July 31 | Daily Devotion

July 31 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

Paul’s letter to the new believers in Rome, now known as the book of Romans, was written before the apostle was taken into custody (probably while he was in the city of Corinth, west of Athens). In the first chapter, he gives what we might call a salvation history. The old church anticipated the good news about Jesus, while the nations of the world lived in sin. Notice especially that God’s judgment was (and is) sometimes simply allowing people to do what they want to do and letting them reap the incredibly painful consequences. “God gave them over” in their sin, Paul writes in Romans 1:24. We are reading the songs of the old church as sung by Paul, the Romans, and the rest of new church.

Psalm 62

The expression “one thing”¦two things” from verse 11 is a poetic device. The poet is creatively saying that there are two traits of God that together comprise the most important characteristic of God. He is strong, and He is loving. He is not one or the other depending upon the situation. He is always both; He is always strong and loving. God, in His strength, always acts in love toward His people, and the God who loves His people has the strength to act on their behalf. Can anything greater be said of this God!? May your soul find rest in Him (v. 1)!

Psalm 63

When the psalmist is weary, he finds rest in God. And so, David makes a commitment: “I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands” (v. 4). God has promised protection and deliverance from enemies. Those who wrong David “will be given over to the sword” (v. 10).

We do not praise God only for who He is, but also for what He does. In fact, His character and His actions are inseparable.[1] Because of who God is (just, loving), He acts in certain ways (brings about justice, shows his love). So let us praise Him because of who He is and for all the things He has done and will do!

Psalm 64

Once again, David the psalmist writes a poem of “complaint.” He has been ambushed by enemies (perhaps both literally and figuratively). People are conspiring against him, speaking evil things about him, and plotting his demise. Yes, even good people are treated incredibly badly! Moses, Job, David, and Jesus all experienced this, and they are only a few of the examples in the Bible’s pages!

We cannot assume that suffering people have done something to deserve their pain! Scripture has been quite clear about the falsehood of that assumption. So what do we do when we face such difficult times? We put our hope in God by complaining to Him. And we wait for Him to act. “But God will shoot them with arrows; suddenly they will be struck down” (v. 7). If you have been wronged, don’t get even. Get on your knees, and complain to God. Then watch Him fight for you!

[1] There is a popular lyric in the old praise song, “Because of Who You Are, “ that is theologically flawed for this very reason. “Lord I praise you, because of who you are, not just because of all the mighty things you have done.”

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.