Genesis Day Eleven

by Rev Joel Yong

Genesis 15:12-16
As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

To Abram, God prophesies the arrival of Jacob’s household in Egypt and their subsequent enslavement there centuries later.

God even speaks of the Exodus when Moses leads the people out of Egyptian slavery and into freedom and the generation led by Joshua into the promised land … the generation that defeats the Amorites.

Check out the verse below –

Joshua 10:12-14
At that time Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel.

Friends, you and I see things only as they are in a fragment of time.
God however, sees things in completeness- He alone knows what the end of a person shall be, where the end of a journey will lead to, and when the end of a nation shall come.

Today, we might question how our tiny obedience to Him in a single matter, can make any difference.

We might question if He is ultimately fair – when we suffer injustice like Joseph did.
Or we might ask if there is hope for our nation (whatever nation we might come from) still, as if seems its going in circles in a land of wilderness.

But in times like these … trust God.
What we cannot understand, He understands.
What we cannot see, He has already seen.
What is yet to bear fruit, He has seen the day that the harvest has come.

In God … may we all place our hope, faith and all of our trust.

Genesis Day Ten

by Rev Joel Yong

Genesis 13:8-13
Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD.

What do you look for, when you look for a place to settle?
Lot looked at the land but not It’s people.
Superficially, it seemed to have much resources, but all it could yield, was worthless, when its inhabitants were evil.

Abram on the other hand, let Lot choose first, and took whatever that was left.
His security, rested not in terms of grabbing the land that yielded more resources first.
His security rested in God being there with him. He knew if God went with him, whatever the land was, did not matter.
What matters most, is God’s presence- even if it’s a land bereft of resources, God can still do something with it.

Isaiah 43:19
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

What about you?
What do you find security in?

God dwelt with man

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11; Psalm 97:1-98:9

READ (verses chosen for meditation)
2 Chronicles 6:18 “But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built!”

REFLECT
Solomon finished building the temple and in the presence of God and the people of Israel, he prayed a prayer. In his prayer, he uttered the prophetic question of whether God will indeed dwell with man on earth. Never did he know, nor would he had imagined, that approximately 900 years later, his question was answered. His question was answered quite literally, that God came to dwell with man on earth in the flesh. Immanuel. God with us. Jesus came as fully man, even as He is fully God, to dwell with man. Jesus came to dwell with man, so that He can obey the Father’s will to atone for our sins at Calvary.

Why would God do such a thing? Why would a holy God choose to dwell with sinful creatures who rebelled and betrayed His trust? Why would a Creator of the universe and beyond choose to dwell with human beings whom He had created? I believe it is because of God’s desire to reconcile His people back to Him. I believe it is because of God’s faithfulness to the covenant that He had made with David especially of 2 Samuel 7:16 “Your house and kingdom will endure before Me forever, and your throne will be established forever.” God was not saying that David’s line will be kings forever. God was saying that David’s line will involve the birth of the Christ child and through Christ, God’s kingdom shall be established forever. Indeed, nothing on earth can contain God. However, if God so choose; He can dwell with man in the flesh for the sake of rescuing us from ourselves. Such is the magnitude of God’s grace and love for man.

RELATE
As one who regarded myself as a follower of Christ, how am I responding to such a magnitude of love and grace from my Creator? Do I worship, pray and give reverence to God like Solomon? Does my life reflect that I am truly in awe and gratitude of such a great God? I have much to learn from Solomon at this point of his life. I do not think that I am always in awe of who God is in my life. If it be so, then I wouldn’t have prioritized my own comfort to His will. I wouldn’t have surrendered to impatience instead of being still to seek His face. I am thankful that God has chosen to come and dwell in the flesh. If not for such a miracle; I would have continued in my old ways and not the privilege of living in the new.

REST
Lord God, help me to learn from the sense of awe that Solomon have for you at this point of his life. This is so that my life in Christ can be more pleasing in Your sight. Amen.

Genesis Day Nine

by Rev Joel Yong

Genesis 12:12-20
and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.” When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels. But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.” And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.

Even great men falter in their faith.
Even heroes lose their courage.

This is the same man, to whom God promised –

Genesis 12:3
I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

But the great thing is, even when we slip, God doesn’t.
When our courage fails, His doesn’t.
When our faithfulness is lacking, He still is faithful.

God said He would defend Abram.
It was not dependent on Abram’s steadfast walk but on what God had said.

