August 20 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.” ~Psalm 117

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 116

The Lord hears the prayers of His people and delivers them from the most dreadful conditions, even from near death (v. 3). When one of His saints dies, it does not happen without God’s careful and loving oversight. “How precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (v. 15). (Translation: Death is not something God takes lightly. He highly values the lives of His people.) Every experience of His children is important—matters of life and death are precious in the eyes of God.

God watches us from birth until death so that nothing happens to us without His notice or approval. How can we repay Him for His constant watchfulness, His comfort, and His intervention? Lift up the communion cup in praise (v. 13), bring tithes and offerings (v. 14), and gather with the people of God in worship! All He asks is that we worship!

Psalm 117

The whole earth is enjoined to praise God because of His love and faithfulness. These two words are often used as a comprehensive description of who God is. He loves us a lot! And He will never, ever fail us. “Great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever” (v. 2, emphasis mine). So “praise the Lord!” (v. 2).

Psalm 118

God comes through for us. Always. “I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me” (v. 13). And so, with all future and present challenges let us not be afraid to ask for His help. Don’t fret if you feel like you are broken and useless. “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (v. 22). We may be cast out by this world as good for nothing—like a broken brick tossed aside to be hauled off by the cleanup crew—but God takes and makes something out of us. In His hands, we become the very foundation of something great! So go ahead and pray for God to grant you success, even if you feel like you are sitting on the rubbish heap. “O Lord, save us; O Lord grant us success” (v. 25). Because “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” asking for God’s blessing (v. 26)! “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (v. 29).

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul continues going after the Corinthians over their divisive habits, but now he’s getting to the issue behind the issue. The Corinthians are too enamored with man’s talent. They’re caught up in nonessentials such as style, learning, or aptitude. A flair for speaking is not what saves people or transforms lives! Of course, this does not give preachers license to be unstudied or undisciplined. Paul is simply saying that what matters most—what changes lives—is the Spirit of God. It is He who reveals things to people when the preacher proclaims the Word. Without the Spirit of God, human eyes cannot “see” the things of God and human ears cannot “hear” the things 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.