September 30 | Daily Devotion

September 30 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

Old Testament

Isaiah is preaching to his people because of their sham religions while also proclaiming a message of judgment to the surrounding nations. It is difficult for modern Western people, living as we do in a time of relative peace, to fully comprehend the apprehension of daily life in ancient Israel and Judah. A modern Israeli might understand the feeling better surrounded as they are by enemies always threatening harm. Yet Isaiah’s message encourages God’s people to hope in Him. Although their neighbours will inflict harm upon them, each will be judged in turn and experience defeat during the ministry of Isaiah or shortly after his death.   (Consult a good study Bible to read more about the historical background of each defeat.)

However, God has a most interesting and awe-inspiring long-range plan for some of Israel’s enemies. While the bulk of Isaiah’s prophecies speak of destruction and death, there is a glimmer of hope for a few of those who oppose God’s people in Isaiah’s day. “Egyptians and the Assyrians will worship together” (Is. 19:23). The day is coming when all of Israel and Judah’s enemies will worship the one true God! Not only will they eventually be defeated, they will also join Israel and Judah as God worshippers!

The fulfilment of the prophecy began with the coming of Christ and the spread of the gospel throughout the world beginning at Pentecost. Both Egypt and Assyria eventually became saturated with the gospel, and Coptic Christianity flourished in Egypt while the Church of the East thrived in Assyria. The complete fulfilment of the prophecy awaits the return of Christ. As we learn from the gospels, the kingdom is here and growing, but we are all of us waiting for the kingdom to come in full when Christ returns.

There are more than 2 billion Christians around the world today, which means that we are living in an era of global Christianity. There are many nations, Egypt, Iran (ancient Assyria), America, Kenya, etc., but there is only one God, one gospel, and one church. The future kingdom won’t be a homogenous one either. As Miroslav Volf put it: “Pentecost, as the beginning of the new age of God’s salvation, is not a reversion to the unity of cultural uniformity; it is an advance toward harmony in cultural diversity.”[1] Someday every tribe and tongue and nation will worship the same God and submit their lives to the same Saviour.

New Testament

We have been saved by God’s grace, but we have been saved for good works. This salvation through the gospel has broken down barriers between Jew and Gentile, between American and Canadian, between Kenyan and Sudanese. The gospel tears down the walls built by the people of nations and culture groups that set themselves against another. Isaiah’s fulfilment has begun, and we are part of it. So when we embrace the gospel, we also embrace each other.

[1] Miroslav Volf, A Spacious Heart:   Essays on Identity and Belonging (Harrisburg, PA:   Trinity Press, 1997), 9.

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.