Learning Things (10/3/15)

I have some book quotes sitting in my ‘drafts,’ but haven’t had time to actually write posts about them. This morning I have some time, so I thought I’d make a broader post on what I’ve learned so far this semester.

A Canonical Approach to the Psalms
I am taking a class on ‘the Writings’ of the Old Testament (Psalms-Chronicles in the Hebrew order of the Bible). My professor did his Ph.D work Book 4 of the Psalms – particularly on how Book 4 advances a ‘canonical’ understanding of the Psalter.

The Canonical Approach to the Psalms is intriguing, and I’ve found it helpful. The basic idea is that Psalms is arranged in an intentional order for the purpose of advancing a narrative. Psalm 1 introduces us to the Psalter as ‘torah,’ written in five books, like the Torah of Moses. Martin Luther called the Psalms a ‘little Bible’ within the Bible. The Canonical Approach sees it this way as well. Psalm 2 introduces the Messianic King whom the Psalter is written about. Books 1 through 3 show the decline of the messianic kingship, culminating in the final psalm of Book 3, which finds the kinship cut off and the people of Israel in Exile.

Book 4 (Ps. 90-106) finds the people in exile, ‘wandering in the wilderness’ like Moses in days of old (see Ps. 90-91). By Book 5 (Ps. 107-150) the people are ascending back up the mountain to Jerusalem and worshiping God. They still reflect on their captivity (Psalm 137), but they are mostly in a posture of worship, anticipating the restoration of the throne of David.

This theory of the Psalms as a ‘canon’ may have some holes, but it’s fairly compelling and gives us a macro way to demonstrate that aside from the experiential and worship aspects of the psalms, they are meant to have a narrative force that points us to Christ.

The Shepherd Hypothesis in Song of Solomon
We haven’t covered Song of Solomon in the course yet, but my reading has touched on this. The Shepherd Hypothesis, also called the ‘three person hypothesis,’ contends that the Shulammite (Songs 6:13) had two suitors in Song of Solomon. The story, in this theory, is that the Shulammite is in love with a simple shepherd man from her own territory, but is also being courted by King Solomon. Hence the back and forth action between the garden and the city.

I don’t have time at present to flesh this out completely, but if you take this approach, here’s a good example of what it entails. The palace scenes of someone knocking on her door actually describe her true love, the shepherd, traveling to the palace to find her and reclaim her love. He is in danger and flees, she chases him and is thus beaten by the guards. It makes a good deal of sense:

Song of Solomon 5:7 The watchmen found me as they went about in the city; they beat me, they bruised me, they took away my veil, those watchmen of the walls. 8 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love.

In the end, love prevails. The Shulammite turns down the advances of Solomon, in all his pomp and splendor, and returns to the country to be with her true love, the simple shepherd.

The most amazing thing about this approach is that it turns the ‘allegory’ of the story in a fascinating new direction while also allowing for literal interpretation that doesn’t involve Solomon as the prototypical lover (if you know anything about Solomon, that has difficulties). If you’re interested in seeing more about this you can read more about it HERE.

Christian Education
I’m taking a course on the educational ministry of the church. The main idea so far is that education is vital to the task of the church (as it’s included in the Great Commission). Nothing major to report on as of yet. I had to wrestle with the differences between preaching and teaching this past week. It’s one of those situations where there are clear distinctions but a lot of overlap.

A.D.D. Environments
I’ve spent the last six months in my new job staring at computer screens for hours upon hours each day. I’m working on curriculum, doing technical work, answering emails, answering texts, and trying to work on sermons and school work from time to time. I feel it changing me. I feel my brain gravitating toward attention deficits. It’s interesting.

Douglas Coupland, one of my favorite authors, has made the claim somewhere that we are all going to be forced into living in a state of attention deficits. He tends to think this is something we’ll simply adapt to, and that it won’t necessarily be a bad thing. I have my concerns, as longtime readers of this blog will know.  I have been thinking about writing a post called ‘A.D.D. Environments,’ that would details how our environments deeply affect our ability to concentrate. I haven’t managed to do it yet, and others have certainly written about this. (By the way, in the time I’ve written this post I’ve had a dozen text messages, the phone ring, and some American Heritage girls come to my door selling cookies).

