July 26 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” ~Psalm 47:1

Update from Acts: When the great missionary gives his defense before the rulers of the Roman province of Judea, he talks about how his life was transformed by the gospel and how his conversion compelled him to spread the good news far and wide. He explains that he has no animus toward Judaism—he is a Jew, and Jesus is the “promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled” (Acts 26:7).

Psalm 47

Isn’t it amazing how loud things can get at a sporting event with the crowd shouting and clapping in excitement? In Psalm 47, the poet calls on us to generate the same kind of enthusiasm when praising God. Reflecting on His greatness should stir up emotion. If He is the greatest being in the universe, He deserves an emotional response. He should hear clapping hands and shouts of joy! The psalmist is not encouraging one-man sideshows—the guy who, when everyone is quiet, yells out in order to get attention. Rather, this is a song celebrating corporate worship. Join in the congregation’s exuberant praise, the writer advises. If God is great—if He is King over all the earth—then let us clap and sing and shout for joy together!

Psalm 48

Psalm 48 celebrates both God and the city He loves. The songwriter loves Jerusalem, too. He loves everything about it: the beauty of Mount Zion, the temple situated on the mountain, and the old towers that can be seen from the villages below. The song is an invitation to walk around the city to see it as the writer does and to give praise to God (vv. 12-13). Above all, the songwriter delights in the reality that God loves His city and that His presence is in this place! Devotion to his beautiful home mixes with delight in his beautiful God, and the emotions spill out in praise. Here then is permission to love our own communities—to praise the beauty we see in them—and an invitation to ask God to dwell in our midst.

Psalm 49

We are reminded again that prosperity is short-lived. The righteous should not be overly impressed by money, power, or fame because these are fleeting. Even if a man holds onto wealth until the day he dies, he still loses everything (vv. 16-17). These warnings are a simple reminder of life’s brevity and an encouragement to live for the right reasons. There is a grave danger in making temporary things the main focus of life. Instead, we should pursue the upright life (v. 14). Live your life not in awe of riches, but in awe of God. Trust in Him and not in wealth! He is the source of real life, and those who obtain real life here and now, obtain real life forever. They will be rescued from the grave (v. 15).

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.