“Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.” (Psalm 119:27)
The remarkable 119th Psalm, with its 22 eight-verse stanzas, is the unique “song of the word,” containing 176 testimonies or prayers concerning God’s Word—one for each verse. Eight times the word “meditate” or “meditation” is used, indicating the importance of this practice in relation to the Scriptures. In our text, this word is translated “talk,” but its basic thrust is to exhort us to meditate on the wonderful works of God, once we understand the way of His precepts.
The other seven references to meditation in this psalm are as follows: “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways” (v. 15). “Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes” (v. 23). “My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes” (v. 48). “Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts” (v. 78). “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (v. 97). “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation” (v. 99). “Mine eyes prevent [i.e., anticipate] the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word” (v. 148).
There is, of course, a counterfeit form of meditation (e.g., the so-called transcendental meditation and other forms of mysticism), not to mention useless daydreaming. These forms of meditation involve clearing one’s mind of all subjects, and allowing the mind to wander. In contrast, true meditation involves pondering with awe and thankfulness God’s wonderful Word, His ways, and His works—in connection with prayer and the study of the Holy Scriptures. As an exercise of the mind as well as of the spirit, it is of great blessing and most pleasing to God. HMM