Day 61

by Rev Joel Yong

Judges 9:4-6
So they gave him 70 pieces of silver from the temple of Baal Berith. With the silver, Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men to follow him. Then he went to his father’s home in Ophrah. There he executed his 70 brothers, Jerubbaal’s sons. But Jotham, Jerubbaal’s youngest son, survived because he hid. All the citizens from Shechem and Beth Millo united. They went to the oak tree that was still standing in Shechem and proclaimed Abimelech king.

Abimelech persuaded the people to let him lead.
And he did. Unscrupulously.

He hired ‘… worthless and reckless men’ unlike David who had mighty men following him.
Why?
Because he only attracted those without any real depth and quality.

His leadership seemed successful but for only a short time and he killed 70 of Jerubbaal’s sons.

His cruelty did not go unnoticed. God avenged the blood shed by him.

By the end of the chapter we read that while engaged in conflict- this happened:

Judges 9:53-57
Then a woman threw a small millstone that hit Abimelech on the head and cracked his skull. He quickly called his armorbearer. He told him, “Take your sword and kill me! I don’t want anyone to say, ‘A woman killed Abimelech.'” His armorbearer did as he said, so Abimelech died. When the people of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they all went home. So God paid back Abimelech for the evil he had done to his father when he killed his 70 brothers. God also paid back the men of Shechem for all their evil. So the curse of Jotham, son of Jerubbaal, came true.

For a warrior back then- to be killed by a woman, was a disgrace.
So he asked to be killed by his armorbearer instead.

A worthless leader who resorted to unscrupulous means to get things done- dies a dishonorable death. Suicide after receiving a mortal wound inflicted by a woman’s millstone.

Day 60

by Rev Joel Yong

Judges 6:6-10
And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord. When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of the Midianites, the Lord sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage. And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. And I said to you, I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But you have not obeyed my voice.

Israel prays.
God answers and He cites why they are suffering.
Their disobedience.

Too often in today’s world we hear testimonies about believers crying out in prayer to God and how He delivers and some speak of long moments when God is silent.

But I have never heard of anyone sharing that God told them that they were being punished and hence the suffering.

Perhaps we are a tad self-righteous and assume our sufferings are never our fault?

I do believe God still disciplines us today as He did in the days of biblical Israel.
And perhaps He isn’t silent … perhaps we have not been listening.

Day 59

by Rev Joel Yong

Judges 2:10
And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.

How did this happen?
The generation who saw what God did- failed to tell the younger generation about it.
They also failed in helping the younger generation live out a life of faith, following God in the present day and thus leaning on Him for strength throughout life’s journey.

As a result- this is what happened:

Judges 2:11-13
And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth.

We must constantly tell our young what God did for us and help them to live out their faith daily so they can see God is real in their parents’ time and also in their present day.

One way of doing this is to reflect upon each day before we sleep and thank God together as a family for the things we have been blessed to experience and look to Him for help for the obstacles in our way. This sort of prayer log- helps the young recollect how God is present in every moment of our days and not just in our parents’ historical experience.

The better priesthood

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Hebrews 7:1-17; Psalms 105:37-45

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Hebrews 7:11 “Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?”

REFLECT
While the Levitical priesthood served the people of Israel by making offerings to God on their behalf, it was not a “perfect system”. In those days, there were several offerings to be made to God and the first was the burnt offering. The burnt offering was made for the general atonement of sins and expression of devotion to God. In Leviticus 1, it is said that if the burnt offering was to be taken from the herd, a male without blemish must be offered. While such bulls (or lambs in the case of Passover) without blemish were carefully chosen for the required offerings, they were not perfect.

No matter how spotless these offerings were, they were not perfect because they were created by the One who is perfect. Perfection can only come through the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God Himself. To give us the better priesthood after the priesthood of Aaron; Jesus therefore had to obey the will of the Father and sacrificed Himself at Golgotha. This is so that for those who believe, we are considered as righteous before God. For those who believe, we now belong to the better priesthood.

RELATE
Christians are now under a better priesthood; that is led by none other than the Great High Priest Jesus Christ. In fact, the Apostle Paul said that in this “new system” we are no mere “church-goers” but a priesthood of believers. In this better priesthood, there is no longer a need to bring unblemished bulls for the atonement of our sins or even the expression of our worship to God. Jesus had done it all.

