Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
If we read Psalm 119 carefully, we shall see that the psalmist considered the law of God as God’s word. Like all the other psalms, this psalm was not written according to doctrine or theology, but according to the deep sentiment and aspiration of the psalmist.
The writer of Psalm 119 uses many different terms to express how he enjoyed God’s law as His living word and how he handled it as God’s word. In the foregoing message we pointed out that the psalmist inclined his heart unto it (v. 36), sought it (v. 45), and longed for it (v. 20). In verse 74 he declared, “I have hoped in thy word.” To hope in something is to wait for it. When the psalmist said that he hoped in God’s word, he meant that he was waiting on the word of God and waiting for it. He was waiting on God for a word. Furthermore, he put his trust in God’s word (v. 42). When we put all these matters together, we find that they correspond to our spiritual experience. Having a heart inclined unto the Word of God, we seek the Word, long for it, and hope in it. Then we place our trust in the word we have received of God.
In a number of verses the psalmist says that he mused upon God’s word (15, 23, 48, 78, 99, 148, Heb.). In each of these verses the King James Version uses the word meditate. However, in Psalm 55:17, the King James Version translates the same Hebrew word as pray. This Hebrew word is also used in Genesis 24:63, where we are told that Isaac went out in the field to meditate, or, as the margin says, to pray. Psalm 143:5 also uses this word: “I remember the days of old; I ponder all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands” (Heb.). Rich in meaning, the Hebrew word for muse, or meditate, implies to bow down, to converse with oneself, and to utter. According to the Old Testament, to meditate on the Word of God is to enjoy it by musing upon it.
To muse upon the Word is to “chew the cud,” like a cow eating grass (Lev. 11:3). As we muse upon the Word of God, we should “chew the cud.” If we take in the Word too quickly, we shall not have very much enjoyment. But if we “chew the cud” as we take in the Word, our enjoyment will increase.
When we muse upon the Word of God, enjoying it and even chewing it as a cow chews the cud, we shall spontaneously pray. Prayer is also included in musing upon the Word. Furthermore, we may converse with ourselves or begin to praise the Lord. We may be so inspired by the Word that we want to shout our praises to the Lord.
Usually musing upon the Word will be slower and finer than pray-reading the Word. For example, in our musing upon Exodus 20:2 we may say to ourselves, “Remember that Jehovah is your Lord. He has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Now you are out. Amen! O Lord, I worship You for bringing me out of bondage!” In all our musing upon God’s Word, talking to the Lord or conversing with ourselves, we should be spontaneous and full of enjoyment. We may bow down to worship the Lord, ponder the Word, remember, or give ourselves a rebuke. All this is included in the practice of musing upon the Word of God. Any genuine seeker of the Lord who muses upon the Ten Commandments in a living way will enjoy the Lord, worship Him, pray, converse with himself in the Lord’s presence, and also praise the Lord. Surely one who takes the law of God in such a way will not apply it as dead letters, but will take it as God’s living word.
To muse upon the Word of God is to enjoy His Word as His breath. It is to contact God in the Word and to have fellowship with Him, to worship Him, and to pray to Him through and with the Word. By musing upon the Word of God in this way, we shall be infused by God, breathe Him into us, and receive spiritual nourishment.
Concerning musing upon the Word, verse 147 says, “I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.” Here we see that the psalmist rose up before dawn, cried out, and hoped in God’s word. Verse 148 goes on to say, “Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might muse upon thy word” (Heb.). The psalmist woke up during the night to muse upon God’s word. Musing upon the Word involves more than just meditating on it. We muse upon the Word by talking to God, worshipping Him, enjoying Him, receiving grace from Him, and conversing with ourselves in the Lord’s presence. We cannot describe adequately the practice of musing on the Word of God and the enjoyment this affords us.
The seekers of God in the Old Testament mused upon His living word. Their way of handling the Word of God was different from that followed by many today who mainly exercise their mind to study the Word in letter. As the psalmists mused upon the Word of God, they spoke to God, prayed, worshipped Him, and even bowed down to Him. In the presence of God, they spoke to themselves of His mercy, salvation, and gracious supply. Musing upon the Word in this way is even richer, broader, and more inclusive than pray-reading, for it includes prayer, worship, enjoyment, conversation, bowing down, and even lifting up our hands to receive God’s word. It also includes rejoicing, praising, shouting, and even weeping before the Lord. In Pilgrim’s Progress there is a place where the pilgrim reads the Bible and weeps, shouts, and repents. This indicates that he not only read the Scriptures, but also mused upon them. If we muse upon the Word of God, we shall delight ourselves in the Word. Sometimes we may weep before the Lord or sing hymns of praise to Him.
The psalmist waited for the Lord’s word, hoped in it, and arose before dawn to cry out to the Lord that he needed His word. Then he mused upon the Word, worshipping the Lord, praying to Him, and receiving His supply. He also spoke to himself and instructed himself with the Word of God. All this is part of musing upon the Word of God.
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