November 26 | Daily Devotion

November 26 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

Old Testament

God’s justice is one of the most understated aspects of His character in contemporary, postmodern Christianity. It is rare that we use language that speaks of “God’s wrath” or “God’s judgment.” Perhaps we are afraid someone might call us fundamentalist or some other bad name.

However, we do find the language of justice in Scripture. What modern-day Christians often miss is just how comforting the notion of God’s justice can be for His people. His anger with them burns out quickly, but not so with those who seize upon times of pain as opportunity for selfish gain (Ps. 30:5).

Edom entered Jerusalem after its fall in 586 and rifled through the leftovers. They laughed and looted while the people of God wept over the loss of their city. Surrounding nations took advantage of the deserted countryside to graze their sheep in green pastures. All of this (and more) provoked God’s wrath! “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In my burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession so that they might plunder its pastureland”¦I speak in my jealous wrath!” (Ezek. 36:5-6).

When we get hurt, God gets mad, and there is considerable comfort in that fact! “Do not take revenge my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, “It is mine to repay’ says the Lord” (Rom. 12:19). Revenge isn’t ours to take; we need to get out of God’s way!

If you have been wronged, leave the matter to God. It is your duty to forgive in your heart, to hand over the situation to Him, and then to go about your living free of the burden of bitterness. Let him take care of His business while you focus on the business of doing what He has called you to do.

New Testament

These days, if you tell people to stay in a difficult marriage, they dismiss you as a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. It is hard to stay in a difficult marriage, yet Scripture call us to do hard things all the time for our good! Conversely, divorce rates have skyrocketed in the Western world since the 1950s and the practice certainly hasn’t made life happier for us.

Common sense (which is, unfortunately, not all that common these days) tells us that sometimes doing hard things is good for us. Like studying for a test, or working out, or finishing boot camp. Or staying married. To understand 1 Peter 3, you have to think about it as recommendations for common sense living. Husbands and wives are both told to stick it out. Wives who are married to a hard-to-live-with guy are more likely to win him over by being as beautiful as they can from the inside out. Husbands are to treat their wives with tenderness and to be understanding, even when wives are hard to understand!

Of course, our example in all of this is Jesus, who did right even when it was difficult. When we live like Jesus, God is glorified and we are blessed. I know it takes faith to believe a blessing is coming when you’re in a situation that is a constantly trying, but trust in God, who has not failed you yet. Live it out your faith, and you eventually will see what I’m talking about. The good life is the God life.

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.