December 2008


I recall hearing this from Pr Steve Hwang when he was here in Singapore. We were learning about old testatments books.

Both King Saul and King David are all kings of the unified Kingdom of Israel. Seems that in their lives, God left them each 2 tests. King Saul failed in 2 of his tests. While David survived 2 of his test.  We can learn a lot regarding how God makes use of incidents to train us in our daily lives.

The test for Saul are found in the following bible reading
1. Sauls unlawful sacrificed in Gilgal (1 Sam 13)
2. Saul fighting against the Amalek (1 Sam 15)

Davids test are
1. In the strong hold of En Gedi (1 Sam 24)
2. In the Sauls camp (1 Sam 26)

Sauls First Test:
In the story in 1 Sam 13, King Saul and his son Jonathan had attacked the Philistines in their Garrison and the enemies were gathered against the Kingdom of Israel in Gilgal, numbering 30000 chariots , 6000 horsemen and countless number of soldiers.  At this time, the children of Israel saw that they were in a disadvantage, started to lose heart and fled to the mountain and caves.

Prophet Samuel had told Saul that he would come to Gilgal in 7 days to sacrifice to the Lord (1 Sam13:8) and Samuel did not come.  So Saul decided to act on his own initiative and perform a burnt offering to the Lord, disobeying God’s commandment (1 Sam 13:13-14).

Reasons for Saul’s disobedience:
It would be simple for all of us to simply put the blame on Saul for being impatient. But we can all agree that Saul was facing a very tough situation. The odds are all against him, and he must have been very stressed out… So Saul felt compelled, but made the burn offering, just as how he explained in (1 Sam 13:11-12)

However, from here we can understand that even if we are stressed out, it doesn’t give us the right to disobey God. The effect of the disobedience is that, his kingdom will not last forever, from what I can understand, this means that his house will not be king of Israel forever, and God intended to give the kingdom to someone who is after his heart (Namely the house of David).

Despite Saul’s failure to obey God in his first test, God is compassionate and is willing to give Saul a second chance, and a second test. From here we can see, although  a christian may fail sometimes in trials and disobey God, God will always be gracious and will put us in the different test. This is because the purpose of trials is not to stumble a christian, and but yet is Gods way of training us to see if our faith is genuine and can stand the test of time (Jas 1:2-3).

From his next test, we can see that God did take into consideration the point spoken by Saul

Sauls second test against Amalek
In the second test, God gave Saul a specific instruction (1 Sam 115:1-3) to utterly destroy Amelak because of the wicked things they have done against Israel when they first got out of Egypt. By attacking them in the rear and targeting the sick and the weak people who had fallen behind (This is Joshua’s first battle at Rephidim Ex 17:8-16, Deut 25:17-18) . In that battle God swore that he would punish Amalek for their wickedness, and wanted Saul to perform this duty for God.

This time in the battle, Saul won a serious victory (There is no more of the stress we see in his first test). However, Saul chose to disobey God once again by sparing King Agag of the Amalekites , as well as to keep back the best of the sheep and herds (1 Sam 15:9). Hence this time Saul has despised the command of God and choose to act on his own will.

When Samuel came, and asked Saul about the bleating of the Goats he hear, Saul defended himself and claimed that he wanted to keep the best of the sheep to be offered to God. (1 Sam 15:15-16).

Only in this test, God rebuked Saul deeply (1 Sam 15:17-19). God desired us to listen to him and obey him then to come before him with much offerings (1 Sam 15:22-23).

What can we learn about God’s trials here? Well, firstly, when it is necessary, God will always give us a chance to test our heart. However, once it can be certain that our hearts and bent to disobey God, we would grieve his spirit very deeply. Therefore, as Christian facing trials from God, we must often pray to God for strength to handle the trials, and not grieve his spirit often.

Over here we can see our God as a compassionate high priest, who can empathise with our weakness, and may retest us with a simpler test, just for us to understand what is going on in our hearts, just like what God told Samuel when he was looking at the sons of Jesse, that God is one who discern the heart of people. I believe if Saul repented on the spot, just like what David did when Prophet Nathan confronted him, God would have been merciful in his judgement, but we can see Saul defending himself and finding excuses for his disobedience, and his eagerness to get honour before the elders of Israel, which grieve God too much that he rejected him from being king (1 Sam 15:24-31).

Therefore, we should not take God’s grace and patience for granted and choose to disobey him time and time again, only remembering about Gods mercy but forgetting that God is also a just judge (Rom 6:1)

I will be sharing of Davids tests in my next entry

Lately I have been looking at funny thai ads.. but one of those that left some impression is this advertising idea from a foam seller.

I am not some love story lover, Just find the idea of them blending in the product into a love story is cute.
There are four Episode here. So enjoy watching

Ep1

Ep2

Ep3

Ep4

Well, To those who wondered, which hymn did I teach when I was in Indonesia.. Well, this is the one, I find this really close to me because there was so much precious memories there.. This hymn was also sang during the begining of year end spiritual meeting.

