January 11 | 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)

“[T]he Lord will be my God
and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house,
and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” ~Genesis 28:21-22

Jacob deceives his aging father into blessing him. Dad (Isaac) favors Esau, even going so far as to hide from Jacob his intent to divvy up the family inheritance. Typically, all of a man’s children are invited to this special occasion. Mom (Rebekah) favors Jacob and so cooks up a scheme to deceive her invalid husband into giving the blessing to her favorite son. The ruse works; Jacob receives the blessing. Esau discovers, to his great sorrow, that Jacob’s duplicity cannot be undone, and he vows to kill his brother as soon as dad is dead. Consequently, Jacob flees the country in fear of his life.

What a messed up family! Yet this dysfunctional family is God’s family. It is our family. And here is what is so awesome: God blesses them! Nowhere does God approve of the actions of dad, mom, or either of the sons. In fact, the family endures quite a bit of heartache for their actions. However, it is clear that God blesses them anyway. Out of our ancient past comes a heartening lesson. Blessing is the result of God’s choice, not man’s action. Even Jacob, the great manipulator, acknowledges this truth after God appears to him on his journey out of the country. God promises to bless and watch over Jacob, and he humbles himself in worship, builds a memorial in the place God met him, and promises to give back to God ten-percent of everything he receives. (We have already seen Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, tithing in Genesis 14:18-20.)

Regardless of how hard we work, we must acknowledge God as the source of every blessing. We do this in much the same way that Jacob promised to do it. Begin the day with praise. Gather for worship on the Lord’s Day. Give to the Lord a portion of your income because this is a tangible expression that what you have came from Him. God blesses sinners because God is good, and He is the ultimate source of all blessing. (Whenever we recall our own sinfulness, which is often, this truth keeps us from despair.) If you are desperate for God’s blessing, come to Him in faith and ask (Matt. 9:20-22)!

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.