October 26 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’” ~Jeremiah 18:11

OLD TESTAMENT

Jeremiah’s sermons both entertained and enraged the people. He took his preaching outdoors and situated his pulpit at the city gates—the political and cultural center of Jerusalem. As thousands of people came and went, some on foot transporting goods in and out of the city, Jeremiah preached a sermon against working on the Sabbath day. Since the people weren’t in church, Jeremiah went to where they were working. That’s what you call taking it to the streets.

On another occasion, a crowd gathered around the prophet in front of the local pottery outlet—the place where everyday kitchenware was made and purchased. There was always a crowd on hand here. On any given day, the potter’s was as busy as Walmart on a Saturday. When a skillfully formed piece spinning on the potter’s wheel collapsed into the man’s hands, Jeremiah began his sermon, “And we belong to God—and if we are marred in his hands—who can say to him, ‘What do you think you are doing?’”

On a different day, Jeremiah held a special service just for the elders (the city officials). Jeremiah was a well-known prophet, a Billy-Graham-like figure, who wielded considerable influence, so city officials responded to his invitation, even if they gnashed their teeth while doing it. The prophet gathered the elders at a place overlooking the local garbage dump and held a newly purchased pot under his arm as he preached. After yet another colorful sermon on sin and stubbornness, the prophet lifted the pot over his head and smashed it to the ground saying, “This is what God is going to do to you if you don’t repent! You will all be broken and tossed into the junk heap.”

Jeremiah is back at work preaching provocative sermons from the city gates to the place of worship and everywhere in between (Jer. 19:14). God knows the heart of the people far better than Jeremiah, but he’s catching on to their depravity (Jer. 17:9-10). The prophet is no longer angry with God; he is angry with the people. He is seeing what God sees—their stubbornness. When they threaten (again) to kill him for preaching the truth, Jeremiah starts praying that God will judge them. Wow! What a turnaround. And what a stubborn lot!

Let us learn a lesson from these people. We can hear good preaching, sit under good leadership, and experience God’s blessings, yet still be as stubborn as can be (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-13). However, there is hope for the hard-headed! God forgives stubborn people if they turn to him before He judges them (Jer. 18:11). That being said, do not neglect the warning: those who continue with their own plans and walk in their stubborn ways will experience the discipline of the Lord (Jer. 18:12).

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul concludes his first letter to Timothy by warning him about the dangers of money and materialism. He counsels the younger man to be content with what God has blessed him with and to teach others to be the same. Those who have been blessed abundantly must especially be careful.

The young pastor is to teach his people to guard against pride and greed and the destruction these vices bring to a life. A good life is not had by acquiring things, but rather by hoping in the One who gives all good things, being rich in doing good, and being generous in sharing blessing. That is the good life!


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.