May 8 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.’” ~1 Kings 18:21

There is an ominous procession in this section as king after king plants his feet into the footsteps left by Jeroboam. Nadab, Jeroboam’s son, “did evil in the eyes of the Lord, walking in the ways of his father” (1 Kings 15:26). The next king, a man named Baasha, “did evil in the eyes of the Lord, walking in the ways of Jeroboam” (1 Kings 15:34). After that, King Elah also angered the Lord with his wickedness. Zimri usurped Elah, but was himself dethroned for “walking in the ways of Jeroboam” (1 Kings 16:19). His successor, Omri, “sinned more than all those before him” following completely the ways of Jeroboam (1 Kings 16:25). And then came King Ahab, who exceeded even Omri in wickedness. He “considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam,” and his kingdom became even more evil thanks to his marriage to the wicked Queen Jezebel.

One generation can have a tremendous influence on the next. King Jeroboam’s wicked reign cast a looming shadow over the kings and queens who followed him. They then influenced the people to turn away from the Lord (1 Kings 15:34). Of course, influence can work in the other direction as well. Sometimes all it takes to divert a generation’s course is one man standing up to say, “This isn’t right; I’m going to follow the Lord.” Such is the case with Elijah the prophet, who stared down the people and stood against the pseudo-preachers who had abandoned the Lord. He was a man of conviction and courage, and through him God blessed the land.

It is important for each of us to remember the power of example. The generation following behind us, especially our own children, watch our lives. Sure, they hear what we say, but as the old expression goes, “actions speak louder than words.” They see how we handle trials and work through conflict. They notice whether we invest our resources in those in need and how we treat the less fortunate. They pay attention to how we stay true to our spouse even when it is hard. They especially consider and internalize whether we make worship a priority when so many other things are demanding our attention, and they take note of how we pray to God in faith and read the Word in submission. They see how we strive to glorify God in all we do. Children also see their parent’s willfully sinful deeds, and all too often those are the footsteps they follow. Our example influences those who come after us to walk in the ways of the Lord or to completely abandon Him, perhaps for generations to come. May the Lord help us to devote our lives to walking in His ways.

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.