A testimony about the Christian discipline of Bible meditation  

Strictly speaking, the two Old Testament Hebrew words for meditating both mean ‘to utter’ or ‘to mutter/murmur’ – an excellent way to fix texts of Scripture in your mind, of course. But Psalm 119:99 (New Living Translation) expresses what we usually consider to be the nature of Bible meditation: ‘. . . I am always thinking of your laws.’  We might say, ‘I am pondering God’s word.’ The dictionary says that pondering is: ‘thinking through and deeply about’. However, the related adjective, ‘ponderous’, is somewhat scary: it means ‘serious and dull, heavy and unwieldy, slow and clumsy’! Well, that’s because to ponder means ‘to weigh something up’, being derived from the Latin pondus, ‘a weight’; and, prior to kilos, it gave us the English word ‘pound’ when we could buy a pound of sausages or two pounds of sugar.

We get one other clue about meditating on God’s word by comparing two New Testament Greek nouns that mean ‘word’. Logos is always used for the Scriptures – God’s written word. The other one, rhema, generally indicates his utterance – his spoken word. Here is a testimony of mine about how God has spoken a rhema on several occasions from one verse of his written logos with a different emphasis in his tone of voice each time. The verse is Jeremiah 1:5.

‘I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’

            First time. Although I started preaching throughout South Wales and England in my mid-teens, I never ministered outside of the United Kingdom until my mid-thirties when I was invited to travel overseas. When I got the first invitation I heard God say:

            ‘I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’

(The story of that first journey in a second-hand car was an adventure in itself!)

            Second time. A few years later I fell into a depression and felt I was a failure in the ministry. Just then I got a letter inviting me to speak with a few other preachers at a conference of several hundred ministers on the theme of ‘the ministry of the prophet’. As I sat at my desk waving this letter before the Lord protesting, ‘I can’t go, I’m a complete disaster’, I heard him say: ‘Have you read my family album lately?’ ‘How do you mean?’ I wanted to know. And with my eyes closed I was given a conducted tour of many of God’s prophets.

[] Abraham, who got so scared that he told Pharaoh that his wife Sarah was his sister!

[] Moses who stuttered, ‘I’ve got a speech impediment. No can do!’

[] David the adulterer and murderer! and

[] tearful Jeremiah, fore-runner of today’s ‘snowflake generation’!

Then I turned to read my set chapters for that day and heard God’s emphasis:

‘I appointed you as my prophet to the nations.’

So, I wrote back to say that I would open the innings with a short talk on ‘the temperament of God’s prophets’. The day went very well!

Third time. Just as I started courting Rosemary [to whom I have since been married for sixty years!], my father broke the news to me that he was actually my grandfather. I had been born to their daughter, a worldly young woman, and had been adopted by then, her parents. Around that time I found James 1:18 (King James Version) in my daily reading: ‘Of his own will he begat us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.’ That sent me back to Jeremiah 1:5 –

‘I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.’

I had to be born the first time (to a healthy young mother) so that I could be born again (at the age of six in the care of godly grandparents). God has no unwanted children!

 by Hugh Thompson

A response to this blog “God has no unwanted children”

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