August 2010


Was thinking of my comments on the life of Jacob, and the comments of his life by Jacob

“The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” (Gen 47:9)

In a way, Jacob was quite a prize fighter isn’t it? I am certain he is not hesitant about it.. until he was 90.. Considering all the prize he had wanted, The firstborn rights, the blessing, the beautiful Rachel, a flock of sheep and goats. The name of Jacob means “He grabs” or “Supplanter” When he was in his mothers womb, he was fighting with his brother to come out first.. He lost, and he still did not give up, he held on to Esau’s heel.

I am a Hesitant Prize Fighter, but in a way, everyone seems to accuse me of chasing after a worldly prize, higher pay, higher rank and not being satisfied with my life.. And now suddenly I am place in such a situation where I am helpless to solve some of my problems.. The scoffers may tell me that “Look at where your worldly pursuits got you into”.

At all these times, I realised that God has never never left me, he had indeed protected me, from many things that happens.. God already warned that my trip to this country will be a hard one, and it will be filled with many trials and God asked me if I would still take on this journey.. Innocently I answered yes..

This song, Journey from Corrinne May captured most of my feelings in this trip.. I notice that she was singing about Jesus.. (Since no other people paid at Calvary except Jesus) .. So let us just enjoy this song. This song is featured in the Taiwanese Drama “Dolphin Bay”

Title : Journey
Artist: Corrinne May

It’s a long long journey
Till I know where I’m supposed to be
It’s a long long journey
And I don’t know if I can believe
When shadows fall and block my eyes
I am lost and know that I must hide
It’s a long long journey
Till I find my way home to you

Many days I’ve spent
Drifting on through empty shores
Wondering what’s my purpose
Wondering how to make me strong

I know I will falter
I know I will cry
I know you’ll be standing by my side
It’s a long long journey
And I need to be close to you

Sometimes I feels no one understands
I don’t even know why
I do the things I do
When pride builds me up till I can’t see my soul
Will you break down these walls and pull me through

Cause it’s a long long journey
Till I feel that I am worth the price
You paid for me on Calvary
Beneath those stormy skies

When Satan mocks and friends turn to foes
It feels like everything is out to make me lose control
Cause it’s a long long journey
Till I find my way home to you
To you

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Was thinking of offering to God my ability to work with MS Visio to come up with charts. Which is a skill of an IT Project Proposal Writer and a Ex Project Manager.

Initially this started out as an innocent assignment to prove to a friend that Joseph did not turn from a slave to the Prime minister of Egypt over night… But slowly, as I was charting it out.. the chart had more and more items added then I realised that its possible to guess the age of Isaac since Isaac was 60 years old before Jacob was born.. I remembered vaguely that it is possible to make an educated guess of Jacobs age when he fled from Canaan to his uncle Laban.

So I started to work back wards based on the fact that Israel went to Egypt at the age of 130 and he died at 147.
If we add 60 years to it, Isaac would have been 190 year old (he died at 180)
Give an estimate of 10 years (7 years of abundance and 3 years of famine before Jacobs food ran out)
We know that Joseph was made the prime minister at the age of 30, and he was sold off to Egypt at the age of 17.

And when I realised its meaningless to chart out Jacobs life without reference to the life of Isaac, I decided to insert the time line fo the 3 patriarchs side by side.
I wanted to insert Abraham’s life, but I feel that the chart will be too wordy and messy if I inserted Abraham’s life timechart is included.

Gradually my curiosity got the better of me and I charted out this entire chart. Then I was thinking.. rather than just presenting the chart a few people, I might as well post it up my blog at the same time.

One of the interesting fact I learnt was that, we tend to imagine Jacob as a scheming young boy when he coveted the birthright and the blessing of Esau.. but the actual fact is, Jacob is already approximately 70 years old when he ran away from home.. technically that makes him a scheming old man..

Jacob never viewed the Lord God as his God, even though he saw the vision at Bethel.. He simply vowed, “If God protected and takes care of me, till I return to Bethel safely, then I would offer up my tithes and build a altar for God”. Even though God watched over him during his stay at Laban’s place,  God was still known as ” God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac”.. God was still not his God, and Jacob was approximately 90 years old when he said that.

When he returned to Canaan he refused to return to Bethel.. and he when he finally got there.. he fulfilled is vow, and build an altar called “El Elohe Israel” (The Lord, God of Israel).. (He should be slightly older than 90 years old by then)…

Bearing in mind he died at 147, we can say that he only walked with God from 90 years old to 147 years old, a total of  57 years,  which is not even half of his life… It was no wonder that when he blessed the Pharaoh, and when the Pharaoh asked for his age, he replied

“The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” (Gen 47:9)

Yet Jacob was well aware that, before he loved God, God has protected and taken care of him all the days of his life. Therefore before he made this beautiful declaration about God while he blessed the sons of Joseph prior to his death.

“May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd
all my life to this day,
the Angel who has delivered me from all harm.
May He bless these boys…” (Gen 48:15-16)

And he died, worshiping God, holding on to his staff till his last breath.

Sometimes when I looked back at my life and wonder, if I can ever recount the number of times God has watched over and protected me in my life. I guess indeed everyone years have been few and difficult. I know that God is watching over me and I know for sure that this God who had been my shepherd all my life, and the Angel who has delivered me from all harm.

May we all learn to count the blessings that God has given us, and hold on to our faith till the end of our lives.

