Look Back to Part 1
Your mind never stops working. Talk about exhausting! But you need something more than just a mental diversion to quiet its noise. You need to think long and deeply about the truths of Scripture in the context of what is actually happening in your life. When you practice biblical meditation in this way, you can actually rewire your brain and change the way it looks at the circumstances of your life!
Look Back to Part 2
As your brain is changed, the rest of you (your soul) is affected as well. Every time your soul is bombarded, you have a choice. You can either seek a mental diversion that won’t satisfy, or you can Pause & Think on Scripture and the God of Scripture. Jeremiah 6:16 promises that when we stand at this crossroads and choose the good way, we find rest for our souls! Biblical meditation is a gift to you and your soul. It can calm the chaos and lead you into greater intimacy with God!
Today, let’s take a look at this process in action!
Are you as encouraged as I am when you find out you’re not alone? You’re not the only one whose soul is bombarded every day or whose mind is filled with noise. It’s a condition of humanity. Today we’re going to take a look at an Old Testament prophet who experienced these same things. He experienced pain and heartache to the point where he lost hope. (Be encouraged. Prophets are real people too!)
We find the story in Lamentations 3:17-25. Most scholars believe that the prophet here is Jeremiah. The historical timeline is right and the tone of the letter fits as well. So, we’re going think in those terms. At this point in time, the people of Israel have experienced the fall of Jerusalem. Many have been killed. Some have been led away into exile. And a few remain in the city. Jeremiah was one who remained.
Leading up to this event, Jeremiah had warned the people of the coming destruction and captivity. He had urged them to repent and turn back to God. But the people would not listen. They instead listened to the false prophets. Prophets who gave messages of abundance and good times that were coming. Prophets who said what the people wanted to hear.
Imagine Jeremiah in this setting. Speaking truth that no one will listen to. Watching his people that he dearly loves suffer, die and be led away. Seeing the temple and the city destroyed. Feeling the deep pain and sorrow of it all. Wishing that the people had only listened to his warnings and returned to God. Can you imagine his heartache? Can you imagine the desperation? Perhaps even the feelings of failure?
This is where we enter the story. Verses 17-20 describe exactly where Jeremiah is and the state of his soul.
Jeremiah has no peace or happiness. He can’t endure one more thing. He has faced hardship, stress and fatigue for too long. His stamina is gone. He is in a state of hopelessness.
He then recalls and recounts the mental and physical distress that has afflicted him. He tells of his wandering around because he has no home or place to live. Everything is bitter, grievous and distressful.
And what is the result? His soul remembers it. He is bombarded by it at every turn. He can’t get away from it. His soul is crushed.
Have you felt this way at some point in your life?
Maybe the circumstances were different, but the result was the same. Maybe you’re feeling this way today. Notice that God doesn’t berate Jeremiah for feeling this way. Jeremiah wasn’t a failure either. It was a natural, human response to everything that was happening.
But at this moment, Jeremiah also stood at a crossroads. He had a choice to either continue dwelling on what was happening or to fill his mind with truth and thoughts of God.
The next verse tells us what he chose.
To call something to mind means
to bring one’s thoughts or attention back to something previously considered
You must constantly, over and over, fill your mind with truth. It takes discipline. It takes intentionality. It did for Jeremiah and it will for you too. But what was the result? Hope! The expectation that something good would happen again.
Now it doesn’t tell us how long he thought about these truths. But I believe it wasn’t just a passing thought. To get Jeremiah from where he was to where he had hope again, required time. I know! I’ve been there! Reminding myself of a truth when my soul is crushed is not an immediate cure-all. It takes days and weeks, and sometimes even years for the truth to permeate, change my thought patterns and bring about restoration.
I believe Jeremiah meditated.
He rehearsed the truths over and over in his mind. He thought about them in the context of his life. And he talked to God about it all. What truths did he meditate on? We see them in the next two verses.
There’s a lot of truth in these two short verses. Truth that applies to every life and every season. Truth about the character of God. Here are a few truth statements from these verses that you can hold on to today
- No matter what your circumstances look like or how bleak the future looks, God is loving you.
- God has a feeling of deep sorrow for the misfortune you are experiencing.
- God doesn’t grow weary of extending His favor to you or holding back what is deserved.
- God can be counted on! He will never change!
What else happened in Jeremiah’s life when he meditated on these truths? We see in the next two verses.
Notice what HAS changed – Jeremiah’s perspective. It is no longer significant to him that he doesn’t have a home because the Lord is his inheritance. He is confident that God is the one responsible to look after him and take care of him. Hope has been restored to his soul.
Notice what has NOT changed – Jeremiah’s circumstances. He still doesn’t have a home. Jerusalem is still destroyed. His people are still suffering. But Jeremiah believes that God is at work and that good will come. Why does he believe that? Because God is good to those who depend on Him and trust Him.
Jeremiah’s perspective changed as a result of meditating on these truths. His mind moved from being focused on his circumstances to being focused on his God.
This can happen in your life too!
God wants to meet you in the midst of whatever circumstances of life are weighing you down today, wherever you have lost hope, whatever is bombarding you. He wants to bring you to Himself, restore your hope, show you His goodness and be your portion.
This can happen as you choose to meditate, to Pause & Think. You can intentionally turn your mind to the truth of God and His Word, think about it in the context of what is happening in your life and talk to Jesus about it. You can choose the good way and find rest for your soul.
Where are you today? Can you relate to the state of Jeremiah’s soul? What do you want God to do for you? Pray for God to make His character real in your mind and heart as revealed in this passage. Choose one of these attributes and truths to fill your mind with this week.
- God is loving – No matter what your circumstances look like or how bleak the future looks, God is loving you.
- God is merciful – God has a feeling of deep sorrow for the misfortune you are experiencing.
- God’s mercy is constant – God doesn’t grow weary of extending His favor to you or holding back what is deserved.
- God is faithful – God can be counted on! He will never change!
In Part 4 of this series, we’ll get REALLY practical about HOW to actually practice Biblical Meditation. It will be in a Q &A format that will lay out a simple process you can get started with right away! And there will be FREE resources to help you!