November 22 | Daily Devotion

November 22 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

Old Testament

The enemies of God’s people do not fare well. Tyre (located in ancient Lebanon) was an island city-state just off the Phoenician coast. The city was wealthy and well protected, and it was similar to medieval Venice in that its riches were accumulated through massive trading networks. Tyre, like Venice, owned the seas. They were the ancient UPS of the world.

The glories of Tyre’s trading empire are recounted in Ezekiel’s prophecy. As a central transportation hub, Tyre sent goods over land and sea from the Orient (east) to the Occident (west), from Tarshish (Spain) to Eden (Persian Gulf) and Arabia (the Arabian Peninsula). The culture of the city was flavored by its international connections as exotic goods found their way into the local culture. Wine, jewelry, rugs, spices, cloth, and every import imaginable sold in markets and shops, thereby giving the city a rich, cosmopolitan feel. Sidon to the north, though not as wealthy, was a twin Phoenician city with many similarities.

Both Tyre and Sidon fell to the great danger of wealth and power, pride. In their pride, both cities gloated when Jerusalem fell in 586. As exiles poured into Babylon to join those already carried into the nation more than 10 years earlier, the local prophet, Ezekiel, warns Tyre and Sidon. They will be brought low because of their contemptuous treatment of the people of God in their time of despair. (The prophecy in 28:13ff is not a poem about Satan but rather a prophecy about ancient Tyre. Though, in fact, there are similarities any time a city or a person becomes proud.)

Ezekiel’s sermons to Tyre and Sidon are a warning to anyone who swells with pride because of God’s blessing. Pride will bring a person down hard and fast! Humility is always the best course, even when one has enjoyed prosperity. The sermons are also an encouragement to those who have been hurt by the arrogant. God will deal with the proud in His own time and in His own way. God assured His people that He would avenge the wrongs done to them by their neighbors, and He will do the same for you. If you are being wronged (or have been wronged) by someone with more power and wealth than you, take heart. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, and He will carry it out (see Romans 12:17-21).

New Testament

Conflict starts on the inside. People fight because they want something, and when they don’t get it, they go after it or punish those who don’t provide it. Some people even kill because they don’t get what they want. The desire may be an intangible thing (in fact, it often is): respect, love, justice, etc.

Look deep inside your heart the next time conflict arises, and ask yourself the question, “What is it that I want but am not getting?” That’s the real cause of the conflict. You have to deal with heart issues if you are going to handle conflict well.

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.