October 1 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

The Lord, the Lord Almighty, called you on that day to weep and to wail, to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth.” ~Isaiah 22:12

OLD TESTAMENT

It may be hard for modern readers to decipher all the names and places in Isaiah’s sermons (a good study Bible will help). The main thing to remember is that these were real nations and real people. If we were to move Isaiah into a modern context, he would be standing at the center podium of the United Nations and pointing his finger at leaders around the room one-by-one. “God is mad at you! And He’s mad at you! And you!” (Now that I think about it that would be quite a scene!) In this section of the book, it’s Tyre, and of course Israel, getting the warning.

What is God angry about? Israel is in hot water because of the people’s hypocritical worship. They come trampling into church, giving their offerings and singing their songs, but they never take their faith out of the sanctuary into the streets. They don’t care about orphans and widows. They don’t care about justice and mercy. They only care about lining their pockets with more money and having as much fun as they can. The prophet is turning up the heat because the people aren’t taking his message seriously. They have prepared for a siege, but they shrug off the possibility that it will succeed. Their attitude is “let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die” (Is. 22:13). They’re not being fatalistic; they’re being hedonistic. In other words, life is one big party. No wonder God is angry.

Tyre is also a nation caught up in materialism. She is a beautiful, wealthy port city on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. As a commercial center for the ancient world (the ancient equivalent of modern-day New York or Boston), Tyre welcomes caravans carrying goods to and from the great kingdom of Babylon. However, her wealth has made her proud (Is. 23:9). God is mad about that, too.

The lesson to keep in mind from today’s reading, even if you don’t follow all the poetry and geographic references, is that we need open and receptive hearts to hear and accept the preaching of God’s Word. Yes, God is merciful, but His mercy is only extended to people who hear His Word and turn things around. As Jesus warned, it is unwise to put God to the test. In His justice, He will deal with those who refuse to change even though they have been challenged to do so again and again and again. If God is working on something in your life right now, listen up for your good and His glory!

NEW TESTAMENT

Do you really grasp how much God loves you? I don’t think most people do. Paul prayed that the people he served would be able “to grasp how wide and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Eph. 3:19). Stop this very moment and think about someone you love deeply. Your love doesn’t even come close to the expansive love God has for you. He loves you! Thank Him. Enjoy Him. Follow Him. He is the Christ, and He loves you.


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.