April 10 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Who can stand in the presence of the Lord, this holy God?” ~1 Samuel 6:20

There is a theme in today’s reading that we ignore at our own peril: God is holy, and He judges those who dishonor Him. Israel is defeated in battle because they once again abandon God. And trotting out the ark is not enough to save them. God is not some genie in a bottle to be summoned on a whim whenever the people are in a bind. He will not be taken so lightly! This battle with the Philistines is also the moment of judgment for the sons of the high priest, Eli. The men, who served as priests at Shiloh, slept with the temple staff and stole from the temple worshippers. Eli does not approve, but neither does he have the moxie to discharge his sons. And so they are struck down in the fighting.

Furthermore, God does not tolerate the Philistines’ false assertion that they somehow defeated and “captured” Him by putting the ark in their temple. While God is present with the ark, He certainly is not confined to it! God does as He pleases. When the ark is finally returned, God kills seventy Israelites for poking around inside of it like it is some flea market curio.

We must never forget that the God we worship is holy. While we can enjoy an intimate relationship with God, we must never treat Him with disrespect. We must never think we can ignore His Word or dishonor Him with our lives, and then conjure His help when we are in a bind. The God we love and enjoy is also the greatest, holiest Being in the world. We must be in awe of Him. We must worship Him. We must revere Him. We must think of Him rightly. Pastor and writer A. W. Tozer wrote, “What comes to mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us. . . For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like” (The Knowledge of the Holy). A right conception of God is reflected in what we say and what we do.

Perhaps there is something you need to seek forgiveness for today. Perhaps there is some way in which you have continued to offend this holy God, and you need to repent now! If you fear Him, there is no reason to do so. He forgives all who come to Him humbly and respectfully to seek forgiveness. The God of holiness will not be disrespected or taken for granted, but He delights in blessing those who delight in Him (Ps. 37:4). And when He returns, He will reward those who are waiting and ready (Luke 12:35-48).

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.