A Roaring Meditation
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” (Joshua 1:8, ESV)
Winter in Michigan means the snow-covered ground limits my access to golf. There are two options in the north in February. An indoor facility, whether it be a golf simulator or an indoor hitting bay, or a second option, and one that I have found myself doing recently, is to swing a club in the house.
Now, before you try the latter at home, make sure you have enough ceiling height and surrounding area clear before taking your first swing. An important key in swinging a club indoors is to do so slowly and methodically. It’s not as easy as you think. Swinging the club in slow motion creates tension in your golf muscles that will be unfamiliar (and maybe painful). Besides increasing strength, this also helps build body awareness, improving your ability to sense both good and bad swing motions. In addition, slow motion movement helps incorporate new swing mechanics quicker.
I see a commonality between slow motion swinging and what it means to meditate on the Book of the Law. In the verses leading up to today’s scripture passage, the Lord commissioned Joshua to lead the Israelites to the promised land after Moses’ death. Joshua had big shoes to fill and faced rough waters ahead. I imagine Joshua was desperate for the Lord’s reassurance.
After encouraging Joshua to be strong and courageous, the Lord reminded him to anchor himself in the Book of the Law by meditating on it day and night. Most often, when we read the word meditate, we picture a quiet time of reflection. A wonderful thing indeed. But, the Hebrew word from which the authors translated meditate is hagah, and the intention of hagah is so much more powerful.
Hagah means to ponder—to imagine, mourn, mutter, roar, speak, study, talk, utter. A Hebrew-speaking person understands hagah to be like what a hungry lion does when he’s seeking food. A hungry lion’s roar rises from passionately and desperately seeking something to fill his belly.
If you say it out loud and let the sounds reverberate through your vocal cords, it doesn’t sound passive or quiet. Hagah is not just eating a pleasant appetizer; it is desiring God’s Word like a starving lion looking for his next meal.
Being hungry and obedient to God’s Word day and night is like taking the time and persistence to swing in slow motion. It does not guarantee a successful, easy life (or golf game). But no matter what circumstance comes our way, if we are daily hagaaahhhhhhing on God’s word, it will be our courage and strength through anything.
February 13, 2020
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