July 11 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
~Psalm 4:8

The book we know as Psalms is actually five books: Psalms 1-41 (Book 1), Psalms 42-72 (Book 2), Psalms 73-89 (Book 3), Psalms 90-106 (Book 4), and Psalms 107-150 (Book 5).

Psalm 4

Here is a longing for answered prayer and perhaps a prayer for justice. God’s right to justice is a theme found throughout Psalms, and it is a powerful theological lesson. Our instinct is to get even when we have been wronged, the Psalmist warns us not sin in our anger. Then he offers a striking alternative. In those moments when you’re consumed by thoughts of the wrongs committed against you—ever notice how those thoughts creep in when your mind goes quiet for sleep?!—“search your heart and be silent” instead (v. 4). Rather than pondering vengeance, or venting to your spouse, or hurling invectives, pray and be in peace. Get up and worship in the morning, asking God to let the light of His face shine on you (v. 5). If you do this, God will fill your heart with joy! You will lie down and sleep in peace. Don’t get even. Get on your knees.

Psalm 5

What do we do when life hurts so badly that it brings sighs and tears? We pray; we cry out to God for help. We lay our needs before Him every morning without fail (v. 3). We remind God (and ourselves) of what He already knows: “You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell”(v. 4). We plead and argue (in the best sense of the word) asking God for justice when we have been wronged. “Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you!” (v. 10). In short, we bring our hurts to the One who can do something about them, and we ask Him to act! And then we “sing for joy” knowing that He will deliver us in time.

Psalm 6

When God is at work in our lives because of unrepented sin, we are affected body and soul! Just as the stresses of life disturb our health, so do the stresses of sin not dealt with (note the references to physical weakness throughout Psalm 6). When our enemies perceive that God is disciplining us, they move in for the kill (v. 8). Our salvation is in declaring our sin and falling on God’s grace. Or, as David, the psalmist, sings, “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace”(v. 9-10).

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.