July 14 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.” ~Psalm 16:5

In the Acts narrative, the church is spreading throughout the known world. The last few chapters we have read have traced its expansion into modern-day Turkey and Greece. These new churches found a rich heritage of theology and music in the poem-songs written by and for the ancient Hebrews. The message of hope and renewal, and the reminders of God’s steadfastness and grace, were as welcome and relevant in the growing Christian church as they were to Israel long ago.

Psalm 13

Sometimes justice is a long time coming. It is tempting to think that God has forgotten about us and that He stands idly by when we have been wronged. The psalmist gives voice to painful human experience, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” (v. 1). While we wait, we wrestle with thoughts of fear and uncertainty, and our hearts are filled with sadness. It is in such times that we must call out to God for justice (v. 3). We must cling to His “unfailing love” (v. 5) and rejoice in His coming deliverance. We must remind ourselves of the ways in which He has provided and comforted in the past, and sing about them (vv. 5-6). It may feel like justice takes forever, but God will show His goodness to us again and for all eternity.

Psalm 14

The psalmist is not speaking here of the philosophical atheist, the one who has reasoned away God’s existence. Rather he speaks of the practical atheist, who lives out his everyday life like there is no God. He then declares that most of the world fits within this category of people. “All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (v. 3). We live in a world where the majority has abandoned God, practically speaking, and “devour” God’s people (v. 4). In such times, we must pray to the Lord for “salvation” from evildoers! And when salvation comes our way, in whatever form God chooses, give Him glory with rejoicing and gladness!

Psalm 15

If you want to enjoy close fellowship with God, to dwell in His sanctuary or sacred tent, then you must be a person of integrity. You don’t have to be perfect (many psalms are honest about humanity’s lack of perfection), but you do have to be committed to doing what is right in God’s eyes: tell the truth; avoid slander, which is a heinous form of cowardly lying; protect your neighbor; choose godly friends; keep your word, even when it hurts; refuse bribes; and help those in need out of a sincere heart rather than for the purpose of making money.[1] Persons of integrity enjoy the presence of God, and they will not be shaken, even in difficult times (v. 5).

Psalm 16

We live in a world filled with dangers, and therefore, it is proper to pray for safety (v. 1). No one and nothing can keep us safe but God (v. 4). But even in a dangerous world, we can and should remember the good things. “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places” sings the king, alluding to the drawing up of property lines (v. 6). The expression is a poetic reference to the good things God has put within His people’s reach. A nation, land, homes, children, possessions, everything! He even gives counsel and guidance (v. 7)! He shows His people how to live and fills them with joy and pleasure! Let us be true to Him in this danger-ridden world, trusting and worshipping Him and nothing else.

[1] Some wealthy people—then and now—line their pockets using predatory lending practices, specifically “usury.” Usury is excessive interest charged to people who need money for food, clothing, or shelter. Scripture prohibits usury (Lev. 25:35-37).

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.