September 4 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.” ~Proverbs 5:15

OLD TESTAMENT

The devastation of adultery is one of the themes found throughout the proverbs. Adultery looks so good, but it really isn’t. It only looks good. The allure of a relationship outside one’s marriage is a sham, a shallow imitation of the friendship and connection God intends for the marriage covenant. Fall for it and you quickly discover how thin the veil really is. The sage describes the snake-oil sale that is adultery in another way: “For the lips of an adulteress drip with honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword” (Prov. 5:3-4).

So what’s a guy (or gal) to do? I mean, what do we do with these desires God gave us? The sage has some thoughts on that too. “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well” (Prov. 5:15). In other words, find satisfaction in your wife (or husband)! In case readers miss his message, the sage gets more explicit: “Let her breasts satisfy you at all times” (Prov. 5:19).

If you think about it, this passage, like so much of Scripture, contains both a No and Yes. God says NO to the things that will harm us, and He says YES to the things that will bless us. The Bible isn’t a book of dead end signs, as if God were shrugging his shoulders and declaring, Too bad about those desires. Better learn to control ‘em. It is a book of detour signs: Bridge is out. Take alternate route.The alternative is a beautiful drive that gets us exactly where we want to go. We just have to have faith in God’s wisdom (Prov. 3:5-6).

NEW TESTAMENT

In the famous “tongues passage,” Paul continues to give direction on the use of spiritual gifts. Love for others must govern everything we do, even the exercise of gifts. The background for the gift of tongues is in Acts 2. People gathered from all over the world for Passover Fest, and God’s Spirit fell on the church so that they were able to proclaim the gospel in every language (or “tongue”). “…Each one heard them speaking in his own language” (Acts 2:6). Clearly, there were church members endowed with this gift to supernaturally speak in a foreign language with the aid of God’s Spirit.

The issue Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 14 is showing off with this special gift (even Paul had it) in church services. To do so is confusing for visitors and distracting to all (v. 23). So Paul orders a stop to it unless an interpreter is available to translate for the rest of the crowd (vv. 5, 28). Paul is not opposed to the use of the gift; it is a profoundly powerful sign to unbelievers (v. 22)! Imagine a remote tribal people hearing the gospel for the first time in their language!

The larger point is this: every gift that is in the church should be used to bless the church! In this way, we “follow the way of love” (v. 1). Whether you are gifted to preach, to sing, to speak in tongues, to heal, to pray, or to give, exercise your gift to meet needs and serve God’s people.


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.