One Thing I Ask (Re-post)

andy-brown.org/2022/01/29/one-thing-i-ask/

Psalm 32 – Sermon

A few years ago I gave a sermon on Psalm 32, and was reviewing my notes from it this morning.

It is one of the penitential Psalms, or Psalms of repentance. It is a wonderful set of verses, and I share below the audio message I gave at the time.

Do have a read of the whole Psalm before listening, as it is not included in the recording.

Biblical Meditation

You will be aware from my previous posts on – Word Count – that I am endeavouring to complete several book projects this year. In a recent flurry of writing, I was thinking about the topic of biblical meditation. I always make sure I define this term, as meditation can mean different things to different people. By meditation, I mean the constant study and review of God’s Word.

I share below a brief extract of the chapter I have been working on. I hope that it blesses you, and ideally, what’s your appetite for the entire book when it is ready!

There are some references to points I make earlier in the chapter, not  here given, but I hope that will not detract from the post.


I am reminded of these verses from Joshua:

Be strong and courageous; for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous. Be careful to observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you. Don’t turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.

Joshua 1:6-8 (WEB)

This is God speaking to Joshua after the death of Moses, and just prior to him (Joshua) leading the people of Israel to capture the land.

Having emphasised Joshua’s need to be strong and courageous (more than once), the Lord tells him to be careful to observe all the commands that Moses gave them. This, known as the “Law” is never to depart from Joshua’s mouth.

The idea of the Law not departing from Joshua’s mouth implies a constant; to “not depart” means it is ever present. God’s Word must be at the centre of our lives at all times. We cannot hope to observe all that it commands us to do unless we keep it before us.

In our human weakness, if we do not maintain a persistent effort to keep the Bible at the forefront of what we do, it will easily slip in priority to second, third or subsequent place – behind other less important matters.

The book of the Law must not depart from where? From Joshua’s mouth. This can only mean that he is to speak it out loud time and again. As we discussed above, one meaning of “meditation” is to mutter or utter, and so here we see another instruction to keep the Word on our lips.

The phrase in verse 8 – “shall meditate on it day and night” – is almost word-for-word the same as that of Psalm 1:2. There is no time outside of day or night, and we always find ourselves living in either the day light or the night hours. To meditate day and night is another way of saying all the time. Occasionally is not enough; neither is most of our time. Success and blessing come from day and night meditation on the Scriptures.

The Lord reminds Joshua that if he is careful to do all that is commanded of him, then his way will be prosperous and he will enjoy good success. Psalm 1 tells us we will be blessed if we delight in God’s Word, meditating on it day and night. To be blessed in this way is to enjoy good success, and not the world’s kind, but God’s kind of success.


I read the Bible regularly, but I cannot admit to frequent nor constant meditation. Too often do I use tiredness as an excuse, or pick up the TV remote. I will never have biblical success filling my mind with the world’s entertainment.

Day and night, I must meditate on God’s Word, and must speak it freely from my mouth. Instead of complaining and grumbling, I ought rather to speak out the Word of life.

Studying this subject has been a real conviction to me. I share some of it here with you, and hope you too will step more deeply into the Bible. Let it not depart from your lips, and let your way be prosperous. In Jesus’ Name! Amen

When I Consider (Poem on Psalm 8)

I recently posted a poetic version of Psalm 150 which you can read here – Psalm 150 Poetry.

At church this week I was inspired to write this poetic version of Psalm 8. Here’s the poem, and after the text of the Scripture.

Enjoy!


How wonderful You are!

The greatness of Your Name

Throughout all the earth

Is Your magnificent fame


When I consider

The works of Your hands

The moon, and the stars,

All the seas and lands.


What am I before You?

A mere human being

A son of man

All my cares You are seeing


I am less than a god

And lower than an angel

Yet crowned with such honour

Your glory I’ll tell


You made me a ruler

Over the works of Your hands

All creation is beneath me

From the snows to the sands


The sheep and the oxen

The wild beasts too

The fish of the sea

And the birds that flew


How magnificent, how wonderful

Is Your Name on high

Let all the earth praise!

From the ground to the sky!


Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

    You have set your glory above the heavens!

2 From the lips of babes and infants you have established strength,

    because of your adversaries, that you might silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,

    the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;

4 what is man, that you think of him?

    What is the son of man, that you care for him?

5 For you have made him a little lower than the angels,[a]

    and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You make him ruler over the works of your hands.

    You have put all things under his feet:

7 All sheep and cattle,

    yes, and the animals of the field,

8     the birds of the sky, the fish of the sea,

    and whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

9 Yahweh, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8 (WEB)

One Thing I Ask

The one thing I ask of the Lord—

    the thing I seek most—

is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,

    delighting in the Lord’s perfections

    and meditating in his Temple.

Psalm 27:4 (WEB)

I recall a time when I was speaking to a group of students about what heaven might be like. One of them thought it would be like a perpetual praise service, with unending worship, music and dancing. Another student thought that sounded more like torture than paradise!

In this verse from the Psalms, King David is making a request. He does not ask for gold or silver, victory in battle nor wives and children. Instead, he requests that he might live in the house of the Lord all the days of his life.

Does that sound like something you would want?

Sometimes we are guilty of wanting the gifts more than the Giver, and for seeking God’s presents instead of His presence. The Lord Himself is our reward though, and far greater than any gift we could want.

The psalm points out two things we might do in His presence.

The first is to delight! Delight is a wonderful word, and means to have a “high degree of pleasure or enjoyment.” That sounds like something we want to do more of! Delighting in what though? In the Lord’s perfections. We might think of this as delighting in God’s character or attributes.

God is an infinite God, with wonders beyond measure. A day dwelling on who He is and enjoying His character is a day well spent in my book. How often do you set aside time to do nothing else but simply enjoy the Lord?

The second thing is meditation. Meditation is not emptying one’s mind of thought, but instead it is filling it with the wonders of God and His Word. It is said that meditation is like rumination, which is the action of a cow chewing the grass over and over again. When we meditate on God, we are deploying our thinking on all the goodness of His character and ways.

To meditate on the Lord is, I believe, to begin to delight in Him also. One leads to the other. The more we meditate, the more delighted we become, and the more delighted we are, the more we want to dwell on who He is.

Paul says, in Philippians:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

You need not think about everything that pops into your head, but can direct your thoughts on to Jesus.

You need not #think about everything that pops into your head, but can direct your thoughts on to #Jesus. #Bible

Set aside some time when you can, even if it is just fifteen minutes, and delight yourself in the Lord. Make a list of all the good things He has done for you, and note down the aspects of His character which most excite you. It will be time well spent indeed!


For more thoughts on Philippians 4:8, check out my post – Pure vs OK

Length of Days (Proverbs 3:2)

We studied Proverbs 3:1 yesterday, and I include it here for completeness. Verse 2 is a continuation of the thought, so it is important to remember (no pun intended) what verse one was all about.

My son, don’t forget my teaching;

    but let your heart keep my commandments:

2 for they will add to you length of days,

    years of life, and peace.

Proverbs 3:1-2 (WEB)

Length of Days

Verse two clearly states that if you apply yourself to wisdom’s teaching, then you will have length of days. Put simply, wise people live longer.

This is an obvious truth if you think about it. it is wise to look both ways before your cross the road. It is wise to cut the power before attempting electrical work on your home. It is wise to eat healthily. It is wise to avoid smoking or drinking heavily. If you have worrying symptoms, it is wise to have a doctor check you over sooner rather than later. There are any number of examples we could give.

If we do unwise things, it will certainly shorten our life. We may get away with certain things over a short time, but in the end, foolish choices will catch up with us.

These are largely physical truths. In the natural world we live in, applying wisdom will certainly lengthen our lives. Some suggest there is a spiritual element here too. The mere act of studying the Word can bring health and healing to our bodies. Psalm 107 is sometimes cited as evidence for this.

He sent His word and healed them,

And saved them from their destruction.

Psalm 107:20 *NASB)

As with everything in the Bible, context is key. Are we able to use Psalm 107 to promise believers that God will heal them simply through studying the Word? I will leave you to study that out for yourself and decide.

