November 1 | Daily Devotion

November 1 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

Old Testament

Imprisoned (again) for lowering troop morale with his constant jeremiads, Jeremiah waits out a portion of the siege of Jerusalem under royal guard. Although there are considerable limitations imposed by the siege, life in the city goes as normally as possible. As such, Jeremiah gets a visit from his cousin, who is eager to offload some property. Perhaps the cousin is motivated by greed, property values in Israel are certainly not going up. Or maybe he’s subtly insulting the prophet. You say God will restore this land, Jeremiah? Well, put your money where your mouth is and invest in this glorious future you’re prophesying.

Jeremiah buys the property, and before the ink is dry on the paperwork, he’s praying, as he always does, for restoration.   “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jer. 32:17). The Lord responds, “”I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?’” (Jer. 32:27). God begins making good on His promises right away, but it will be a few years before His people recognize He is at work. In time, the exiles return to rebuild, first the walls and then the temple and city. Centuries later, this rebuilt city will play host to the Christ as he brings a new covenant between God and the “new Israel” (all who accept the Christ). Someday yet come, the New Jerusalem will stand fully restored on a new earth. Jeremiah is still waiting to enjoy his property, but he will because nothing is too hard for the Lord.

God has a lot to say in this section of Jeremiah, and the prophet’s rendering of God’s intense declarations has seized the attention of theologians like Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). On the eve of destruction, this fiercely possessive God makes promise after promise of extravagant blessing: “They will be my people, and I will be their God”¦for their own good, and the good of their children” and “I will never stop doing them good” and “I will rejoice in doing them good” and “I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them” (Jer. 32:38-42). Edwards studied these passages and concluded that (and I paraphrase) God is determined to glorify His name by doing good to his people forever![1] Forever is how long it will take for Him to bestow all of His goodness, and nothing will prevent Him because nothing is too hard for the Lord. Wow!

New Testament

The pastor isn’t the only one responsible for discipling believers. In fact, he is responsible for getting others involved in the process. For example, mature women are to model for younger women a standard of living that respects the gospel message. Men both young and old are to learn self-control (among other things) and guide others toward it. The lives of those in the church should in every way “make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:10). Whether we are at home or in the neighborhood, in the workplace or the workout place, our lives should draw people to the gospel. And when we are serving as an example or an instructor for others, let us teach them to lead attractive lives for the glory of God.

[1] The place Edwards most clearly unpacks this is in his probing theological treatise, A Dissertation Concerning the End for Which God Created the World reprinted by John Piper in God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards (Crossway Books).

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.