God does not go back on His Word.

Note that the great men of faith- commended for their faith- often show an almost immediate lack of belief, moments after they are called.

Abram did.
So did Moses.

When God appeared to Moses from the burning bush, Moses doubted that God was sending the right person, and voiced his excuses not once but multiple times!

Exodus 3:10-11
Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

Yet, God still wanted to use him.
Why?

Because God’s power and faithfulness is not dependent on His followers’ strength or faithfulness.

Has God called you to a task or a certain journey / destiny?
Are you looking at what you’ve got, who you are, and who you know- to determine if God can use you for the task He has called you to?
You forget.

It’s not about you at all.
It’s all about Him.

Genesis Day Eight

by Rev Joel Yong

Genesis 10:8-10
Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD. Therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.” The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

In ancient times, hunting was the method of, not only providing food, but also the limitation of the spread of wild beasts into mankind’s territory.

Some of these were predators and it required courage and skill to be a good hunter.
It’s likely that is how Nimrod impressed his fellow men and subsequently led and dominated them, forming them into armies and then establishing his kingship.

He established what would become the great pagan nation of Babylon.
It says here he had 4 kingdoms and yet that did not satisfy him. He sought 4 more.

Read the following verses.

Genesis 10:11-12
From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.

Nimrod’s name meant “rebellion” and was Akkadian in origin. The kingdoms he established, would thereafter pursue rebellious ways, against what God decreed.

Nimrod is a picture of skill, leadership, ambition and determination.
Impressive to job interviewers in today’s world.

But without God, the legacy left behind may seem to thrive but ultimately is doomed for destruction.

What legacies are you leaving behind?

Heart of the Father

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 28:1-29:30; Psalm 95:1-96:13

READ (verses chosen for meditation)
1 Chronicles 28:9-10 “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.

REFLECT
In the presence of “all the officials of Israel, the officials of the tribes, the officers of the divisions that served the king, the commanders of thousands, the commanders of hundreds, the stewards of all the property and livestock of the king and his sons, together with the palace officials, the mighty men and all the seasoned warriors” (1 Chronicles 28:1-2); King David charged Solomon his son to serve God with his whole heart and a willing mind. By proclaiming such a charge in public, David was telling his people that even as his son, Solomon would be of no exception to know and obey God. Such a charge came from the heart of a father who wanted to honour God above everything else. Such a charge came from a parental heart that would take the effort to nurture his children to know God and serve Him.

RELATE
Unfortunately, such a charge isn’t often proclaimed anymore. Not in the public, not in church, not even at home. These days, many fathers are “outsourcing” such a charge. So the school should be helping their children to behave. So the church should disciple their children to grow in Jesus Christ. If the faith of their children are wrecked; it must be the fault of the Sunday school. It must be the fault of the youth ministry. It must be the fault of the church!

I wonder what King David would think of such a theology. Such a theology of discipleship was never in the mind of King David. Nor was it in the minds of many godly parental characters in the Bible. Yes, it is true that there are quite a few parents in the Bible who missed the mark of nurturing their children well in the faith; but none had ever thought to outsource! When have we started to push the blame when it is us who failed? When have we started to get upset when we have not honoured God in helping our children to grow in the faith? Is it because we ourselves have not been growing in our relationship with God? And so we felt so inadequate and even ashamed?

Fathers. I believe in the grace and power of God to help us change. I believe in the will of God that He wants us to take our rightful authority once again. It is time to take hold of our destiny as parents. It is time to wake up from our stupor. It is time to take hold and declare: “And you, my son (daughter), know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.” Fathers, disciple our children. It is never too late to start.

REST
If you are a father reading this and like to pray for your children, you can pray this with me:

“My Father in heaven, holy is Your Name. I am sorry that I have not been fulfilling my role as a parent to ____________ (your child/children’s name(s)); help me Lord, help me to disciple my children according to your commandments. Give me the power and wisdom to do so as You did for King David and the many godly fathers in the Bible. Help me to grow in my own journey with You. This is so that my children can see that I am serious in the faith; and they should be too. May _____________ (your child/children’s name(s)) come to You in humility and declare Your Lordship over their lives. In Jesus’ mighty Name. Amen”

Genesis Day Seven

by Rev Joel Yong

Genesis 9:20-25
Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”

Noah got himself drunk.
And in his drunken state, was found naked.

