October 3 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom
and fill all the world with fruit.” ~Isaiah 27:6

OLD TESTAMENT

Isaiah is still looking into the distant future in this section. A day will come when God will slay Leviathan, the great serpent, who represents the nations in all their sin. In addition, He will judge His own people for they are like a vineyard that has produced bad grapes. How much better if they had produced briars and thistles because these could be cut out! However, the whole harvest is good for nothing. What a harsh commentary on God’s people!

Although God is committed to saving His people in the end, He is not happy with them. They refuse to listen to the preachers who come to call them back to a faithful keeping of God’s Word. Rather than taking the preacher’s admonitions to heart, they mock him. “Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that” a little push in this direction, a little push in that direction (Is. 28:10). The problem is that God’s people have become a bunch of scoffers. They don’t want to hear the truth; they can’t handle the truth! So God will judge them, and then He will restore them.

These are hard-hitting sermons, and they are not bound in time. Our ears should be as attentive as the Israelites should have been. Isaiah’s words call all of us to be sure that our hearts are sensitive and supple and ready to change. If we will listen, welcome the changes that are part of growing in Christ, and do what God calls us to do, then mercy and restoration awaits. Let’s not stiffen our necks when His Word confronts us. Listen, and follow His call so that you may be blessed (Jas. 1:22-25).

NEW TESTAMENT

As chosen (elect) children, we are called to imitate Christ. He is our example. We are to put off immorality, impurity, and greed in order to pursue a life of holiness, which is for our own happiness and for God’s glory! Toward that end, we are to submit ourselves to one another. Wives should be submissive to their husbands, and husbands should love their wives. And here I must pause and say a word about submission because it is so needed in our culture.

I find it interesting that most people—even secular people—have no problem with the principle of headship. We have head coaches, head pastors, and head chefs. We understand the value of establishing a clear leader, and we know the world would be chaotic if there was no one in charge.

In marriage, headship and submission is a relational dance. I took dancing lessons one time, but I wasn’t very good. (It’s not my fault, though. I grew up Baptist!) One thing I did learn was that someone has to lead, but more than that, he has to be sensitive to the woman he is leading. A fellow can’t just drag his partner across the floor. Guys, that doesn’t work in dancing or in marriage!

I also learned that, in dance as well as in life, the female partner can sometimes gently take the lead. It is a beautiful thing when she is free to lead with the permission of her leader. But like the leader, she cannot try to drag her partner across the floor. Ladies, that doesn’t work in dancing or in marriage! Even if you get your way, it doesn’t work because that guy is eventually going to check out. He will decide that if you want to do your own thing so bad, he’ll just let you. And there is no beauty in dancing with a ragdoll.

Be like Christ. Take the lead, husbands, but don’t drag. Lead in love. Brides, gently and beautifully guide your man, but don’t be stubborn. Follow his lead. The two of you have to learn to dance.


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.