October 29 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.” ~Jeremiah 26:3

OLD TESTAMENT

In today’s reading, Jeremiah is in his 23rd year as prophet to God’s people. Apparently, he’s back at his work, free (for a while) from the palace dungeon, and he is still making absolutely no progress. Sermon after sermon, day after day, week after week, year after year, Jeremiah comes home tired in body and soul with no results to show for his labors. No changed lives. No revival. Instead, his own family secretly plots to silence him, while his circle of friends grows smaller, and he faces the possibility of returning to jail at any time. Yet he continues to preach, and the people get angrier. They want him dead. Gone.

It is amazing how stubborn people can be sometimes. God speaks to them again and again through His Word, through His Spirit, through the ministry of the church, and still they refuse to listen. I have seen this time and time again—people who simply refuse to listen and refuse to change their ways. Over 25 years of ministry, I have met religious people who are so set in their ways that nothing will change their minds. They sit in the pew with a challenging stare and roam the halls with a disapproving scowl. They’ve got their minds made up; don’t confuse them with the Word. They wag their tongues, plot the demise of the elders, and when everyone else doesn’t change, they throw a fit and leave. Somehow the possibility that they are wrong never crosses their mind.

While it’s tempting to keep a finger pointed outward toward the stubborn people we know, the truth is that we all have the potential to be foolishly set in our ways. Stubbornness runs in our family going all the way back to Adam! Some of our forefathers never made it out of Egypt because they refused to listen to Moses. Others never made it to the land of promise and their bodies are scattered in the desert. Many of those who did make it into the land flowing with milk and honey turned away from the God who loved them and tried to silence those who preached His Word.

Let us determine that we will keep our hearts supple and sensitive. Let us pray for God’s help to walk in His ways and not become set in our own. Rather than rejecting the Word in anger, may we accept it with joy and do what it says for our own good (Jas. 1:19-25).

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul tells the young pastor, Timothy, that ministry will not get any easier. The “last days” refers to the period between the resurrection of Christ and His return. We do not know how long these last days will linger. The final chapter could be a long one or it could be over very soon. It has extended some two thousand years already, but if the universe God created is millions or billions of years old (and we really don’t know how old it is), two thousand years might be considered a relatively short chapter. In any event, the young Timothy is told to remain faithful even though he ministers in a world where people are greedy, proud, disrespectful, and abusive. He is told to “continue in what you have learned” (2 Tim. 3:14). He is to remain faithful to the God-breathed Word. May God help every ministry—and every member of His church—do so in these “last days”!


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.