July 15 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” ~Psalm 18:2

Paul’s associate remains in Corinth (west of Athens), while he wends his way down the Mediterranean coast between modern-day Greece and Turkey spreading the gospel. We are exploring the songs of the “old church,” those who waited for the Messiah, and the “new church,” those who celebrated His arrival.

Psalm 17

When the songwriter, David, exclaims, “Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing,” he is not claiming to be perfect (v. 3). He is saying that he has done nothing wrong in a particular situation. David refers to some event in his life where he has been wrongly targeted. Perhaps when he was on the run from King Saul, or maybe when he was the victim of a rebellion led by men of his court. In such situations, it is right to maintain our innocence (as in the case of Job). It is good to pray and plead for justice, to ask God to hear and to listen (v. 1). And it is proper to appeal to God’s love for us and ask Him to act accordingly: “Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes” (v. 7). There is a great theme in these psalms. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, and trusting in Him means bringing our hurts to Him in prayer!

Psalm 18

In this psalm, David is rejoicing because he has been saved from Saul, who hunted him to take his life. David describes his response to living under threat: “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help” (v. 6). The Lord’s reaction is anger. “The earth trembled and quaked and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry.” (vv. 7). He hastily mounts the cherubim, fierce angelic beings, and rides through the night sky, through hail and rain, unleashing arrows from His bow with frightening accuracy.  This wild poetic imagery conveys the truth that when the righteous are hurting, God gets angry and comes quickly to their aid.

And what is David doing? He isn’t sitting around waiting to be plucked from trouble; praying does not equal passivity. David talks of God helping him scale a wall, bend a bronze bow (poetic exaggeration), and scale a mountain. In other words, God is with him to help him stand against those who seek his harm. God has granted him success. If you have been wronged, pray and persevere in doing what is right, and know that an angry God will be coming to your rescue.

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.