March 18 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you, they are your life.” ~Moses, Deuteronomy 32:46-47

In today’s reading, we are reminded once again of the central place of word and song in the life of the worshipping community. Moses writes down all that he has passed on to the Israelites from God, and he gives the collected Law to the Levites. The people are to be taught from this Law each Sabbath day. This weekly reading and exposition becomes a pattern of worship that is followed even by Jesus 1500 years later (Luke 4:17). Every seven years the entire Law is to be read to the community in one sitting!

In addition to God’s Word, the community is given songs of worship. On this particular occasion, Moses writes a new song to help the people remember their past and to encourage them to remain faithful to the Lord their God. The Lord knows that their hearts are sinful. They will be swayed by the surrounding culture and are likely go astray (Deut. 31:14-18).

I am reminded of the refrain from Come Thou Fount, an eighteenth-century hymn, which reads, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love” (Robert Robinson, ca. 1757). One of the lessons we must learn from the old worshipping community is that we too are “prone to wander.” We have within us the capacity to turn away from the God who loves us and wants to bless us. We too need the Word, and we need to hear it proclaimed (again and again) for the nourishment of our souls. We too need songs to remind us of what God has done and what He has called us to do. Theologians refer to these practices as “means of grace.” They are the means by which God graces us with the strength we need to remain true to Him. So stay in the Word and keep singing. Pray with me the next line in the song, “Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it.”[1] May God remind us of His will for our lives through Word and song so that we may live a good and long life in the land of blessing!

[1] Come Thou Fount was retooled by Robert Sterling and Sufjan Stevens and sung by The David Crowder Band on their 1998 album All I Can Say. This line is from the contemporary variation. The original line is, “Take my heart, O take and seal it…”

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.