By the Righteousness of Our God

All is graciously appointed by God, the great Giver.

The sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

What do the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart reveal about who you think you are? Are they in agreement with the words of the Lord God and the meditation of his heart?

Do you have a regular and favorite way of meditating on God’s Word and resting in his promises?

Eugene Peterson describes meditation in his book Answering God as:

“Meditate (hagah) is a bodily action; it involves murmuring and mumbling words, taking a kind of physical pleasure in making the sounds of the words, getting the feel of the meaning as the syllables are shaped by larynx and tongue and lips. Isaiah used this word “meditate” for the sounds that a lion makes over its prey (Isa 31:4). They purr and growl in pleasurable anticipation of taking in what will make them more themselves, strong, lithe, swift.”1

A Carthusian monk called Guigo described a form of meditation called Lectio Divina:

“Lectio Divina”, a Latin term, means “divine reading” and describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to what God wants to say to us. In the 12th century, a Carthusian monk called Guigo, described the stages which he saw as essential to the practice of Lectio Divina. There are various ways of practicing Lectio Divina either individually or in groups but Guigo’s description remains fundamental.

He said that the first stage is lectio (reading) where we read the Word of God, slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into us. Any passage of Scripture can be used for this way of prayer but the passage should not be too long.

The second stage is meditatio (reflection) where we think about the text we have chosen and ruminate upon it so that we take from it what God wants to give us.

The third stage is oratio (response) where we leave our thinking aside and simply let our hearts speak to God. This response is inspired by our reflection on the Word of God.

The final stage of Lectio Divina is contemplatio (rest) where we let go not only of our own ideas, plans and meditations but also of our holy words and thoughts. We simply rest in the Word of God. We listen at the deepest level of our being to God who speaks within us with a still small voice. As we listen, we are gradually transformed from within. Obviously, this transformation will have a profound effect on the way we actually live, and the way we live is the test of the authenticity of our prayer. We must take what we read in the Word of God into our daily lives.

These stages of Lectio Divina are not fixed rules of procedure but simply guidelines as to how the prayer normally develops. Its natural movement is towards greater simplicity, with less and less talking and more listening. Gradually the words of Scripture begin to dissolve, and the Word is revealed before the eyes of our heart. How much time should be given to each stage depends very much on whether it is used individually or in a group. If Lectio Divina is used for group prayer, obviously more structure is needed than for individual use. In group prayer, much will depend on the type of group. Lectio Divina may involve discussing the implications of the Word of God for daily life but it cannot be reduced to this. The movement of the prayer is towards silence. If the group is comfortable with silence, more time could be spent resting in the Word.

The practice of Lectio Divina as a way of praying the Scriptures has been a fruitful source of growing in relationship with Christ for many centuries and in our own day is being rediscovered by many individuals and groups. The Word of God is alive and active and will transform each of us if we open ourselves to receive what God wants to give us.2

Lectio.

Reading. Read the Word of God slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into you.

2 Pet 1:1 – Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Meditatio.

Reflection. Think about the text and ruminate upon it so that you take from it what God wants to give you.

2 Pet 1:1 – Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

What word or phrase stirs you? Take some time to murmur and mumble the word/s, taking a kind of pleasure in making the sounds and getting the feel of the meaning. Take in what God wants to give you that will make you more yourself, created in his image and likeness.

To those who have obtained a faith…

To those who have obtained a faith…

How do we obtain faith?
Have obtained: a primary verb; to lot, i.e. determine; receive by lot.3

Num 26:55 – But the land shall be divided by lot. According to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit. (ESV)

Observe, how the LORD appoints the boundaries of his people’s habitation. Yes! all our resting places, and all our movements, our tents in this life, and our mansions of glory in another, are all graciously marked, and appointed, by the great Giver. Reader! take notice what the SON of GOD hath said concerning these things, John 17:2; 14:2-3; Matt 20:20-23.4

To those who have obtained a faith…
A faith determined and received by lot, graciously appointed by the great Giver.

To give eternal life.

John 17:2 – since you [Father] have given him [Jesus] authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. (ESV)

I will take you to myself.

John 14:2-3 – In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (ESV)

To those who have obtained a faith…
A faith determined and received by lot, graciously appointed by the great Giver.

For those for whom my Father has prepared it.

Matt 20:20-23 – Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him [Jesus] with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” (ESV)

2 Pet 1:1 – Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

By the righteousness of our God

Equal standing.
Righteousness: equity of character or act; innocent, holy; right, as self-evident; justice-the principle, a decision, or its execution.5

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

How do we obtain faith by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ?

The name.

Jer 33:16 – In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ (ESV)

To those who have obtained a faith…
A faith determined and received by lot, graciously appointed by the great Giver.
By the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

God made his Son to be sin.

2 Cor 5:21 – For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (ESV)

It has been granted to you.

Phil 1:29 – For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, (ESV)

To those who have obtained a faith…
A faith determined and received by lot, graciously appointed by the great Giver.
By the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin
That in him
We might become the righteousness of God.
It has been granted to you
That for the sake of Christ you should believe in him
It has been granted to you that you should also suffer for his sake.

2 Pet 1:1 – Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Oratio.

Response. Leave your thinking aside and simply let your heart speak to God. This response is inspired by your reflection on the Word of God.

2 Pet 1:1 – Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

2 Pet 1:1 – Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Contemplatio.

Rest. Let go of your own ideas, plans and meditations, your holy words and thoughts. Simply rest in the Word of God. Listen at the deepest level of your being to God who speaks within you with a still small voice. As you listen, you are gradually transformed from within. Take what you read in the Word of God into your daily life. The way you live is the test of the authenticity of your prayer.

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Peterson, Eugene H. (1991). Answering God: The Psalms As Tools For Prayer (pg 26). New York, NY: HarperCollins.

2https://www.ocarm.org/en/carmelites/what-lectio-divina

3Have obtained: NT:2975 <START GREEK>lagxa/nw <END GREEK> lagchano (lang-khan’-o); a prolonged form of a primary verb, which is only used as an alternate in certain tenses; to lot, i.e. determine (by implication, receive) especially by lot: KJV – his lot be, cast lots, obtain. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

4(from Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary. Biblesoft Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2014 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

5Righteousness: NT:1343 dikaiosu/nh dikaiosune (dik-ah-yos-oo’-nay); from NT:1342; equity (of character or act); specially (Christian) justification: KJV – righteousness.
NT:1342 di/kaio$ dikaios (dik’-ah-yos); from NT:1349; equitable (in character or act); by implication, innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively): KJV – just, meet, right (-eous).
NT:1349 di/kh dike (dee’-kay); probably from NT:1166; right (as self-evident), i.e. justice (the principle, a decision, or its execution): KJV – judgment, punish, vengeance. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

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