August 30 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.” ~Psalm 142:6

OLD TESTAMENT

Psalm 142

This psalm of David was probably written when he was in a desperate life-or-death situation. “Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me” (v. 6). Sometimes we do our best praying when we are desperate. In those times, we realize that God truly is our only hope. If you are going through one of those situations right now, then pray with all your might.

Psalm 143

Once again David’s enemies are closing in on him, so he spreads out his hands to God and asks for deliverance. He asks not only for his own benefit, but for God’s as well. “For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life” (v. 11). So we also see again that two prominent concerns of Scripture—our good and God’s glory—are intertwined.

Psalm 144

The theme of deliverance from enemies is paramount in this psalm. (Again! David has a lot of these experiences!) He prays for God to come down from heaven and rescue him. He promises to “sing a new song” (v. 9) when God gives him victory. He prays for God to bless him and his children. We are reminded (again!) that Scripture encourages us to pray for God’s blessing!

NEW TESTAMENT

While maintaining that Christians are free to enjoy anything God does not forbid, Paul warns the Corinthians against abusing their liberty. He has already stated there is nothing wrong with eating meat offered to idols and sold in the marketplace, but apparently some people were actually participating in pagan worship ceremonies. That’s taking liberty too far. Paul focuses on this one situation, but his larger point is that liberty unwisely exercised has the potential to lead a person into sin. (This passage may be applied to almost anything—food, drink, recreation, lifestyle choices, etc.)

This is where someone usually inserts the “slippery-slope argument.” That is, participating in one activity or another starts a Christian down a slippery slope to desolation and/or destruction. The reality is that almost everything we encounter in this world has a slippery slope. Sleep can lead to laziness, food can lead to gluttony, drink can lead to drunkenness, fun can lead to foolishness, and so on. Paul has a more balanced perspective. God, he argues, is the creator of all things, therefore, “[e]at anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience” (1 Cor. 10:25). In other words, we are free to enjoy our liberty and especially to glorify God in the use of it. The injunction to honor the Lord, when obeyed, doesn’t leave much room for abuse or for cruising down that slippery slope.


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.