Precious Memories  (The verse in Italics are not found on the hymnbook)

Precious memories, unseen angels
Sent from somewhere to my soul
How they linger, ever near me
And the sacred scenes unfold.
(Chorus *)

Precious father, loving mother
Fly across the lonely years
And old home scenes of my childhood
In fond memory appear.
(Chorus *)

In the stillness of the midnight
Echoes from the past I hear
Old-time singing, gladness bringing
From that lovely land somewhere.
(Chorus *)

I remember mother praying
Father, too, on bended knee
Sun is sinking, shadows falling
But their prayers still follow me
.
(Chorus *)

As I travel on life’s pathway
Know not what the years may hold
As I ponder, hope grows fonder
Precious memories flood my soul.
(Chorus *)

(Chorus)
Precious memories, how they linger
How they ever flood my soul
In the stillness of the midnight
Precious, sacred scenes unfold.

You can try to singalong here

hahah Actually I wonder if there are any readers really reading my blog..But just in case if anyone is wondering, what happened to the Hesitant Prize fighter during this period of silence… Here’s a slight summary

1. I think one of my blog entries has talked about my Trip to Bali
2. Later on, I visited Puncak in Indonesia, and stayed in Wisma Berkat (AKA Grace Village) It is up in the hills and there are a lot of flowers and trees… as well as tea plantation
3. Returned to Singapore, yet flew off once again to Indonesia, visiting Bandung (A place with many flowers) , Banjarmasin (In Kalimantan), and Jakarta. Received a lot of love from the church members there.. 
4. Started work in Service Bureau as a Project Manager

Today is the evangelistic service in church, on my way back on the bus . I overheard a couple talking to themselves, saying they are wondering why does God need to go through all the sufferings so as to save man. Actually, this is a question that was in my mind for a long time.

As I am thinking about it, I remembered this old illustration that I heard from a preacher…

There was once a King who ruled his kingdom with fairness and justice.. He is known to show no partiality to anyone, and there are many laws that he made, to protect the people. There is this one time, the people bought a prisoner to the king, demanding for justice. The person that they bought to the king, is none other than the prince, his only son… 

Everyone was looking at the king, wondering whether he would show favor to his son and free him from this humilating punishment.  The king hestiated a long while.. as it is his son, this decision may have hurted him very badly..Finally, he sentence his son guilty, and ask for the punishment to be prepared…

At the point, before they executed the judgement, the king stopped it, took off his royal robes… walked over to his son, telling him. “My son, you must learn from now on, not to commit this mistake anymore. and be a good person”.. and the king took on his sons robe, and walk towards the punishment ground.

Sometimes, we tend to ask ourselves If God love the world, why doesn’t he pardon mankind for their sins? Why go through all the trouble to choose Abraham, from then to raise a people of God, and from the people, give birth to Jesus, who would take away the sins of everyone through his death on the cross. Why don’t God just forgive everyone and bring them all to heaven?

Beside being the God of Love as most churches love to describe him as, we tend to forget that our God is a one that is Just (Deut 32:3-4). Can you imagine this God, if he were to just pardon everyone just because he loves them and throw away his righteous judgement because of Love. Can a God like that be worth our respect, if he shows partiality to the ones he love, and willingly throw aside his principles? How would we even know if one day this God decided to show partiality and throw us all into hell?

All along, God created human beings to share his glory, and he wanted his creation to love him. When I was a boy, I often think, if I am in the garden of Eden, I will make sure I chop down the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, perhaps if Adam cannot see it, then he will not sin, and we would all be happy in Eden….

Then as I grow older I realised, God wanted mankind to love him, and God never wanted to take away the choice. He doesnt want mankind to love him because they have no other choice, God never made the choice so difficult. He only forbade Adam to eat that one fruit. (Gen 1:15)

However, we all know the outcome of this story, man choose to disobey God and took of the fruit, and from then on,  man disregarded Gods standard of right and wrong, and did anything their heart wills. (Gen 6:5) Although deep in our hearts, we know what is good, however, alot of us are unable to do the right things at times (Rom 7:18-25). And the worst part of it, is that the wages of sin is death. (Rom 6:23). It is appointed for man to die once, and after that to face judgement (Heb 9:27)

God because of his love for man, still wanted to save him, However, God himself, is the righteous judge too. He cannot deny his own nature, forsake his righteous judgement, and let man go scott free without a punishment. Do not think of God as someone who love to see evil man perish.. God never wanted death for the wicked, but rather want the wicked to turn back to God  (Eze 18)

As the result, God sent his own son, Jesus to die for our sin and to pay the wages of sin. (Jn 3:16). However, God still gives all of us a choice, whether to accept his love, to believe and be baptised, (Mk 16:16, Acts 2:38). From now on to keep his commandments, take up our cross and follow him (Mk 10:17-21). He has also given us his holy spirit to assist us in this heavenly walk (Jn 14:26). Now Gods part of the plan is complete, and it now depends on the church to spread it. will you be part of it?