September 11 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” ~Proverbs 19:21

OLD TESTAMENT

Zeal is great! But zeal without know-how can be very bad indeed (Prov. 19:2). In fact, it can create a lot of problems. Grand initiatives run on enthusiasm alone usually end very badly. It’s like taking a powerful racecar out on the track, revving its engine all the way, when it has a faulty steering mechanism! How many projects have gone off-course because well-meaning people lacked knowledge or were too hasty?

One way to gain knowledge and know-how is to get advice. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise” (Prov. 19:20). God has endowed His image bearers with wisdom, much of which comes from trial and error. God bequeaths wisdom to one generation through the collected experiences and observations of the wise in another. Rather than repeating the same old mistakes, we are wise to listen and thereby gain “experience” from the experiences of others.  C. S. Lewis once quipped, “Experience: that most brutal of teachers.” Indeed, we have all taken her classes, but she is not a favorite teacher! Experience is brutal! When we can gain from another’s hard won knowledge, we should do so. “Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance” (Prov. 20:18).

Even in our acquisition of wisdom, there is still what I call the “God factor.” We may plan and seek great advice, but God is ultimately sovereign over all that we do! “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Prov. 19:21). This is why it is sometimes hard to fathom the course our own lives have taken! I was born in Texas City, Texas in 1967. Now, I’m a senior pastor in Valparaiso, Indiana. How did that happen? To be honest, that are a lot of small steps between 1967 and 2013 that I don’t fully understand. As the sage observes,  “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord, how then can anyone understand his own way?” (Prov. 20:24).

Don’t get the wrong idea. We are not passive observers in this world. We are active participants, planning in our hearts and stepping out as wisely as we can. Yet, ultimately, our lives are in His hands. In this, there is awe and wonder.

NEW TESTAMENT

The Word given to Moses was so glorious that when he preached, he had to cover his face so that people could attend his sermons! Yet, that Word only prepared the way for the Word of the gospel, the good news that we are set free from our sin through Christ! And the gospel shines even more brightly! May our preaching and our living shine forth into this dark world so that men and women and children are drawn to the freedom that is theirs in Christ.

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.