August 18 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.” ~Psalm 109:4

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 109

This psalm can take you back! If you’ve been betrayed by a friend, as David has, you know how he must have felt as he penned these words. What a way for anyone to pray when they’ve been wronged. David is deeply hurt, and so he writes, “My heart is wounded within me” (v. 22). While others may think well of this former friend of his, he knows the fellow’s real character. “He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil” (v. 18). In other words, cursing others was not just something the guy did, it was who he was. Hurting people, David included, became part of his character. David does not get even though; he gets on his knees. “In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer” (v. 4). And did you see his prayer? Wow!

Betrayal hurts. You want to get a megaphone and shout to the whole world, “Don’t believe his manipulative words! Let me tell you the real story. Better yet, let me tell you what I know about this person.” But you can’t. You can’t because it would be wrong, and you are a person of integrity. What you can do is get on your knees and be really honest with God about how you feel. Like David, you can pray for God to care for you. “But you, O Sovereign Lord, deal well with me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me” (v. 21). Don’t get even, get praying.

Psalm 110

Psalm 110 is what scholars call an “enthronement song,” one most likely used on the day of a king’s coronation. (A coronation is similar to our presidential inauguration but with even more pomp and circumstance.) The kings of the ancient world were a rare combination of leader, warrior, and priest. They led the people, often carefully navigating both national and international politics; fought to protect them from enemies; and provided loving care for them like a pastor (priest). This particular psalm refers specifically to David but was also taken up by New Testament writers as a perfect summation of the king who came from David’s line—Jesus Christ. Jesus is our leader, our warrior, and our pastor!

Psalm 111

The psalmist praises the Lord in small gatherings and large crowds! “I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly” (v. 1). He praises the Lord for all of His works and takes delight in them (v. 2). He delights in food, God’s power, creation, the Lord’s promises, and redemption. All these things (and more besides) are causes for wonder and joy. We have seen this word delight again and again in the psalms. We are encouraged to take pleasure in the Lord, to be satisfied and happy with all that He has done and all that He has given. Delight is good theology! It inspired the theologians of old to include these words in the Westminster Catechism: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Enjoy Him today!

NEW TESTAMENT

Unable to visit the church in Rome, Paul sends personal greetings to his friends and co-workers there. You can sense the tender affection he has for the church. For example, in the final lines of chapter 16, he gives specific instructions on protecting its unity. The church is to keep away from smooth talkers who prey on naïve church members (v. 18).

Paul will give additional instructions for resisting divisive people in his letter to Titus. Church leaders are instructed to confront such individuals and tell them to keep their mouths shut (Titus 1:11). If a troublemaker fails to listen after the first or second warning, the church is “to have nothing to do with him” (Titus 3:9-10). Some people are so twisted and self-absorbed that verbal warnings will not change them. Being nice to wolves is no way to protect the sheep. Church communities who fail to heed these instructions are going to get hurt.


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.