We all know Psalm 1 which emphasizes that the blessed person is one who meditates on God’s Law day and night. The Proverbs have their own version of how important it is to hear Gods’ Word, read, study, memorize and meditate on it too.
17 Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; 18 for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips. 19 So that your trust may be in the LORD, I have taught you today, even you. 20 Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, 21 to make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer to him who sent you? (Pro 22:17-21)
The teacher (or possible father) is communicating to his student /son an important principle of life. The words and wisdom the teacher / father is communicating are not just his own. He does “own” them and he personalizes them so that his life habits and commitments are a great picture of these truths. But notice what the teacher says, “the words of the wise will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips” (v. 18). That culture certainly did not have I-pads or I-phones to cheat with; they needed to commit what they learned to memory so that that truth would instantly be ready on their lips. Truth was useless if you could not remember it.
What a great reminder of our need to memorize and meditate on God’s Word. Everything in our culture rages against such antiquated practices when you can simply press search and find it immediately on your phone. But notice the goal of this practice in verse 19 – “so that your trust may be in the LORD.” The goal is that truth worth passing on, needs to build our trust in our relationship with God. God’s truth needs to fill our hearts, our minds, our conscience, our short term memory, even our long term memory system. Why? Because as I internalize and embrace truth it changes the way I believe, what I value and affects the priorities of my life.
In our disciple-making circles we encourage memorizing truth – why? Because, in order to have the heart, vision, and know-how to live the Christian life, and have something worth passing on to the next generation, it requires more than just information shifting. People need to be living that truth. Modeling is contagious and powerful for others as they see truth transforming our own life. Others can aspire to the picture your life paints because of that truth before they will embrace the truth that can change their life.