I recorded this for my friends who did not get to hear it yesterday

Introduction

“But know this, that in
  the last days perilous
  times will come” – Paul (2 Tim 3:1)

This is the reminder from Paul to Timothy, 2 Timothy is the last letter written by Paul . Paul knew that the time had come for him to die. He reminded Timothy to preach the gospel. The book of 2 timothy contains Paul’s final instruction to Timothy.

In Chapter 1 Paul reminded Timothy not to be ashamed of the gospel. In Chapter 2 Paul reminded Timothy to be a good soldier of Christ. Paul talks about the perilous time in the last days in Chapter 3. In Chapter 4 Paul reminded Timothy to serve God.

Today we will look at the Perilous times written in Chapter 3. We know of many signs of the last days, how there will be wars and diseases, we know how tough the tribulation is for the believers of God.

But Paul is not talking about diseases or difficult time, but he is talking about the nature of man in the last days. This refers both to believers of God as well as non believers. Let us look at that in details.

The Nature Of People In The Last Day

“For men will be lovers of themselves, 
  lovers of money, boasters, proud,
  blasphemers, disobedient to parents,
  unthankful, unholy,” – Paul ( 2 Tim 3:2)

From here we can see a change in the heart of men. This changes can be seen in Christians too. Perhaps one will wonder, “ Are these men not the followers of Christ? Are they not part of the body of Christ? Aren’t they taught to be Holy? Why did Paul make such a comment? “

The heart of men can change if they receive a different gospel, it is the work of the devil, they have followed the ways of the world and they had allowed their lifestyle to change. They started to focus on the world and not of God.

Let us consider “Why would Christians be lovers of themselves?”When one fell short of the standards of the gospel, they will naturally forget that they are living before the Lord and they were part of his body.  For if we know that we belong to God and are part of his body, we would not lose our identity and we will care for others. But men in the end times will only care for themselves. We can see this happening today, both within the church and outside the church.  For we have refused help to the needy and we only cared for ourselves

Let us consider “ Why would a Christian be lovers of money?” . Many had the love of money that is born out of greediness. Paul once told Timothy

“For the love of money is a root of
  all kinds of evil, for which some
  have strayed from the faith in
  their greediness, and pierced
  themselves through with many
  sorrows.” -  Paul ( 1 Tim 6:10)

Indeed one who loves money will find it hard to keep the commandments of God. For men who loves money will try to achieve it by all means,  even to the extend of stealing or going against the commandments of God. Today we see many who willingly trade their church service for overtime pay and they became so busy that they were unable to find time for God. For they think of money all the time. That will be the state of the heart of men before God comes again.

Now why would man be boasters& proud? Man will become proud and boastful when they believe  that their success is the result of their hard work and they will despise others. If we consider what the bible tells us, we will know that all that we had belong to God. Indeed we worked hard to gain thing, but without the help of God we will never find the opportunity to get them. If we do not acknowledge God as the source we will become boastful and proud.

The bible records of King Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, he was stripped off his power and glory when he boasted that he was the one who built the city of Babylon. The book of Daniel records of him living like an animal. God returned the kingdom to him when he learnt to humble himself before God.  We need to understand that even though we have skills, and ability our achievement came from God. If we remember that we would not be proud and boastful. 

 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers,
  without self-control, brutal, despisers 
  of good,” – Paul (2 Tim 3:3)

Let us consider “How can a Christian be unloving?”. Those who are unloving does not know how to use the love of God to love someone else. Before we found God we lived in darkness and are destined for destruction. It was when God show his love for us at that time when we understood the love of God. But if we had not learn to lived for God, we will continue to live for ourselves and are unable to show love for others

Humans of the last days are unforgiving, that is why we witness many conflicts where there are no peace . We also seen much slander going around. For man like to gather and gossip about others.

Men are without self control, he is unable to control himself before God. Paul once said that he pummel his body and beat it into submission. (1 Cor 9:27). Paul is a man who place emphasis on self control. He did it relying on God. We must emulate him and learn  rely on God in our lives

I do not think Paul literally pummel himself but he talks about his daily struggle to mould his character to be like Christ.

Broken Families

2 Tim 3:2 Specially mentioned “Disobedient to Parents” as one of the commonly seen phenomenon in the last day. This results to dysfunctional family. Therefore we ought to ask ourselves “Why are people disobedient to the parents?”

It is mainly because men began trusting in their ability and the parents did not pass their faith to the next generation. Today in many family quarrels we hear of children declaring  “You are not qualified to tell me what to do, I have my degree in  …..” Sadly even in church we see children who despise their parents due to their low education level.

At the same time we see parents not spending time with their children, when they do not want their children to leave them alone, they just give them some electronic gadgets to distract their attention. Therefore it is difficult to teach them to be obedient and to teach them the word of God.

In the Old Testament, Parents are told to teach the commandments to their children talk about them when they sit in the house, walk by the way , when they lie down or rise up (Deut 6: 7 ). Then they will not sway from the truth. If we want our children to be obedient, we need to teach them to abide by the law of God

Unholy Lives

2 Tim 3:2 talks about people being unholy. meaning they no longer dedicate themselves and be consecrated to God. They no longer attends the church to listen to the word of God. But rather allow themselves to be influenced by the things of the world.

When you remind him to come to church he will tell you that it is sufficient enough just to believe in God. They will echo the words that one only need to believe in Christ and all else does not matter.

Sometimes we come across children telling us that their parents would rather watch TV or to go to beach for a walk instead of coming to church. This is the character of the men in the last days, they will not care for the church and they often fall short of the standards of faith

Being Gullible In Faith

“For of this sort are those who creep
  into households and make captives
  of gullible women loaded down with
  sins, led away by various lusts,
  
always learning and never able to
  come to the knowledge of the truth” – Paul (2 Tim 3:6-7)

Here Paul was talking about families falling into sin. there will be many who will creep into household and church to preach things that may or may not be truth. Leading people astray. As the result, many will stumble in faith.

Sometimes they keep learning but yet will never be able to arrive at the knowledge of the truth.

A Christians Response To The Challenges Of The End Time

Paul instructed Timothy how to deal with these issue. It is clearly written from Verse 10 onwards

In 2 Tim 3:10-11 : Paul told Timothy to follow carefully to the doctrines of the apostles and all that Paul had taught him. The manner of life as well as the persecutions and afflictions he endured. Paul wanted Timothy to follow them all. There are many who regards the doctrines as unimportant. But over here Paul included them in his advice. For these are the elementary foundations of our faith and our assurance to receive the salvation of God

But you must continue in the things
  which you have learned and been assured
  of, knowing from whom you have learned
  them,” – Pau (2 Tim 3:14)

This is something we need to keep till the second coming of Christ. Timothy was indeed learned them since his youth. These could make one wise for salvation through faith that is in Jesus.

