I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
Psalm 119:15 ESV
In the penultimate verse of this stanza, the psalmist continues to his resolutions for how he will store God’s Word in his heart and guard his way with it. Just as he has determined to declare and delight in the Scriptures, now he focuses upon his need to meditate upon God’s precepts.
The psalmist begins by resolving to meditate upon God’s precepts. The notion of meditating upon the Word is especially present within Psalms and Proverbs, yet it seems to be left out of the daily lives of most Christians today. Instead, many see meditation as a purely Buddhist practice, and only associate it with emptying one’s mind. Meditation, however, is a thoroughly Christian discipline, as long as we meditate as the Bible commands us. And this meditation is never to be a clearing of all thoughts; rather, we are to focus and hone our thoughts upon the Scriptures. It is frequently suggested, because the Hebrew word for meditate comes from a root which means to utter a low sound, that the typical practice of meditation was to mutter Scripture to oneself throughout the day, which would link this verse to verse 13. Whether murmuring God’s Word aloud or running it through your own mind, the act of meditation means constantly bringing it to the forefront of your mind, constantly pondering and considering it throughout the day. This, of course, first requires that we have heard and stored God’s Word within our heart in order to meditate upon it, but meditation is then how we keep in our minds and hearts. To take the Scriptures without meditating upon them is like chewing a piece of gum twice and spitting it out, or steeping tea for a few seconds and removing the tea bag.
The second line expands and builds upon the thought of the first. Remember that calling the Scriptures precepts particularly refers to God’s good rules for our conduct and behavior, and His ways are the path of wisdom according to His Word that leads to life. Therefore, the psalmist is not resolving to meditate upon God’s Word as a spiritual and intellectual exercise; instead, he is meditating in order to better shape his life to its design and pattern. He desires to behave and conduct himself as God demands, for he knows that such obedience is the path of life. Meditation, therefore, is how he is fixes his eyes upon God’s ways and also prepares his heart to walk in them. We, likewise, must meditate upon the Scriptures, and the goal of meditation should always be to conform ourselves ever closer to the rules and commands of God.