June 11 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets . . .”
~2 Chronicles 36:15-16

The Chronicler has devoted a lot of ink to reminding the people of what got them into trouble and exiled in the first place. They were created and called out as a worshipping community, but they had turned away from the Lord again and again. Some kings, like Josiah, brought reform during their lifetime. Others, like the corrupt lot who followed Josiah, led the people further away from the worship of God. God, in His mercy, sent preachers (called prophets) to call the Israelites to return to Him. When Israel disregarded His warnings and His calls to restoration, God brought severe discipline upon them, the land of promise was conquered and the people dispersed.

Now, seventy years later, the Chronicler’s purpose for recounting the exploits of the Davidic line of kings is brought sharply into focus. God has moved the heart of a pagan king, Cyrus of Persia, to fund the restoration of Jerusalem (2 Chron. 36:22-23). [1] The time for rebuilding the temple and restoring worship has come. However, the repatriated people should remember the mistakes of their past and not repeat them!

There is an important lesson here about listening to the Word of the Lord. Sometimes God, in His mercy, sends people into our lives to tell us things we don’t want to hear. Perhaps the message comes through a sermon, a Bible study, a small group gathering, or through reading Scripture. When God speaks, we need to listen and do what He says! He speaks for our good, and He corrects us because He loves us. So do not forget the lessons of your ancestors; do not despise the Word of the Lord. May God help us to humbly hear the Word, to courageously do what it says, and to long for His blessing in our lives.

[1]Cyrus’ move isn’t entirely benevolent. A king extended his empire by allowing a conquered people to remain in their land (or restoring them to it) and installing a puppet-king. The dominant nation collected taxes, harvested the land, and conscripted foreign reserves for cannon fodder. In addition, the subjugated country created a buffer against one’s enemies. For the conquered people, remaining in or returning to their home fostered hope that their little kingdom would grow strong enough to throw off foreign rule. Indeed, Israel’s exile (and subsequent return) inspired a longing among the people for a king who would save them.

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.