This verse in Proverbs 3, and the Psalm I mention above, are not the only places in the Bible which link Scripture to length of days, and we will see another example when we reach chapter 4. Whether you see a spiritual dynamic here or not, it is clear that wise choices will prolong your life. That is the point to take from this today, and I hope it encourages you to deploy wisdom’s ways in your life.

Peace

I do not want to move on without picking up on that rather important word in verse two – peace. Verse two tells us that remembering wisdom’s teaching does not just give length of days, but peaceful ones also.

Length of life is hardly a good measure of quality of life. Some of the restrictions imposed on the world by governments during the COVID pandemic were done so to protect life, but really that meant protect length of life. Many argue that while the restrictions did stop some from dying prematurely, it drastically reduced their life quality. I do not wish to enter that debate here, but mention it merely to point out that living 100 years in prison is not a better life than living 60 years in freedom.

Length of life is hardly a good measure of quality of #life #Wisdom #Bible #Christianity

And so this verse points out that wisdom will give length of days, but peace also. Living without peace is hard indeed, and few would choose a long life without it. Peace is a theme of Proverbs too, and later we will see it is better to live in peace and poverty, than in luxury with discord and stress.

In my previous post – Wisdom Shouts Out – we saw another link between wisdom and peace.

Proverbs 1:33 says:

But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”

Proverbs 1:33 (NLT)

As someone who feels they are constantly wrestling with stress, peace feels like a soothing balm. Modern medicine tells us that stress shortens our life, and therefore supports the Bible in teaching us that wisdom leads to peace, and peace (the opposite of stress) lengthens our years.

Peace is a prize; be it peace with others or peace with ourselves, it is something to seek after and hold on to.

#Peace is a prize; be it peace with others or peace with ourselves, it is something to seek after #Bible #Wsidom #Christianity

Let me close by reminding you that life is not measured simply by the number of days you have.

On my wedding day I gave a speech, as you do, and I recall some words which are relevant. I said, “Life is not about how many moments you have, but about the moments that make life worth living.” That probably came from some book or movie, and I do not claim them as my own, but wise nonetheless!

Live the best life you can in whatever time you have, and live wisely! God bless!

Let Me Love You, Lord (A Poem)

Last week I published a post on a poem based on Psalm 150. if you enjoyed that, then I hope you will enjoy reading this to.

I might look at poverty in the eye,Suffer lack with a hopeful sigh,I may feel down and ready to cry,But Lord let me love you without asking why!I …

Let Me Love You, Lord (A Poem)

And here is a link to my poem published last week in case you missed it…

Psalm 150 Poetry

Dec 29 All creation praises You!

Father, how does the earth praise You? When I hear recorded sounds of whales in the deep oceans sing, are they praising You?  When I hear the melodic…

Dec 29 All creation praises You!

Is the Old Testament Relevant Today? (Best of 2021)

As part of my Course in Christian Studies, I have completed an assignment about why I think the Old Testament is relevant to 21st Century readers. I thought I would share it with you today. Is the Old Testament Relevant Today? CCS Assignment 1 Imagine you have a Christian friend who cannot see the point…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/01/09/is-the-old-testament-relevant-today/

Harvest Hits

For some reason, this post from harvest time has attracted a lot of views during Advent…!

No idea why, praise the Lord anyway! If you fancy a Harvey’s message during this Christmas season, then I hope you enjoy it!

andy-brown.org/2021/09/26/harvest/

He is Our Rock (Psalm 92 #3) – Andy Brown

This is the third and final post on Psalm 92. If you missed them, you can read the first one here – Praise in the morning, praise in the evening- and the second one here – You Thrill Me. We left off last time discussing that although evil may flourish for a time, it will…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/04/28/he-is-our-rock-psalm-92-3/

Praise in the Morning, Praise in the Evening (Psalm 92 #1) – Andy Brown

Part of my Bible reading this morning was in Psalm 92. It is a wonderful psalm of praise and thanksgiving, and I think we need a good dose of that right now. In fact, we always do, but times of struggle seem to require an extra boost of worship. The psalm is one for the…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/04/24/praise-in-the-morning-praise-in-the-evening/