August 25 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.” ~Psalm 125:2

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 124

Psalm 124 praises the Lord for being “on our side,” and rightly credits Him for protection and victory. How often we pray to God for success but neglect to pause and offer praise after we have enjoyed some blessing from His hand! Do you take time to rejoice in God’s provision after you have finally made that hire, or closed that deal, or witnessed that child’s graduation (or the fact he passed a test!), or arrived safely from a long journey, or recovered from an illness? Do you say, If the Lord had not been on my side, this never would have happened!? Let us weave celebration and praise into the fabric of our daily lives.

Psalm 125

Our confidence rests, not in our own wisdom or wit, but in God. We may plan and prepare, but in the end we must acknowledge that we depend upon God for success! It is not sin to use all the cleverness that God has given you or to throw yourself into the day with all the might and muscle He has bestowed. But we must not think for a minute that we are capable on our own. Yes, we must fight—for our kids, our employees, our colleagues, our company, our cause, our team, our family—but all the while we must remind ourselves that “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken” (vv. 1-2). The reason we are secure and will succeed is because we trust the Lord. Do good with all your might, and pray along with the psalmist, “Do good, O Lord, to those who are good” (v. 4).

Psalm 126

The psalmist prays for God’s restoration, longing for Him to turn weeping into joy. “Restore our fortunes, O Lord” (v. 4). He is certain God can do this, just as He brings the spring rains to reflower the Negev (Israel’s southern desert lands). He and his people have sown tears and sadness, but like the farmer who throws a party to celebrate a rich harvest, they expect to rejoice while reaping abundant blessing.

If you need restoration, pray for it. You may not see how in the world God is going to make it happen, but He can renew and restore. He is able to “fill mouths with laughter” and cause us to sing songs of joy (v. 2). What can we say, but that “The Lord has done great things” (v. 3)!

Psalm 127

This is one of my favorite psalms. It is a call to work hard and then trust God with the results. “In vain you rise up early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves” (v. 2). Burning both ends of the candle is only a waste of candle wax. It doesn’t get you anywhere. We can build things and obsess about protecting the things we have built, but God is the one who blesses us. Even children come to us from Him. The psalmist does not condemn constructing or preserving, only the wrong-headed notion that our own sleepless efforts will gain us the blessing we desire. The Lord is the one who builds and protects and blesses us with family!

NEW TESTAMENT

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul gives lots of practical advice for Christians on the topic of marriage and divorce. There is nothing wrong with being single, the apostle explains; in fact, he prefers the single life. He’s free to give more time to the kingdom. However, most people cannot go through life without a companion, and those who can’t, should get married.

Evidently some Christians were thinking that their new faith required them to dump an unbelieving spouse. Not so, Paul says. If an unbeliever wants to stay in the marriage, the believer is to stay. A Christ-follower will have a holy influence on his or her spouse and children. However, Paul does go on to say that a spouse can’t be made to stick it out. In that case, look for a peaceful end to the matter.

Paul widens the point by teaching that a new Christian does not need to change marital status (vv. 12-13), cultural identity (v. 18), or vocation (v. 21). Stay where you are when God calls you, and live out your faith right there! Your situation (marital status, cultural identity, and vocation) is a calling from God (v. 24).


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.