May 7 | Daily Devotion

May 7 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life.” ~1 Kings 15:14

So begins the story of the kings in the era of Israel’s divided monarchy. This was largely a period of great apostasy as the people desert their faith and religious practice. Jeroboam, king in the north (Israel), and Rehoboam, king of the southern kingdom (Judah), were the rulers who led the people into idolatry. Jeroboam’s court was so corrupt that when God sent a prophet to condemn their evil ways, He told the fellow not to stay for dinner (1 Kings 13:9)! (In the ancient world, eating together was an expression of friendship. God left no doubt in anyone’s mind that He was displeased with Jeroboam’s regime.) In the south (Judah), things were not much better. Idolatry and the influence of false religion were so rampant that there were even male prostitutes working at the temple of the Lord! (Prostitution was common in Canaanite religious ritual.)

While there is more, much more, bad news to come, occasionally a leader rises to power and cleans house. Asa is just such a king. He is Jeroboam’s grandson and becomes king upon the death of his father, Abijah. Despite two generations of family sin, King Asa decides to do what is right in the Lord’s eyes. He clears the prostitutes from the temple and restores the beauty of the place of worship. He deposes the Queen Mother, his own grandmother, because she practices idolatry. Although King Asa is unable to reform Judah entirely, he is commended for his total devotion to the Lord.

The world we live in needs more people like Asa, men and women, boys and girls who see the wrong around them and decide to be different. Perhaps the most counter-cultural message a person can hear is this: you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. We can even choose to follow the Lord if generations of family members before us have decided not to. We can choose to be different. It takes conviction and courage to say, “I’m going to make some changes around here, “ but we have an inspiring example in Jesus, who brought light into a world of darkness (John 1:4-5). We can follow His example by living lives that bring glory to God in a dark world.

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.