December 23 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” ~Habakkuk 3:2

OLD TESTAMENT

The prophet Habakkuk (pronounced ha-BACK-ook) was a contemporary of Jeremiah ministering in Judah. He lived sometime after the fall of the northern kingdom (722 BCE) but before the fall of the southern kingdom (597 BCE). This little book is written in antiphonal form, a recounting of a two-way conversation between God and someone else.

The prophet complains that God is tolerating oppression and perversion (vv. 1:2-4), but God responds that He will not turn a blind eye to injustice forever (vv. 1:5-11). The prophet then complains about the instrument God will use to bring justice, the wicked Babylonians (vv. 1:12-2:1), and God responds that He will judge Babylon as well—and He will restore His people in time. (vv. 2:2-2:20).

All the prophet can do is respond in faith and with the beautiful prayer written above (Hab. 3). I love his prayer. The prophet wants God to do amazing things while he can see them. He loves hearing about amazing stories of the past, but he wants God to renew him, the people, and the land in his own lifetime! What a great prayer!

The prophet concludes with a beautiful expression of faith in God’s sovereignty. “Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength” (Hab. 3:16-19). Wow! This calls for prayer:

Lord, renew us in our day! Do great things that will bless us and glorify Your name. While we wait for Your renewal, we will trust that You know what You are doing, even if we don’t fully understand it. Though our bank accounts grow thin and our plates are empty, we will delight in our Savior. Strengthen us, we pray, and give us joy that only You can give. Help us to wait in anticipation for Your deliverance and blessing. Amen.

NEW TESTAMENT

We have already met the 144,000, those who represent an incalculable number of people who remain faithful to Christ even during periods of great tribulation. They stand with the Lamb, who is poised to begin the harvest of the earth by separating the followers of the Lamb from the followers of the Beast.

I cannot stress enough that these are images pointing us to Christ and the Evil One. They are battling for the universe, and the inhabitants of the world will be forced to choose sides. Some will remain faithful—others will not. John is reassured that victory is sure for the followers of Christ. Again, the disciple writes, “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obeys God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). The heart of Revelation lies in the admonition to remain faithful to Jesus no matter what. Because in the end—He wins!


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.