in Psalm 119:99–100, it says:

I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

So there is a wisdom that comes from meditating on Scripture.

Then in 1 Timothy 4:15 it says:

Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them [completely to them]; that thy profiting may appear to all.

So there again, as we meditate on Scripture, it will be apparent to those around us that something’s going on in our lives. I think part of the reason is, to meditate on God’s Word, well, you have to memorize it. As you’re memorizing Scripture, you’re forced to think on it because one of the important principles in memorizing is actually to understand exactly what it is you’re memorizing, and the whole act is an act of worship.

As you’re memorizing and meditating, everything about it forces you to think on God’s Word. The more you spend time in the Word of God, the more you get to know the Author of that Book. The more you get to know Him, the more you love Him, because to know Him is to love Him. The more you love Him, it just kind of spills out. It just spills out all over.

The more you get to know Him, the more you love Him.

Nancy: Now, our listeners can’t see what I’m seeing, and that is that you’re quoting all these Scriptures without a Bible in front of you. You’re not looking at any notes, and you didn’t flip the pages, which is okay to do on this program. But this is in your head; it’s in your heart; it’s in your memory.

Nancy Epperson: It is.

Nancy: Are these verses you memorized a long time ago? Have you reviewed them recently? They’re just right on the tip of your tongue. How is that?

Nancy Epperson: They are, and it’s probably because I meditate on them. When you meditate, what happens is you just internalize the Scripture. By internalizing it, by thinking on it, you just kind of lock it into your soul.

So to think on it and meditate on it. One of the reasons we know the Bible is the Word of God is because of its inexhaustibility. You can go over the same passage every day of your life and every day the Spirit of God can reveal some new wonderful truth or apply it in some new wonderful way. It's so important to review. Another word for reviewing is meditating.

Nancy: Do you do that systematically? Do you have a list of Scriptures that you want to keep fresh?

Nancy Epperson: Yes. Obviously I can’t meditate every day on all the Scriptures, so I have to do certain Scriptures each day of the week. Once you’ve started memorizing books of the Bible, which I have, obviously I can’t meditate on all of them. I’d be meditating all day long. So I have to break it up.

I redeem the time. When I’m driving, I’m quoting Scripture and thinking on God’s Word. When I’m in the doctor’s office—I always have my Bible. So if I’m not reading my Bible, I’m meditating on Scripture.

I had to have an MRI. I’m going to tell you, if I had not had God’s Word in my heart and in my life, I would never have gone through that. But I’ll tell you exactly what I did. I just closed my eyes, and I just thought on the Word of God. I can tell you it was forty-five minutes, and it was just the sweetest time of fellowship. I actually left that procedure with a heart full and just with a joy. It was a blessed time with the Lord.

Nancy: Some people would leave that procedure thinking they were going crazy.

Nancy Epperson: Yes, because it’s so loud and noisy. But I just blocked it out and thought on God’s Word. It was just a precious time.

Listen to the entire episode, "You Have the Ability to Memorize!" This comes from the series, "The Joy of Memorizing the Word."

Dannah: Think on God’s Word throughout your day. And the only way you can do that is to meditate on it, to hide it in your heart. Here are the easy steps to meditation:

  • Read it.
  • Ponder it.
  • Memorize it.
  • Pray through it.
  • Personalize it.
  • Internalize it.
  • Apply it to your own life.
  • Mull it over. 
  • Talk about it with others.

You know, it’s funny. I told my friend Leah that I was memorizing Psalm 91. So, she took it on, too. And when we gathered every Sunday at church, we could talk about where we were, what we were learning, and . . . well, honestly, even what was difficult as we tried to really grasp the chapter’s meaning for our own lives. 

If you aren’t working on a passage right now, for either memorizing or meditating, can I ask you to think through a verse or passage to start on? Here’s the thing. We are a few weeks from the start of a new year, and I know Nancy will probably ask you to get in the Word of God. What better way to do so than read, ponder, meditate, and even memorize? Hey, why not join me in Psalm 91.

Andrew Peterson:

We who walk in darkness deep,
Now see the light of morning.
The Mighty God, the Prince of Peace,
A child to us is born.1

Dannah: Last week was the first weekend for Advent, and we lit the first candle in the advent wreath. It was the candle signifying hope, and we talked about how God’s people were waiting in expectation for their Savior, their Messiah.

This week, we’re gonna light the second candle, and today on this second weekend for Advent, we’ll take a look at peace. 

From Isaiah 9:

For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
   and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (v. 6 ESV)

Remember what the angels said to the shepherds the night Jesus was born? They said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:14 ESV) The angels knew His purpose, what He’d bring to the waiting world. They recognized the fullness of God that was wrapped in the tiny flesh of an infant. Emmanuel. God with us.

The word "peace" is the Hebrew word shalom, which means completeness or well-being.

Jesus came to bring that peace. God’s people thought Jesus would bring peace by being a ruler who would overturn the oppressive rule of the Romans. But Jesus came to make us complete by saving us from our own sinfulness.

Philippians 2:8–10 says:

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. (ESV)

And 1 Timothy 1:15–17:

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)

Father in heaven, thank You for the gift of Your Son Jesus who came to be the Prince of Peace and save us from our sinfulness. Help us to trust in your Son to make us complete and to show your peace to a watching world.

We have a list of Scriptures for you to ponder and maybe even meditate on this week. That list can be found on our website ROH.com/weekend; look for today’s episode, "Meditating on God’s Word."

Andrew Peterson:

Oh the Lamb of God,
Who takes away our sin.
Behold the Lamb of God,
The life and light of men.

Behold the Lamb of God,
Who died and rose again.
Behold the Lamb of God,
Who comes to take away our sin.

Dannah: And that, my friend, is timeless truth. That’s what I love about Revive Our Hearts. We are committed to bringing God’s truth to women all over the world. 

I want to let you know about an opportunity here at year end. Some generous friends of the ministry have so graciously offered to match every gift given this month. So for every dollar that is given, they will give a dollar also. So the $50 or $100 you were thinking of giving will actually turn into $100 or $200. Give a financial gift this month and your donation is doubled.

We are asking God for $2.8 million dollars this month. It sounds like a lot, and it is. But this money we are asking God for will help us continue reaching women with the hope and peace of Christ. Will you consider giving this month and helping us reach our goal? Remember, every dollar is doubled when you give in the month of December. Call 1–800–569–5959, or go online to ReviveOurHearts.com/weekend and click on today’s episode. It’s called "Meditating on God’s Word."

In today’s Advent reading, Remember how the angels knew Jesus’ purpose here on earth? He had a mission, one that He’s passed on to us. Next week, we’ll take a look at that mission and how we need to live it out.

Thanks for listening today. Thanks as always to our team: Phil Krause, Dylan Weibel, Rebekah Krause, Justin Converse, Michelle Hill, and for Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh

Revive Our Hearts Weekend is an outreach of Revive Our Hearts, calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

All Scripture is taken from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

1“Behold the Lamb of God,” Andrew Peterson, Behold the Lamb of God ℗ 2019 Andrew Peterson.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Support the Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

Darkness. Fear. Uncertainty. Women around the world wake up hopeless every day. What if you could play a part in bringing them freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness instead? Your gift ensures that we can continue to spread the message that Christ is King and that the way to know Him is through His Word. Spread gospel hope! Donate now.

Donate Now

About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Host

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

About the Guest