Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
Psalm 119:27 ESV
Although we discussed the overall structure and content of this verse last week, I found myself this week unable to move on to verse 28. I will meditate on your wondrous works latched itself onto my mind and heart, and I think it is because they very clearly present to us content for biblical meditation. As we have noted, the Psalms in general and this Psalm in particular call us to meditate, but with the increasing popularity of Buddhist meditation today, Christians can easily become confused about what the Bible expects us to do. While Buddhist-influenced meditation and mindfulness are about emptying one’s mind and thoughts, the Bible calls us to meditate upon something, namely, God’s Word. In this way, biblical meditation is like chewing and digesting whatever portions of Scripture that we read. Indeed, as we meditate over this particular line of Psalm 119:27, we find that the psalmist is also calling us to meditate upon God’s wondrous works. To do so, we must still turn to the Scriptures in order to understand what the works of God are, and although there are far too many to discuss in such a short time as this, let us reflect upon two large categories of God’s works: creation and redemption.
As Christians who believe that God is the Creator of heaven and earth and that the heavens are declaring His glory, all of creation around us should be a call for worshiping the Most High. Vast seas and towering mountains declare the power and greatness of God. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes remind us how fleeting our “control” over our own lives truly is. Insects, which many of us avoid at all costs, are each more creatively designed than any creature of the human imagination. The limitless combination of flavors in food reminds us that God delights in sustaining us with the pleasures of His creation. While creation is broken by sin, we should be far more in awe of the wonders that God continues to preserve among His created world. Perhaps even more importantly, we must teach our children to do so. For example, my wife and I labor to teach our daughter to eat all of her fruits and vegetables, not merely because they are good for her, but because God made them for us and we should eat God’s provision with thankful hearts. Likewise, the fact that some spiders and snakes are poisonous is not a sufficient reason to hate a portion of God’s work. Dangerous things are not always evil, for indeed God’s providence often leads us “through many dangers, toils, and snares.”
Yet creation does also point us to God’s wondrous work of redemption, for through our sin (since humans were given dominion over the earth) all of creation has been marred by sin. As happy as I am to have the trust of my dog that allows me to pet her belly and throat, the dread that most animals now display while in our presence is constant reminder that something has gone terribly wrong. Yet the pollution and chaos within our hearts is much greater than that which is all about us. We are a sinful people, a people who refuse to give thanks to God for His incalculable, daily blessings. We are in need of redemption, and this brings us to God’s most wonderful work. He has redeemed us of our sins by entering into His own creation, by becoming one of us and dying in our place. Jesus, the uncreated Word of God, united Himself to humanity and, although He did not sin, took all of our sin upon His shoulders, carrying our burden of guilt and judgment all the way to the cross. Upon those planks of wood, He met the torments of the ones He came to save, but He also faced the full wrath of the Father, which ought to have been poured out upon us. Our Lord died for us, yet He also rose to life again for us as the Forgiver of sin. And while our sin brought death into the world, His resurrection is the firstfruit of the coming resurrection during which God will created an all new heavens and earth for us to dwell upon for all eternity in the presence of Christ. This is truly the good news, the marvelous work of our God!
Brothers and sisters, meditate upon these things.