March 9 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
~Deuteronomy 8:18

What is most apparent in today’s reading is that God is not opposed to material blessing. Obtaining (through proper means) and enjoying (in proper ways) material prosperity should not be considered sinful. (Some sects within the Christian tradition, both ancient and modern, hove in this direction.) Deuteronomy 8 makes it clear that God intended to give the worshipping community flourishing cities, fine homes, and fecund vineyards, and He planned to increase their silver and gold. But along with these riches came a warning not to let the blessing turn their hearts away from the Blesser! Enjoy God’s good gifts, but never worship them nor think yourself entitled to them. It is not because the people are good that God blesses them, it is because the nations they are supplanting are so evil (Deut. 9:1-6).

If you view material blessings as sinful, you need to get your theology straight. God created everything in this world, material and non-material, and gave the abundance of the earth to mankind for enjoyment (1 Tim. 6:17). If you are enjoying the blessings, great! But be aware of the grave danger, for how many people have fallen in love with the blessings and forgotten about the Blesser? The evidence is in their giving, their worship, and their service, or the lack thereof. Are you one of these? Has God blessed you with a job, a home, a family, and/or material things, and now you are so busy acquiring and maintaining that you have squeezed Him out of your life?

The ancient pastor-theologian Augustine (d. 430 AD) had this to say about blessings as “occasions for sin”: “There is indeed beauty in physical objects; in gold, silver, in all things… But in striving after these things, we must not depart from you, nor stray from the path of your Law. Even the life we live here has its own charm… Human friendship too is sweet… But all such things may be occasions for sin, when we incline toward them more than we ought” (Confessions, Book II). Our heart can incline toward the beauty of this world more than it should and thereby forget that the source of that beauty is our Creator God. Only He is worthy of worship. The heart can change directions gradually, an effect we can see happening all around us. Don’t change your inclination. Love Him with your entire being every day for your good and His glory!

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.