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.

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.

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.

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.

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.