Paul reminded Timothy of the use of Scriptures

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
  and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
  correction, for instruction in righteousness,
  
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly
   equipped for every good work.” – Paul (2 Tim 3:16-17

When Paul wrote this verse, the New Testament had yet to be compiled. But today we have both the Old and the New  Testament, where it both testify of God and his salvation plan.

God had moved many to protect the scriptures so that we can read of it. So that the man of God can be complete and be equipped for every good work.

In Conclusion

Paul had talk much about the perilous times in the last days. He is not referring to the wars, famine and diseases that was already prophesied by Jesus. He was talking about the change in the heart of man. This change is occurring both within and outside the church.

That is why Paul reminded Timothy to hold on to the faith that was taught to him and to emulate the example o f Paul. To be assured of the things that was taught and to equip himself for the good work by learning the scriptures daily.

Let us do this as part of our lives and keep our faith within God.

Introduction

In our previous post, we read about the 3rd will of King David. That is to show kindness to the sons of Barzillai. We had explored the character Barzillai and the help he gave to King David during the rebellion of Absalom.

We have learnt the importance of giving help that is timely and necessary.

Now let us continue learning from the grace that Barzillai showed to David

Pt 2: Barzillai Choose To Stand By David When He Is The Weakest

2 Sam 15 describes the dangerous position David was in

“While Absalom was offering sacrifices,
  he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite,
  David’s counselor, to come from Giloh,
  his hometown. And so the conspiracy
  gained strength, and Absalom’s following
  kept on increasing.

  A messenger came and told David,
  “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.”
 
Then David said to all his officials who
  were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We
  must flee, or none of us will escape from
  Absalom. We must leave immediately,
  or he will move quickly to overtake us and
  bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.” (2 Sam 15:12-14)

King David was in a very difficult and dangerous situation, for the powers of Absalom had grown tremendously, he had attained fame and there were many who would follow him. Even Ahithophel, the counsellor of David had chosen to follow Absalom.

His power grew to the extent that David knew he is unable to resist him, so he fled from Jerusalem. If David did not do so, he would have been killed. That is the time where it will be dangerous to support David. For it will incur the wrath of Absalom and make you his enemy.

But Barzillai chose to support David openly, he is willing to go through the hardship together with him. He is well aware of the danger he put himself in, he is well aware of the fact that David had lost his power as King. He knew that David was too weak to resist Absalom.

If we are in Barzillais shoes, who will we choose to support? If we consider the facts, we would not dare to support King David, the odds are not to his favor and his enemy was too strong for him to resist. But yet Barzillai chose to show his loyalty by standing at David’s side. His action left a deep impression in David and he would not forget it.

True Friends Remains In Times Of Trouble  

It is easy for one to have a lot of acquaintances in times of peace. But the question remains that how many of these friends will stand by us in times of trouble. The Chinese had a saying which reads

“有酒有肉多兄弟。
  急难何曾见一人”
(yǒu​ jiǔ​ yǒu​ ròu​ duō​ xiōng​ dì​。
  jí​ nàn​ hé ​céng​ jiàn​ yī​ rén​)

Translated it reads “With Wine And Meat Comes Many Brothers, But How Many Will We Find In times Of Crisis”

Let us not be fair weather friends who appears only during parties. Let us be true friends that remains even in times of trouble. For a true friend will remain loyal even in times of trouble

Suffering Together With Christ

Likewise today. true Christians have to suffer together with Christ. Just like what Elder Peter exhorts us

“Dear friends, do not be surprised
  at the fiery ordeal that has come
  on you to test you, as though
  something strange were happening
  to you.  But rejoice inasmuch as you
  participate in the sufferings of Christ,
  so that you may be overjoyed when
  his glory is revealed. 

  If you are insulted because of the name
  of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit
  of glory and of God rests on you.  If you
  suffer, it should not be as a murderer or
  thief or any other kind of criminal, or
  even as a meddler. However, if you suffer
  as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but
  praise God that you bear that name.” – Peter (1 Pet 4:12-16)

There are many who claims to be suffering from the Lord, but sometimes we need to ask ourselves if we are suffering for the Lord or for our mistake? Peter here reminds us not to suffer for the wrong reason. For that is not suffering for the Lord

Only if one suffer for the sake of being Christian, that is true suffering for the Lord. Peter tells us that those who are reproached for Christ sake are blessed. Even if our family turn against us as enemies, and our best friends choose to be stranger to us. As long as we are suffering because of our effort to keep the word of God. Then we would be blessed

Even though people change, and there are many who comes and go in our lives, God will never change and he will know if we are keeping the words of God. Therefore let us not be afraid of being ridiculed for keeping the commandments of the Lord.

For those who keep his words will sometimes end up on a lonely path. Many will comment that we are being too extreme, and too difficult. Especially when it comes to the matter of right and wrong. But still we must let our yes be yes and our no, no. When we are made to choose between standing on the side of God or to suffer wrong. Let us make the right decision.

To do so require courage, for sometimes we may need to pay the cost for standing at the side of God. For we may need to suffer for that decision and have our feeling hurt by the comments of others.

Jesus once said

“Blessed are those who are persecuted
  for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is
  the kingdom of heaven.

  Blessed are you when they revile and
  persecute you, and say all kinds of evil
  against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice
  and be exceedingly glad, for great is your
  reward in heaven, for so they persecuted
  the prophets who were before you.” – Jesus (Matt 5:10-12)

Today as disciples of Christ we must be willing to suffer for the truth. Just like how Barzillai suffered alongside the King David. That event left a deep impression in the mind of David. Likewise if Christians were to stand with God even in the midst of trouble, he will receive the reward when Christ comes again.

 Pt 3: Barzillai Did Not Expect A Reward For His Love 

2 Sam 19:31-36 records the time when David was returning to Jerusalem to reclaim his throne. Barzillai was happy and he came to escort king David. He did not come to meet David for a reward, all he wanted to do is to send him off. He only accompanied King David a little way across the jordan.

Barzillai helped David without expecting anything in return. But I believe that this sent off would have been a memorable event in the life of Barzillai. For he wanted to see David one more time, and that would perhaps be the last time he meet King David face to face.  That was because he is an old man, and he knows his days are numbered.