So by faith, we are now able to worship and commune with God on a daily basis. By faith, we are now empowered to live the new life in Christ and make disciples. What a privilege this is! What great love from the Almighty!

May I not take this privilege for granted and henceforth become complacent. May I not turn my eyes from this new and better priesthood. May I not choose to follow the old priesthood where ministry, family and work became a burnt offering unto the Lord; where works are thought to be bargaining chips for salvation.

REST
Lord, it is only by Your grace that I am given the opportunity to be inducted into this better priesthood. Help me to serve Your people in humility and wisdom; keeping in mind that You are the One who have brought me out of the mire and into Your marvellous Light. Amen.

Day 58

by Rev Joel Yong

Joshua 24:16-18
Then the people answered, Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods, for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.

Israel was a new nation but nowhere in the text above, do we read of “Our forefathers’ blood and sweat got us here.” or “Moses’ vision and selflessness birthed our nation.”

There is no focus on a founder or a group of ancestors as the ones credited for Israel’s success. No, the glory is given to God and the credit is given to Him alone.

The Israelites are critically aware that it is only because of God that all these things were possible.

Joshua proceeds to test them further and warns them of the conditions required of a people who want to follow the God of Israel.

Joshua 24:19-21
But Joshua said to the people, You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good. And the people said to Joshua, No, but we will serve the Lord.

An unwavering commitment was required and not a fickle faith.
There was punishment awaiting those who would treat God in such a manner- as if He was a common deity.
But the people stood firm in their decision.

It’s time to review our commitment to follow God and it’s good to do this at specific moments of the year.

Are we committed to choose God above all other gods and do we give Him credit for all in our lives or do we subtly credit ourselves for various achievements instead?

He is our Source of life and blessings- we are nothing without God.
God is everything and even if we choose not to follow Him- it is not to His disadvantage.

Day 57

by Rev Joel Yong

Joshua 23:2-3 ESV
Joshua summoned all Israel, its elders and heads, its judges and officers, and said to them, I am now old and well advanced in years. And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the Lord your God who has fought for you.

Joshua was old and dying and was leaving the task of leading Israel’s future to the next generation.

Note that he doesn’t expect them to be faithful because of all the things they HEARD him say about God. No, he references their own experience!

I feel our young should not base their faith on what is taught in Sunday school lessons alone or what we tell them God did for us as parents alone … but rather they should do so from their own living out of the faith and being able to see how God is active and alive in their daily lives.

Then they will know – even when their parents are long gone- that God is that unchanging Rock they can depend upon in an ever changing world.

A heart of flesh

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Ezekiel 10:1- 11:25; Proverbs 27:1-2

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Ezekiel 11:19-20 “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them.”

REFLECT
As the prophet Ezekiel lament if God would make an end to the remnant, God responded that one day He will gather the Hebrews and give them a new heart i.e. from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. This heart of flesh shall be given so that God’s people can walk in His statutes and obey His commandments. However those who persist to dabble with abominations, they will face judgment from the Lord.

RELATE
How gracious is the Lord! His patience is immeasurable. He even goes to the extent of giving His people a new heart to obey Him.

For believers who live in the age of the New Testament, “a new heart” is relatable to finding our salvation in Jesus Christ. Otherwise it is impossible for us to truly follow God’s commandments. In Christ, we are empowered so that we can act upon God’s will.

However, I am also reminded that even having “a new heart” is no guarantee. It is no guarantee that we will follow God all the way. The fault lies not in God’s grace; the fault lies in ourselves to even turn flesh into stone. King Saul was one good example. God gave him a new heart and anointed him king. But he gave in to his own insecurities, consistently hardening his heart towards God and finally died condemned.

May the Lord have mercy. May we be good stewards of the new heart He has given to us in Christ and continue to fight the good fight of faith till we meet Him face to face again.

REST
Lord our God, help us to persevere in You and walk in You. Not by our strength nor might; but by the Spirit and in the Word. Amen.

Day 56

by Rev Joel Yong

Joshua 21:1-3 ESV
Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites came to Eleazar the priest and to Joshua the son of Nun and to the heads of the fathers’ houses of the tribes of the people of Israel. And they said to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, The Lord commanded through Moses that we be given cities to dwell in, along with their pasturelands for our livestock. So by command of the Lord the people of Israel gave to the Levites the following cities and pasturelands out of their inheritance.

The claim of the Levites was not based on the amount of work they did, and neither was it based on their popularity with the people.

