Day 79

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Samuel 19:4-7
So Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul. “You should not commit a sin against your servant David,” he said. “He hasn’t sinned against you. Instead, he has done some very fine things for you: He risked his life and killed the Philistine Goliath, and the LORD gave all Israel a great victory. When you saw it, you rejoiced. Why then should you sin by shedding David’s innocent blood for no reason?” Saul listened to Jonathan, and he promised, “I solemnly swear, as the LORD lives, he will not be killed.” Jonathan told David all of this. Then Jonathan took David to Saul. So David was returned to his former status in Saul’s court.

As family members, we have access that others who are not flesh and blood related, will not have.

Too often I hear of people complaining about a son or a mother, an aunt or a grandfather and they ask for an “outsider” – a person of no biological relation to speak to the family member.

The strange thing is that they themselves haven’t given it a real try – to speak to their family member and brush it off as “Oh they wouldn’t listen to me.”

The more accurate description would be that they are afraid to damage ties as they would still have to meet the difficult relative on a regular basis long term. And thus it would be better for an “outsider” to handle the criticism, however constructive it might be.

I think God makes us one family for a reason. And if we can’t open up to our kinsmen and tell them the truth that can set them free and prevent them from sin – then we are no better than strangers to such relatives. Our relationship is only skin deep.

Proverbs reminds us that as “… iron sharpens iron, so 1 man’s life shall sharpen another.”

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Day 78

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Samuel 15:10-11
Then the LORD spoke to Samuel: “I regret that I made Saul king. He turned away from me and did not carry out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he prayed to the LORD all night.

Samuel was upset.
Angry and disappointed at the turn of events.

But what did he do?
He prayed to God all night before he confronted Saul the next day.

What a wonderful example for us to follow, the next time we get upset – before confronting our spouse, our boss, our neighbor – we can pray all night.

Might make some of us want to be angry less often!!

Day 77

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Samuel 12:6-9
Samuel told the people, “The LORD appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors out of Egypt. Now, stand up while I put you on trial in front of the LORD and cite all the righteous things the LORD did for you and your ancestors. When your ancestors went with Jacob to Egypt and were oppressed, they cried out to the LORD, who sent Moses and Aaron to bring them out of Egypt. The LORD settled them in this place. But they forgot the LORD their God. So he handed them over to Sisera, who was the commander of the army of Hazor, to the Philistines, and to the king of Moab. All of them fought against your ancestors.

Samuel reminded the people of their ancestors’ folly. God would rescue them when they cried out but each time they would lapse into complacency and forget Him.

That is human folly.
To take God for granted when things are going smooth and only run to Him in times of trouble.

It is a good spiritual habit, I find – to recall God’s deeds in our life on a regular basis.
This produces thankfulness and gratitude.
And keeps us from being complacent and ungrateful.

Try it today.

Day 76

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Samuel 7:1-2
The men of Kiriath Jearim came to take the LORD’s ark and brought it into Abinadab’s house on the hill. They gave Abinadab’s son Eleazar the holy occupation of guarding the LORD’s ark. A long time passed after the ark came to stay at Kiriath Jearim. For 20 years the entire nation of Israel mournfully sought the LORD.

Eleazar was given the task of guarding the Ark.
And it remained there until David came to power and sought to bring it to Jerusalem.

It wasn’t an ideal situation. The Ark belonged elsewhere and was in transit.
A long transit.
Eleazar didn’t have the important task of a chief priest or a temple Levite. He was just the watchman over the interim transit of the Ark.
And boy did he end up doing it for a long time.

I wonder if he felt it was rewarding.
I wonder if he pondered how long it would be until they moved the Ark and he could embark on another task.

Perhaps you are in a vocation that is like that.
You were picked for a task and they told you it was going to be a temporary task but it seems to be spanning longer than you had hoped.

I would urge you to be faithful to the task.
Who knows what would have happened if Eleazar abandoned his post and when David came for the Ark, he would be greeted with “Uh we kinda lost the Ark.”

Some tasks seem small and they seem unrewarding but they play a great role in the grand scheme of things.

To watch the Ark for 20 years- while the people of Israel learnt lessons in repentance. I think that is a worthy task.

For Israel to treat the Ark in contempt- it would have meant their destruction.
So the separation was necessary.
Eleazar was performing a crucial role for the sake of Israel’s reconciliation.

Day 75

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Samuel 5:1-4
After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. They brought it into the temple of Dagon and placed it beside Dagon. Early the next day the people of Ashdod saw that Dagon had fallen forward on the ground in front of the LORD’s ark. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the next morning they saw that Dagon had again fallen forward on the ground in front of the LORD’s ark. Dagon’s head and his two hands were cut off and were lying on the temple’s threshold. The rest of Dagon’s body was intact.

You cannot put the Ark of God in the same place as an idol and expect nothing to happen. No false gods can stand in His presence.

That is why the idol kept falling down.
Notice that the idol could not stand without even human help.

That is what idols are- manmade carvings and without the true essence of divinity.
The Bible teaches in the 10 Commandments that we are not to worship idols.

God doesn’t want us pursuing meaningless pursuits that are to our detriment.
He wants us to pursue purposeful things that do not just

Day 74

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Samuel 3:8-9
The LORD called Samuel a third time. Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am. You called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. “Go, lie down,” Eli told Samuel. “When he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD. I’m listening.'” So Samuel went and lay down in his room.

God had a message for His people and He chose to speak- not to Eli but to the boy Samuel.

It could have been treated like a slap in the face.
Eli could have become jealous.
Eli could have felt insecure.
He could have done nothing and not told the boy that the voice could have been God’s voice.

But instead of all the above, he chose to point the boy in the right direction and elevate him.
He showed the boy how to communicate with God and receive His message.

May we seek to elevate those around us … even at the risk of us decreasing and them increasing.
John the Baptist did it.
Eli did it.
Saul resisted it.
Herod fought against it.

Do the right thing- for in doing so and elevating others above ourselves- we do what is consistent in the Kingdom of God … we behave like stewards and not kings, acknowledging that there is a greater King we serve & whose plans matter more than our own human achievements.

Day 73

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Samuel 2:1-2
Hannah prayed out loud, “My heart finds joy in the LORD. My head is lifted to the LORD. My mouth mocks my enemies. I rejoice because you saved me. There is no one holy like the LORD. There is no one but you, O LORD. There is no Rock like our God.

What an amazing prayer.

She was taunted by her rival for being barren. No doubt it troubled her and vexed her soul.
God came to her rescue and gave her a son.
And this day she was giving him back unto God to serve God.

What did she do?
She prayed.

And she did so aloud- as if to hear the words and remind herself.
She declared that in God- not children- would she find joy.
She spoke aloud that her enemies’ words would not taunt her but she would mock them instead.

And she said that God had saved her – even though she was sending her son into a lifetime of service before God.
She did not base her sense of being blessed – on whether or not she had a child.

Wow.
She may not have her son by her side now but still her faith would remain unwavering. She is certain that all is well so long as its in His hands.