Perhaps he had gotten home, and stripped himself naked, laid down thinking the door was secure, when in reality it was not.

Perhaps his drinking mates, if any, pulled a prank on him and stripped him to ridicule him.

We do not know.
But here is what is true.

Being drunk, leaves us vulnerable.
Our judgment is off.
Our interpretation of where we stand is off.
We are open to being taken advantage of, by those around us.

The drunk, are left … naked.

We do not need to be hooked on alcohol to become drunk.

We can become hooked on a person that causes our judgment to become askew.
We can become obsessed with a situation and how we yearn for a certain outcome, that we become vulnerable to malicious persons watching on the side.
We can become so blinded in seeking something we desire, that we make flawed decisions that leave us threadbare.

Perhaps you think, “Maybe someone else, but definitely not me, am not gonna be caught with my pants down, no Sir, not me.”

Look again at what is said of Noah in Genesis 6.9

Genesis 6:9
These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.

Righteous.
Blameless in his generation.

Everyone slips, now and then.
Its human frailty.

But when we do, shame comes upon us all.
We all need God.
We are all prone to sin and foolishness.

Every single one of us.
Me included.
And yes, you too.

Climb to Crater

Recently I went with my family for a vacation at Jeju Island.

One of Jeju’s most popular tourist destinations is the Sangumburi Crater. 

It is a UNESCO heritage site. A Natural Monument formed during Jeju’s volcanic past. Touted as a must see for any Jeju visitor.

The extinct volcanic crater is about 650 meters wide, 100 meters deep, and 2,070 meters in circumference.It boasts of a unique shape that looks like a man-made circular stadium.

After paying a hefty entrance fee of 30,000 Korean Won for the 5 of us, we were all excited to hike up to the top for a breathtaking view of that big crater.

The walk up covers a distance of 1.2 km with lots of slopes and hundreds of steps. It was supposed to be just a 30 minutes walk. But my wife and I took twice the time with stops and rests. I told my 65-year-old knees that it would be worth the effort. I said to my wife that it is like a walk along Lorong Chuan (Hokkien for “short of breath”).

We finally reached the peak where there was already a large group of visitors, among whom were my 3 agile kids who raced ahead of us.

Climb to CraterI was at the top looking down expecting to see an impressive view of the crater. But the crater was not obvious to me. So I asked my kids. They pointed to a valley covered with vegetation. It doesn’t look like a crater at all. It appears more like a depression in the ground covered with plants and trees.

After staring at it for a while and taking some shots of the green valley, I began to wonder why I came. I could only console myself that the workout is good, the weather is cool and the scenery is beautiful that some Korean dramas may have filmed there.

Still I would have to admit the climb to the crater was a huge disappointment. It was a let down after spending money, time and effort.

I wonder if this is also the experience of many. After spending much effort, energy and exhaustive days and nights to climb the social and corporate ladder and finally reached the top only to stare at the crater of disappointment. The empty feeling of “Been there. Done that. So what?”

The Samaritan woman whom Jesus met at the well must have felt that way. She went through broken marriages. Married 5 times. Disappointed so many times that she wonders what is love and what really satisfies. And Jesus said to her, “I am the Living Water.” Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst …” (NKVJ John 4:14)

A friend of mine who did climb to the crater of disappointment came to Jesus and found that true.

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed” (NASB Romans 10:11).

 

Genesis Day Five

by Rev Joel Yong

Genesis 7:17-24
The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.

The waters surpassed the highest peaks on land. Even if you could swim, float, tread water- eventually you would drown.

All who thought they did not need God, realized they were in reality, powerless on their own strength.

Sometimes when things are going well, we think we did it on our own.
Sometimes we start to wonder if God is a human construct.

Then one day, and the Bible records that it WILL come … the End comes.
Mankind’s proudest achievements and inventions will be wiped away as God rains judgment after judgment upon a world, which we read … has then forsaken Him and run after the AntiChrist.

It goes something like this:

Revelation of John 16:8-11
The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.

You see a pattern there?
They refuse to turn back to God’s ways, stubbornly hanging onto their own sinful ways- despite the disasters and judgment they were experiencing.

I remember when I first read these verses, I wondered: “This is incredible. Who wouldn’t admit defeat or repent when faced with such evidence of God’s judgment and power?”