No.

Note what they said about why they should be given what they are entitled to.
“The Lord commanded through Moses …”

It was a Divine command that they be provided for.

Ministers of God are taken care of because He commanded it.

Day 55

by Rev Joel Yong

Joshua 19:49-50 GW
When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritances, the people of Israel gave an inheritance among them to Joshua the son of Nun. By command of the Lord they gave him the city that he asked, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he rebuilt the city and settled in it.

Joshua waited till all his people had been allotted land and he took his last. Matthew Henry notes that he preferred common welfare over private advantage.

I think he could do this because of his trust in God. He was not afraid that the best land would be taken up by others and he would be left with the pieces nobody wanted.

He knew God was capable of giving him what he deserved even if he was the last to get an inheritance.

Joshua did not operate out of a scarcity mindset – “If I don’t hurry, I will lose out!”

No. He operated out of a mindset focused on abundance and in particular – the abundance of our God.

May that be our mindset too … not one that fears being left out but one that trusts God that the last shall be first!

Day 54

by Rev Joel Yong

Joshua 17:14-18 GW
Joseph’s descendants asked Joshua, “Why did you give us only one region for an inheritance? We have a lot of people because the LORD has blessed us.” Joshua replied, “If there are so many of you, go into the forest! Clear ground for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaim if the mountains of Ephraim are too confining for you.” Joseph’s descendants responded, “The mountains are not enough for us either. Besides, all the Canaanites living in the valley, in Beth Shean and its villages, and in the valley of Jezreel have chariots made of iron.” Then Joshua said to the descendants of Joseph, the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are an important and very powerful people. One region is really not enough for you. The mountain region will be yours as well. It is a forest, so you will have to clear it. All of it will be yours. But you must force out the Canaanites, even though they are strong and have chariots made of iron.”

Ephraim and Manasseh complained about 2 things:

  1. A lack of allotted land
  2. The land allotted had fierce occupants

Joshua’s response to them was basically- “Don’t complain- go and conquer it. You are allotted land and even if there are obstacles to occupying it- the promise will be fulfilled but you have to play your part.”

Some of us are like Ephraim and Manasseh.

We complain about sermons: “I am not being fed.” In reality we aren’t reading our Bibles and engaging in spiritual habits like prayer and fellowship etc.

We complain “No one is supporting my ministry …”
I have seen many of these.
Even interviewed job applicants who are like that … they blame their failure in their previous ministry on their previous pastor, a lack of manpower or the church ‘wasn’t right’.

Perhaps it’s the way I was raised.
We had nothing. So to make something of my future when all seemed bleak- I stepped up and made something out of nothing and it worked because my loving Father was with me all the way.

We sound like Moses complaining before the burning bush and the people of Ephraim and Manasseh in this case.

But God says: “I will be with you. It requires some hard work but go and get it done.”

What I dream of is an entire congregation of go-getters and an entire staff team of go-getters who, just like the shepherd boy David, look at Goliaths in their paths and say “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (echoing truths repeated in Gen 18.14, Jer 32.27)

Day 53

by Rev Joel Yong

Joshua 15:16-19
And Caleb said, “Whoever strikes Kiriath-sepher and captures it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter as wife.” And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, captured it. And he gave him Achsah his daughter as wife. When she came to him, she urged him to ask her father for a field. And she got off her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Give me a blessing. Since you have given me the land of the Negeb, give me also springs of water.” And he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

She was going to leave Joshua as his single daughter and become the married spouse of Othniel.

It is their parting moment. And it is at this moment that she asks him for more land – and Joshua agrees to give it to her.

A father’s heart is always tender toward their child and more ready to give than they are to ask.

In like manner, our Father in Heaven loves us tenderly and surely will be ready fo give to us what is more than sufficient for our need – if only we would ask Him.

Our common status in Christ

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus…” Philipians 1: 1 (NIV)

Paul was the founder of Church at Philipi (Acts 16: 15). Though he had a special status in the heart and the history of the church at Philipi, he describes himself and Timothy as servants or slaves of Christ. He is consciously putting himself down as a servant/slave so that Philippians would know that in God’s kingdom no one could claim superiority.

Everyone at Philipi must have known what it meant to be a servant or slave. Because slavery in the first century Roman world was very common. But it must have been quite a shock for them to hear a powerful apostle like Paul calling himself a servant. But this instance had a great lesson for Christians at Philipi and now has for us.