I read Moonwalking with Einstein recently and found it helpful. I’ve actually used some of the memory techniques Joshua Foer describes there.  (You can watch his TED Talk HERE). Aside from the ‘memory palaces,’ my wife has a nice picture of me studying with my large soundproof earmuffs and my blacked out glasses on. They actually help to fight distraction quite well if you find yourself in a situation where you absolutely have to concentrate.  Adapting doesn’t simply mean capitulating to A.D.D. environments; it means finding ways to fight back.

Reading for the New Year

At the beginning of each new year I read the same three things:

1. Psalm 90

2. Ephesians 5

3. The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

I also remind myself of the words of Charles Spurgeon: ‘He who marries today’s fashion is tomorrow’s widow.’

I would also encourage readers (if you aren’t already working through the Bible systematically) to start a plan to read the Bible at least once this year. There are multiple resources available to help you. For those who really want to get after it, I recommend the three month plan HERE. I followed this plan through a few years ago and managed to read the Bible four times that year. I eventually figured out that I could do this without the exact plan so long as I read about 25 minutes a day. I have settled in on three times a year for the past couple of years, that seems to work best for me. I am to the point where I do this by feel, and don’t need to follow a concrete layout, but there  is a structured four month plan available HERE. I will also provide a link to Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s one year plan HERE.

Whatever you do, be persistent. Expect setbacks, and do not let them deter you. This is not something that you do in order to be accepted by God, so there is no external pressure. This is something for the good of your own soul. If you miss a meal, you just eat a little more at the next one. That’s the way it works.

Music of the Spheres: The Heavens as a Hymnbook

I will say up front that this is one of the most helpful paragraphs I have ever read:

The unreasonable creatures are in some sort said to glorify him: [Psalm 19:1] ‘The heavens declare the glory of God.’ How? They give occasion and afford matter whence we may take hints to glorify him. As in music there are the notes set out in the book, and the tongue that sins, or hand that play, which makes the music. The creatures are the notes, or music, that is set, and have the notes, the keys, and characters of the harmonious glory of God stamped upon them, Rom. i. 20. But then there must be an understanding creature, that hath skill and ability, to utter forth the music and harmony of all these.

(Thomas Goodwin, The Work of the Holy Spirit in Our Salvation, p. 498).

Goodwin uses the analogy, we could say, of a hymn book in relation to the shining of the glory of God in creation. The heavens declare the glory of God like a hymnbook declares music. That is, if the heavens are to effective in God’s purposes, they must be read and sung.

I cannot read music. But I can read words. And so I get maybe half the benefit of a hymnbook. I use one every Sunday, and sometimes during the week, and I am able to sing songs that I do not know by heart because of it. A pianist, however, is able to play songs that he or she does not know by heart. I see circles and lines in black ink, she sees music. I see glory, but she sees more glory. And so, in some ways, she is more able to glorify God with that book, because, in light of her knowledge, she can use her instrument to make something that I cannot, and therefore glorify God in a way that I cannot.

The heavens, Goodwin says, are like that hymnbook. There is glory in them. Can you read it? Can you make music out of them? Do you look at the winter sky and, as it were, hear the ‘music of the spheres’? Or, at least, does it cause you to sing?

I was never interested in the planets until I started reading C.S. Lewis, and especially after reading Michael Ward’s book Planet Narnia. But since then I have studied the planets as an interested layman. And so, as I was having a dull drive home from work one night, a bright star, just beside the crescent moon, caught my eye. I began to pan the sky for other stars. I couldn’t find any. And so, I thought to myself, ‘that must be Venus!’

Though Venus had stared at me many nights, I had never really seen her. And there she was, the Evening Star, otherwise known as the Morning Star. I thought of how the Book of Revelation calls Jesus Christ the Morning Star. I thought of how he promised to give us the Morning Star. I thought of the amazing fact that Earth’s sister planet was there, suspended in mid-air, circling around the sun at great speed, but appearing as a still star. I found myself praising God for, and in, this train of thought. For the first time, I understood something of that note in that heavenly hymnbook. Venus was declaring the glory of God. That moment has stuck with me now for over a month. I even wrote a poem about it (HERE).

