May 19 | Daily Devotion

May 19 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

The high priest Hilkiah discovers “The Book” in the temple of the Lord and brings it to the attention of King Josiah. What follows is a great reformation. While the changes are not enough to deter God’s eventual judgment, they are enough to delay it (2 Kings 22:18-20). Inspired by the recovery of God’s Word, King Josiah gathers the elders and prophets and renews the covenant between the Lord and His people. He removes idolatrous icons from the temple and has them burned. He fires the priests who are complicit in the whole business of faux religion. He runs the male prostitutes out of town and demolishes their dormitories. He kills any priest who has a hand in using the high places (alternative worship sites), he literally burns them on their own altar, and then destroys the altar. He stands publicly before the people and declares his commitment to follow the Lord, and he reinstates the God Fest, the great annual celebration of the nation’s birth. Josiah is a man on a mission.

This is what happens when the Word of God is discovered, and read, and then obeyed. Reform! Leaders are reformed, individuals are reformed, churches are reformed, entire cities and even nations are reformed. Much later in the history of the church, the Protestant Reformers in Europe (ca. 1517-1648) would be inspired by the story of Josiah’s course correction for Israel. They “discovered” the Bible in the church much like Josiah did. It was there all along but hardly anyone was reading it. In fact, at that point, the Bible was still in Latin and, except for a handful of scholars, no one read Latin! Once it was discovered and preached, change happened! Reform reverberated throughout the land as the Word was pronounced and lived. (A few of the more extreme Protestants even took iconoclastic measures, destroying the icons often worshipped by medieval people.)

The church, and the people in the church, desperately need the Word of God today. It has the power to bring change, reform, to our lives, to our churches, and to our communities. We ignore it to our own peril, as Josiah’s descendants would soon discover. But when we read it, hear it preached, and then commit ourselves to doing what it says, we are changed and blessed. As James the Elder writes, “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it, he will be blessed in what he does” (Jas. 1:25). Did you catch that? “The law that gives freedom.” What an ironic turn of phrase. The Word of God is law, but it is a law that, when obeyed, frees us up and blesses us! This is what Josiah discovered, the blessing of obeying the law of God. Perhaps today you need to ask God to help you apply the Word to your life in those areas where you have most neglected His instruction. Then you can experience the freedom and blessing of obeying Him fully.

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.