God’s love and mercy

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Ezekiel 45:13-46:24; Proverbs 28:11

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Ezekiel 45:17 “It shall be the prince’s duty to furnish the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel: he shall provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement on behalf of the house of Israel.”

Who is this “prince”? He couldn’t be the Messiah since Jesus would never be asked to furnish the various types of offering in God’s temple. Furthermore, such a temple as described in Ezekiel 40-48 was never found in other biblical references. No less, if we take this figuratively, it could mean that the prince was a “type” of Christ that represented God’s unfailing mercy and love for His people. God’s mercy and love for His people is perfectly fulfilled as Jesus the Christ atoned for all sins through the offering of Himself as the perfect sacrifice. Even as Israel sinned grievously against God; God was relentless in providing them the message of hope through the prophet Ezekiel.

We can never fully comprehend God’s love and mercy for us because we know precisely what we are capable of. Some of us might still be struggling with the one sin that seems so difficult to overcome and wonder if God will eventually forsake us to our dark deed. When we think in this manner, we are not really helping ourselves to know God better; or to get closer to He who is Love. For our holiness does not depend on what we have done or are trying to do; but on what Christ did and how we are subjecting ourselves to His Lordship. Only Christ can save and the only way for us to lead holy lives is to consistently surrender and bow down in faith to He who is able. As Hebrews 4:15-16 says: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

God of mercy and love, help us to understand what it means to draw near to the throne of grace, even as we feel that we might not be able to overcome. Amen.

Day 91

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Kings 8:15-20
And he said, Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David my father, saying, Since the day that I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there. But I chose David to be over my people Israel. Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. But the Lord said to David my father, Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, you shall not build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name. Now the Lord has fulfilled his promise that he made. For I have risen in the place of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and I have built the house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.

It is important to remember that Solomon did not do this on his strength.
It is God who built His house through Solomon.

There is a difference.
Solomon is not God’s benefactor. He is God’s vessel.

It is the same with us.
Our abilities, time and finances- which we use for God’s service- is rendered from our position as vessels not as benefactors of the Lord.