October 9 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~Isaiah 41:10

OLD TESTAMENT

Isaiah’s message transitions from exhortation to encouragement and back again. In this regard, his series of sermons is not unlike those you might hear from a modern-day pastor. Sometimes a pastor is calling on God’s people to change, and at other times (or in the same sermon), he is offering solace with the promises of Scripture. As the saying goes, pastors are called to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable!

However, the prophet is frustrated in these passages. God’s people are seeing His hand of judgment and hearing His exhortations, but they are still not getting it (Is. 42:20)! The kingdom is taking a beating from surrounding nations, but no one seems to be learning anything from it. What is more, the people have heard solid preaching that clarifies their sin and the consequences. Isaiah brings the Word with powerful, poetic flair, but nothing changes! The prophet wants the people of God to “take it to heart” (Is. 42:25). When God’s people respond to the message of the prophet and repent, God will restore them! That’s the encouragement in this passage!

Full renewal awaits the coming of the Servant (a reference to Christ), who will bring in a new age of complete restoration (Is. 42:1). People will come together from the great cities, the coastal towns, and the rural villages to sing a new song of praise to the Lord. That’s going to be awesome! God will restore His people—and all creation.

Until complete restoration happens, we can find comfort in knowing that God is with us right now. He doesn’t say to His people, Hope is on the way, but it’s going to be hell for now. No, He assures us of His abiding presence every single moment. He says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Is. 41:10). Let the promise of God’s presence and strength encourage you today.

NEW TESTAMENT

The church at Colossae, like the churches in Galatia, are being duped by legalists. Influential people in the church are laying out all kinds of rules and preaching, “do not handle, do not taste, do not touch” (Col. 2:21). In the first chapter, Paul begins to spell out the process for dismantling this religion of rules and rituals. It all starts with an understanding of Christ, both who He is and what He has done. When we properly exalt His person and His work on the cross, everything else is secondary.

Rule-keeping will not save us or make us more presentable to God. Only Christ can do that. And HE is the One that should be exalted. Not you. Not me. Not any church. Christ is enough!


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.