August 1 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.” ~Psalm 67:1-2

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 65

In this Psalm, the poet gives praise to God and calls all creation to “shout for joy and sing.” He expresses gratitude for many things. First, he is thankful for forgiveness: “When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions” (v. 3). Second, he is thankful for peace, recalling how God’s mighty arm stilled the “turmoil of the nations” (v. 7). Third, he is thankful for abundant provision: “You crown the year with bounty”(v. 11).  The poet praises the Lord for spiritual, immaterial, and material blessings.

Why are we so slow to thank God for things like coffee or baseball or comfy couches? Some people seem to think that giving praise to God for the ordinary is, well, just too ordinary. On the contrary, giving thanks for ordinary provisions and pleasures makes them extraordinary because in our praise we acknowledge the Source of all things. God forgives, God protects, and God provides! Let us praise Him for everything!

Psalm 66

The songwriter calls on the congregation to join him in giving praise to God. “Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name, and make his praise glorious” (v. 1). He gives praise for God’s past mighty deeds, “He turned the sea into dry land” (v. 6), as well as His great deliverance, “. . . let me tell you what he has done for me” (v. 16). Those who ask for rescue must be people of integrity, free from “cherished sin” in their hearts (v. 18). And those who experience God’s deliverance are called to give Him praise!

Psalm 67

Anyone who thinks it is wrong to pray for God’s blessing has to reckon with passages like Psalm 67 (see also Num. 6:24-26). Indeed the entire biblical story from beginning to end echoes the twinned theological themes of God’s desire to bless and His willingness to respond when asked for blessing. God blessed Adam and Eve with the beauty of creation. He blessed Abraham and made him into a great nation in order that he might be a blessing. He delivered Israel from Egypt to bless them. The same themes of blessing play out in the psalms, the proverbs, and the prophets. So go ahead and pray for God to bless you. It’s good theology! And if you can’t seem to find the words, pray this psalm.

NEW TESTAMENT

In Romans 2, Paul turns the tables on those who look at the rest of the world and condemn it. The problem is that everyone has sinned, including those who consider themselves religious. The apostle is leading up to his argument that we cannot be saved by our good deeds. God’s forgiveness is one of the reasons we give Him praise, as we are learning in Psalms.


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.