Day 240

by Rev Joel Yong

Zephaniah 1:2-3
“I will gather everything on the face of the earth and put an end to it,” declares the LORD. “I will put an end to humans and animals. I will put an end to the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and the sins that make people fall, together with the sinners. I will remove all people from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD.

It’s true.
He will do it

One day all life as we know it, will come to an end. Because evil cannot exist in the presence of God.

He has been waiting and one day, His judgment will be meted out..
No one who has ever entertained a sinful thought, or committed a sinful deed – will survive on that day.

The Bible teaches that many will be unrepentant to their grave.
But this is God’s desire – God desires for all to repent and for none to perish!
He loves us!

So each day we have before that day of judgment comes – is grace.
Grace to reflect.
Grace to confess.
Grace to turn.
Grace to come to receive the pardon we do not deserve but which is freely given, because the Son of God, Jesus, took our place – death which sinners rightly deserve- by dying upon the Cross.

This is why Christians celebrate Christmas, Good Friday and Easter – because we remember Jesus and what He came to do and still does!

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The longer route

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Exodus 13:17-15:18; Psalms 27:1-6

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Exodus 13:17 “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt”

REFLECT
After being released from slavery, the people of Israel were led out of Egypt to the Promised Land. Instead of going through a shorter route through the land of the Philistines, God led them through a much longer route through the wilderness towards the Red Sea. The route through the wilderness might be longer, but it is the better way. For God’s Word said that the Israelites were not yet well prepared to face war with the well-armed and war loving Philistines. Moreover, as the Israelites moved towards the Red Sea, they got to witness one more time the amazing wonder of God’s power (parting of the Red Sea and drowning of Pharaoh’s elite troops) which assured them of the promises of God.

RELATE
In a fast paced nation like Singapore, many Singaporeans might cringe at the suggestion of going through a much longer route to reach a particular destination. Yet, the Israelites were led through the longer route for the sake of their survival and growth. When God leads us through a longer or more difficult route in our lives, we might complain and even blame Him as if He does not know what He is doing. Yet, that longer route could be just what we need. That longer route could be for the purification of our souls that have taken too many shorter but damaging routes in our lives. That longer route could be the perfect way to prepare us for what is to come.

REST
Lord our God, may You help us to trust in You, even in times when You lead us through longer and seemingly more difficult routes. This is so that we can be better prepared and moulded to bring glory to Your Name. Amen.

Day 239

by Rev Joel Yong

Habakkuk 1:13
You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and are silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?

Habakkuk laments.
He ponders, and voices out his puzzlement. Since God is holy and no unholiness can come before Him or enter His sight, then how is it that evil on earth seems to escape judgment and pass unnoticed before God?

We would do well to remember the Scripture below:

2 Peter 3:8-10
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

One day, all judgment will be poured forth and we do get our dues.
Justice for the oppressed. Punishment for all sinners.
The few who do escape punishment, will only do so, because of Christ’s redemption.
Not because of anything they have done to deserve it.

So my friend, God sees the injustice and evil. And yes He does not tolerate such acts.
He will act.
Scripture is consistent about this.

Habakkuk 2:3
For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

Day 238

by Rev Joel Yong

Nahum 1:3
The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

Do not be deceived …
When the guilty seem to go unpunished, God is hoping they will repent …
When the unbelieving seem to insult His name and get away with evil, God is shoring up His judgment upon them …

He is SLOW to anger.
He doesn’t just snap, like us and unleash a torrent of rage, and we do so, in an unwise manner very often.

God considers all things and watches.
And at the right moment, He collects what is due … vengeance upon oppressors, judgment upon evil, discipline upon the wayward and justice is given unto the poor and oppressed.

Look to Him and trust in Him.
When He said through His prophets in Isaiah and Ezekiel, that He would punish the nations wreaking havoc upon Jerusalem, He did. History shows that the likes of Egypt, Edom, and many others, all got their just desserts eventually for the part they played in destroying Jerusalem.

He did it then, and He will do it again today …
Turn to Him, and seek His grace and forgiveness … He is slow to anger and abounds in mercy and grace.

