September 1 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” ~Psalm 150:6

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 148

The poet calls out to all creation to praise the Lord—angels, sun, moon, stars, waters, sea creatures, storms, snow, clouds, mountains, hills, fruit trees, wild animals, kings, princes, young men, old men, children, etc. Of course, the inanimate objects on the list cannot literally sing or speak praise to the Lord. What the poet is saying is that all creation praises God by its very existence! We have seen apostrophe, the direct address of an inanimate object in poetry, more than once in the psalms. The poets love creation, and they see in everything around them the beauty and glory of God. Go about your day with senses aroused. Praise God every time you see something that reflects His beauty.

Psalm 149

Here is a psalm that tells us that we can and should get emotionally excited about God. “Let [God’s people] praise his name with dancing, and make music to him with tambourine and harp” (v. 3). Our church recently hosted a guest artist from Kenya who asked why there is such disparity between American sporting events and American worship services. (Could it be that we worship sports in our culture?) Why do we get excited when we watch the Bears, the Bulls, or the Cubs (or the White Sox, if your prefer), but we sit mum before the maker of the universe?!

God loves it when we get excited about Him. “For the Lord takes delight in his people” (v. 5). He also loves it when our worship manifests itself as a zeal to fight for the glory of His name in our daily lives (v. 6).

Psalm 150

Psalm 150 is intentionally placed at the end of the psalter as the grand finale. It is the poetic denouement! Everything that has been said is summed up in one final stroke of the quill, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (v. 6) And the psalm ends with one word, “Hallelujah,” which is a literal transliteration of the Hebrew. Or as we say in English, “Praise the Lord” (v. 6).

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul rebukes the Corinthians for denigrating the observance of communion. Sometimes called the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:20), communion (1 Cor. 10:16), or in some traditions, the Eucharist (1 Cor. 10:15), from the Greek word for thanksgiving, communion is a special time when Christians eat together in remembrance of what Jesus did for them. It is a time to give thanks and commune with God in a special way.

In the first century, this special time was often conducted in a house setting. Worship was held in the homes of wealthy people, who had large gathering areas that could accommodate one hundred or more. (Recall in Acts 2 that 120 people gathered in an upper room for prayer.) However, some of the Corinthians had turned the Lord’s Supper into a drunken party. Even worse, the poorer members of the church were humiliated by the actions of the wealthy. (Either they were not invited, or they were only invited to the more formal part of the ceremony).

Paul tells the Corinthians that they are not really observing the Lord’s Table; they’re just having a party! They need to repent of their disregard for both God and their brothers and sisters. While the setting for communion has changed in most modern churches, the principles remain the same. Accept all of God’s people at the table—rich or poor—and focus on the true meaning of this sacred event. Communion is a time to remember and give thanks for our salvation as we fellowship with Christ and each other. The mood can be festive (see 1 Corinthians 5:8) or somber, but it should be real!

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.