The Bible does not give the explicit purpose for meditation, which actually makes a lot of sense because we found that there are a number of reasons to meditate. Throughout this post, we will go over Scripture that pertains to meditation, and we will find the purpose of meditation in each Biblical reference.
According to Scripture, what is the purpose of meditation? This is a question with multiple answers, but the main five purposes of meditation are;
- Nearness to God
- Insight & Wisdom
- Success & Prosperity
It is important to know why you’re doing something. Purpose drives passion, and if we are going to be passionate about meditating on God’s Word, then we must understand why God calls us to meditate.
“…But whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”
Nearness to God
God cares for you so much that He wants you to be close to Him. In this Psalm, there is poetic language, referencing those who meditate on His word are like the tree, and that God is like the streams of water. God is our life force, He is our sustainer and provider, which is represented through the tree and the water. There happens to be a nearness in this language that David uses, to show that those who meditate on God’s word are close to Him, and He to us.
From this nearness, the Psalmist David shows us that there is prosperity as we live close to God. As a tree prospers near the streams of water, so will we in nearness to Him. This word “prosper” in this context, comes from the Hebrew word tsalach, meaning “to rush to advance, prosper, make progress, succeed, be profitable.”
“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.”
Insight and Wisdom
When we meditate on God’s Word, we are reminded by this Psalm that there is true wisdom to be attained from God. When meditating on God’s word, one will gather insight even more than those who teach them. God is the ultimate teacher, who bestows wisdom on those who meditate on His word. David knew the benefit of meditation, so he meditated on God’s law “all day long.”
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Here, Paul teaches the Church what we should be meditating on. When we meditate on worthlessness, there is no peace. However, Paul calls us to the goodness that God offers us, this is what we are to meditate on. And when we do, Paul gives the assurance to the Chruch that the God of peace will then be with us.
Just to get a better idea of what this peace means to us from Scripture, and why we should meditate to pursue God’s peace, we will look at the word. Coming from the Greek eirēnē, the word means:
- “of the Messiah’s peace
- the way that leads to peace (salvation)
- of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is”
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success”
Success & Prosperity
God knows what is best for His people, and as they are about to enter into the Promised Land, He desires for all of the nation to live rightly. He especially desires them to meditate on His word, knowing that it would bring them success. “Sakal“, the Hebrew word for “success”, means “to be prudent, be circumspect, wisely understand, prosper.”
As King Joshua was to lead an entire nation into the largest movement of their lives, God told him to meditate. This shows the power of meditation. As they were entering into the Promised Land, the Israelites faced giants and armies before they were to conquer the land. And God chose to call the leader to meditate, only then, would they have Sakal, true success and prosperity in the land.
“On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.”
In this Psalm, we see the importance of meditating on God’s awe-inspiring works. When we meditate on all that God has created, on what He has done, and on who He is, such as His majesty and His wonderful works, we get to praise Him. If we look at David’s words following verse 5, we read:
“He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.
The LORD preserves all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name
Forever and ever”.
So, meditation is a form of praise, and from praising God we have desires fulfilled, salvation, and preservation. This is a weighty purpose and gift that the Lord offers to us through the act of meditation.
Misconceptions of the Purpose Given by Scripture
Ultimately, the purpose of meditation is to deepen our relationship with God, understanding the goodness that comes from being near to Him.
Many people often think that Christian meditation or meditation, in general, is supposed to help us feel good and be happy, to destress, or to empty our minds. This is actually contrary to the real given purpose of meditation through Scripture.
While all of the purposes of Christian meditation may make us feel good and bring us happiness, it is not the primary goal of meditation. Those are byproducts. Happiness is what comes after we are close to God. It is the inner peace and joy that surpasses our environment and circumstances.
We touched on the misconception about destressing. What we must understand about Christian meditation is that we don’t simply avoid stress by meditating, we actually find peace. Peace is the opposite of stress and calamity. And Scripture says that peace will be with us when we meditate on the goodness that He offers.
The idea of emptying our minds is completely contrary to Christian meditation. Scripture actually teaches that we are filled with new wisdom, insight, and understanding when we meditate on God’s Word. There is an enhancement of how we think and what we know when we meditate based on Scripture.