Psalm 48: Meditate

Psalm 48 is about Jerusalem, more accurately, how God’s character could be seen through His presence in and actions toward Jerusalem. The Sons of Korah sang of God’s greatness, of His protection, of His defeat of their enemies, of their security in Him and His love toward them and then they sang a declaration of their own, a response to God, “we meditate on Your unfailing love.” God showed His love to Jerusalem and the Sons of Korah led Jerusalem to meditate on God’s love. We know that the Bible talks quite a bit about meditation. Joshua was commanded to meditate on the Book of the Law day and night. Psalm 1 tells us that blessing comes from mediating on God’s law. Psalm 119, the longest of the Psalms and the one that concentrates solely on the greatness of God’s Word, tells us five different times to meditate upon it. Meditating is a Biblical truth that has been hijacked by lesser thoughts, the Body of Christ should be leading in it, but at times it seems like we may be running from it. I’m afraid that is because we don’t really know what it means to meditate, we aren’t sure of what meditation is. My question, in light of Psalm 48:9’s commitment to meditate upon God’s unfailing love, is what does that look like?

The Hebrew word that is translated as “meditate” in some English translations and “think” or “contemplate” in others is quite interesting. It means “to be like, resemble” but can also carry the meaning “to imagine, think”. Gesenius’ Hebrew -Chaldee Lexicon says that in this instance the word means “to remember”. Michael Wilkcock writes that we can understand verse 9 to mean “picturing in our minds God’s covenant love in action”. His premise is that this brings our imagination into our mediation. We celebrate the imaginations of children, the broader their imagination the more creative we find them to be, but then as we get a bit older, we are told not to let our imaginations run away with us. What if our imagination was meant to be a tool of our worship, a way that we see God more clearly and that we remember what God’s done more fully? What if meditation is not intellectually concentrating on a truth we hope to learn, but vividly remembering the truth and love we’ve already received?

In verse 8, the Sons of Korah wrote, “As we have heard, so have we seen . . .” That’s the language of vivid remembrance, of thinking back strongly enough to see, in the heart and the mind the beauty we have lived in and the goodness that has been tasted. That’s the language of imagination, they heard the reports of the past and as they pictured them, they realized that they had also seen those same reports come to pass in their own lives. That’s what testimonies are supposed to do, not just give us hope to hold on to but to reveal that we’ve seen it too, the love He’s shown others He’s also shown me, the goodness that chased David has also chased me. We tend to allow our imaginations to be relegated to remembering things we’d like to forget, but what about using them to recall the things that should never be forgotten?

God didn’t just create us with the gift of imagination, but He also built in times and tools of remembrance, opportunities to use our imaginations for worship. Isn’t that what the festivals are? Passover wasn’t just a look forward, it was looking forward because of what we see when we look back? The Stones of remembrance that God commanded Joshua to set up after Israel crossed the Jordan River were a place to ponder, to tell the story to the generations that would come after, a place to close their eyes and remember the sights, the sounds and even the emotions of God’s deliverance in their lives. Part of our problem is that we have removed our imagination from our worship. We have the ability to anxiously imagine every bad thing that might happen, even to vividly remember every disappointing or painful thing we’ve gone through, but we rarely imagine the work of God. When was the last time we sat back, closed our eyes and picture Israel walking through the Red Sea on dry ground or Miriam dancing and singing on the other side after it had closed on Egypt’s army? Why is it that we don’t picture Resurrection morning when we are afraid that all is lost in our lives, we don’t imagine Mary’s reaction to hearing that she will bear the Son of God when we think that something is impossible, we don’t look at the cross in our hearts when we feel unloved in our lives? What if all that’s missing in our worship, all that we need for our faith, all that will chase away our anxiety is to place God’s love and God’s Word in the center of our imaginations? 

Today I’d like to challenge you to not just remember, not just think about, not even to just meditate, but to envision the work that God has already done. Imagine the moments you’ve read about but also relive, in your heart’s eye, the moments that you’ve already experienced, see the hand of God, hear the songs of deliverance, feel His unfailing love. Meditation is not just when we memorize Bible verses, it’s when we relive the moments that changed everything.


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