September 13 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.” ~Proverbs 24:6

OLD TESTAMENT

The sage on wise business relationships. Lately, one of my boys has been forging a lot of new business relationships, so I reminded him of something he already knew: “Most everyone you do business with is simply thinking about how they can get another dollar out of you.” I know that sounds cynical, but it is really sound advice.

The sage does not want his kids growing up naïve either. He tells them, for example, that a dinner party with the influential is probably a thinly veiled invitation to obligate them to some scheme. Don’t turn down the dinner, but do be cautious and crafty. “When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony” (Prov. 23:1-2). In other words, don’t get so caught up in the eating and drinking that you can’t keep your wits about you. The guy across the table probably wants you to do something. And beware the person who picks up the dinner tab with a charming smile (the sage flat out tells his sons not to trust that sort). Your benefactor may tell you to enjoy yourself, but “his heart is not with you” (Prov. 23:7). He has ulterior motives.

Certainly we can take this advice too far. There are people in this world we can trust implicitly. However, a wise person is careful to learn who his or her friends are (Prov. 12:26).

The sage on the abuse of drink. A generation ago, many Christians dealt with the problem of alcohol abuse by telling their kids to avoid drinking altogether. This neither solved the crisis nor prevented the next generation from partaking. Post-Vietnam generations must understand that Americans growing up in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s (after the repeal of prohibition) saw a lot of alcoholism during their lifetime. Many Americans (even Christians) bear indelible scars due to alcohol abuse.

While members of the old guard may have been wrong to tell us that Jesus turned water into grape juice, they were certainly right that alcohol can destroy a person! It is here that we must revisit the words of the sage in Proverbs 23:29-35. Drinking too much can bring woe, sorrow, and strife into a person’s life (v. 29). Drinking can implode a career, health, and relationships. It also can be highly addictive: “When will I wake up so I can find another drink” (v. 35). The Bible does not forbid the use of alcohol, but it is filled with warnings about its abuse. We would be wise to heed these warnings; and, for some people, it is wisest to find something else to drink!

NEW TESTAMENT

We are on a journey, and the body we now inhabit is only a tent that gets us by until we are with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:1). For now, we do everything we can to please the Lord—with His help and strength (2 Cor. 5:9). But someday, we will get updated digs that are both old and new! God will take these old tents and turn them into something amazing. These bodies will be resurrected! Until then, we have the privilege and duty of persuading others to be reconciled to the master (re)Builder. Then, they too can become new creations 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.