September 29 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us.” ~Isaiah 17:14

OLD TESTAMENT

The prophet continues to foretell God’s coming judgment on the enemies of His people. God is certainly displeased with His people for their empty worship (see chapter 1) so He intends to discipline them, but then He will restore them forever. However, their enemies face complete destruction. Moab to the east of Israel will be judged because of her pride. Syria (Damascus) will be punished for plundering Israel. Not even Cush (southern Egypt and northern Sudan) will escape the gaze of God.

The prophet’s message is hard for hearers to take because He comes down hard on God’s people. But it is also filled with hope. Judgment and punishment are only the end of the story for those who defy God. His children are assured that their discipline ends in restoration (Is. 17:4-6). Remember this when you feel like you are surrounded by enemies. Hang in there and do not lose heart, even if God has brought difficulty (perhaps some form of discipline) into your life. He is FOR you. He longs to bless you, which is precisely why He is bringing tough things into your life right now. He will deal with your enemies in time, no matter who they are or how far away they live.

NEW TESTAMENT

The teaching of Ephesians 1 can be summarized like this: You are a person of destiny! You have been on God’s mind for all eternity. You were chosen before the creation of the world to be like His son and to enjoy His blessings. Mystery surrounds this doctrine, commonly called the doctrine of election. However, saying there is mystery is not the same as saying there is no meaning. Anyone who loves a mystery novel or suspense film knows that full explanations come eventually. That’s part of what makes for a great story, the anticipation of learning how everything was orchestrated. Debate over these matters is fine, but division is fatal to the very gospel we are debating.

The doctrine of election, which is clearly taught in Ephesians 1, was never intended to divide Christians. Many years ago I was teaching a class when one man became frustrated with my teaching on election. When I explained that I taught this doctrine because I found it in Scripture, he said, “Help me know how to respond to this doctrine.” I replied, “Rejoice that God chose you to be his child based completely on His grace.” That really is the only reasonable way to react to the mystery of election. We must preach the good news to whoever will listen and rejoice that we have been chosen to be part of God’s family. Honestly, I’m just glad this salvation thing doesn’t depend on me!


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.