October 6 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.” ~Isaiah 34:8

OLD TESTAMENT

Remember that the prophets talked about the immediate and the distant future, often in the same sermon. Also keep in mind that the prophecies are poems, and their imagery is painted with bold, but broad, brush strokes. Do not look for the level of precision in the prophetic material that is found in news headlines. (The prophecies aren’t the equivalent of HDR photography; they’re more like a van Gogh painting.)

We learn from reading the prophets that war is one of the means God uses to enact His judgment on the world, but God does not always start the fight. Indeed, one of the ways He judges sinful humanity is by allowing them to do their own thing and to reap the consequences. You guys want to fight? I’ll let you fight. War, whether allowed by God or incited by Him, is a horrific means of divine punishment. Talk to someone who has been through battle or lived on the sidelines of a conflict—it is awful! War preys on mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. Even those who survive bear lifelong scars. Both art and literature use dark and terrible imagery to describe war, and no surprise. It is horrific.

We are not remiss to pray that we might be spared the horror of God’s judgment, but far more necessary than desperate pleas is a change of heart. The most important thing we can do is to respond to the message of the prophets. God confronts His own people for their hypocritical worship and warns all the nations about the repercussions of their greed, violence, injustice, complacency, and immorality. God forgive us!

A good and blessed day is coming. A day when the desert flower will bloom, the lame will walk, the blind will see, and a great highway (imagine a beautifully landscaped version of the autobahn!) will connect the nations so that people can enter the great capital city of Jerusalem to worship the God of the universe. But that is the distant future. In the immediate, God cares about how we live our lives in Edom and Jerusalem (in the here and now). In fact, He is mad about how much we have messed up His beautiful world.  May God help us to repent of our sins. May He help us to become people who worship God from the heart while pursuing justice and generosity in this world.

NEW TESTAMENT

What this world needs is more people to be like Christ. He was God, but He humbled Himself and became a man. He set aside His position—giving up His power and prestige—to serve. The God-man died for others; He put the needs of others first. As a result, He has been exalted! Like Him, we are to be humble servants who truly care about those around us. This is at the very essence of Christlikeness. If anything has the power to make this world a beautiful place, that does!


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.