August 7 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre.” ~Psalm 81:1-2

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 79

The psalmist is pleading for God to show mercy. He is suffering because of his own sin as well as the sin of those who have lived before him. (The latter concept, community sin, is difficult for those of us who live in the West to grasp.) Enemies have seized upon the troubles of God’s people as an opportunity to bring them down.

Psalm 79 teaches us that there is recourse for those who endure the consequences of their own or someone else’s sin. One can cry out to God for mercy as well as protection from those who would seek to cause harm. Rather than getting even, we can get down on our knees and pray for God to “repay” those who are kicking us while we are down.

Psalm 80

This psalm was also written at a time when God’s people were sensing His anger. The psalmist does not say, “God, we don’t deserve this!” Instead, he gives every indication that the community is suffering because of their own sin. So he pleads for mercy. He asks God to not only forgive but also to restore the people. The psalmist yearns for forgiveness, renewal, and God’s good favor! If you have done wrong and endured God’s discipline, it is right to seek His forgiveness, but don’t stop there. Ask for God to renew you, to restore you, and to bless you! Not because you are good or because you deserve it, but because He is good and longs to bless His children.

Psalm 81

Tell the band to get ready to worship! Pick up the guitar, get the drums ready, and crank up the sound system. It is time to celebrate the goodness of God! God longs to bless His people. He says to us, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it” (v. 10). What a promise! Our problem is that we are sometimes too stubborn to accept what is good for us. We go after other gods that do not satisfy. We refuse to listen to God or to take Him at His word. We think we know what is best so we’re off doing our own thing—worshipping money and sex and power and work. What the psalmist describes is something so much richer and better, a life of true satisfaction at the hands of God who yearns to pour out blessing.

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul continues his explanation of salvation to the churches in Rome. When a person is saved by God’s grace, the Spirit of God comes to live within him or her. The Spirit strengthens us to live a life that is pleasing to God. We will never do this perfectly (see Romans 7), and there will be times of struggle (Romans 8:18), but with His help, we can experience true life! The Word of God gives us wisdom, the Spirit of God gives us power, and the community of God (the church) gives us encouragement.


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.