God’s Precious Promises

Through them we may become partakers of the divine nature.

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?

Meditating and resting.

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

Remember:

2 Pet 1:1-3 – I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God’s straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 2 Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.

3 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!

Lectio.

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

2 Peter 1:3-4 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (ESV)

Meditatio.

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

2 Peter 1:3-4 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (ESV)

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.

His divine power has granted to us all things… his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us…

Has granted: to bestow gratuitously; give; a present; specially, a sacrifice.3

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises…

Promises: a self-commital by assurance of conferring some good; to engage to do something; to assert something respecting oneself; to bring tidings.4

Precious: valuable, costly, honored, esteemed, beloved, dignity itself.5

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

I will put Spirit inside you and cause you to live by my laws.

Ezek 36:24-27 – For I will take you from among the nations, gather you from all the countries, and return you to your own soil. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit inside you; I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit inside you and cause you to live by my laws, respect my rulings and obey them. (CJB)

Because a death has occurred which sets people free.

Heb 9:15 – It is because of this death that he is mediator of a new covenant [or will].  Because a death has occurred which sets people free from the transgressions committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. (CJB)

Eternal life is what he has promised.

1 John 2:25 – And this is what he has promised us: eternal life. (CJB)

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature…

What is granted to us through God’s precious and very great promises?

Partakers: a sharer, associate, companon, fellowship, partner.6

Nature: growth by germination or expansion, natural production, lineal descent; a native disposition, constitution.7

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

Because of God.

John 1:12-13 – But to as many as did receive him, to those who put their trust in his person and power, he gave the right to become children of God, not because of bloodline, physical impulse or human intention, but because of God. (CJB)

By Adonai the Spirit.

2 Cor 3:18 – So all of us, with faces unveiled, see as in a mirror the glory of the Lord; and we are being changed into his very image, from one degree of glory to the next, by Adonai the Spirit. (CJB)

2 Peter 1:3-4 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

Having escaped: away from something near in various senses of place, time, or relation; literal or figurative; to shun; to vanish.8

Corruption: decay, ruin (spontaneous or inflicted, literally or figuratively; to pine or waste; to shrivel or wither; to spoil by any process; to ruin, especially figuratively, by moral influences, to deprave.9

Sinful desire/lust: a longing, especially for what is forbidden; to set the heart upon.10

Keep sowing in the field of the Spirit.

Gal 6:8 – Those who keep sowing in the field of their old nature, in order to meet its demands, will eventually reap ruin; but those who keep sowing in the field of the Spirit will reap from the Spirit everlasting life. (CJB)

Do not love the things of the world.

1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love the world or the things of the world. If someone loves the world, then love for the Father is not in him; because all the things of the world — the desires of the old nature, the desires of the eyes, and the pretensions of life — are not from the Father but from the world. And the world is passing away, along with its desires. But whoever does God’s will remains forever. (CJB)

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

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 Peter 1:3-4 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (ESV)

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

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

3Has granted: NT:1433 <START GREEK>dwre/omai <END GREEK> doreomai (do-reh’-om-ahee); middle voice from NT:1435; to bestow gratuitously: KJV – give.

NT:1435 <START GREEK>dw=ron <END GREEK> doron (do’-ron); a present; specially, a sacrifice: KJV – gift, offering. (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.)

4Promises: NT:1862 <START GREEK>e)pa/ggelma <END GREEK> epaggelma (ep-ang’-el-mah); from NT:1861; a self-committal (by assurance of conferring some good): KJV – promise.

NT:1861 – <START GREEK>e)pagge/llw <END GREEK> epaggello (ep-ang-el’-lo); from NT:1909 and the base of NT:32; to announce upon (reflexively), i.e. (by implication) to engage to do something, to assert something respecting oneself: KJV – profess, (make) promise.

NT:32 <START GREEK>a&ggelo$ <END GREEK> aggelos (ang’-el-os); from aggello [probably derived from NT:71; compare NT:34] (to bring tidings); a messenger; especially an “angel”; by implication, a pastor: KJV – angel, messenger. (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.)

