July 17 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.”
~Psalm 22:19

After causing quite a stir in Ephesus, Paul moves on, still spreading the Word within the borders of Turkey and Greece before heading back to his “home church” in Jerusalem. The new churches he and others planted adopted the songs of Israel, the psalms of praise of God. We’re exploring the always fresh and applicable theology of these poem-songs the new church enjoyed.

Psalm 22

The first verse of this psalm was quoted by our Lord on the cross during His darkest hour on earth: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The first line is not really a demand for answers. It is a prayer for help from a hurting worshipper. David is surrounded by strong bulls, roaring lions, and vicious dogs—poetic language for powerful enemies. Sometimes it feels like the Lord has abandoned us, and here David expresses a very normal sentiment for one facing pain and suffering. Indeed, Job, David, and Jesus were all righteous men who spoke the language of anguish and desertion.

However, the psalm ends with praise. The Lord comes to the aid of the weak: “The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the Lord will praise him!” (v. 26). David may feel alone, but he is not. The Lord is with him and will soon come to his rescue.

Psalm 23

The Lord is a tender shepherd walking right by the side of His people and meeting their every need (v. 1). He provides daily guidance, like a shepherd leading His sheep toward quiet and safe places. He brings restoration to the souls of His people. He refreshes them! He does this for their benefit and also for the sake of His name. A shepherd takes pride in caring for His sheep! Even in dark times, there is nothing to fear because the Shepherd is with His flock. He is armed with a rod to fend off evil beasts, and He keeps a staff in hand to direct the sheep away from danger. His vigilant guidance is a source of great comfort.

God’s people sit down to a sumptuous feast while enemies look on. They are a blessed people! Imagine how frustrated their enemies must feel. God’s goodness, and His tender love, keeps chasing after them forever.

Psalm 24

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (v. 1). The apostle Paul cites this verse in the New Testament as theological support for enjoying all that God has created! Food and drink—indeed, pleasure in general—was created for the delight of God’s creatures (1 Cor. 10). However, we must be cautious that we worship the Creator of these things and not the creation itself. Those who want to enjoy intimate fellowship with the Creator of all things—to ascend to the place of worship and stand in His holy place—must have clean hands and pure hearts. They must not worship idols, that is, anything other than the Creator, or invoke the names of false gods. They must be totally dependent on the one true God! Those who worship God can claim Him as the champion who dwells in their midst. Come, King of glory, and make our city your dwelling place! Be with Your people and bless them forever.

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.