November 5 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God.”
~Jeremiah 42:6

OLD TESTAMENT

The city of Jerusalem has fallen. Although Jeremiah is initially among the captives in the town of Ramah, he is eventually released. His people may not listen to him, but he is a preacher of considerable fame among the surrounding nations. Jeremiah remains in Jerusalem to minister to those left behind under the rule of Gedaliah, the Jewish leader appointed by the Babylonian commander.

Gedaliah turns out to be a naïve and inept leader who fails to listen when he is warned of a coup and foreign invasion. His failure to act costs him his life and the life of many of the people in the city. Jeremiah survives the cowardly attack from a neighboring king, Ishmael, thanks to a small force of army officers led by a brave leader named Johanan. They came to the rescue of the beleaguered people, who were being led out of the city to become Ishmael’s captives. However, the war-weary and now leaderless people are unsure what they should do next—return to Jerusalem or move to Egypt for protection? They seek Jeremiah’s advice, and the prophet promises to be honest with them.

Jeremiah urges the people to obey the Lord no matter what. His counsel may not be easy to follow, but obeying God is important so that “it will go well with us” (Jer. 42:6). With that prologue, the prophet advises the people to go back to the city. Stay in the land, plant vineyards, build houses, get married, and trust that God will care for you. The advice goes against the conventional wisdom since hadn’t things been pretty miserable in Jerusalem?

However, God doesn’t always ask His people to do the easy thing. He does ask them (and us) to obey Him and trust Him to do what is right and best, even when doing so is hard. He is wise, and He knows what is best. Always.

NEW TESTAMENT

As the preacher to the Hebrews tries to encourage God’s people to persevere in their faith, he wants to make it clear that they should not think less of Christ because He suffered. (The idea of God “suffering” was quite a paradigm shift for Jewish people.) He suffered for us—for our sins. What is more, because we worship a God who suffered, the writer explains, we worship a God who understands what we are going through. “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:18).


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.