January 6 | Daily Devotion

If you plan to read every verse of Scripture this year, use the  Lectio Continua (continuous reading) passages. The  Lectio Semi-continua (shorter reading) is an abbreviated selection of verses from the day’s passages. Lectio Divina (divine reading) is Pastor Lionel Young’s commentary on the daily readings. See the Resources page on the Lectio Divina website for additional study helps.

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina (meditation on the text)

“Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself,

‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?

Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’” ~Genesis 17:17

Abram and his wife Sarai have been trying to have children for a long time with no success. They are getting older and Sarai’s childbearing years are nearing an end. How will his descendants fill the earth as God has promised if they can’t have children (Gen. 13:16)? Abram and Sarai take matters into their own hands. Sarai arranges for Abram to sleep with the household help, and it works! Hagar has a son named Ishmael.

Culturally, this is not considered out of line, but it is not the way God planned to make good on His promise. Their contrived solution creates all sorts of problems. Even so, God remains faithful to all involved. He protects Hagar and blesses her son. He also repeats His promise to Abram that he and Sarai will have a son. Abram, now bearing the name Abraham, responds by worshipping God while laughing in disbelief (Gen. 17:17).

How often are we tempted to take matters into our own hands when we don’t think God is acting quickly enough?!   Abram and Sarai’s story is not an encouragement to be passive (I’m sure they were doing everything they could to have a child!); it encourages us to be faithful and to do all we can while we wait for God to act on our behalf. Determine what is your responsibility in a given situation and do it with all your might. The rest is God’s responsibility, and you must be patient while He works circumstances to His satisfaction.

We are called to do what is right and to trust God to act in time, even when what’s expected or promised seems unbelievable. A little disbelief is okay (see Mark 9:24) as long as we have enough faith to worship (Gen. 17:17)! God will come through.

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.