January 9 | 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)

“Then he prayed, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham,
make me successful today,
and show kindness to my master Abraham.’” ~Genesis 24:12

Sarah dies, and a grief-stricken Abraham is exploited. A local landowner named Ephron, pretending to be generous, negotiates an exorbitant price for the burial plot. He knows Abraham has the money. He knows Abraham wants to properly honor his wife. Abraham agrees to the terms and buries his wife (Gen. 23). While inwardly Abraham probably felt manipulated, he had no complaints. As the text reads, “the Lord had blessed [Abraham] in every way” (Gen. 24:1). What a statement!

The blessings continue even in Abraham’s old age. In fact, he is confident of God’s abundant provision when he sends his servant to find a wife for Isaac with this encouragement, “He will send His angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son” (Gen. 24:7). Even his servants anticipate good things for their master as they have witnessed the favor he enjoys. On the journey to choose a bride, the servant prays, “O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, “ and God answers his prayer (Gen. 24:12)!

It is neither wrong nor selfish to desire blessing or to pray for success. God freely offers these things. So great is His desire to pour out good things on His people that in time His ministers will have a special prayer to pray over them as they leave worship gatherings, “The Lord bless you and keep you…” (see the whole blessing in Numbers 6:22-27). However, we must be cautious that we not fall into the temptation to make the blessing or the success the object of our worship. We must never allow our hearts to be turned away from the Blesser toward the blessing (see Deut. 6:10-12).

Abraham’s servant trusted in the evidence he had seen. His master’s God was a God who blessed the faithful. Trust in the evidence you can see in God’s Word and in your own life. Do not hesitate to pray before you undertake a task: “Oh Lord, grant me success” (Ps. 118:25, paraphrase). When He does, be sure to give Him praise.

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.