David was happy to see him and he wanted to provide for Barzillai in his old age. It was a chance of a lifetime for it is an honour to stay with the king. But he declined and he gave his reason

“How long have I to live, that I should
  go up with the king to Jerusalem? 
  
I am today eighty years old. Can I discern
  between the good and bad? Can your servant
  taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear
  any longer the voice of singing men and
  singing women? Why then should your
  servant be a further burden to my lord the
  king?  Your servant will go a little way across
  the Jordan with the king. And why should the
  king repay me with such a reward? “Barzillai (2 Sam 13:34-36)

Barzillai told the king that he is old, and even if the king were to give him the best, he will never be able to enjoy it fully. Barzillai did not lust for the prestige of staying in the palace and he did not want to burden the King.

This is what that makes Barzillai so respectable. Even though David was willing to take care of him, but he is not willing to trouble the King. The King wanted very much to reward him, but he did not come to the king seeking a reward. This is what makes Barzillai a special person.

Understanding True Charity

Barzillai is a good example of what it means to help someone in need. We need to learn the art of giving from Barzillai

Assuming today if we were to help someone and he did not even thank us for the help. How would we react to it? Will we get angry and upset?

If we offer help with an expectation for a reward, then it is not called a giving, a sacrifice. That form of Charity is more like a form of investment. We all know that there is a huge difference between investment and charity.

Christians are suppose to be charitable without expecting any for of reward. If one were to offer help with an expectation to be treated well, they will regret if they did not receive what they desire. That regret will also be a testimony that their charity is merely a form of investment

Jesus once taught about giving

“Therefore, when you do a charitable deed,
  do not sound a trumpet before you as the
  hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the
  streets, that they may have glory from men.
  Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 
  But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your
  left hand know what your right hand is doing,” – Jesus (Matt 6:2-3)

In this passage he talks about 2 forms of giving. The type of giving practiced by the Pharisees is done so that others could see it. They did it to get glory from man, they would even blow the trumpet so that everyone will know it. They had already received their reward.

True charity is given without expecting anything in return. A man who does that will never regret his action, nor will he even recall the incident. Is it possible for the left hand not to know what the right hand is doing? The only way is to forget the incident completely.

That is true charity, for the man had forgotten his act of kindness completely. He did not want any reward or anything in return. He did it for God for he knows that he is just sharing the grace God had given to him.  When God see his actions in secret, he will reward him in secret.

Conclusion

For these two post, we had  studied in details of the love Barzillai shown to King David. We had learnt about giving. We had also examined 3 reasons why the love of Barzillai left such a deep impression in King David. Let us recap the 3 reasons.

Reason 1: Barzillai showed grace to King David in his hour of need.

Barzillai sent help to King David at the time he needs it the most. We learnt the importance of providing gifts of significance. We learnt the importance of sharing the blessing of God with those in need.

Reason 2 : Barzillai choose to suffer together with David

Barzillai chose to support David at the point where he is the weakest. He chose to suffer alongside King David. Today if Christians were to suffer for the sake of Christ. He will be rewarded by God.

Reason 3 : Barzillai gave without expecting anything in return

Barzillai did not show kindness for the sake of receiving reward from King David. When King David wanted to return his kindness by allowing him to stay in Jerusalem. He declined his offer for he did not want to burden the King.

We learnt the difference between Charity and Investment. We know that God will bless those who give without expecting anything in return.

The grace Barzillai shown to David is something that David could never forget. He is a respectable man and someone we need to emulate.

Introduction

In our last study of the will of David we managed studied the instruction of David. 

1. The 1st will is to be strong and keep Gods commandment
2. The 2nd will is to judge and execute Joab the commander

Now lets continue by looking at the third instruction from King David.

The Third Will : To Show Kindness To The Sons Of Barzillai

“But show kindness to the sons of
  Barzillai the Gileadite, and let
  them be among those who eat
  at your table, for so they came
  to me when I fled from Absalom
  your brother.” – David (1 Kings 2:7)

David instructed Solomon to show kindness to the sons of Barzillai. He wanted them to eat on the same table with Solomon. This instruction makes us wonder, who is Barzillai and why did David make such a will?

To answer this we need to read more about Barzillai from the bible.

When David fled from Absalom his son, Barzillai came and greeted him with supplies. By the time David was on his death bed, Barzillai had already passed on. Yet his kindness was one that was remembered by David even on his deathbed.

David remembered it so well that he asked Solomon to show kindness to his sons.

Let us ask ourselves, “What did Barzillai do that left such a lasting impression to David?”

In a nutshell, the kindness of Barzillai was because he had given help to David in his time of need.  2 Samuel records the gifts from Barzillai to David

“Now it happened, when David had
  come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the
  son of Nahash from Rabbah of the
  people of Ammon, Machir the son
  of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and
  Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, 
   brought beds and basins, earthen
  vessels and wheat, barley and flour,
  parched grain and beans, lentils and
  parched seeds, honey and curds, sheep
  and cheese of the herd, for David and
  the people who were with him to eat.
  For they said, “The people are hungry
  and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”- 2 Sam 17:27-29

Barzillai brought around 16 items to David together with others from around the region. They are mainly necessities and they are not luxuries of great value. Even though they are common necessities, those are the things David needed most at that time.

For David had fled the palace on short notice and he did not have time to prepare any provisions. Even if David were to carry gold with him, it would be difficult to procure supplies.

In order study deeper into the grace of Barzillai to King David. Let us consider 3 aspect of that kindness. It will teach us much about showing kindness

 Pt 1 : Barzillai Provided The Necessities When David Is In Need 

The Chinese had 2 idioms to describe a gift. They are

雪中送炭 (xuě​ zhōng​ sòng ​tàn)which literally means “To Provide Charcoal During Heavy Snow”

锦上添花(jǐn​ shàng​ tiān​ huā) which literally means “To add flowers on a beautiful brocade”

The differences between these two descriptions lies in how significant and useful the gift is. The help that Barzillai gave to David is like delivering coal on a winters day. It is a kindness that David will never forget.

Therefore we ought to learn from Barzillai when it comes to show grace and giving gifts.

