October 30 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please.” ~Jeremiah 27:5

OLD TESTAMENT

Jeremiah gathers the ambassadors (called “envoys”) from the nations that surround the kingdom of Judah. This is the equivalent of Billy Graham preaching a fiery sermon at the United Nations! Jeremiah dresses for the occasion in a wooden yoke fitted with crossbars and leather straps. What a sight he must have been as he shared God’s simple message: judgment will come upon the nations and they will serve the king of Babylon. They literally will be “under his yoke.”

If the people do not resist Babylon’s authority, things will go well with them. They will remain in their land, enjoy their homes, and plow their fields, although they also will pay homage to a foreign ruler and taxes to a foreign state. (In the ancient world, cooperative conquered people stayed in their homeland under the rule of the victorious ruler.) However, if they refuse to cooperate with Babylon, they will die.

There is a beautiful turn of phrase in this section on the sovereignty of God, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Tell this to your masters:  With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please’” (Jer. 27:4-5). God created the entire earth, and He gives it away to whomever He wants—people and animals included!

Of course, this statement would be frightening unless a person (or people group) knew that this sovereign God was also good, wise, and just. The only proper response to this God is to humbly submit to Him, something the nations refused to do. If we submit to the Sovereign of the universe and worship Him and Him alone, life will always be better for us! Since He can do whatever he wants with the land and our lives, wouldn’t it be best to be on His side?

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul tells Timothy to stay faithful, to “preach the word in season and out of season.” In other words, he is to preach when he’s popular and when he’s not, when the building is packed and when he’s preaching to the choir, when people are on the edge of their seats and when they turn a deaf ear.

As we conclude the books of 1 and 2 Timothy, take some time to pray for your pastors. People in ministry face the same kinds of challenges everyone else faces: they get tired, face disappointment, and are tempted to quit. A staggering 75% of men and women in ministry will move on to another career before they have served 10 years.[1] Conflict, criticism, discouragement, and burnout are the most common reasons for dropout. While there are a lot of things ministers can do to protect themselves and their families, one of their greatest needs is support and encouragement from the church they are serving. Just think, God could use you to prolong the tenure of a pastor and extend his ministry to touch even more lives. I would no longer be in the ministry if it were not for supportive elders and faithful friends who stood by me in difficult times. I’m getting misty-eyed thinking about those God has used to encourage me.

[1] Statistic courtesy of The Francis Schaeffer Institute of Leadership Development


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.