January 17 | 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)

“The second son he named Ephraim and said, ‘It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.’” ~Genesis 41:52

Joseph’s is no charmed life; he endures a lot. He narrowly escapes death at the hands of his hateful brothers, ending up as a household slave in a foreign land instead. Just when he is making strides toward a decent life in Egypt, he is falsely accused of trying to take advantage of his master’s wife and thrown into prison.

After two life-shattering setbacks, Joseph still refuses to give up. He works his way into a position of leadership while in prison and even serves as a confidant for officials of the king’s court. Finally, God brought Joseph to the attention of Pharaoh, and the former slave and prisoner is exalted to vice-royal of Egypt. What a rags-to-riches story! What a story of God’s blessing through setbacks and suffering! And Joseph does not hesitate to honor the Lord.

Perhaps you have been through a time of immense suffering. Let Joseph’s story encourage you. God is able to bless you “in the land of your suffering.” There are no geographic or circumstantial limitations to His blessing. He can bless you wherever you live. (In Joseph’s case, in a foreign country away from family.) He can bless you in any circumstances. (Again, in Joseph’s case, despite hatred, slavery, and imprisonment.)

However, not everyone experiences this “fruitfulness.” Jesus’ parable of the sower teaches that some people allow the devil to defeat them, others fall away because of difficulties, and many become distracted by life in this world. As a result, they become “unfruitful.” Pray for God to help you resist the spiritual maladies that cause unfruitfulness. Ask Him to protect your faith in the land of your suffering and to make you fruitful!

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.