“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening.”
I was reading in Genesis last night the story of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah, and this line jumped out at me. Isaac went out to meditate in the field. He is a nomad, living in a tent, far away from civilization. There are few, if any, books available to him. No telephone, television, or internet. No texts, tweets, emails, Facebook statuses, or voice messages to respond to. No one at the office is looking for him. He’s single, so he doesn’t have any children running around underfoot demanding his attention and he has none of the responsibilities that go along with marriage. I imagine that, even in the hustle and bustle of the camp, most of us would feel pretty alone with our thoughts. So, why did he need to get away in order to meditate?
More importantly, if ancient Isaac had to separate himself from the humdrum of his relatively spartan existence to meditate, then it is all the more vital that we clear time and space for ourselves sometimes to just stop and think.
Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Proverbs 4:26
“Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.” Psalm 119:27
Meditation is not the same thing as studying (Ecclesiastes 12:9-14). Pondering has to do with thinking through the things you have studied and experienced and forming complete ideas about things – especially about the things God is revealing to you. It takes time. And most of our schedules don’t have room for it.
Even when I do try to just stop and think, if I am at home or at work, people assume I’m just zoning out or that I have nothing to do, and so they feel free to interrupt. It’s no good to sit at the computer, because the whole world of the internet is right there, calling my name. My phone accompanies me even to the great outdoors – I’m almost never completely out of reach and alone with myself.
Maybe Isaac was on to something. Maybe, every once in awhile, toward evening it would be good to lay the phone on my desk and head outside, where no one else is, and just think.