By calling himself and Timothy as servants, Paul emphasizes that they are to obey their master. They cannot have any mission contrary to the mission of their master. Their purpose in life is which is given by the master.

This consciousness made Paul to be humble in spite of his successful ministry and life. This fact made him to look at his fellow workers as partners and not as rivals. This undisputed obedience to Jesus, like a bonded slave to his master, made him the greatest apostle of the first century through whom Christianity spread like a wild fire.

Day 52

by Rev Joel Yong

Joshua 13:1 ESV
Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the Lord said to him, You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess.

Time was running out for Joshua was aging.
The conquest of the land was not yet complete.

As we age, we look at our years remaining and what else is left to be done.
And we wonder if what God promised in our youth- can still come to pass.

But though it may seem impossible to man- God still has a way.

Here is what He says to Joshua –

Joshua 13:6
… all the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon to Misrephoth-maim, even all the Sidonians. I myself will drive them out from before the people of Israel. Only allot the land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have commanded you.

He will do it when we can no longer do it.

Has God given you instructions and a task to accomplish?
Be faithful to it.

Even if time seems to be running out.
Even if your strength seems limited.

Just put your hands to the task.
And let Him worry about its completion.
It’s His work after all and not just yours.

Partners in Ministry

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus…” Philippians 1: 1 (NIV)

The opening of the letter to Philipians shows the acknowledgement given by Paul to his co-workers. Though he was a successful and famous Apostle, Paul knew that in the kingdom of God we are all dependent on others to fulfill our destiny.

God’s plan for Paul in his ministry would not have been fulfilled without the aid of different partners who were traveling with him time to time. There were also co-workers who took care of the congregations and their needs at different places where Paul established churches.

Paul was powerful and successful in his ministry, but he was so only because of all the help from different saints of God who gave their time, resources etc for the mission.

By calling him and Timothy as servants of God, he also shows that despite of seniority and popularity in ministry, he and Timothy were equals before the Master as servants.

Sometimes talent and popularity make us think the we can do great things in life without the help of people. But Paul reminds us that others are partners in the mission of life. To fulfill our purpose of life we need to look for partners and utilize their strengths for the furtherance of God’s kingdom.

Let us learn to respect the partners God has given to us in the Church, neighborhood and workplace. Let us love each other, grow in fellowship and utilize their unique gifts so that ultimately God’s name would be glorified and our purposes in lives would be fulfilled.

Day 51

by Rev Joel Yong

Joshua 11:1-5
When Jabin, king of Hazor, heard of this, he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph, and to the kings who were in the northern hill country, and in the Arabah south of Chinneroth, and in the lowland, and in Naphoth-dor on the west, to the Canaanites in the east and the west, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, and the Jebusites in the hill country, and the Hivites under Hermon in the land of Mizpah. And they came out with all their troops, a great horde, in number like the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. And all these kings joined their forces and came and encamped together at the waters of Merom to fight with Israel.

Joshua now faced an army as numerous as the sand on the seashore. Epic proportions.

But here is what God said to him:

Joshua 11:6
And the Lord said to Joshua, Do not be afraid of them, for tomorrow at this time I will give over all of them, slain, to Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.

Size does not matter.
God matters.
He is the Tipping Point in any comparison between two entities/groups.

Always ask yourself in a decision – “Which side is God on?”

Joshua 11:15
Just as the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.

The Lord was on the side of the one who followed His ways.

Day 50

by Rev Joel Yong

Joshua 9:3-6
But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.

The Gibeonites knew of the power & ability of God in leading His people to many victories.
To escape being destroyed- they pretended to be travelers and tricked the Israelites into an agreement of peace.

When found out- they pleaded with Joshua, saying it was out of the fear of God that made them resort to such desperate measures.

Matthew Henry writes of this: “The Gibeonites do not justify their lie, but plead that they did it to save their lives. And the fear was not merely of the power of man; one might flee from that to the Divine protection; but of the power of God himself, which they saw engaged against them.”

God’s might is such that even enemies of Him and His people cannot help but acknowledge that they cannot resist such an awesome God.

Is there an obstacle or person in your life that is giving you trouble? They may not know it yet but there will be a day when they too have to yield to the power of God who has called you as His own.

So fear not. Yield to His power over your life today- even your enemies will yield to Him someday.

