August 17 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” ~Psalm 107:1

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 107

The structure of Psalm 107 is similar to the modern-day songs that feature a repeated chorus following each verse. The chorus is “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,” which is a riff on verse 1, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.” This song was probably composed for the post-exilic (restored) community as it recounts how God has time and again shown His goodness to His people. He provided for and rescued them when they were hungry, when they were thirsty, when they were in danger, when they felt deserted, when they were in chains (exile), when they were lost, and when they were sick. The song encourages us to recall the times God has seen us through life’s many dangers, toils, and snares. When we do look back, we should say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.”

Psalm 108

Psalm 108 is both praise and prayer. David declares the praises of God with all kinds of musical instruments played so loudly and beautifully he will “awaken the dawn” (v. 2). He would have all creation, including the sun itself, rouse at the joyful noise and wonder, Why such loud music so early in the morning?! Ah, David is singing to His loving and faithful God. “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth” (v. 5).

David also prays. To this God he praises, the king prays for continued deliverance for himself and the entire nation. Were David writing today, he’d probably borrow a bit of slang, asking God to “own” his enemies. The imagery he employs is no less effective (and probably more so): Use Moab like a washbasin and toss Your sandals over Edom, God (v. 9)! Trample down the enemy (v. 13)! (I picture something like Jonathan Swift’s Lilliputian village going underfoot!) God can handle our enemies. Dealing with them is like child’s play to Him. So why take matters into your own hands? Why try to take revenge? Praise God for His love and faithfulness, and ask Him for justice—to “give [you] aid against the enemy” (v. 12).

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul, probably writing from Corinth (west of Athens), informs the Roman church that he is headed back to Jerusalem to deliver an offering collected for the Jewish Christians there. He expresses his desire to take the gospel further west to Spain (a trip he was ultimately unable to make) and to visit the Roman church on the way. What is more, he encourages the local Christ-followers to pray on his behalf. “I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me” (Rom. 15:30). Even the great apostle Paul needs prayer! Don’t forget to pray for your elders and pastors; the work God has given them to do is often described as a struggle. Satan fiercely opposes anyone who devotes his or her life to the advancement of the kingdom. If he can smite the shepherd, he can scatter the sheep (see Mark 14:27 and cf.)


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.