Catch up on how things have been since the last time your Impact Group met. Allow anyone new to introduce themselves. Then ask group members:
Ask for a volunteer to read Psalm 1 to the group, praying a short prayer that, however much they’ve come to know Jesus, they’d know him better as a result of your time together.
If you’re not gathered in person, the leader should project the video for the group through sharing their screen. If you’re using Zoom, make sure you have optimized your screen share for video.
Suggested questions to help your discussion. You may find the Bible discussion is slightly longer this week.
The word ‘law’ (Hebrew torah) is used in a range of ways in the Bible, and comes from the verb ‘to teach.’ Sometimes ‘law’ refers precisely to the first five books of the Bible (such as in Luke 24:44). Elsewhere the term clearly refers to other words from God (see Isaiah 1:10). In the Psalms, ‘law’ most commonly refers to the whole Bible, including the Psalms that follow.
In English, the word ‘instruction’ helps us grasp the sense of the Hebrew word. Whilst we associate ‘law’ with restriction, the psalmist’s sense is more positive: God’s ‘instruction’ helps us learn the truth about him and the way the world works.
The type of meditation the psalmist speaks about in verse 2 isn’t related to that found in some Eastern religions. Meditation in Eastern religions is associated with emptying your mind, but biblical meditation refers to digging down deep into truth.
To meditate, then, is to think deeply about what God has said to us in the Bible, personally internalising all that God says is true. The instruction to meditate ‘day and night’ doesn’t mean God expects his people to read the Bible 24 hours a day. Rather, God is calling his people to let Scripture sink so deeply into their hearts that his word becomes integral to their thinking.
Here how’s Ray Ortlund puts it: “The message of Psalm 1 is clear. If you want to worship God, shut the distractions out and pick up your Bible. Open it, read it, believe it, meditate on it, delight in it, obey it. God will show you Christ. He will refresh you and help you, from now on into eternity, by the power of grace. It is that simple, that profound.”
Meditating on Scripture as a means of growing our relationship with God is an ancient practice. (You might like to read the ‘Going Deeper’ box on meditation out to your group.)
One method of meditating on Scripture is to offer ‘breath prayers’ – to dwell on one phrase as you slowly breathe in, and then another as you breathe out again… repeating this many times over. Most group members won’t ever have prayed meditatively in this way – but encourage them not to be scared and to give it a go!
Ask group members to focus on the phrase ‘speaking God’ as they breathe in, and then on ‘help me delight in your instruction’ as they breathe out again. Don’t hurry this meditation – allow it to continue for several minutes. Close this section in prayer.
Share any requests for personal prayer. Ask for volunteers to lead the group in prayer.
You may have people in your Impact Group who are new to reading the Bible.
Confirm the time that you’ll meet next week, and ask someone to close your time together in prayer.
Taking it further – links you might like to share with your Impact Group
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