David’s happiness, his sense of connection with his own history, his contentment in his current situation, and his confidence regarding future challenges was indissolubly linked to His love for the Torah, the teaching of God’s Word.1 Elsewhere he referred to these same teachings as a flashlight lighting his footpath not only telling him where to walk or how to live but keeping his focus from wandering.
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates2 on his law day and night.
— Psalms 1:1-2
David discovered this principle when he discovered the value of meditating on God’s Word. David enjoyed musing over, according to the Torah, what God had done:
I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.3
Meditation—to be candid—is a form of “talking to “talking to oneself.”4 In the context of prayer, it is a kind-of reminiscing or pondering about something read in the Bible. Charles Spurgeon explained,
“To read it by day and think about it by night. In the day of his prosperity he sings Psalms out of the Word of God, and in the night of his affliction he comforts himself with promises out of the same book.”5
Meditation can be a form of prayer if we invite God to eavesdrop on our musings or if we find ourselves on occasion looking up and inviting God to take notice. When the Assyrian army besieged the city of Jerusalem, Hezekiah, the king of Judah, received a discouraging letter demanding his unconditional surrender. So, he brought the matter to God’s attention:
Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD,
“LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, … you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. …. Give ear, LORD, and hear; open your eyes, LORD, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib [the Assyrian king] has sent to ridicule the living God. … Now, LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, LORD, are the only God.”6
Hezekiah seemed more concerned for God’s reputation than his own life.
“How dare a lowly foreign tyrant think himself above the Almighty, the King over all other kingdoms!” the king mused!
The king’s words did not fall on deaf ears because it became disastrously evident the following morning in the enemy encampment that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. A plague broke out and 85,000 soldiers were sick and dying. They had to withdraw.7
Most assuredly, people do talk to themselves! The statistics are doubtlessly incomplete because most people, if they are not searching for acceptable expletives after bumping their head on a overhead cabinet, tend to keep most of such conversations …well, to themselves.
Having been a pastor, I recommend all believers learn to preach and deliver homilies to themselves! Ever since the early days when I knew I wanted to teach God’s Word, I would practice on myself in the privacy of my own bedroom or on quiet walks to anywhere. Now I have a lot to say to me while soaking in a hot bath.
In case this sounds crazy, consider the benefit of thinking through things that matter to you whether you verbalize your thoughts out loud or just in your head. When you are worrying, let your thoughts wander toward the possibility that this might be something worth “spreading before the Lord.” And it is never a crazy idea to ask God if He hears your thoughts and if He has a way out you haven’t thought of. It is never a crazy idea to encourage yourself by recalling promises and stories in the Bible that are precedent setting. Such accounts are not just the record of what God did for others; they are the creative history of what God does for His children—for you and me. Meditation on God’s Word has great value in the context of a prayer life that looks to God for help.8
2 soliloquizes, muses as in Psalms 63: “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.”
3 Psalms 77:12
4 The Hebrew word יֶהְגֶּ֗ה represents a low sound, a growl or chant or to murmur as one does when they are musing over something.
5 Spurgeon C.H. The Treasury of David: An Expository and Devotional Commentary on the Psalms. (Scripture Truth Book Company: Fincastle, VA. 1984), Vol I. p 2.
6 Isaiah 37:14-20
7 Isaiah 37:36 Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!
8 Psalms 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD