‘Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. He went out to the field one evening to meditate…’ Genesis 24:62-63a
Isaac has always seemed to me to be a bit of a ‘boring’ sort of chap compared with his father Abraham and his son Jacob. We don’t see him doing anything for himself. Yet he walked closely with the Lord, and this verse suggests that one of the ways he did this was through meditation.
Meditation today has in general earned itself a bad reputation. This is largely because it is associated with Eastern religions, for whom it is an important tool for progression towards ‘enlightenment’, and as a result, has found its way into many New Age practices which have infiltrated our society at every level. But Biblical meditation is very different to these other forms. The goal of Eastern meditation is to empty the mind, believing that the suppression of emotions leads to inner peace; Biblical meditation seeks to fill the mind with godly thoughts, making intentional room for the God of peace.
Another stumbling block that puts people off meditation is the belief that it is difficult! Yes, it does require some concentration, but you do not need a PhD, or to have mentally disciplined your mind for 20 years, in order to do it and to experience the benefits it brings. Meditation is your mind, working in your way, for your length of time, on a passage of the Bible of your choosing. OK, the Holy Spirit needs to be involved too!
Over one week, at a rate of one article per day, this series will explore this subject in more depth in order to help you to develop your own meditation habits. Please share with us the results of your attempts to dwell on the Word of God more fully, and suggest any tips that you have found useful and which might help others.
For today, start by thinking about this verse and a half in Genesis. Allow the scene to become real to your imagination, then let your mind suggest things about it that uncover more than a quick reading would reveal. Here are some points to help – Beer Lahai Roi: the place in the desert where the Angel of the Lord found Hagar in the desert (Gen 16). The word ‘Beer’ means ‘well’, and the whole place name means ‘well of the Living One who sees me’, named by Hagar. Negev: semi-desert region in the south of Israel. Not an easy place to live! The field: to have a field in such conditions means a lot of hard work and is a real achievement, even by today’s standards. Evening: The temperature drops to a pleasant level for a while, and the work of the day is done.