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Thursdays are for Murmuring

Usually when I post on Thursday the title is “Thursdays are for Theology”, followed by some specific area of theological study (for example “Thursdays are for Theology: The Doctrine of Election”). This Thursday is for murmuring. Yes, murmuring. The Bible calls us to murmur.

Murmuring sounds like something we ought not to do. After all Philippians 2:14 says we are to “do all things without grumbling” (see also 1 Peter 4:9). But look with me for a moment at a well known verse from the Old Testament.

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. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. - Joshua 1:8 (ESV)

Did you see the command to murmur? Ok I didn’t see it either. Look again and take note of the word “meditate.” That’s it. That is the call to murmur.

Many Christians have learned that when the Bible talks about meditating it means something much different than what it means in Eastern Religions. In Eastern Religions the idea of meditating means to empty one's mind. Biblical meditation has more to do with filling one's mind with the truth of God’s Word - like what Joshua 1:8 calls “the Book of the Law.” We are to meditate on it - the Word of God - “day and night.” We are to think on and fill our mind with God's Word.

I was reminded recently that the Hebrew word that is translated meditate in Joshua 1:8 has a range of meaning that includes the ideas of “to murmur, mutter, growl, moan, speak, and muse.” Yes, it means to think and to ponder. But notice again that the call to meditate comes right after Joshua says we are not to let the Word “depart from our mouth.” It would seem that the translators of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) picked up on this in their translation:

This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. - Joshua 1:8 (HCSB), [emphasis mine]

Thinking and pondering on the Word of God are definitely part of Biblical meditation. But so is murmuring/speaking/talking/reciting the Word of God. I hope you’ll spend time today murmuring. I plan to murmur as I work on memorizing our Fighter Verse for this week (Deuteronomy 10:12-13). Thursdays, and every day, are for this type of murmuring.


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