The Importance Of Giving What Is Necessary

Jesus once taught about giving

“When you give a dinner or a supper,
  do not ask your friends, your brothers,
  your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest
  they also invite you back, and you be
  repaid. But when you give a feast,
  invite the poor, the maimed, the lame,
  the blind. And you will be blessed,
  because they cannot repay you; for
  you shall be repaid at the resurrection
  of the just.”- Jesus (Lk 14:12-14)

Jesus is not saying that we should not treat our friends and relatives, for having a meal with friends and relatives help foster a closer relationship. Jesus is not talking about buying a meal.

It is about being able to give to someone who could return the favour or giving to one who could never return them. If we treat a person who could treat us back, we would have received our reward and there will be no need for God to reward us.

But if one were to give to the poor who are hungry and these people could not repay us, then God will see this and he will reward us. Paul said the same in his letter to Timothy.

“Command those who are rich in this
  present age not to be haughty, nor to
  trust in uncertain riches but in the
  living God, who gives us richly all
  things to enjoy.  Let them do good,
  that they be rich in good works,
  ready to give, willing to share, 
  storing up for themselves a good 
  foundation for the time to come, that
  they may lay hold on eternal life.”- Paul (1 Tim 6:17-19)

Christians are allowed to enjoy the good things in the world, for they are created by God and there should not be any shame in having enjoyment. We need to thank God for all things are created by him. But as we enjoy the good things God had given us, if we come across a man in need, will we choose to bless them so that they will be filled as well?

If we understand that it is the grace of God that we are given the power to help others, will we choose to spend it all on our enjoyment or to help the others in need?

that is why Paul told Timothy to exhort the rich not to be proud, they must be willing to share and ready to give. God is watching to see how we would treat the others around us. There are many who would choose to add flowers to brocades, and give when there is no need. But if one presents the rich will flowers, will he treasure them?

On the other hand, if one were to choose to help those in need, even if it is just a cup of cold water or a charcoal in a snowstorm. God will remember the deed and reward us, for we know the needs and the help other really need.

Such is the grace Barzillai had given to David , it remain an event that is unforgettable in the life of David.

We will continue studying the next point very soon.

Just sharing a sermon that i have heard sometime ago

Introduction

A life of a Christian is different from the life of a person in a world.  This difference can be seen from the description of Moses by the author of Hebrews

“ By faith Moses, when he became of age,
  refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s
  daughter, choosing rather to suffer
  affliction with the people of God than to
  enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
  
esteeming the reproach of Christ greater
  riches than the treasures in Egypt; for
  he looked to the reward.” – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 11:24-26)

Here he describes the joy of Moses. He look forward to something that is different from the people of the world. Moses could have lived a high life in the palace of Egypt. It is a place of power, authority and riches where he could spend on enjoyment. But Moses was unwilling to enjoy the life of pleasure in sin. He would rather suffer together with the people of God.

A Life of pleasures of sin is a life full of drunkenness and lust.  It is full of activities that emphasise on enjoyment just like the people of the city of Sodom. But such a life ends in destruction. It is just like the times of Noah where men live in the joy of sin. They lead a life of luxury and in a world devoid of God. That is a life of pleasure in sin, its joys were temporary and it leads to eternal sufferings.

But the joy in the spirit is a different type of Joy. So what is Spiritual Joy?

Pt 1:  The Joy Of Receiving Salvation

The greatest joy of a believer in God is that God had chosen us to be saved. This joy can be seen when the Ethiopian Eunuch receives the gospel of Salvation (Acts 8:34-39).

The Ethiopian Eunuch is a man of great power, an officer in charge of the treasury of Candace the queen of the Ethiopians. Despite his high position, he was humble and he was reading the book of Isaiah when Philip came to him. He did not understand the word word of God and God sent Philip. There the Eunuch invited Philip up to his chariot and allowed Philip to explain the scriptures.

Philip told him about Jesus through the book of Isaiah and when they pass by an Oasis, the Eunuch said

Eunuch : “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” 
Philip : “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
Eunuch : “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
(Acts 8:36-37)

There the Eunuch ordered the Chariot to stop and he was baptised.  The book of Acts recorded the emotion of the Eunuch

“Now when they came up out of
  the water, the Spirit of the Lord
  caught Philip away, so that the
  eunuch saw him no more; and he
  went on his way rejoicing. “ – Luke (Acts 8:39)

When one receives salvation grace he will naturally be joyful. Today we are able to receive this same grace of salvation. As long as we continue to keep the commandments of God and the instruction of Jesus, as long as we are able to endure to the end, we would be saved. To receive salvation is a joyous event full of blessing.

For Paul once describe it like this

“Yet indeed I also count all things
  loss for the excellence of the knowledge
  of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have
  suffered the loss of all things, and count
  them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”- Paul (Php 3: 8)

Paul regard knowing Christ as most precious. For he used to be an enemy of Christ destined for destruction. It is his greatest joy to enter heaven.

Today even if we receive the grace of salvation we must continue to peruse the knowledge of God. For there are some among us who were baptised since young and they did not understand the benefit of knowing God. They were born in grace and were unaware of the preciousness of this gift. That is why they are unable to see the joy of knowing God.

Let us emulate the attitude of the Psalmist with regards to this

“I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
  As much as in all riches. 
  I will meditate on Your precepts,
  And contemplate Your ways.
   I will delight myself in Your statutes;
  I will not forget Your word.” – Psalmist (Ps 119:14-16)

Pt 2:  The Joy Of Worshipping God

“I was glad when they said to me,
  “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” 
  Our feet have been standing
  Within your gates, O Jerusalem!” – David (Ps 122:1-2)

King David is joyful whenever he enters the city of Jerusalem to worship the Lord. He is joyful when his feet is standing within the gates of Jerusalem. A person who love to worship God will always have his feet within the gates of Jerusalem. While others in the world enjoy the comforts of the world, he will always want to be in Jerusalem

King David is a man of power and riches, but those were not his joy. His joy is to enter Jerusalem to worship God. That is why today Christian have the same joy when we gather together to worship. This is a joy which people of the world cannot understand. They would ask questions “Why are you so busy worshipping God and not enjoying life?”

For we see the benefits of keeping the Sabbath. For God once spoken through Prophet Isaiah

“Also the sons of the foreigner
   Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him,
  And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants—
  Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
  And holds fast My covenant—
   Even them I will bring to My holy mountain,
  And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
  Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
  Will be accepted on My altar;
  For My house shall be called a house of prayer
  for all nations.” – YHWH (Is 56:6-7)

God has promised that those who keep the Sabbath will receive blessing and Joy. While many in the world thinks that they are joyful and enjoying themselves, we are joyful in our Sabbath because we are able to see that eternal joy that will come in the future.

