November 2010

I was in a sharing with a group of friends, we were sharing the fact that the books of the Old testaments were not listed according to chronological order. In fact they were divided into their categories.

1. Pentateuch is the first 5 books of the Old Testament, written by Moses
2. Historical Books are historical records of the Judges, Kings and the rebuilding of temples
3. Wisdom Books are the poetry and saying of the wise
4. Major and Minor prophets are not base on ranks, but base on the length of their books.

So I asked my friends how acquainted they are with old testament history and they told me that their are not too acquainted with it.

So I decided to use my skills as a Ex project manager to use MS Visio to create the following diagram.

The purpose of the diagram is to
1. Teach the 5 categories of Old testament books used by Christians. The Jews uses 3 categories (Lk 24:44), namely “The Law (Torah)” , “The Prophets (Nevim)” and “The Writings (Ketuvim)”. Which is very different from how Christians does it.

2. The provide the time line of the major time period of the Old testament until the birth of Christ

3. Link the old testament bible to the time period on the time line. Which will help readers to understand what the prophets are referring to in their prophecies.

At the same time, I have decided to put in a verse from that period that roughly summarise the entire period.

Pre-Flood Period

This is the period where Adam and Eve sinned, Cain killed Abel. Finally, sin has gotten a huge hold on the people, such that God decided not to strive with man anymore (Gen 6:3).

Sometimes when our world is filled with evilness, we asked ourselves why is God silent? Perhaps this chapter in Genesis that marks the start of the flood should serve as a warning to us.

God is often grieve when man sin, God is so grieve to the stage that he will have to judge that generation for their sins (Gen 6:5-7) That is when he saved Noah, and we moved to Patriarchal period.

Patriarchs Period

The Patriarchal period is mention in Stephens last sermon before he died (Acts 7:1-16). This is the time where God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans to move to the promise land. He allowed the chosen people to enter Egypt where they will became a great nation.

Slavery / Wilderness Period

The forefathers were living a good life in Egypt until a new king rose who did not know Joseph (Ex 1: 8-9). He started to enslave the population, where they called up to God and God raise Moses to deliver them. They travelled in the wilderness for 40 years before reaching Canaan. Ps 78 is a poetic version of this story complete with teachings for us.

Conquest of Canaan

After Moses died, Joshua became the leader of Israel, he helped them with the first conquest Canaan. A lot of their battles were fought with faith, as the tribes in Canaan are technologically more advance than the Israelites. When Joshua was about to die, he said a phrase that is often arched in my mind.

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua (Jos 24:15)

Period of Judges

The period of Judges is the time where the people are not really with a leader. The people started to be contented with their lives and they did not chase the Canaanites from the land. They started to be influenced by that more advance and pagan culture.

When God started to punish the people, they begged God for help and God raises many judges, Gideon, Samson, Deborah, the last of these judges was prophet Samuel, when they wanted a king for themselves

It is a period of lawlessness, as the bible often use this phrase to describe that period.
“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 21:25

The Kingdom Years

The kingdom years started with the first 3 kings of a united Israel, Saul, David and Solomon. When Solomon son Rehoboam answered the people with cruelty, the nations are broken into 2 Kingdom, the kingdom of Israel (10.5 tribes) lead by Jeroboam and the Kingdom of Judah (1.5 tribes) lead by Rehoboam

Jeroboam did not follow Gods instruction to lead the people in his law, and hence the entire Kingdom of Israel is full of idolatries and immorality. They were destroyed by the Assyrians.

The tribe of Judah did not fare any better, the last few kings were very evil, so much so that God has to judge the people by destroying his temple and bringing the good Jews into captivity.

God actually did not want a king to rule over his country. But yet he gave the king to them (Hosea 13:10-11)

I guess God was equally grieved by the peoples request and he decided not to contend with the people for that.

Babylonian Captivity

The Jews spent 70 years in captivity, God prophesied through Jeremiah that he will one day bring them back. (Jer 32:26-44)

Rebuilding Of Temple

When the Babylonian empire ended, King Cyrus of Persia was given Isaiah 45 to read, and he was moved to release the Jewish captives back to Israel. Where they rebuild the temple and the city. Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther all belongs to that period.

God also said that the new temple build by them is more glorious than the previous temple of Solomon, (Hag 2:9)

Alright, heres the diagram for a summary.

