August 9 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger,
abounding in love and faithfulness.” ~Psalm 86:15

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 85

The psalmist is giving praise for God’s forgiveness and praying for the people’s restoration, something he is sure they will receive because of who God is. In one of the most beautiful verses in Scripture, the writer praises God’s key attributes: “Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other” (v. 10).  The poet evokes the image of a tender kiss to communicate the Lord’s beauty and the balance in His character. He is not one of these things, or even each in its turn, but rather all of these things together. He loves us. We can count on Him (faithfulness). He never wrongs us (righteousness). He will bring peace into our muddled lives. Wow! That is even more beautiful than a kiss!

Psalm 86

David is in trouble and cries out to God for mercy. “The arrogant are attacking me, O God” (v. 14). He appeals for help on the basis of God’s attributes: “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (v. 15). This is a near word-for-word recitation of God’s own declaration in Exodus 34:6-7. Certainly God knows what He said about Himself! He does not need David to remind Him. Yet, the poets often approached God by appealing to Him on the basis of what He said about Himself. In essence, they ask God to act according to His character in their present distress. Go ahead and tell God you are in trouble. Recount His awesome attributes while asking Him to come and help you in your time of need.

Psalm 87

This is one of the more curious psalms. The Hebrew structure and poetry has puzzled scholars, but the general message can be ascertained. Psalm 87 praises those who are born in the city of Jerusalem, so it is perhaps a poetic reference to those who are the true children of God. The names of those born in Zion, the City of God, are on a list, a register, which means God knows who they are. God Himself will establish the city and those who dwell there.

Psalm 87 appears to be a poem that calls God’s people to give praise because they have been “born” into His family and are blessed to be citizens of His city. If you are one of God’s children—a member of the new Israel (see Romans 9:6-8)—give praise to Him, make music to Him, and sing.

NEW TESTAMENT

Romans 9 is an explanation of election, one of the most mystifying doctrines in all of Scripture. At its most basic, election means that God chooses us for salvation and not the other way around. Or as Paul explains, salvation “does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy” (v. 16). He points out the interwoven nature of the doctrine of election and the doctrine of grace in this passage, but Paul does not try to unravel the mystery. He does not try to find compatibility between human responsibility and divine sovereignty. (There is a place for such discussions elsewhere.) Nor does he minimize the importance of human activities like believing (vv. 9:30-32, 10:13) and sending and preaching (vv. 10:14-15). But all these things happen because of God’s grace. Even the person who shared the gospel with you was sent by the sovereign grace of God! What Paul emphasizes—and what we must never forget—is that salvation is entirely the work of God!


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.