December 4 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” ~Daniel 3:17-18

OLD TESTAMENT

There are times when it is good for God-followers to receive what culture has to offer. For example, when the exiles received a Babylonian education, they were positioned to witness in the culture. In other instances, Christians are in a position to redeem aspects of their culture. A modern-day example might be technology. Facebook can be used in sinful ways (sinful people are using it after all), but it can be redeemed and used to bless and encourage. We do have to be discerning about what we accept and what we reject.

In today’s reading, Daniel’s friends reject idolatry and there are consequences. When we say no to things that culture offers, we must be prepared to accept the fallout, which means trusting God with the results. God can deliver us—and He may do just that. Or He may decide to let us face difficulties for purposes that are hidden from us at the time. Whatever the possible consequences, we must determine to do what is right before the Audience of One. “God’s cause is not always the successful one…we really could be ‘unsuccessful’ and yet be on the right road,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in his Advent Letter of 1938.

Sure, we can pray and work for success, but in the end “success” is really doing what is right before God. He is sovereign, even over the Nebuchadnezzars and nations of this world. We must worship Him and only Him—and trust Him to do what is best whether that means we suffer or we are triumphantly delivered.

NEW TESTAMENT

The mark of a genuine believer is love. We are called to love one another at all times, even when we’re irritated or in disagreement. Our example is Christ, who actually laid down His life for us and sacrificed for our good. Following His example of love proves to the world that the gospel message is true and that we are truly transformed by Him. Let’s be honest, loving each other isn’t always easy. We need the gospel to show us how.


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.