Let us not regard gathering for services as a burden but rather make it into a joyful occasion to meet the Lord and to hear his words  

Pt 3:  The Joy Of Serving God

“After these things the Lord
  appointed seventy others also,
 
and sent them two by two
  before His face into every city
  and place where He Himself
  was about to go. 
  Then He said to them, “The harvest
  truly is great, but the laborers are
 
few; therefore pray the Lord of the
  harvest to send out laborers into His
  harvest …. ….

  Then the seventy returned with joy,
  saying, “Lord, even the demons are
  subject to us in Your name.” – Luke (Lk 10:1-2, 17)

Here records of Jesus sending out 70 of his disciples  to preach in the cities. They went out in pairs. I believe that when they were first sent they must be full of worries and concern over their work, But Verse 17 tells us that they return with joy. For they felt the presence of the Lord with them

This is a joy given to them by God. Today we experience the similar joy when we serve God. The joy of saving a person and leading him to God is more than the joy of gaining the world.  Even though there are times when we will be hurt while serving, but those who sow in tears will eventually reap with joy, the more we serve the higher the joy we receive. 

For Jesus once said this

By this My Father is glorified, that
  you bear much fruit; so you will be
  My disciples.” – Jesus (Jn 15: 8 )

For when we bear much fruit God will be glorified. Jesus told this to us for a reason

“These things I have spoken to you,
  that My joy may remain in you,
  and that your joy may be full” – Jesus (Jn 15:11)

This joy can only happen if we begin serving him first. When we serve God we will give joy to God and that joy will remain in us .

Pt 4:  The Joy Of Prayer

“One thing I have desired of the Lord,
  That will I seek:
  That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
  All the days of my life,
  To behold the beauty of the Lord,
  And to inquire in His temple.” – David (Ps 27:4)

David was a busy king. But in his busy schedule he desired to inquire in his temple.  To inquire at the temple is the ancient equivalent to our prayers.  It is a joy for David to pray and King David was known as a man of prayer.  That is why he received much blessings. Whenever he goes to war, he learns to rely on God through prayers.

David is a man who understood the joy of prayers , for our God is a loving God and is always willing to hear our plea. He is an omnipotent God , which is why we need to pray to receive grace and blessings.

David often prayed with a clean heart and we need to emulate his example. Let us learn to put aside all our problems and worries when we pray before him. For God is a living God and he knows our needs . He will fulfil our request and we will find joy in prayer.

Pt 4:  The Joy Of Receiving Gods Providence

Today We are able to enjoy his grace and blessing. For God knows what we need and he will provide what we need. Those who rely on God will suffer no lack.

For the Psalmist once said

“The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
  But those who seek the Lord shall not lack
  any good thing.” – David (Ps 34:10)

God is always willing to give us blessings and we will suffer no lack as long as we follow in his word. We may not end up as the rich and famous but we will suffer no lack for sure. Let us learn to count our blessings for if we do not we would neglect the grace God has given us

The Author of Hebrew once reminded us

how shall we escape if we neglect
  so great a salvation, which at the
  first began to be spoken by the Lord,
and was confirmed to us by those who 
heard Him,” – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 2:3)

If we fail to count our blessings, we would have fall short of the requirements of God. For God had given us help in our life. They may not be big miracles of healing , but he had helped us in our illness and help us with many problems we encounter in life . If we are able to count our blessings we will have joy continually.

Conclusion

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.
  For me to write the same things to you is
  not tedious, but for you it is safe.” – Paul (Php 3:1)

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will
   say, rejoice!” – Paul (Php 4:4)

Paul here reminded the church in Philippi to rejoice, for we have Jesus as our saviour. He is the source of our blessing. We would not suffer lack as long as we rely in him and draw near to him  . Let us learn to give thank to God

For a life of thanksgiving is a joyful life, it is a joy that is different from the joy one receive from the world.  That is the spiritual joy that we would receive.

Just typing out this sharing in case we are unable to hear it clearly

Introduction

“Examine yourselves as to whether
  you are in the faith. Test yourselves.
  Do you not know yourselves, that
  Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed
  you are disqualified” – Paul (2 Cor 13:5)

Paul encourage the Corinthians to examine themselves in faith to see what is the state of their faith. The church in Corinth is not strong in their faith, as the result they face a crisis in their faith. Sometimes we wonder why is this happening to the church of God, often it is because we do not grow in faith.

That is why Paul reminded the people to examine their faith, for without faith we cannot please God. Without faith we will not be acknowledged by God. That is why we need to consider our faith, for we want eternal life and our salvation depends on it.

For Peter also tells us its importance

“who are kept by the power of God
  through faith for salvation ready
  to be revealed in the last time.” – Peter (1 Pet 1: 5 )

Here peter tells us that salvation is by Gods power. Let us look at some areas where we could examine our faith.

1st Pt : Having Faith In Gods Providence

“Now if God so clothes the grass of
  the field, which today is, and
  tomorrow is thrown into the oven,
  will He not much more clothe you,
  O you of little faith?

  Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What
  shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’
  or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these
  things the Gentiles seek.  For your heavenly
  Father knows that you need all these things.

  But seek first the kingdom of God and
  His righteousness, and all these things
  shall be added to you.  Therefore do not
  worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow
  will worry about its own things. Sufficient
  f or the day is its own trouble” – Jesus (Matt 6:30-34)

What comes to our mind when we consider the words of Jesus? Here it tells us that if God clothes the grass of the fields, surely he will take care of the basics needs of men. Therefore we need not be too worried about our livelihood

Does that means we do not need to work? No, we ought to work for our daily livelihood. So what does Jesus really mean ? He tells us that gentiles seek after things to eat, drink and wear. But as Christians we ought to have a different priority.

The people of the world are concern over food, drinks and clothing because they seek a better life on earth, but believers should also be concern about the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

Sometimes we have Christians who sacrifice their time in worship for the sake of gaining wealth. they tend to forget that they need to seek first the kingdom of God. God knows that we need food drink and clothing and he will provide it as we follow his words. God will bless those who seek him. That is why Elder Peter said

casting all your care upon
  Him, for He cares for you.” – Peter (1 Pet 5:7)

Peter said this even when he was in trials. He saw how the Lord took care of others. This is his promise and he cares for us.

