May 11 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?”” ~2 Kings 1:3

Kings, as the title suggests, gives us a window into the spiritual condition of the entire community by following the reigns of those who provided leadership for the people. Although the connection between the moral choices of the king and the moral condition of the people is only made explicit upon occasion (see, for example, 1 Kings 16:13, 26), the implication throughout is that the people, in almost every instance, followed in the footsteps of their leader.

The spiritual litmus test for kings and people alike was how they treat God’s messengers, the prophets. While the priests were responsible for overseeing the day-to-day ministry (worship, sacrifices, festivals, et al), the prophets did the preaching and provided spiritual guidance. The prophets were gifted at proclaiming the word of the Lord; and, just as we have well-known preachers like Billy Graham, John Piper, and Rick Warren, some prophets became famous in their day.

Back then, as is true today, the respect people showed to God’s messengers was in direct correlation to their own spiritual condition. Fame didn’t protect one from hatred and ridicule though. Elijah and Elisha were the most renowned prophets of their time, and they were often despised.  Prophets faced jeers, imprisonment, and sometimes even death at the hands of the people they served. (Jesus talks about this in Matthew 23:37.)

The stories of prophets maligned and mistreated are a warning to contemptuous churchgoers of any era. Be afraid, for the historical record shows that those who slander and abuse their ministers are in for trouble. I am not saying this because I am a minister, but because I have a responsibility to proclaim the whole counsel of God. I have witnessed the tragic judgment that comes into the lives of those who disrespect ministers. I shudder when I think of it.

So let us pray for our pastors and treat them with respect. Not because they are perfect, but because it is their solemn duty to speak the Word of the Lord, even when it is difficult. God most often speaks through people. Let us listen to Him, and honor Him by honoring those whom He has placed in our lives to minister to us.

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.