August 21 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” ~Psalm 119:16

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 119 Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth, He & Waw

The longest of the psalms (and perhaps the most famous for that reason), this work of art was probably intended to be read in public worship for the edification of God’s people. It was most likely written by someone who had lived through the exile and had experienced restoration with the community under Ezra and Nehemiah. It is twenty-two stanzas, each one a part of a Hebrew acrostic. That is, the stanzas start with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order! The artistic composition of divine truth (whether in poetry, song, or sermon) is so evidently present in the Scriptures that the church must sit up and take notice of the lesson. Beauty and artistry pleases God.

Most psalms give praise for God’s creation and His mighty acts. This one is unique in that it praises the Word of God. We’ll see several synonyms for God’s Word in Psalm 119: statutes, commands, laws, precepts, and decrees. Do not make too much of the varied meanings of these words. It is common in poetry (biblical and secular) to use synonyms for literary variation, giving the composition a sound that is pleasing to the ear. However, the most important feature to notice isn’t a literary one but rather a spiritual one. It is the inseparable link between the Word of God and the God of the Word. “Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart” (v. 2). And “I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your decrees” (v. 7). And “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (vv. 10-11). The concepts of seeking God, loving God, and staying true to God are inextricably tied to His Word.

Love for the Word of God must never supersede love for the God of the Word. We are not Word worshippers; we are God worshippers. However, love for the God of the Word can only be expressed in devotion to His Word. This is why the Westminster Confession teaches us that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever and also that we need the Word of God to show us how to do that. Delight in the Word because God is your greatest delight. In Him is a blessed (happy) life!

NEW TESTAMENT

In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul is still on the theme of divisions in the church. The Corinthians had aligned themselves with particular church leaders and divided themselves up into factions like political parties. Paul tells them that they are acting like a bunch of unsaved people (“mere men”)!

I have witnessed this sort of thing happening in modern churches. Not only does it damage the church, but worse, it degrades the gospel. Suddenly, the church is boasting in men rather than glorifying God. Those who lead have one task—to build God’s church. They have different roles, different gifts, and unique personalities, so what matters most is that their work is done well and with Christ and the gospel as the foundation. Be thankful for your leaders, but don’t glorify them. All are God’s gift to you, given to you for your good.


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.