2nd  Pt : Having Faith In The Midst Of Storm

“But He said to them, “Why are you
  fearful, O you of little faith?” Then
  He arose and rebuked the winds and
  the sea, and there was a great calm.” – Matthew (Matt 8:26)

This is what Jesus said to his disciples. Why did they have little faith? Matt 8:23-27 tells us the story when Jesus was with them in the boat. Jesus was sleeping at the stern. At that time, there was a storm and the boat was badly shaken by the storm. Yet Jesus was sleeping at the stern. As the disciples were afraid they came to wake Jesus up. They wanted Jesus to help them in the storm.

That is why the Lord said those words, telling them that they lack faith. At the same time he rebuked the winds and the sea and there was calm.

How does our faith compared  to them? From here we know that even if Jesus is with us on the boat, storm will still come. It also tells us that even if we believe in Jesus, we will encounter trials and problems which our faith will be tested.

But over here the disciple came to the Lord and woke him up. Whenever we encounter trouble, we need to ask God to help us. We need not be afraid of the challenge for God is with us. 

“Come to Me, all you who labor and
  are heavy laden, and I will give
  you rest.” – Jesus (Matt 11:28)

Jesus invites those who labor and are heavy laden to come to him. Today when we face with challenges in life. Let us learn to rely on God. But yet as we consider the story in Matt 8 we wonder, “Why did Jesus rebuke the disciples?”

The main reason was that they were afraid and they think they are perishing.Today when we encounter problems in life, let us learn to rely on God and be unafraid. instead of running away from the Lord let us come closer to him.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in
  everything by prayer and
  supplication, with thanksgiving,
  let your requests be made known
  to God;  and the peace of God, which
  surpasses all understanding, will
  guard your hearts and minds through
  Christ Jesus.”- Paul (Php 4:6-7)

Paul reminds us what to do when we encounter with storms in life.Let us learn to make our request before God and to allow his peace to guard our hearts and minds. Sometimes fail in faith because of our reluctance to go to God. We would rather rely on ourselves and consult with others for advice .But the bible remind us to seek help from God

At the end of the episode of the disciples in the storm. They marvelled
“Who can this be, that even the
  winds and the sea obey Him?”- Disciples (Matt 8:27)

Sometimes when we solve the problems by our own methods, we would think that the problems were overcome with our mere wisdom and not the help of God.  But over here when Christ saved them from the storm, their faith grew and the understood the power of God.

That is why today when we encounter trials let us not fall and be afraid like the disciples. They were afraid of the storm and they had little faith. But rather let us rely on God to weather through the storms and problem in life with the help of Jesus.

3rd  Pt : Having  A Faith without Doubting

“And immediately Jesus stretched
  out His hand and caught him, and
  said to him, “O you of little faith,
  why did you doubt?”- Matthew (Mat 14:31)

Jesus asked Peter why did he doubt.  Let us consider why did Peter doubt. We know the story well. When Jesus went up to the mountain to pray. He told the disciples to get onto the boat. Eventually they encountered a storm and Jesus was walking on water to them. The disciples were afraid when they saw him and Jesus assured them that it was he.

At that point Peter asked Jesus for the permission to walk on water. Jesus told him to come and as he walked, he was afraid and he began to sink. Therefore Jesus caught him and asked him why did he doubt.

What can we learn from this? We know that as we learn to pray to God and rely on him, our eyes must be fixed onto the Lord. Today in our heavenly journey we will be faced with trials and tribulation. They sometimes frighten us even though we are walking with God. Worst still when we encounter tribulation and we start to doubt as if God is not in our lives helping us.

That is the problem of Peter, the storm had always been blowing even before he step up of the boat. If we want to find faith to rely on God and to walk on water. We need to focus on Jesus. For if we focus on the problem, we will be afraid and anxious. But God tells us not to be afraid or anxious, we do not need to worry over what we eat and what we wear. We need to focus on God and to keep his words. God is always ready to help us and the trials will never hurt us.

Conclusion : Having Joy In Trials

People like Job , Peter and James all went through trials and they tell us to be joyful in trails for after the trials our faith will be built up. The purpose of trails is not to hurt us but to build up our faith. It is to help us examine if our faith is strong or weak

If we focus on the problem and not the Lord, then we will be like Peter. Eventually we will lose our faith and we will slowly sink. But if our eyes is focus on the Lord , we will not lose for God will help us.

For the author of Hebrews once says this

But we are not of those who draw back
  to perdition, but of those who believe to
  the saving of the soul.”- Author of Hebrews (Heb 10:39)

Here it reminds us that we are people who believe in the salvation of the soul. We need to have the resolve not to lose our faith. As long as we believer in the Lord. We need to examine ourselves to see if our faith stands.

This is important because we need that faith to accomplish our purpose in life. Let us learn not to worry over our lives. But rather we need to pray, grow and mature in faith. So that our faith will eventually be perfect.

Introduction

“Now all these things happened to them as examples,
  and they were written for our admonition, upon
  whom the ends of the ages have come.
  therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest
  he fall. “ – Paul (1 Cor 10:11-12)

Paul is reminding Christians who thinks they are strong to be vigilant lest they fall in faith. Throughout the Old Testament we read of many Priest, Prophets and Kings who served God zealously in the past. But eventually they fell from their faith because they were not vigilant in their service to God. They fell from the grace of God.

Likewise today we see many zealous ministers, deacons, elders and believers fall from their faith. They fell because they were not vigilant in their service to God. That is why Paul reminded us to use their stories as warning to prepare ourselves as we lead a life of service. For if we are not vigilant, we will commit the same mistakes as them.

For the Chinese had an idiom “马上摔死英雄汗, 河中沿死会水人” translated “There were many heroes who fell from their horses, there were many swimmers who drowns in the river.”. Indeed overconfidence in ones ability brings disasters. For a man who is not complacent will tend to careful and be weary of his surrounding. It is a good thing and it can prevent us from making a big mistake that will lead to regrets.

That is why we will be learning from the mistakes of Aaron. They will remind us to serve God with vigilance.

Let us have a brief overview of the Aaron

The Background Of Aaron The High Priest

Aaron is the brother of Moses, his initial duty was to assist Moses. I have written a blog entry talking about Moses initial faith and how God made Aaron assist Moses

https://tben.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/understanding-god-through-the-10-plagues-bonus-part/

From there we know when God called Moses to serve him, Moses told God that he is not eloquent. Therefore he was unable to speak to the Pharaoh on behalf of God. Therefore God appointed Aaron to be the spokesman of Moses.

