What’s your favourite pastime? How do you like to spend your spare minutes? Where do your thoughts take you? What do you gravitate towards when you have nothing else to do?
Browsing through my Bible, I was captivated by the favourite pastime of a man whom God called a “man after His own heart” (Acts 13:22). Was it thinking up new strategies for warfare? Was it his wives? Maybe the many children he had? Or did he have a hobby equivalent to fishing or golfing?
Interestingly, David’s favourite thing to do was to meditate on God’s word. Moreover, it wasn’t just his favourite thing to do, he devoted his life to it. The psalms are full of verses that talk about him thinking and meditating about God’s word, God’s works, and God’s mercy around the clock, even at night when he couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t a sense of duty that compelled David to turn his thoughts to God – the Bible records that he delighted in it. He loved it!
This love for God and His word resulted in many actions. Scores of psalms written for worship. Elevation to kingship. Righteous anger towards the blasphemy of God and His people. A heart of mercy towards some of his enemies. Setting aside his riches for the building of a temple. Prophetic writings about the Messiah. Repentance and confession for his sins.
So what’s your favourite pastime? And what actions does it result in? For myself, I must admit, God is not always my first thought. Sometimes not even my second thought. I often think I’m too busy, or there are too many other things to think about that are more urgent or relevant. But I’m sure David was busy, too. I’m sure he had many burdens and concerns weighing him down. And yet, he made the time to focus on God’s word.
On the other hand, we also see what happened when David took his mind off God and focused it on selfish matters. For the span of about a year, he got involved in adultery, murder, and deception – of self and others. He suffered emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. His relationship with God was broken. But when confronted with his sins by the prophet Nathan, he immediately fled back to God and His word, seeking forgiveness, restoration and the joy of God’s salvation.
May we take David’s example to heart and learn from his good times and bad times. Let us ask God to give us a desire and love for Him and His word. May we meditate on His word, His works, and His grace day and night. Next time we can’t sleep, let’s spend the time in prayer and quiet listening. Whether we are happy or sad, elated or devastated, bored or stressed, let our first thought be about God. I can guarantee, this will result in actions that glorify God, and encourage, inspire, and draw others to Him. That’s time well spent, thoughts well directed.