August 8 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my god
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” ~Psalm 84:10

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 82

God has bestowed authority on the judges and kings of the earth. By his declaration, He made them “gods,” but they abused their positions of honor and power.[1] The psalmist cries out for these corrupt government leaders to “defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless” (v. 3). Like a man shouting at the evening news, he knows he isn’t being heard, but he must give vent to his frustration. However, thisman has hope in the fact that Someone will hear his cry. God is just, even when “gods” are not. So he concludes, “Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance” (v. 8).

Psalm 83

The theme of injustice—and what to do about it—threads its way through the entire book of Psalms. The psalmists encourage seeking the face of God rather than seeking revenge when people have been wronged. “O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still” (v. 1). Praying doesn’t happen alongside plotting; the former replaces the latter. A man on his knees before God is not in a good position to run around looking for ways to get even. If you have been wronged, go ahead and tell God you are hurting. Ask God to pursue and terrify those who have hurt you (v. 15).  Pray that He will do this for your good and for the glory of His name (v. 18)!

Psalm 84

The poet speaks of his longing to enjoy the presence of God. Perhaps he writes from exile, although we do not know. He yearns for home, playing out the lingering memories of living near (or in) the place of worship. The rapturous moments of joy he experienced in worship. The singing. The fellowship. The prayers. The hearing of the Word. It was all beautiful! “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!” (v. 1). The psalmist envies the sparrow that built her nest somewhere in the temple courts near the altar. How fortunate (blessed) are those who live close to the place of worship!

Oh that God would give us such hearts that we would long to go to the house of the Lord and be with His people! Oh that God would help our church communities become irresistible places of beauty! This yearning for place is really a yearning for the presence of God. Note the language of the psalm: “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (v. 3). And why wouldn’t he want to draw near to God? For, as the psalmist explains, his God is so good, so satisfying that He will withhold no good thing from those who long for Him (v. 11). Wow!

[1] The Hebrew word translated as gods in verse 6 does not indicate that these rulers are deities. Rather, the word conveys an idea; specifically, that those at the helm have been given God’s authority, but they remain under the authority of God.

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul writes to the new churches in Rome to teach them about the great message of salvation. Salvation covers the whole of our lives—past, present, and future. Our past sins are covered by God’s grace, our present lives are being changed by His Spirit, and our future eternity is secured by His sovereign determination (Rom. 8:28-29). God has purposed to “glorify” us, that is, to make us perfectly like Christ, and all creation with us. There is nothing that can separate us from this love that God has bestowed upon us, His children.


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.