August 23 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”
~Psalm 119:130

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 119:105-176 Nun, Samekh, Ayin, Pe, Tsadhe, Qoph, Resh, Sin and Shin, Taw

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path” (v. 105). What a beautiful metaphor for the Word of God. The other night I was walking through my bedroom in the dark. I forgot that due to some work being done, the cedar chest had been moved ever so slightly. I caught my small toe on the corner so hard that I started bleeding all over the carpet. It hurt! If I had had a light to see where I was going, I could have saved myself some pain—pain that lasted, in this case, for a few days!

God’s Word lights our paths and shows us the way so that we will not stumble or fall. Throughout the whole of Psalm 119, the writer confesses his commitment to the Word, even when it is difficult. He will follow God’s Word when enemies oppose him, or friends betray him, or peers poke fun at him. He will remain committed to the Word because of his commitment to God. He knows that even when life is difficult, obeying God’s statutes will ultimately bring blessing into his life. Once again we see the dual concern of Scripture—God’s glory and our good. So let the Word of God guide your life! Read it, think about it, absorb it, and act on it!

NEW TESTAMENT

In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul changes subjects from disunity to discipline in the church. This church so rich in spiritual gifts is poor in wisdom. They are ignoring the scandalous deeds of members in their midst. When a church member is acting in a way that hurts others and the reputation of God, then he or she should be confronted. If the person does not repent, and Paul has already judged that this particular person has no intention of repenting, he is to be put out of the church. In larger churches, the elders take this step on behalf of the community, while in a smaller “house-church” setting, the entire assembly makes the decision and acts on it together. The community’s decision has some scary results for the unrepentant person. Just as we may pray for God to bless someone, we as a church may also pray for God to discipline someone (in this case through Satan).

I find it interesting that many people balk at these biblical instructions (see Matthew 18:15-20). Yet, they have no problem at all with police officers giving tickets to drunken drivers, TSA agents telling people they can’t bring a bomb on a plane, judges locking away sex offenders for a long time, a teacher expelling a student from the classroom, a bar bouncer telling an disorderly patron to leave, or Sam’s Club canceling a person’s membership for not paying the modest annual fee. We expect more from Sam’s Club members than we do of church members! We have got it backwards. Yes, the church must be a place of grace, where people are welcomed no matter where they are in life. A simple reading of the New Testament papers shows that new believers bring all kinds of baggage with them into their new lives. For example, in the very next chapter, Paul will tell new members to stop going to local prostitutes. However, the church must also be a place that helps people get rid of that old baggage, even if it is one item at a time. And the church must also be a place that tells people, “No, you can’t bring that!” May God help us protect the beauty of the church for our good and His glory.


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.