Read these to get a picture of how the people reacted while Noah built the Ark and gathered the animals:

Luke 17:27
They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

Hebrews 11:7
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

1 Peter 3:20
because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.

No one cared. Except Noah.
No one believed. Except Noah.
A strange vehicle was built and either no one asked or no one believed the reason they were told it was being built for.
Animals were gathered and no one asked or rather no one believed the reason they were being gathered for.

Noah must have seemed like a fool or a believer of myths to them.

Sound familiar?

Is it happening today, that we believe much more in the power of man-made inventions/achievements/potential than in the existence of the Almighty God?

Surely not … or is it?

Genesis Day Four

by Rev Joel Yong

Genesis 6:22
Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

Reading the verses leading up to v22, I thought “Wow, that is a lot of detail and specifics.”

But yet it is written that Noah obeyed God- to the hilt.
All that was instructed, Noah followed.

Having worked for 17 years in my present job, and a combined total of around 23 years taking into account other jobs I have been at- I have worked alongside some sterling colleagues and staff. And at times, also seen some who try to take the fastest shortcut to accomplishing a project, instead of following instructions or set parameters, and often making a mess of it in the end.

In the same way, we may be found to be selective in our obedience of God, ourselves.
Some of us obey God, and serve in ministry but do not obey Him in our giving financially.
Some of us obey Him in all the above, but not in terms of sexual boundaries.

Often we choose to obey when it is convenient for us to do so.
And ignore God’s instructions, in ways whereby its costly for us to obey Him.

Do a spiritual health check today and be honest about where you are deliberately ignoring God’s instructions regarding your life.
Have a chat with a spiritually mature brother/sister in Christ on feasible steps you can take, to begin obeying God in these areas of life, and pray together with them.

Remember, Noah’s life is a sterling example.
You do not have to live life, like everyone else.
You just have to live, the way God intends for you … in so doing, you find life in abundance as Jesus promised.

Genesis Day Three

by Rev Joel Yong

Genesis 4:3-7
In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Abel brought the best of his flock to God.
Cain? He just brought some random selection.

Check out the various translations of these verses. They will communicate that Abel brought “the best”, “the firstborn”, “the choice pickings” of his flock. Very specific and deliberate.
But they will also show that Cain brought “some”, “an offering”. Communicating the thoughtlessness of his presentation.

In response, we learn that God showed favor or regard upon Abel’s offering and did not do so on Cain’s offering.

Cain became angry- angry at his brother for outshining him. Instead of being angry at himself for not doing what was right- he blamed his brother for casting him in a bad light.

You see, when someone does better than us- our natural instinct is to want to do better the next time.

That natural competitiveness is meant to spur us to excel and to achieve.
But that natural desire to compete, can be twisted and warped. Satan takes what is natural to us and warps it into sin.
(For example, the desire for sex is natural and part of human reproduction. But Satan takes it, warps it to be acted out upon the wrong person in the wrong timing & situation and it becomes LUST.)

In this case, it becomes ENVY. Envy is the sin of comparing with our neighbor and wanting what they have. Instead of seeking to work in our own yards to achieve more and excel- we want what they have and desire to take what they have.

To Cain- he thought the best way to deal with this, was to remove Abel from the picture.
No more Abel, no more competitor, no one to make him look bad.

No wonder God said to Cain prior to Abel being murdered-
“Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. ”

God wanted Cain to:

  1. Do what was right, and pleasing to God. Not treat God in a flippant manner, thinking any random offering would do.
  2. Take responsibility for his own growth and improvement, and come with a better attitude the next time.
  3. Be aware of how Cain’s present disgruntlement can turn quickly into sin. Yes, God knew Satan was eager to twist natural desires into warped expressions of sin.

Some commentators believe “sin is crouching at the door” refer to the “rabisu” – an Akkadian demon of sorts. Speiser, for example, in his commentary on Genesis wrote: “These beings were depicted both as benevolent and malevolent, often lurking at the entrance of a building to protect or threaten the occupants.”

So this, if we reread the verse in this light, suggests that Cain allowed demonic influence to ‘master’ him. And lead him ultimately to murder his brother, Abel.

I would think that Satan does, work in the minds of those who allow him to.

