January 30 | 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)

“When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, ‘Everything the Lord has said we will do.’” ~ Exodus 24:3

Having given the people a summary of foundational principles about loving God and others in the form of the Ten Commandments, Moses also provides a sampling of laws based on these principles. Moses’ examples are not exhaustive; rather, they function very much like hypothetical case laws (if this happens, then do this).

The laws were written to teach people how to love God and each other so that the community would be an awesome place. The worshipping community was to respect the personal property of others, and those who violated this law were to make restitution (Ex. 22). They were to protect widows and orphans (Ex. 22:22). They were not to get rich off a neighbor in his time of need (Ex. 22:25).[1] They were not to slander their leaders (Ex. 22:28). They were not to gossip about a neighbor because it would hurt his or her reputation (Ex. 23:1). They were not to accept bribes because those inducements got in the way of justice (Ex. 23:8). They were to take time off so that those who worked for them could also rest (Ex. 23:10-12). They were not to go around using people for sexual gratification (Ex. 22:16-17), nor were they to allow the beauty of sex to be desecrated (Ex. 22:19). They were to be kind to foreigners living in their midst (Ex. 22:21).

They were to demonstrate their love for God by neither slandering Him (Ex. 22:28) nor worshipping other gods (Ex. 22:20). They were to honor Him by giving a portion of their increase as an act of worship (Ex. 22:29). They were to hold regular times to celebrate God (Ex. 23:14-17). And the laws of the worshipping community were to be carried out before the Audience of One. He was the One who had given the laws. He was the One who was to be honored!

Imagine a world like this, where we all truly loved God and our neighbors every day in every way. What a world it would be!

We no longer live under the old covenant, but there is much here that was written for our instruction (1 Cor. 10). We are still bound to the basic principles of loving God, loving each other, and making this world a better place by the way we live.[2] Think about some of the examples given above as you go about your day, and ask God to help you to live up to the standards He has set for creating a caring, encouraging community. May God help each of us to follow the example of Christ, who “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:28).

[1] The spirit of the law does not oppose charging interest, per se, as a business practice. It was intended to protect the poor. Don’t use your neighbor’s “time of need” as an opportunity to get rich. Don’t be a loan shark!

[2] The phrase “make the world a better place” is good theology. It is rooted in the creation mandate of Genesis 1-2, and it has significant implications for redeemed people who are bringing restoration to the world.

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.