Later on in the wilderness journey when God commanded Moses to construct the tabernacle.  God chose Aaron to be his high priest. From then on Aaron could serve God directly. He became a leader in Israel with regards to faith and religion. The character Aaron turn from a supporting character to a main character.

That was the grace of God and it was God who gave him the glory and the honour to serve him. But Sadly Aaron did not grow in his service to the Lord. He was not careful in his service and he made many mistakes in his service to the Lord.

Let us consider his first mistake

1st Mistake : Aaron Did Not Lead Israel Away From Sin

“Now when the people saw that Moses 
delayed coming down from the mountain,
the people gathered together to Aaron, and 
said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall 
go before us; for as for this Moses, the man 
who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, 
we do not know what has become of him.”

  And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden 
earrings which are in the ears of your wives, 
your sons, and your daughters, and bring 
 them to me.”

So all the people broke off the golden earrings 
which were in their ears, and brought them to 
Aaron. – Moses (Ex 32:1-2)

When Israel demanded Aaron to make an idol for them. Aaron knew that they were going the word of God. But Aaron was unable to point out their mistakes. He did not have the courage to stop them from sinning against God.  Instead he had acceded to their request and built the Golden Calf. 

As a leader he ought to lead Israel and to teach them to follow the words of God. Yet he allowed himself to submit to the will of the people and to sin against God.

While Moses the leader is busy on the top of Mount Sinai receiving the commandments of God. Aaron the leader is busy disobeying God below. It is a scene of great irony 

2nd Mistake : Aaron Built The Golden Calf

“And he received the gold from their 
  hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, 
  and made a molded calf.

  Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that
  brought you out of the land of Egypt!” – Moses (Ex 32:3-4)

Let us take a step and ask ourselves  “Why did Israel wants a golden calf?”

The bible records their request “Come, make us gods that shall 
go before us” It is ironic that God created man and yet man wanted to create God.

So why did man wants to make a god for themselves?

The Reason Behind Man Creating Idols

God gave the reasons for their actions as he spoke to Moses

“Go, get down! For your people whom
  you brought out of the land of Egypt
  have corrupted themselves. They have
  turned aside quickly out of the way
  which I commanded them. They have
  made themselves a molded calf, and
  worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and
  said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that
  brought you out of the land of Egypt!’” – YHWH (Ex 32:7-8)

Moses was on the mountain and he did not know what was happening below. He was preparing to receive the Law of God and to teach them to the children of Israel. Yet they have built a golden calf for themselves. God said that they had “Corrupted themselves”

The children of Israel built the golden calf for themselves. How does that work?

If man believe that they were created by God. They will see the need to obey him and to worship him. They will subject themselves to the rules of God. But this will not be the case if man created gods for themselves.

Since they were the ones who created god. They could worship him in the way that they want. For god was made by them they are free to write the rules and statues on their own.  That is why they made the golden calf and worship it. The bible describes their worship as so 

Then they rose early on the next
  day, offered burnt offerings, and
  brought peace offerings; and the
  people sat down to eat and drink,
  and rose up to play.”- Moses (Ex 32:6)

This playing is not like playing games like scrabble or risk. Nor does it involves playing dolls and cooking or to play paintballs and to build sandcastles. The play here is a wild celebration. It is a type of sensual game where they allowed their lust to flow, it is an equivalent to a mass orgy.  This is similar to the cultic worship performed in the land of Canaan where the people commit fornication as they sacrificed to their gods.

This is the reason why they wanted to make a god for themselves. They wanted to worship God using their own ways and in their own fancy. By right man is supposed to worship God with fear and reverence. They need to let go of their opinion and subject themselves to the words of God. They need to control their desires and not give in to lust.

But if one were to create their own gods. They can decide their methods of worship. God could look into the hearts of the children of Israel and he could see what they are thinking and what they longed for.

Therefore he concluded by saying that “They corrupted themselves & build gods for themselves”

What is worst is that they called the calf “the God who brought you out of Egypt.”  As we look at the story of the golden calf. We would have these questions in our mind “Why did Aaron and the elders agree to their request?”

Why Did Aaron And the Elders Allow The Golden Calf To Be Constructed?

Perhaps they were thinking, that they were technically not worshipping another God. For they called the calf “This is the God who brought you out of Egypt”. They wanted the golden calf to represent YHWH. Even though they glorified God with their mouth but they have in fact lowered his status. For they had limited God into a physical image.

Paul once talk about this mentality

“because, although they knew God, they
  did not glorify Him as God, nor were
  thankful, but became futile in their
  thoughts, and their foolish hearts were
  darkened.  Professing to be wise, they
  became fools, and changed the glory of
  the incorruptible God into an image made
  like corruptible man—and birds and four-
  footed animals and creeping things.” – Paul (Rom 1:21-23)

Human tend to think that they were smart and the created images of birds and animals for men to worship. But in their intelligence, they had transformed the glory of God into a image that is corruptible, a image that will rot and decay.

Usually we think that only those who did not know God is capable of making such mistakes. But the Israelites are people who knew God and God had warned them not to make a image to represent him. They are not to make an image to replace God nor could they worship any idols.

Yet Israel wanted to make a calf to represent God and they think they have the right to do it. But in God’s eye, that is corruption. For how can one use a corruptible image to represent the incorruptible?  How can one worship that image? Can we create idols call him God and bow down to it?

Conclusion So Far

That is why today we must be weary of these two mistakes of Aaron. We need to learn to lead others away from sin and not to follow their request. We are not to create idols and worship them.

Let us look deeper into the idols on our next post

Introduction

In our last study of the will of David we managed studied the instruction of David. 

1. The 1st will is to be strong and keep Gods commandment

Now lets continue by looking at the second instruction from King David

The Second Will : To Judge And Execute Joab

“Moreover you know also what 
  Joab the son of Zeruiah did to
  me, and what he did to the two
  commanders of the armies of
  Israel, to Abner the son of Ner
  and Amasa the son of Jether,
  whom he killed. And he shed
  the blood of war in peacetime,
  and put the blood of war on his
  belt that was around his waist,
  and on his sandals that were on
  his feet. Therefore do according
  to your wisdom, and do not let his
  gray hair go down to the grave in
  peace.” –David (1 King 2:5-6)

The second will of King David is for Solomon to judge Joab. We read a bit about Joab when we studied the incident where King David numbered Israel. It seem to us that Joab is a good man who dare to speak against the King when he is about to sin.

That makes us wonder “Why did David gave instruction to kill him?”

To understand the matter clearly, we need to look closer at the character of Joab.

Who is Joab?

