September 12 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water
that he channels toward all who please him.” ~Proverbs 21:1

OLD TESTAMENT

Once again, the theme of God’s sovereignty jumps off the page in the proverbs. You can learn to approach the king [leader, boss, et al] in a manner that will be most advantageous to your cause (look ahead at Proverbs 25:15), but you must accept that the outcome rests in God’s hands. While leaving results to Someone else is frustrating for take-charge, get-it-done folks, those who feel beholden to people of power—that’s all of us at some point—can be encouraged that God is the One in charge. He can turn the hearts of kings any way He wants. We are not at liberty to be careless in the king’s presence, but we are welcome to trust God with the outcome of our causes. If God can change the hearts of great Pharaohs, how much more the heart of your boss, or dad, or coach, or teacher?

In a similar vein, we are encouraged to strive toward success while trusting God to bring it about. As the sage puts it, “The horse is made ready against the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord” (Prov. 21:31). The sage allows for neither passivity (“Let go and let God”) nor pride (“I can do this on my own”). Rather he calls us to live with all our might and trust God with all our heart. So wear your seatbelt, and pray for protection. Study hard for the test, and pray for a good grade. Plan diligently for new initiatives, but ask God for success. Work hard on the job, but trust God for a promotion (Prov. 22:29).

NEW TESTAMENT

The gospel is awesome, and it changes lives. The reality that we have been given this gospel, “this treasure in jars of clay,” to share with others is truly humbling (2 Cor. 4:7). However, and let this be a lesson to you when you’re feeling inadequate, the power of the gospel is in the message, not in the man. That fact explains in part why God often does incredible things through terribly flawed people. The gospel is powerful. The flaws and foibles of the church over the centuries have not prevented the expansion of the kingdom.

Yes, it’s a good idea to keep these “jars of clay” as clean as possible, but we cannot wait until we are perfect to witness to a friend or neighbor. Share the good news, and watch God work in powerful ways. And then, give glory to the One who deserves it: God, the all-powerful Savior of mankind.

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.