August 14 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“The perverse of heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with what is evil.” ~Psalm 101:4

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 99

Psalm 99 celebrates God’s sovereign reign over all the nations. He is depicted as a great king seated on a majestic throne surrounded by angelic beings. The nations tremble at what they see, and they praise His holy name. His sovereign rule has extended from the ancient past—even before the days of Moses and Aaron—and He is still on the throne doing what is right and just today. He is worthy of our worship (v. 9).

Psalm 100

The Lord is good and faithful! Therefore, we should respond to Him in worship. “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs” (vv. 1-2). God delights in joyful worship! So much so in fact that it is not optional for His people. We are enjoined to give our thanks and praise. Since He is good, since His love endures forever, since He is faithful to every generation, we must joyfully bring our praise to Him.

Psalm 101

The king vows to carry out his duties in justice. In a large kingdom, there could be thousands of court officials, all with various ranks and access privileges. However, people of questionable character were drawn to power and money (just as they are today), and so a king’s court was littered with slanderers, sybarites, and sycophants. Therefore, the king was required to be vigilant, to surround himself with the right people, and to deal justly with those who brought harm to his kingdom. And that’s exactly what David commits to do in Psalm 101. “No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence” (v. 7). The king could not be afraid to dismiss court officials, discipline civil servants, or dispatch a messenger of death to deal with the wicked. “I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the Lord” (v. 8). This decisive action pleases the Lord!

We are not powerful kings, but all of us have the power to surround ourselves with the right kind of people. Yes, there is a place for mercy (when wrongdoers feel bad about doing wrong), but there is also a place for justice (when wrongdoers don’t get it and persist in their slandering and pandering)! May we commit ourselves to being people of integrity who promote honesty and honor wherever we can. In our homes, our towns, our churches, and our schools. Wherever we have influence.

Psalm 102

Psalm 102 is a prayer for help probably written during a national crisis. It is a call for God to deliver His people and their land and to restore their fortunes. “For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. He will respond to the prayer of the destitute” (vv. 16-17). This is a constant theme in the psalms, this coming to God in a time of need and pleading with Him on the basis of who He is. Let these poems bring you comfort, and let them encourage you to bring your need for restoration to the Lord.

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul continues to teach the Roman church, and us as well, how to live a life that is a daily sacrifice pleasing unto God. In chapter 13, he makes it clear that our attitude toward government should be one of respect. He counsels people to “give to everyone what you owe them”—respect, taxes, honor, whatever!—so that no one can condemn them for being subversive (v. 7). Even pagan rulers were afforded this treatment. Moreover, we are to love each other in the way we live our daily lives. This is why we should not commit adultery, murder, steal, or covet. These actions bring harm to others, and of course to ourselves, and also to the God we profess to worship.


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.