Meditate on These Things
As our society dives down the rabbit holes of incivility, harshness, and futility we see that our entertainment mirrors societal thought.* But it has always been thus. We become what we think! Our thoughts inform our attitudes, direct our actions, and determine the outcomes. So we need to guard our thoughts. We are not the only society that has dealt with conspirators, rebels, and devious people plotting wicked schemes. Are we letting the evil-doers in society determine what we are thinking about? Garbage in — garbage out? Or, are we making conscious choices to “meditate on these things,” the things that are wholesome and ennobling? David’s life demonstrates lessons that we would do well to consider.
When Our Thoughts Betray Us
David, King of Israel, knew the nature of his society. He was a dynamic leader encircled by a host of enemies — a cast of conspirators both domestic and foreign. So, it was no wonder the Adversary preyed upon David’s fears, enticing him to number those of military age in Israel. Israel had no standing army, and even Joab, David’s general knew that such a census was contrary to God’s purposes. David’s fearful thoughts led him astray into evil actions. And the consequences were dire for the nation. But David repented, and changed, choosing to accept punishment at God’s hand, rather than fall into the hands of his hateful, rapacious enemies.
Advice from David
David understood that his power was limited, he knew the character of his enemies, and he’d experienced betrayal within his own household. So he offers good advice about how to “Think” when dealing with the wicked and their devious schemes and evil plots. David encourages us to think about God and his protection. The Lord will deliver us from those with cunning thoughts, who would set evil traps to ambush us. David tells us to consider God’s discipline and vengeance, for he will be our relief in troubled times, if we are living as we ought. We may well be aware of the evil-doers, but we do not need to have anxious thought about those who are corrupt, and foolish.
Not only should we trust in God, but David insists that we should not fret about the schemers! We should not be “flamers,” burning hot with anger, being incensed, agitated, or overwrought. Paul agrees with David in writing that even righteous anger should have its limits. Why are we to avoid “fretting?” This kind of negative thinking could allow the Adversary to get a foothold in our lives. Fretful thoughts could make us vulnerable and unproductive, or cause us to say things that are unhelpful, or insulting. Rather, Paul says our thoughts should impel us to be kind, loving, compassionate and tender-hearted.
Meditate on These Things
So what should we think about? What should capture our attention, and fill our thoughts? David understood the proclivity to focus his thoughts on the snares that beset him, and the evil that was all around him. But he encouraged a different approach through his songs. In dealing with societal ills, David’s Psalms remind us of God’s advice to Joshua to “meditate on God’s law day and night.” He advises us to think about God’s wonders, his mighty deeds, and his principles of living — God’s precepts and statutes. These wholesome thoughts are the anti-dote to the ills that beset the world we live in. Are we filling our minds with these thoughts and following David’s advice to “meditate on these things?”
Bill Whittle *Cultural Review of “Winnie the Pooh” movie
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