Joab was the commander of David’s Army. At the very beginning when David ascended the throne at Hebron, Joab was the commander of the army. He led the armies of David against the armies of Saul in 2 Sam 2. When David took the throne of Israel, he was put in charge of the Army as well.  (2 Sam 8:16)

During his career as the commander of the armies of Israel, he led Israel to fight against the Ammonites and the Syrians in 2 Sam 10. He was a skilled tactician and a good soldier. This could be seen in 2 Sam 12 where Joab was sent to take Rabbah, the royal city of the Ammonites. He took the water supply of the enemies and he allowed King David to enter the city so that the city will not be named after himself.

Joab supported King David during the rebellion of Absalom and when he was told that Absalom had his hair caught onto the tree. He ignores the order from king David and killed Absalom.

He was the one who stood bravely against the King and advised him against numbering of Israel.

It appears that Joab is a fine general who contributed much to the Kingdom of Israel. Why then did David instruct Solomon to kill him?

The Sins Of Joab

Even though Joab had did well on many occasions. But he had committed many evil as well. God had given him blessings and grace for the good he had done. But he needs to be punished for the evil he did. 

David listed 2 of his sins, for Joab had murdered 2 commanders of Israel. The names of the commanders are Abner and Amasa. Let us look into the killings one by one

Joab Killing Abner

Let us first consider Joab killing of Abner. Abner was the commander of the army of the house of Saul. In 2 Sam chapter 2, he was defeated by Joab and fled the battlefield. Asahel the brother of Joab chased him.

As Asahel gave pursued Abner, Abner tried to convince him to turn back. 

“Turn  aside from following me.
  Why should I   strike you to the
  ground? How then could I face
  your brother Joab?” – Abner (2 Sam 2:22)

The next verse tells us what happened in the end

“However, he refused to turn aside.
  Therefore Abner struck him in the
  stomach with the blunt end of the
  spear, so that the spear came out of his
  back; and he fell down there and died
  on the spot. So it was that as many as
  came to the place where Asahel fell
  down and died, stood still.” – (2 Sam 2:23 )

The fact is that Abner had killed Asahel the brother of Joab. But we know that Abner did not meant to kill him,  he did it out of self defence. Abner did not use the sharp end of the spear to attack Asahel. He used the blunt end which indicated that he did not want to kill Asahel. This is a fact that many knew in Israel 

On the surface, it looks like Joab killed Abner for the sake of avenging his brother. But that is not the true reason. At the time of the murder, Abner was planning to leave the house of Saul and gather Israel to the house of David. David accepted the service of Abner. When Joab heard of this he was furious.  

“What have you done? Look, Abner
  came to you; why is it that you sent
  him away, and he has already gone? 
  Surely you realize that Abner the son
  of Ner came to deceive you, to know
  your going out and your coming in,
  and to know all that you are doing.”- Joab (2 Sam 3:24-25)

He went before David and questioned his acceptance of Abner.  Joab suspect the loyalty of Abner. But his real worry was that he was fearful that David may choose Abner as commander alongside with him. That will mean that Joab need to share his power with Abner  

Therefore he sent messengers to Abner, behind the kings back. When Abner was tricked into returning to Hebron Joab took him aside to speak privately to him. He stabbed Abner in his stomach.

The main motivation behind his murder was jealousy. Though some may disagree and feel that this was an act of revenge. This jealousy could be seen clearly in his second murder. 

It was jealousy that motivated Joab to kill Amasa. Let us consider the character Amasa

Who Is Amasa?

The bible tells us Amasa was the cousin of Joab

“And Absalom made Amasa captain
  of the army instead of Joab. This Amasa
  was the son of a man whose name was
  Jithra, an Israelite, who had gone in to
  Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister of
  Zeruiah, Joab’s mother.” – (2 Sam 17:25)

This clearly tells us that Amasa is the cousin of Joab. why did Joab killed Amasa his cousin?

The bible recorded the words of King David after the rebellion of Absalom

“And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone
  and my flesh? God do so to me, and more
  also, if you are not commander of the army
  before me continually in place of Joab.’”- David (2 Sam 19:13)

David wanted to make Amasa commander in place of Joab. This invoked his jealousy. This jealousy drove him kill Amasa his cousin. What is interesting is the method he used to murder Amasa. His ruthlessness could be seen clearly.

Joab Killed Amasa His Cousin

“When they were at the large stone
  which is in Gibeon, Amasa came
  before them. Now Joab was dressed
  in battle armor; on it was a belt
  with a sword fastened in its sheath
  at his hips; and as he was going
  forward, it fell out.

  Then Joab said to Amasa, “Are you
  in health, my brother?” And Joab
  took Amasa by the beard with his
  right hand to kiss him.  But Amasa
  did not notice the sword that was in
  Joab’s hand. And he struck him with
  it in the stomach, and his entrails
  poured out on the ground; and he did
  not strike him again. Thus he died.”- (2 Sam 20:8-10)

Joab deliberately allowed his sword to fall out of its sheath, he took up the sword and greeted his cousin. He pulled him by his beard and kiss him, Amasa did not notice the sword that is in his hand. He would not have expected his cousin would make an attempt on his life.

He pulled Amasa his cousin close to him, and struck him in the stomach and his entrails poured out on the ground. Joab did not kill Amasa out of revenge, he did it because David is appointing Amasa as Commander in place of him.

It was suppose to be a good news to have a cousin to fight alongside to Joab. But when Joab heard the news, he took the chance to get rid of Amasa. For now he is a threat to his position and power.

Why Is there A Need To Judge Joab For The Sin?

David kept Abner and Amasa for the sake of the Kingdom of Israel. It is easy to draft thousands of soldiers, but it is hard to find a good commander. Amasa and Abner were more than soldiers, they were generals with commanding qualities. Having talents like that in the kingdom will allow the armies to become stronger.

But Joab cared only for his wealth and power, he is concerned only for his own benefits and not the wellbeing of the nation of Israel. Even though he may be a talented general, he will bring more harm than benefits.

Joab is a hero who fought for his country, he had also kept the commandments of God on occasion.  But his heart of jealousy is too strong, and it led him to go against the commandments of God.

Conclusion

As Christian we must be willing to serve God and work alongside with other brethren. That is why we need to ask God to preserve us so that we would not be like Joab. We must be willing to accommodate with other co-workers and work peacefully with them

Let us not be like Joab who kill others out of a jealous heart. Let us learn to seek benefits for the kingdom of God and not for ourselves.

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