"The timeline of the lives of Isaac, Israel and Joseph"

“The timeline of the lives of Isaac, Israel and Joseph”

Actually this song dated all the way to my schooling days… just that i have been listening to my friends story.. the happenings in her story reminded me of the exact words of this song.

Personally, this song also reminded me how helpless and not in control I am of the situation around me right now… so to a certain extent, i feel like chess piece that has no control over its movement.

I like that metaphor that was used in the song. And during translation, there are a few facts about chinese chess that will help user understand why the lyrics are translated in this manner

1. 将 = The “General or Commander” in the chinese chess set. It is equivalent to the king on international chess, if the general is killed, the player lose the game.

2. 兵 = “the foot soldier” each side in chinese chess has 5 of such foot soldiers, they are equivalent to Pawn, in international chess, except they do not transform if they are in the last row. Most players willingly sacrifice their foot soldiers in order to kill any other pieces with a higher value. They are found in the front line, closest to the river in Chinese chess. A foot soldier like the pawn, are not allowed to retreat backwards. But they are allowed to move left, right or advance once he cross the river. (or Realms)

3. 举手无回 = It is a rule in chinese chess, that if the player takes his hands off the chess piece, it means that the move is final, and they are not allowed to revert their moves anymore. Usually, a player will take longer time if the move involves a piece of higher value (I guess this is the same in chinese or international chess). But players tend not to think too much when moving a pawn or soldier compared to a rook, knight, or chariot.

If a soldier were to pass the river ( the central line indicating  area of control of each commander) he will end up attacking the enemy territory.  A interesting fact is that the central line contains the following words “Chu River, Han Border” Indicating that the chess set is modeled after the Chu-Han Contention, and some people reckon that Chinese chess was invented to prevent further bloodshed between the kings of Chu and Han. Xiang Yu and Liu Bang.

In chess, players will often try to set up snares (or traps) to trick the opponent move his piece to a “designated spot”.. this often led to the death of the oppenents chess piece.  

This song was sang by Faye Wong, and is one of her earlier songs.

Title: 棋子 : Chess
Artist: Faye Wong

(*)
想走出你控制的领域
xiǎng​ zǒu ​chū nǐ kòng ​zhì​ de​ lǐng ​yù​
却走近你安排的战局
què zǒu jìn​ nǐ​ ān​ pái​ de​ zhàn jú​
我没有坚强的防备
wǒ méi ​yǒu jiān ​qiáng de​ fáng ​bèi​
也没有后路可以退
Yě​ méi ​yǒu hòu ​lù​ kě​ yǐ​ tuì

想逃离你布下的陷阱
xiǎng​ táo ​lí​ nǐ bù​ xià de​ xiàn​ jǐng​
却陷入了另一个困境
què xiàn ​rù le​ lìng ​yī gè kùn ​jìng​
我没有决定输赢的勇气
wǒ méi ​yǒu jué​ dìng shū yíng de​ yǒng ​qì​
也没有逃脱的幸运
Yě​ méi ​yǒu táo ​tuō de​ xìng ​yùn​

我像是一颗棋
wǒ xiàng shì yī kē​ qí​
进退任由你决定
jìn ​tuì rèn ​yóu nǐ​ jué ​dìng​
我不是你眼中唯一将领
wǒ bù​ shì​ nǐ yǎn ​zhōng wéi ​yī jiàng​ lǐng​
却是不起眼的小兵
què shì bù​ qǐ ​yǎn de​ xiǎo bīng​

我像是一颗棋子
wǒ xiàng shì yī kē​ qí ​zǐ
​来去全不由自己
lái​ qù​ quán​ bù​ yóu zì​ jǐ​
举手无回你从不曾犹豫
jǔ ​shǒu wú​ huí​ nǐ​ zòng​ bù ​céng yóu ​yù​
我却受控在你手里
wǒ què shòu kòng zài nǐ​ shǒu ​lǐ​

(Repeat * for second stanza)

我像是一颗棋子
wǒ xiàng shì yī kē​ qí ​zǐ
​来去全不由自己
lái​ qù​ quán​ bù​ yóu zì​ jǐ​
举手无回你从不曾犹豫
jǔ ​shǒu wú​ huí​ nǐ​ zòng​ bù ​céng yóu ​yù​
我却受控在你手里
wǒ què shòu kòng zài nǐ​ shǒu ​lǐ​
我却受控在你手里
wǒ què shòu kòng zài nǐ​ shǒu ​lǐ​
我却受控在你手里
wǒ què shòu kòng zài nǐ​ shǒu ​lǐ​

Translation
Wanted to escape from your realm of control,
but entered right into your battle formation
I do not have strong defense,
and without a retreat route for safety.

Wanted to escape that snare laid by you
but found myself in another predicament.
I do not have the courage to decide the outcome of the battle
and am not fortunate to be given a chance of escape.

I am like your chess piece
You decide my advance and retreat.
In your eyes, I am not your only commander,
I’m just an  insignificant soldier.

I am just like a little pawn on your chess board
I have no control of my movement or fate
You never hesitated controlling my movement  even if your orders can never be reverted
Yet i am under the control of you hand.
(Repeat *)

I am just like a little pawn on your chess board
I have no control of my movement or fate
You never hesitated though moves can never be reverted
Yet i am still under the control of you hand.
Yet i am still under the control of you hand.
Yet i am still under the control of you hand.