January 19 | 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)

“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” ~Genesis 45:5

God’s sovereignty (His “sole reign over all things”) is one of the most mysterious yet majestic doctrines in Scripture. The great mystery of the doctrine is that it applies even to the bad things that happen to us. Read again Joseph’s words to his brothers: “Do not be distressed”…with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you“ (Gen. 45:5, italics mine). And another time for emphasis, “God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant” (Gen. 45:7).   And finally, in the same passage, “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Gen. 45:8). Don’t misunderstand; God is not the cause of the brothers’ sin. He does not have to encourage people to sin; they do so freely (Jas. 1:13-15). God sovereignly allowed the brothers to sin but then used their actions to bless Joseph, and (ironically) to save his family and preserve an entire nation.

Only God is this big. Nothing escapes Him. Nothing surprises Him. Nothing frustrates Him. Nothing eludes Him. This doctrine, that God controls all things, has been one of the sweetest in all of Scripture for me. I don’t always understand why God allows pain and suffering into my life, but I do know that even a sparrow does not fall to the ground unless it is His will. He is a God of compassion, and I am more valuable to Him than anything in this world (Matt. 14:14, 10:29-30). The doctrine of God’s sovereignty cannot be separated from the doctrine of His love.

Are there bad things that have happened to you that you simply do not understand? Perhaps it is time to begin moving to a place of trust in a God who is sovereign over all things, even the bad things that happen in our lives. That isn’t an easy place to reach (I think it may have taken Joseph awhile to get there himself). But there is freedom to be had there. Pray for God’s help to trust Him, and start looking for the good He is doing (or has already done) in your life through your difficulties.

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.