So my takeaway from this text today is:

  1. What am I unhappy about in my life and why?
  2. How can I take responsibility for my part, in why this is happening? (Eg. If my relationship with a family member is not going well, to what extent can I play my part to make it better?)
  3. Be aware of how easily Satan can warp these feelings and turn it into SIN (after all, we are told in the Bible that ‘In your anger do not sin’- it’s OK and natural to be angry but staying angry is what causes us to go into sin) and take steps to address it before Satan gets a foothold in my mind, my heart, my life …

Submit to what the LORD says

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 16:37-18:17; Proverbs 26:3-5

READ (verses chosen for meditation)
1 Chronicles 17:25-27
25 For you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. Therefore your servant has found courage to pray before you. 26 And now, O LORD, you are God, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. 27 Now you have been pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever before you, for it is you, O LORD, who have blessed, and it is blessed forever.”

REFLECT
Out of reverence for God, David proposed to Nathan the prophet to build a house for God. However, God “reversed” the situation and had Nathan reveal to David that He the Lord Almighty will establish the king’s house instead. Upon hearing God’s desire, David was full of gratitude as he received the Lord’s blessings. Instead of insisting on his own way, David was quick to submit to the Lord’s desire. This is so even if David had thought that his desire to build God a house was a good thing.

RELATE
Have I ever thought of doing a good thing for the glory of God; only to have it stopped or undone by the Lord’s command? Many years ago, I thought that my way of serving and honouring God is to do my excellence in the marketplace and continue to minister as a zone leader in my home church. However, in the year 2006, I received God’s call to resign from my marketplace vocation and be prepared for full time church work. At that time, I definitely wasn’t like King David who submitted quickly to God’s desire. I took some time to struggle with God for what I considered to be a “big move”. Looking back, God had been and still is so good to me and my family. His desire is the best and I am so blessed to be able to do His will. How about you? Have you been struggling with God for a desire He had expressed to you? If so, may you continue to take courage and pray and perhaps one day, like David, you would submit to His will.

REST
Lord our God, help us to be clear with and submit to Your desires. This is the best for us, even if it doesn’t seem to be so at this moment in time. Amen.

Genesis Day Two

by Rev Joel Yong

Genesis 3:8-9
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

If we look through the Bible- God asks this a few times:
“Where are you?”
“What are you doing here?”

He asks it to Hagar.

Genesis 16:7-8
The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.”

He asks it to Elijah.

1 Kings 19:13
And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

God asks it, not for His benefit.
He knows all things, present, past, future.

But He asks it for OUR benefit.
So that we might reflect and evaluate how we got here.

Adam got there by disobeying God.
Hagar got there, thinking no one cared for her.
Elijah got there, discouraged and thinking he was the only one left.

God wanted them to realize where they were.
A state of LOST-NESS.

It’s important we know exactly where we are on a map, if we want to plot our route to our destination.
But it’s dangerous if we are not where we think we are, and proceed to plot a route anyway. It makes us even more lost!!!

So God responds by putting restrictions on Adam- they are kept away from Eden and most importantly the Tree of Life.

While access was allowed earlier, it is now restricted.
Sin had entered their lives. If they ate the fruit now, they would live forever IN SIN.
So that is a definite NO-NO.

To Hagar, God responds by giving her hope and promise, showing He cared when no one did.

To Elijah, God showed him hope and that there were other surviving prophets hidden away and strengthened Elijah!

My friend, WHERE ARE YOU now and WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?

Genesis Day One

by Rev Joel Yong

Genesis 1:29-31
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

In the beginning, the animals ate the plants.
So did mankind.

But things changed after the Flood.

Genesis 9:3-5
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

It seems that it was only after the Flood that the consumption of meat was allowed, for humans (it’s unclear when the animals began eating one another).

This meant that Noah did not have a desire to consume some of the livestock for food or have to rely on the eggs the hens laid. He was on a vegan diet!

When I read this (being the meat lover that I am), I wonder if Noah complained about eating his vegetables!
“Goodness, I need more OOOMPHH in this diet!”

And I wonder if God had the Ark situation, in mind, when He considered the diet of mankind in the beginning.

In the same way, when I struggle in my parenting journey – I wonder if God had foreseen beforehand, the kind of father I would be- and despite the lack of prior proper examples in fathering, that I would be the father these kids ought to have.

You know what, I think He does.
The LORD knows ALL things after all.

And in His great wisdom, surely He knows what we need at each of our todays, in order to prepare us, because He also knows what lies ahead in our tomorrows.

When we grumble about today, perhaps in His great wisdom and love, there is a reason for it …
God is preparing us for what lies ahead in our tomorrows.