August 10 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“But I cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you.” ~Psalm 88:13

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 88

Psalm 88 is an unusual psalm in that it does not end with praise. It appears to be the lament of a person who had had a very difficult life and is now on the verge of death. Alone and ill, the writer cries out to God.

The only expression of faith is in the first line: “O Lord, the God who saves me” (v. 1). The final sentiment is a dark one. “You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend” (v. 18). Here is a psalm that gives us permission to be sad, to be so down that all we can do is pray. Crying out to God in our despair is an expression of faith! If you are sad and lonely, and all you can do is pray, that is enough. For our God is the God who saves!

Psalm 89

Here is another sad psalm. It begins with praise to God for bestowing blessing on David (“David” is used as a metonym for Israel) and continues with praise for all His blessings. “The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth” (v. 11). Then, in verse 38, there is an abrupt turn in subject and tone: “But you have rejected, you have spurned, you have been very angry with your anointed one.” (Again, “anointed one” is a metonymy for all Israel). Life can go from wondrous highs to perilous lows just that quickly. If that is your life today—blessing is a thing of the past and difficulty lies ahead—call out to God for help! He has promised not to remove His love (v. 33), so you can conclude your prayer in the same way that this lamenting psalmist did, “Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.”

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul continues his explanation of the majestic biblical teaching on salvation. He expresses his longing that his own people (Israel) would be saved. He praises their zeal for righteousness but notes that it is misdirected. They have placed their hope in the law—that is, in doing what Moses commanded. While the law is good in that it guides a person to a better way of living here and now, it does not have the power to save a person forever. Only Christ can do that. His forever salvation is available to anyone and everyone, Jew or Gentile, who calls upon the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:13).


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.