I have learned not to look at space as space. The Bible calls it ‘the heavens.’ Space is empty. The heavens are full – full of fascinating things, and full of God’s glory.

But the hymnbook analogy has its limitations. I once heard someone, I can’t remember who, ask this question: If a beautiful tree grows deep in the rainforests, where no man has set foot in man years, does that tree glorify God? It almost sounds like the old dilemma of a tree falling when no one is there to hear it. The answer to that dilemma is simple. Who cares if we are not there to hear it, God is there. A lonely tree glorifies God because it is not really lonely – it has a heavenly audience. God sees all, and rejoices in the works of his own hand.

And so, I think, perhaps, Goodwin pushes the analogy too far, as if the hymnbook had no value in itself were there no one to read it. For God can read it. And God can make music of his own. Analogies are never perfect.

And therefore, it is good to see the heavens as a heavenly hymnal of sorts. The black sky is God’s staff. The planets are his bass clef. The stars are his treble clef. We need pianists, violinists, organists, etc. now to read and play. And a gospel to make us a sing.

You can read related thoughts HERE and HERE.

To Gaze at the Beauty of the Lord

I offer my translation of Psalm 27:4:

One thing I have asked of the LORD:
To make my abiding in the house the LORD,

Each day of my life,

To gaze at the beauty of the LORD
And contemplate in his temple

David was a poet, the sweet psalmist of Israel. He had one desire – to abide in the Lord’s house, to behold his beauty, to reflect in his temple – and these three are one.

But he was no romantic.

David, where do you see the beauty of God? Answer: Amidst the people of God. Amidst the smell of the smoke of the burnt offering, mingled with the smoke of incense. Amidst the blood of the sacrifices, and the water of cleansing. Amidst the priests and their vestments. Here I see beauty, the very beauty of the LORD. In the worship of the LORD, with the people of the LORD, in the way of the LORD.

To abide, to gaze, and to reflect in God’s house is to abide in, gaze upon, and think about Jesus Christ. He is the Tent of God that covers us in the day of trouble (v. 5a), the  rocky Summit that lifts us from adversity (v. 5b). He is the sacrifice that brings shouts of joy (v. 6a). He is our song (v. 6b).

Why do we gather together and sing? Why do we lift our voices? Why do we make melody? The beauty of Christ demands it. Not that his beauty demands it in the sense of law, but in the sense of fittingness. It is fitting to sing praises to One so great, so glorious, so beautiful.

He is our answered prayer (v. 7), the Yes and Amen of God. He reveals to us the glory of God in his own face (v. 8). Why do we gather together? To seek the face of God, the beauty of God, which he has revealed to us in his own person and work.

He is the friend that sticks closer than a father or mother, much less a brother (v. 10). He is our hope that, like Job said of old, we will see God in resurrected flesh (v. 13). Why do we gather together? To behold the face of a friend, a beautiful friend, and find hope in the resurrection.

We come together to wait upon the LORD (v. 14a), to receive our marching orders, to find strength and courage to bear our weakness and the week (v. 14b).

In all of this – as we abide, gaze, reflect; as we celebrate atonement, find refuge, shout for joy, sing, voice our amens, seek his face, find a friend, hope in the resurrection – in the midst of the smoke and blood and shouts – we worship. Our worship should be aimed at abiding in him, gazing at him, thinking about him. And as we abide, gaze, and think, we shall be more like him.

That’s why we gather together for worship. Not out of tradition, not for fun, not for entertainment – but to gaze at his beauty and respond appropriately.

Wanderers in the Wilderness though we be…

Psalm 90 is a portion of Scripture that I return to over and over again. The inspired wisdom of Moses is distilled in this psalm to, perhaps, its most potent form. The words of verse one inspired Isaac Watts to write,

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast and our eternal home.

