October 2 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above
and the kings on the earth below.” ~Isaiah 24:21

OLD TESTAMENT

The preacher now widens his indictment. He has been pointing at one nation after another and confronting them for their sin, but now he announces, “As a matter of fact, the whole earth is going to be judged by God!” We have destroyed the beauty of His creation! We have abandoned His laws—laws that were intended to show us how to live in peace and harmony with each other. We have betrayed the Beauty. All of us. Pastor and people, boss and employee, high-class and low-class, the salesman and the buyer, the borrower and the banker, the debtor and the bill-collector. We have all been out for what we can get, and in the process, we messed up God’s world.

Even God’s people, who were supposed to be a witness to the rest of creation, even they have failed. We were supposed to give birth to salvation, but we gave birth to the wind! (Is. 26:17-18). Sure, we witnessed to a few friends and saved a few orphans, but we could have done so much more (and don’t we know it). There’s only one way to deal with this mess: wipe the earth clean! Isaiah tells us that the day of reckoning is coming. The world is going to look like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.[1] Houses boarded up and places where people ate and drank and laughed gutted. Judgment Day is coming.

However, judgment will give way to restoration. God will rebuild, and in this we can give praise (Is. 25:2). Mercy is promised to some as God’s people are told to go home, close the doors, and stay inside until the destruction has ended (Is. 26:20). When we emerge, we will not be greeted by the sights of destruction but with the pristine vista of a renewed world where God reigns. He will wipe away tears from our eyes and invite us to join the jubilant revelry of a big party (Is. 25:8). We will eat the finest of meats and drink the best of wines.

The world ahead is our great hope, our blessed hope. Yes, this world is a mess now, but God is planning to clean it up and rebuild it. We will enjoy Him, and each other, in His kingdom forever.

[1] Scholars debate how extensive the damage to the world will be. I side with those scholars who view the language of destruction as poetic hyperbole as when some post-Katrina disaster headlines read, “Katrina Destroys New Orleans.”

NEW TESTAMENT

Since we have been chosen by God to be His children, we ought to act like chosen people. This means we ought to be unified. There is one Lord and one salvation, so let’s be united! No fighting over stupid things! (Don’t you hate that?) We don’t have to agree on everything, but we can worship together in spite of our differences. God has put diversity in the church for our good. He has even given the church different gifts and different kinds of leaders with a variety of interesting abilities so that we have plenty of aid in becoming more like Jesus.

Being more like Christ is our primary job after all. To grow and mature in faith. Or, as Paul describes it, to put off the old stuff that is hurting us and others and to put on new stuff that will bless us and bless others. Put off lying and tell the truth. Put off blowing up in anger and work out your problems. Put off stealing and start working and giving. Put off hurtful words and use words that bless others. Live like chosen people!


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.