August 28 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“His love endures forever.” ~Psalm 136

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 136

A good friend of mine expressed frustration over worship songs that repeat the same refrain over and over. I said, “Open you Bible to Psalm 136.” He immediately looked up the passage, scanned it, and said, “I stand corrected.”

The psalm is an artistic repetition of praise poetically woven into a historical narrative of God’s saving acts. “His love endures forever” is the thread that draws both singer and listeners’ attention to what they most need to remember—God’s love is without end. Perhaps you need to repeat these words to yourself today. Never, ever forget that He loves you right now, and His love for you will last for all eternity.

Psalm 137

The poet recalls in anguish the day that Israel was taken captive by the Babylonians. Their enemies, the Edomites, gloated and looted. Carrying them far from their home, the people’s captors demanded foreign songs for their entertainment.

The poet has not forgotten those days, and he asks for God to repay the Edomites for what they have done. If the prayer seems graphic, it is because the memories of families buried beneath the rubble are fresh. The gleeful shouts of the enemy, “Tear the place to the ground!” still ring in the poet’s ears. When the painful past resurfaces, remember that God will deal with those who have wronged you. Pray a brief prayer for justice and move on.

Psalm 138

David gives praise to God for answered prayer. God may dwell “on high,” but He is not removed from “the lowly” (a clever poetic contrast in verse 6). There is hope for the future. “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever” (v. 8). David sings his praise for God’s saving acts in the past and offers a prayer that His blessings continue into the future.

NEW TESTAMENT

While Paul maintains that we are free to do many things, we must be willing to curtail our freedom when necessary for the sake of the gospel and the benefit of others. He uses himself as an example. He had the right to demand a salary from the Corinthian church and to ask them to pay all his travel expenses. However, so as not to offend them, he decided not to exercise this right! (Paul may have also been issuing a mild rebuke to the Corinthian church for the way they treated him.)

In this passage, Christian liberty is put in its proper context. There is something more important—the gospel. Our goal should be to win as many as possible, so out of love for the gospel and those who simply ‘don’t get it,’ we make personal sacrifices. Or we use our freedom for the sake of the gospel. Paul adapted to the local situation; he hung out with the rich or the poor and he ran around with Jews (those with strict morals codes) and Gentiles (those who exercised plenty of freedom).

For me, exercising freedom means I will gladly have a beer with an unbeliever if it gives me the opportunity to talk about my faith! It also means I will curtail my own liberty and drink Mecca-Cola with a Muslim if doing so affords me the same opportunity! Enjoy your freedom when it is wise and right to enjoy it. Sacrifice it when that is the wise and right thing to do. Life is not about you or me, our pleasure and pursuits, our liberty and freedoms. It’s about the gospel.


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.

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“His love endures forever.” ~Psalm 136

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 136

A good friend of mine expressed frustration over worship songs that repeat the same refrain over and over. I said, “Open you Bible to Psalm 136.” He immediately looked up the passage, scanned it, and said, “I stand corrected.”

The psalm is an artistic repetition of praise poetically woven into a historical narrative of God’s saving acts. “His love endures forever” is the thread that draws both singer and listeners’ attention to what they most need to remember—God’s love is without end. Perhaps you need to repeat these words to yourself today. Never, ever forget that He loves you right now, and His love for you will last for all eternity.

Psalm 137

The poet recalls in anguish the day that Israel was taken captive by the Babylonians. Their enemies, the Edomites, gloated and looted. Carrying them far from their home, the people’s captors demanded foreign songs for their entertainment.

The poet has not forgotten those days, and he asks for God to repay the Edomites for what they have done. If the prayer seems graphic, it is because the memories of families buried beneath the rubble are fresh. The gleeful shouts of the enemy, “Tear the place to the ground!” still ring in the poet’s ears. When the painful past resurfaces, remember that God will deal with those who have wronged you. Pray a brief prayer for justice and move on.

Psalm 138

David gives praise to God for answered prayer. God may dwell “on high,” but He is not removed from “the lowly” (a clever poetic contrast in verse 6). There is hope for the future. “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever” (v. 8). David sings his praise for God’s saving acts in the past and offers a prayer that His blessings continue into the future.

NEW TESTAMENT

While Paul maintains that we are free to do many things, we must be willing to curtail our freedom when necessary for the sake of the gospel and the benefit of others. He uses himself as an example. He had the right to demand a salary from the Corinthian church and to ask them to pay all his travel expenses. However, so as not to offend them, he decided not to exercise this right! (Paul may have also been issuing a mild rebuke to the Corinthian church for the way they treated him.)

In this passage, Christian liberty is put in its proper context. There is something more important—the gospel. Our goal should be to win as many as possible, so out of love for the gospel and those who simply ‘don’t get it,’ we make personal sacrifices. Or we use our freedom for the sake of the gospel. Paul adapted to the local situation; he hung out with the rich or the poor and he ran around with Jews (those with strict morals codes) and Gentiles (those who exercised plenty of freedom).

For me, exercising freedom means I will gladly have a beer with an unbeliever if it gives me the opportunity to talk about my faith! It also means I will curtail my own liberty and drink Mecca-Cola with a Muslim if doing so affords me the same opportunity! Enjoy your freedom when it is wise and right to enjoy it. Sacrifice it when that is the wise and right thing to do. Life is not about you or me, our pleasure and pursuits, our liberty and freedoms. It’s about the gospel.


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.