C.H. Spurgeon  comments on verse one (read the whole thing HERE):

Verse 1. Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.

We must consider the whole Psalm as written for the tribes in the desert, and then we shall see the primary meaning of each verse. Moses, in effect, says – wanderers though we be in the howling wilderness, yet we find a home in thee, even as our forefathers did when they came out of Ur of the Chaldees and dwelt in tents among the Canaanites.

Years ago I rearranged the words of that Spurgeon a bit and formed a sentence that I constantly repeat:

Wanderers in the wilderness though we be, yet we find a home in thee.

Whose Name Was Writ In Water

I am not a poetry expert by any means, but my favorite stanza of all the poetry I have read is from John Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale:

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
         No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
         In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
         Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
                She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
                        The same that oft-times hath
         Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam
                Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
I read a short biography of Keats this past week and learned for the first time of the words he requested to be written on his tombstone:

Here lies one whose name was writ in water.

Keats died at 25 years old. His accomplishments as a writer are amazing when you consider how young he died. He had a strong sense of the brevity of life, and his epitaph reflected that. His skylark was immortal but he knew that he was not. Consider therefore the shortness of your life and where your name is written:

  • So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom (Ps. 90:12).
  • He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it (Rev. 2:17).

From Rivers full of Thy Delights Thou dost Their Drink Provide

Psalm 36:5-12 from The Book of Psalms for Singing:

Thy mercy, LORD, extends to heav’n; Thy faithfulness to the sky.
Thy justice is like the mounts of God; Thy judgments depths defy.
LORD, Thou preservest man and beast. How precious, God, Thy grace!
Beneath the shadow of Thy wings Men’s sons their trust shall place.

They with the bounty of Thy house Shall be well satisfied.
From rivers full of Thy delights Thou dost their drink provide.
Because the fountain filled with life Is only found with Thee;
And in that purest light of thine We clearly light shall see.

To them that know Thee, evermore Thy lovingkindness show,
And still on me of upright heart Thy righteousness bestow,
Let not the food of pride crush me, Nor wicked hand detain.
There evildoers fall; thrust down, They cannot rise again.

The Beatitudes in the Prayers of King David

I have been teaching through the Sermon on the Mount for the better part of two years now in Sunday School and have never ceased to be amazed at its richness and complexity. Jesus was a master of the Scriptures, and everything he says is accordingly pregnant. Two things peaked my interest in Jesus’ use of the Psalms. First, in my study, it became apparent that in Jesus’ statement, ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,’ he is explicitly drawing from Psalm 37. The context of Psalm 37 therefore helps us to define meekness as ‘fretting not over evildoers.’ The meek person is one who can bear evil, and not return in kind, because justice lies in the hands of God (See further notes on this HERE). Second, I noticed David’s repeated pleas to God in which he states that he is ‘poor and needy.’ There were certainly times in David’s life in which this was true physically, but this was certainly not always the case (he was, after all, a king for a good portion of his life). It was, however, always the case that this was the state of his soul.

This intrigued me to the point that I decided to compile a brief list of parallels between the ‘Beatitudes’ and the psalms of David. Each of the psalms listed is explicitly ascribed to David in the superscripts. These are the only psalms under consideration, and I have not compiled a completely exhaustive list, but the parallels should be clear enough:

1. Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  • Psalm 40:17 As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!
  • Psalm 69:32 When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
  • Psalm 70:5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!
  • Psalm 109:21 But you, O GOD my Lord, deal on my behalf for your name’s sake; because your steadfast love is good, deliver me! 22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is stricken within me.

2. Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

  • Psalm 30:11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness
  • Psalm 43:2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 3 Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

3. Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

  • Psalm 37:1 OF DAVID. Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! 2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. 12 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming…

4. Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

  • Psalm 63:1 A PSALM OF DAVID, WHEN HE WAS IN THE WILDERNESS OF JUDAH. O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips…
  • Psalm 143:6 I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

5. Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

  • Psalm 18:25 With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;

6. Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

  • Psalm 24:1 A PSALM OF DAVID. The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah…
  • Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

7. Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

  • Psalm 37:37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace.
  • Psalm 34:14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

8. Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  • Psalm 7:1 A SHIGGAION OF DAVID, WHICH HE SANG TO THE LORD CONCERNING THE WORDS OF CUSH, A BENJAMINITE. O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me, 2 lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver. 3 O LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, 4 if I have repaid my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause, 5 let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it, and let him trample my life to the ground and lay my glory in the dust. Selah 6 Arise, O LORD, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgment. 7 Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high. 8 The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.
  •  Psalm 9:9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. 11 Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds! 12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted. 13 Be gracious to me, O LORD! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death, 14 that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation.
  • Psalm 22:1 TO THE CHOIRMASTER: ACCORDING TO THE DOE OF THE DAWN. A PSALM OF DAVID. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. 3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. 6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 8 “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” 9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. 10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. 11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. 12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet– 17 I can count all my bones- they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. 19 But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! 20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! 21 Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen! 22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: 23 You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. 25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. 26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. 28 For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.
  • Psalm 31:15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
  • Psalm 35:1 OF DAVID.Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! 2 Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for my help! 3 Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers! Say to my soul, “I am your salvation!” 4 Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek after my life! Let them be turned back and disappointed who devise evil against me! 5 Let them be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the LORD driving them away! 6 Let their way be dark and slippery, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them! 7 For without cause they hid their net for me; without cause they dug a pit for my life. 8 Let destruction come upon him when he does not know it! And let the net that he hid ensnare him; let him fall into it- to his destruction! 9 Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD, exulting in his salvation…

Psalm 39 and Meditation: Brood, Burn, Beseech

Psalm 39 shows us how meditation functions practically for the Christian:

Psalm 39:3 My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: 4 “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!

David meditated (mused), became hot, and began to pray. You could alliterate it like this: His mind brooded, burned, and besought God in prayer. The heat of his meditation led him to ejaculatory prayer. Meditation brings heat. Heat brings prayer.

Thus often in the beginning of a Psalm we find his heart low and discouraged, but as this musing was acted and heightened, his spirit grew hotter, and at last flies all on a flame, flies up to a very high pitch of heavenly heat (Nathanael Ranew).

Meditate with diligent application of the Word of God, and especially the promises of the gospel, until your heart grows warm from its teaching:

Luke 24:32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

The Word of God is a flame that needs to be stirred through meditation. Substitute the idea of meditation for preaching in the following quote and it rings true:

Thomas Cartwright…said, ‘As the fire stirred giveth more heat, so the Word, as it were, blown by preaching, flameth more in the hearers than when it is read.’ That is, to me, a very striking and most valuable statement. It tells us, incidentally, something of the purpose of preaching. The real function of preaching is not to give information, it is to do what Cartwright says; it is to give it more heat, to give life to it, to give power to it, to bring it home to the hearers…He is to inspire them, he is to enthuse them, he is to enliven them and send them out glorying in the Spirit (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors).

The Word of God is a fire that must be set ablaze through meditation and then put into vocalization and action:

Jeremiah 20:9 If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.’

Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

The Word of God is like a lion that needs to be let out of its cage through meditation:

The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself (Charles Spurgeon).

Christian, are you cold? Let your heart burn with meditation. Hot thoughts thaw out frozen Christians:

Meditate so long till thou findest thy heart grow warm in this duty. If, when a man is cold you ask how long he should stand by the fire [the answer is] till he be thoroughly warm, and made fit for his work. So, Christian, thy heart is cold; never a day, no, not the hottest day in summer, but it freezes there; now stand at the fire of meditation till thou findest thy affections warmed, and thou art made fit for spiritual service. David mused till his heart waxed hot within him (Thomas Watson).

Meditation takes a cold heart and makes it warm with affection for Christ on account of his great promises. It finds temptation as a harbinger of brooding on the Scriptures. It finds death as something pointing the mind toward resurrection and causing it to burn. It finds depression as a prodding toward bursting out in prayer.

Is your heart cold? God graciously gives us the means to kindle a fire that will warm our souls – the contemplation of the Word and Gospel of God.