August 2 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“But as for me, afflicted and in pain—may your salvation, God, protect me.” ~Psalm 69:29

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 68

I respect pacifists (those who are morally opposed to participating in war). However, I agree with C. S. Lewis, who said he could never be one, at least not in this world. The problem with the pacifist position is that evil exists, and it must be restrained. The language of Psalm 68 celebrates God as a great warrior who fights for His people. “May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him” (v. 1). In His strength, He fights for the fatherless, and He wages war for the widow (v. 5). He brings all His might—“The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands”—to bear on behalf of the righteous, who look to Him for help (v. 17).

After His victory, our Warrior King holds a great parade through the streets of the city. Those He conquered in battle are on display and gifts are distributed to the people. He throws a big party at the sanctuary, where there is praise and worship. All this imagery is intended to convey in poetic fashion a God “who daily bears our burdens” and who saves His people by crushing those who oppose them (vv. 19, 21).   So here is a prayer to pray when you feel defeated: “Summon your power, O God; show us your strength, O God, as you have done (v. 28)!” May your Warrior King save you in your time of trouble! And when He does, “proclaim the power of God” (v. 34).

Psalm 69

David is desperate! We do not know the precise circumstances surrounding the penning of this poem, although it is possible that the occasion is an attempted overthrow and assassination of the king, a painful and humiliating affair for David. King David admits that his sin played a role in the torment he’s now facing and that his enemies are taking advantage of his weak position (v. 5). And so David throws himself wholly upon the Lord’s mercy, “Come near and rescue me; redeem me because of my foes” (v. 18). The poetic prayer concludes with a declaration of faith and a call to praise: “The Lord hears the needy and does not despise his captive people. Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them” (v. 34). God loves desperate prayers because He longs to deliver His people in their time of need. Be honest with God. Plead for His help, declare your faith in His power, and praise Him for His deliverance when it comes.

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul writes to the Roman church, probably from the city of Corinth while on one of his missionary expeditions. He clearly states to them that all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Yes, the world might be a mess, which was his point in chapter 1, but even “religious” people have messed up! Therefore, no one can brag about saving themselves by keeping God’s law perfectly. Real salvation is based on God’s goodness, not man’s goodness. The church is made up of forgiven sinners! Every day we spend in the Psalms, we are singing the songs of those forgiven sinners, both the ancient Israelites who were the “church” before Jesus came and the followers of The Way, who formed the new church.


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.