July 18 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.” ~Psalm 25:11

Some psalms, including Psalm 25, were composed as an acrostic of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The purpose was most likely artistic, but the alphabetical ordering also may have served as a mnemonic device in the same way that that we use acrostics today.

Psalm 25

In Psalm 25, the songwriter admits to sin. Whereas many psalms claim the innocence of the writer, this one publishes guilt. The writer appears to believe that he is enduring affliction from his enemies because of his many sins, including the unspecified sins of his youth. He asks God for forgiveness and deliverance. He desires this for his own sake but also for that of God’s name: “For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity though it is great” (v. 11). As we have often noted, God acts for our good and His glory. Here the poet pleads for forgiveness and restoration, which has the effect of bring blessing upon himself and glory to God’s own name.

Psalm 26

If anyone has enemies, it is King David! Here he prays for vindication. His friends are many, but his enemies seem to be everywhere! There are members of his predecessor’s court, Israelite scions from varied political persuasions, and rival claimants to the throne looking for any sign of weakness. In addition, foreign diplomats—each with his own political motivations—often visit or reside in Jerusalem. So, on top of the king’s domestic concerns, he deals with the complex problems introduced (or instigated) by the competing interests of foreign powers in a volatile political world.

David is a man of faith. As evidenced by his faithfulness to attend temple worship and offer the sacrifices of praise to God, his trust is in the Lord. He appeals for vindication on the basis of his mortal integrity—that is, his commitment to do what is right. And he promises that when he is on sure footing, he will give praise to the Lord in the great assembly of worshippers (v. 12). If you are in need of vindication or protection, here is psalm of great hope!

Psalm 27

King David appeals to God for protection against the false witnesses “breathing out violence” against him (v. 12). What better way to bring harm to a king than to spread gossip, whisper rumors, or accuse him of sinister motives? David cannot defend himself in all of the places where his being defamed, but he writes, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (v. 13).

Years ago, I had made a move to a new congregation and was unprepared for the barrage of critical comments from people I didn’t know. I had encountered ministerial difficulties before, every pastor does, but I had never been the brunt of such hostility. One evening, God seemed to speak audibly to me: “Lionel, I know that you trust Me with your life, but can you trust Me with your reputation?” That was a turning point for me, the moment when I decided, “I will do what is right, and trust You with all my might. Even with my reputation. I will wait for You to vindicate me.”

Be strong, and take heart. Wait for the Lord. You will see His goodness in the land of the living (v. 14).

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.