Give Thanks!

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Exodus 10:1-12:13; Psalm 26:1-12

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Exodus 12:3-4
Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb.

REFLECT
In this passage, Moses gave instructions for Israel to prepare the Passover meal.  I am amazed at how just and practical the laws of God are.  In this instance, God did not demand a small family to offer a whole lamb.  Instead, they could combine with another small family, as long as everyone has enough to eat.  Yes, the lamb wasn’t just for sacrificial purposes, it’s for eating too!

RELATE
City dwellers like us cannot appreciate what it is like to slaughter a lamb of our own, and then eating it.  It could be liken to eating our pet dog during a time of famine.  Yes, the little male lamb would have been part of the household for about a year.  For a small family, it might be the only young lamb.  It might even have a pet name.  And so it was with much thankfulness and respect that the father killed the lamb, and the mother prepared it for the family to consume – and enjoy.  A life must be given, for another life to be sustained – be it plant or animal or fungi.  So, the next time we eat our chicken rice – remember the sacrifice, and give thanks!

REST
Lord, help me never to take anything for granted.

Day 237

by Rev Joel Yong

Micah 3:1-4
Then I said: Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the nation of Israel. You should know justice. You hate good and love evil. You strip the skin off my people and the flesh off their bones. You eat my people’s flesh. You strip off their skin. You break their bones to pieces. You chop them up like meat for a pot, like stew meat for a kettle. Then you will cry to the LORD, but he will not answer you. He will hide his face from you at that time because you have done evil things.

God is not some vending machine we run to when we have a need.

Vesper*, when he had cancer – was one who clung close to God and hung onto Him for dear life.
But when he got well – he claimed that HE had beat the cancer and gave no credit to God. Subsequently he continued smoking and his cancer came back a 2nd time. Today he lives as if God does not exist in his life. (*Vesper is not his real name but the situation is real and not unique)

God is meant to be followed faithfully in good times and bad times. That is what it means to be called the people of God – for these are people who walk daily in His ways.

We have each fallen and stumbled here and there as we follow God’s path for us but the important thing is to keep following Jesus still. Don’t come to Him only when we have a need to use Him as a lifeline but “discard” Him later.

God will not be taken granted for. He is holy and He calls us to follow Him.

Palm Sunday procession- Proclamation of Jesus’ kingship

See, your king comes to you… riding on a donkey.” Zechariah 9: 9

In ancient days after winning a war, the victorious king would often take a procession in the capital city of the defeated nation. This is to proclaim the defeat of the incumbent king and to establish and install the new king over the kingdom. Looking at the jubilant procession, people would know that this is their new king.

This custom is practiced when a prince succeeds his father as the next king. King David while making his son, Solomon, king over Israel, tells the priest, “have Solomon my son, mount my own mule, and take him down to Gihon… [and] anoint him king over Israel” (1 Kings 1: 33 & 34). A procession on the royal mule surrounded by the priest, prophet and other trusted aides of the king, was a sign to the people that it was king David who made his heir, Solomon, the new king.

We see the same phenomenon when Joseph was installed as the second-in-command of Egypt. “Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger… He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command” (Gen 41: 42 & 43). When Mordecai was honoured by the king, he was taken in a similar procession in the king’s horse around the city (Esther 6: 8).

A royal procession is a sign of authority and is done with the intent to establish authority.

Jesus seems to be doing the same thing on his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. He had been to Jerusalem before, but this time He had a decisive plan – a plan to fulfil the purpose for which He came to earth. He purposively travels to Jerusalem and asks His disciples to find a donkey (Matt 21: 2). He rides on the donkey surrounded by the disciples. Then the crowd which accepted His proclamation as King, joined Him in the chorus to sing – “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matt 21: 9).

But sadly, this proclamation elicited a mute response from those who were in power. They plotted to kill Him and rebelled against His kingship.

His disciples were not very far from misunderstanding Jesus’ kingship. They failed to understand the true nature of His kingship. They were expecting Jesus to overpower the Romans. But Jesus was on a kingly procession only to be crucified, so that He could save mankind from the clutches of sin.