Jesus is the answer

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Hebrews 2:1-18; Psalms 103:1-22

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Hebrews 2:18 “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

REFLECT
Jesus not only set the example for holiness, he became the answer when we are tempted to do things that are unholy. Only through Christ can we respond in holiness to temptations that come our way. This is because as Hebrews 2:10 also says “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” The founder of our salvation is Jesus and so the answer to the working out of our salvation is also Jesus.

RELATE
What does it mean that Jesus is the answer? It is not about having a special kind of anointing nor does it take a special kind of knowledge above the Bible. It is about knowing how Jesus faced and responded to temptations; and so we do likewise. We are able to do likewise not because of ourselves; but because when we proclaimed Jesus as Lord, the Holy Spirit “resided” in us as His “temple”. Since the Holy Spirit and Jesus are One; Jesus is able to help those who are tempted if we look to Him.

So how did Jesus face temptations? The Word of God is always an excellent place to start and in particular Matthew 4. In Matthew 4, notice that Jesus responded to each of Satan’s temptations with “it is written”. The amazing thing is that whenever Jesus did that, Satan effectively retreated. However, we must understand that the power of God’s Word is only as strong as our understanding, conviction and application of it in our lives though the work of the Holy Spirit. Treating the Word of God as a “ritual” or “formula” is not the answer. It is only by truly “feasting” and “applying” God’s Word in the varying circumstance of life; can we truly fix our eyes on Jesus and grow in holiness. Yes, Jesus is the answer.

REST
Lord Jesus, You are the answer to all that we are facing in this world. Help us Lord, to feast on Your Word and apply them to our daily lives. This is so we can grow in You and You alone. Amen.

 

Day 49

by Rev Joel Yong

Joshua 6:10
But Joshua commanded the people, You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.

I wonder if he remembered the other 10 spies at this point.
And how they spoke hopelessness in their reports to the rest of Israel and though Caleb and Joshua himself spoke of good things – it did not convince the people.

Because while asking the people to circle Jericho – he told them to keep quiet.
This – keeping quiet- is not part of the listed instructions from God!

Joshua 6:2-5
And the Lord said to Joshua, See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.

Why did Joshua add it in then?
I think he knows about the power of negative words and thought.
So he instructs them to keep quiet- lest a foolish Israelite says “Why do we keep marching around Jericho for and wasting our time?”

Negative words to your spouse can kill their hearts.
Negative words to your colleagues can kill team spirit too.

Instead speak words of faith and hope- it spurs broken hearts and restores hope!

Joshua 6:16
And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, Shout, for the Lord has given you the city.

For Joshua and his people … it tore down city walls and gave them a city!

Day 48

by Rev Joel Yong

Joshua 4:1-7
When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight. Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, What do those stones mean to you? then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.

Each stone represented a tribe. The memorial stones were set up so the generations after might remember what God did for their ancestors and follow Him in their present day situation.

That is the reason why we build memorials.
We have significant people and events to remember.
The monument will stick out and look out of the ordinary so that we do not mistake it for an everyday construction.

Birthday and anniversary celebrations are monumental events in life.
They are marked by parties and cake.

What monuments have you built in your life?
What and who gets the attention summoned by such monuments?

Day 47

by Rev Joel Yong

Joshua 2:8-14
Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death. And the men said to her, Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.

We often look at Rahab’s story with interest.
She lies about having seen the spies and is rewarded for it.
The error we often make is going away from Rahab’s story thinking ‘little white lies are fine so long as you are trying to help someone.’

But that is not the point of this story.
Rahab – showed faith in the God of Israel when she believed that Joshua’s men would definitely conquer the land according to the stories she has already heard about how God blesses Israel.

Here is what lying does- it breaks relationships and by lying – Rahab broke her relationship with her king. She was no longer allegiant to him.

But now she professed a new loyalty- she was loyal to Israel and the Lord!
She showed this by protecting Joshua’s men.

No wonder she was blessed later on- when her city was taken over by the Israelites.
It is the same with the story of the Hebrew midwives who lied and refused to kill Hebrew baby boys as ordered by the Egyptian Pharaoh. God rewarded them because they broke allegiance to Pharaoh and showed allegiance to God by honoring His ways.

Exodus 1:18-22
So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, Why have you done this, and let the male children live? The midwives said to Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them. So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.

So the story of Rahab is not just about white lies but about the true ruler of our hearts and lives.
Who rules your life?