March 17 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“…when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you…” ~Deuteronomy 30:2-3

In Moses’ final sermon (which we know as the book of Deuteronomy), he calls on the people to renew their covenant with God before entering the land of promise. The first generation has passed on, and this new generation is old enough to take on (and live up to) the commitment to love and follow God. Their aged leader also reminds them to teach the next generation to do what is right. Good times await those who obey God, Moses reiterates, and tough times loom for those who do not.

God is clearly prepared for the possibility that the Israelites will fall away from Him. His servant Moses offers hope for future forgiveness and restoration. “…when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you…” (Deut. 30:2-3). Certainly this promise is not God’s way of giving the people permission to sin. If they sin, they will suffer greatly! But if in their suffering they turn to God, He will forgive and restore them.

The God who calls on His people to love Him, follow Him, and worship Him knows that they will do none of these things perfectly. And yet nowhere in Scripture does He minimize sin, suggest it doesn’t matter, or give permission for rebellion. On the contrary, He constantly points to the terrible consequences of straying from His righteous path. But, with His other hand, He holds out hope. He promises compassion when the wanderer turns back toward home. “Return to me,” He calls in Malachi 3:7, “and I will return to you.” I will forgive you, restore you, and bless you as I did before. He is a God of mercy and compassion.

If you have failed, remember that Christ has taken your place and your sins are forgiven. Forgiveness is offered to you, even if you have messed up really bad and are enduring the consequences of unwise choices. There is hope for you. Return to God so that He can forgive, restore, and bless you. This is our God, who is revealed as a God of compassion and mercy even in these Old Testament stories. He has not changed.


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.