Every Sunday he starts his sermon with the same prayer, repeating the Psalmist’s cry:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
We hear this call to focus week after week and sometimes it just takes that echo to reach the deeper places. And this Hebrew word, higgayown, means the resounding of a harp string. It is a somber resounding which reminds us of the original pluck.
Our hearts have resoundings too.
Once I heard a professor call meditation the “chewing of cud.” As humans, we take a bite and digest it. For animals who chew cud, they initially chew and chew the food, mixing it with their own juices and then they swallow it, but then literally bring the cud back up and ruminate again. The second swallow allows the food to go deeper into the second stomach where the cud is “sorted” from what is not edible and finally that substance goes into a stomach which is much like ours – where full integration of the food occurs in digestion.
Meditation is like this process. We take in some idea or thought or Scripture and we chew on it. If we are in a rush, we may want to gobble the stuff down like a teen boy on his way to meet his friends — we miss the meat this way. If we chew and chew and allow our mind to dwell, we are like the cow — breaking it down and mixing it with what is already within us. We can then bring the thought back up and chew some more. When we have finished chewing, the thought needs to be sorted from what is not edifying. We must discern before we fully digest. Finally we can integrate the goodness into our very being and it will come out of us in the end (pun intended), but, not in the way of a cow. Our meditation is shown in our words. God says, “Out of the mouth the heart speaks.” It is from our meditation, we speak. Our heart dwells on various thoughts and those thoughts become so much a part of us that they are our utterances. We are doing this all day long without thinking about it. God is prompting us into awareness through Psalm 19:14. Am I chewing on what is helpful, uplifting, and pleasing to God?
In His Word, God refers to meditation as hagiyg, or murmuring. The ancient practice was to mumble to oneself parts of God’s law or other Scripture. God encourages us to meditate upon His testimonies and His law. He also instructs us to meditate upon Him and His character. God extends an invitation to us which goes above what is seen. He wants to lift our heads and refresh our hearts.
We can meditate on so many things – and not even realize it. I can find myself distracted and “mumbling” over all sorts of things – what must get done, what is going on with the kids, what goals I have for my week or life, things which hurt me and much more. Like grazing animals, we are prone to nibble on all sorts of items as we search for what will nourish and that is why we must sort out what is for our final consumption and what should be rejected.
It seems only right and good that we meditate on things which will bring about the best for us and bless others. As the psalmist prays, we long for our words to be acceptable in God’s sight. It all comes down to the meditation, or focus, of our heart and mind.
This week, as I walk in my marriage, my motherhood and my friendships I will be intentionally praying that prayer which could seem obvious, but contains a prescription for abundant life. O Lord, let the meditation of my heart and the words of my mouth be acceptable in Your sight, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Will you join me?
Cow Photo courtesy of Mike Fowkes; Harp Photo courtesy of Rama on WikiCommons