May 23 | Daily Devotion

May 23 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

The theme of 1 Chronicles is fully developed in today’s reading. As we have already observed, Chronicles was written sometime during the exile in order to give the people of God hope (the exile is spoken of in the past tense in 1 Chronicles 9:1). These descendants of Adam and Abraham are part of a called-out community of God worshippers. The Chronicler reminds them that they have a family, a land, and important work to do for the Lord. Their ultimate purpose is still the worship of God, and they will be restored.

The Chronicler circles back to the story of Israel’s first king, Saul. As his story was already recounted for us in Kings, it seems odd to revisit it. But the Chronicler has a purpose. In addition to relaying a word of hope, he gives the people a gentle warning. He writes, quite explicitly, the reason why they were exiled. “The people of Judah were taken into captivity because of their unfaithfulness” (1 Chron. 9:1). And later, “Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord” (1 Chron. 10:13). God has not forgotten them, and now they have been warned not to forget God.

The Hebrew word translated unfaithfulness in the NIV is the same word that is used when a spouse is unfaithful to his or her marriage covenant. It conveys the idea of a commitment broken. Israel’s unfaithfulness is in the past, but the people are meant to keep in mind that the consequences of betraying God are devastating. Exile isn’t the only possible result of unfaithfulness though. The Jewish leaders who tried to kill Jesus Christ in today’s reading in John practiced a brand of religion that was all about self. Their unfaithfulness to God’s Word so twisted their minds that the truth, Jesus in the flesh, was staring them in the face and they didn’t see it.

The Chronicler calls his readers to hope as well as to humility. We must remember that we are part of the family of God; we have not been cast aside. In this there is great reason to hope. We have a future! But we must also remember that we are part of a family who has been unfaithful. As such, we too will be tempted to be unfaithful to the God who made and saved us. And just as our family members endured difficulty because of their unfaithfulness, we too may encounter trouble when we betray the Lord (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-13). Let us pray in all humility the words of the hymn writer: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.” May the Lord help us to remain faithful to Him!

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.