5Precious: NT:5093 <START GREEK>ti/mio$ <END GREEK> timios (tim’-ee-os); including the comparative timioteros (tim-ee-o’- ter-os); and the superlative timiotatos (tim-ee-o’-tat-os); from NT:5092; valuable, i.e. (objectively) costly, or (subjectively) honored, esteemed, or (figuratively) beloved: KJV – dear, honourable, (more, most) precious, had in reputation.

NT:5092 <START GREEK>timh/ <END GREEK> time (tee-may’); from NT:5099; a value, i.e. money paid, or (concretely and collectively) valuables; by analogy, esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself: KJV – honour, precious, price, some. (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.)

6Partakers: NT:2844 <START GREEK>koinwno/$ <END GREEK> koinonos (koy-no-nos’); from NT:2839; a sharer, i.e. associate: KJV – companion, fellowship, partaker, partner.

NT:2839 <START GREEK>koino/$ <END GREEK> koinos (koy-nos’); probably from NT:4862; common, i.e. (literally) shared by all or several, or (cer.) profane: KJV – common, defiled, unclean, unholy. (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.)

7Nature: NT:5449 <START GREEK>fu/si$ <END GREEK> phusis (foo’-sis); from NT:5453; growth (by germination or expansion), i.e. (by implication) natural production (lineal descent); by extension, a genus or sort; figuratively, native disposition, constitution or usuage: KJV – ([man-]) kind, nature ([-al]).

NT:5453 <START GREEK>fu/w <END GREEK> phuo (foo’-o); a primary verb; probably originally, to “puff” or blow, i.e. to swell up; but only used in the implied sense, to germinate or grow (sprout, produce), literally or figuratively: KJV – spring (up). (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.)

8Having escaped: NT:668 <START GREEK>a)pofeu/gw <END GREEK> apopheugo (ap-of-yoo’-go); from NT:575 and NT:5343; (figuratively) to escape: KJV – escape.

NT:575 <START GREEK>a)po/<END GREEK> apo (apo’); a primary particle; “off,” i.e. away (from something near), in various senses (of place, time, or relation; literal or figurative): KJV – (X here-) after, ago, at, because of, before, by (the space of), for (-th), from, in, (out) of, off, (up-) on (-ce), since, with. In composition (as a prefix) it usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal, etc.

NT:5343 <START GREEK>feu/gw <END GREEK> pheugo (fyoo’-go); apparently a primary verb; to run away (literally or figuratively); by implication, to shun; by analogy, to vanish: KJV – escape, flee (away). (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.)

9Corruption: NT:5356 <START GREEK>fqora/ <END GREEK> phthora (fthor-ah’); from NT:5351; decay, i.e. ruin (spontaneous or inflicted, literally or figuratively): KJV – corruption, destroy, perish.

NT:5351 <START GREEK>fqei/rw <END GREEK> phtheiro (fthi’-ro); probably strengthened from phthio (to pine or waste); properly, to shrivel or wither, i.e. to spoil (by any process) or (generally) to ruin (especially figuratively, by moral influences, to deprave): KJV – corrupt (self), defile, destroy. (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.)

10Sinful desire/lust: NT:1939 <START GREEK>e)piqumi/a <END GREEK> epithumia (ep-ee-thoo-mee’-ah); from NT:1937; a longing (especially for what is forbidden): KJV – concupiscence, desire, lust (after).

NT:1937 <START GREEK>e)piqume/w <END GREEK> epithumeo (ep-ee-thoo-meh’-o); from NT:1909 and NT:2372; to set the heart upon, i.e. long for (rightfully or otherwise): KJV – covet, desire, would fain, lust (after).

NT:2372 <START GREEK>qumo/$ <END GREEK> thumos (thoo-mos’); from NT:2380; passion (as if breathing hard): KJV – fierceness, indignation, wrath. Compare NT:5590.

NT:5590 <START GREEK>yuxh/ <END GREEK> psuche (psoo-khay’); from NT:5594; breath, i.e. (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely (the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from NT:4151, which is the rational and immortal soul; and on the other from NT:2222, which is mere vitality, even of plants: these terms thus exactly correspond respectively to the Hebrew OT:5315, OT:7307 and OT:2416): KJV – heart (+-ily), life, mind, soul,  us,  you. (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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