Old Testament Time Line and their link with the Bible


Lately in a discussion with friends, there was a sharing about the Battle Of Rephidim written in Exodus 17:8-16. This battle is one of the very first major battle for the Israelites after the came out of Egypt.

In fact, God was avoiding wars for the Israelites so far for a good reason. The people under Moses are mainly people who just started their journey, and they are not trained in the military warfare. There are 2 ways to reach the promise land, one is known as “The Way Of The Philistines” which is a land route along the Mediterranean sea, it is a popular trade route and is protected by many Egyptian forts along the way. The second way is known as “The Way Of The Wilderness” which is taken by shepherds usually.

God did not chose the way of the Philistines as he is worried that the battles would lower the morale of the people and they would turn back to Egypt . (Ex 13:17-18)

Yet this is the first time God allowed war to happen to his beloved, hence it is a very significant battle.

Prelude to the Battle

Although Exodus 17:8 simply mentioned that Amalek was attacking the people of Israel, but Moses speech to the second generation Israelites in Deut 25:17-18, he said that Amalekites were attacking the rear ranks, the stragglers who are tired and weary. Amalekites did not come to fight Israel head on, but choose to kill the weak and the struggling who are at the back.

This is when Moses had to make a very big decision to gather the armies of Israel to defend the people. But being old, Moses was unable to fight the battle at the forefront, this is when he approached Joshua to choose people to fight against the enemies.

Joshua just went on obediently into battle, bearing in mind that the young men of Israel have no formal military training and have no combat experience, while they are fighting against Amalekites who at least knew some basic strategies as they have choose to attacked from the rear.

I would think that to find man to join the battle would have been difficult. Yet Joshua was able to choose people to fight (Ex 17:9) . I tend to imagine this force as a group of volunteers who are moved for their love for the weak and struggling brethrens being attacked by the enemies and they are willing to lay down their lives for their brethrens even if they are in face of a trained enemies.

The Battle Rages

As Joshua and his group of volunteers fought against the Amalekites, Moses, Aaron and Hur went up the hills to pray for the them, we all know the story, when Moses hands dropped, the Amalekites were winning and when Moses hands were lift up, Joshua won.. This is when Aaron and Hur took a stone to support Moses. They held on to Moses hands until Joshua and his volunteers defeated the enemies. (Ex 17:10-13)

The Battle Ends

Through the prayers of Moses, and the volunteers under Joshua, God defeated the enemies. God commanded Moses to write in the Torah to commemorate the battle, and in this battle God judged the Amalekites that he will judge them for their treachery to attack Israel (Ex 17:14). Moses built an altar and called it YHWH Nissi, (The Lord is my banner)

Lessons learnt :

Who are the Amalekites of this day?

This battle is still as relevant to us in the modern days. Amalekites can be liken to satan our adversary, who prowls around seeking for Christians he can devour (1 PeT 5:8). satan loves to attack the Christians who are straggling behind in their walk of faith and are feeling weak. Just like what the Amalekites did.

Joshua and the volunteers

This battle can only be won if there are valiant people who volunteer to fight against the enemies. The Joshua and his volunteers are liken to people who are working hard to strength the church and to serve the people. One of their prime motivators in their services must be the love for the people.

Indeed, the more one were to serve in the ministry to the people, there are many times they will have to work in tears. Lets take a look at some of the comments from the apostles themselves

“Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. ” -Paul ( 2 Cor 12:14-15)

“From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness- besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?” – Paul (2 Cor 11 :24-29)

But Paul keep saying that it is the love of Christ that compel him (2 Cor 5:13-15)

Therefore, let us be armed with the same mind in our daily service

Moses, Aaron and Hur

Moses, Aaron and Hur represent the members in church who had been praying for the work of God to be accomplished, although most of them are unable to be at the forefront fighting the battle, but they are ever willing to intercede to God.

In fact, as the battle is being fought, the church must understand that the battle is not their to fight, but Gods. while all of us are working together with God to accomplish the work. (2 Thess 3:1, 1 Tim 2:1, Eph 6:18)

In fact, Moses prayer would have been an impossible feat, once a preacher gave us a staff and wanted us to live up our hands and see how long we can hold it up into the air. Most of us will find it easy in the beginning and difficult by the 15-20 mins.

There are times where prayers are effective in a group. Just like the many prayers prayed from the church for the apostles (Acts 4:23-31, Acts 12:5-19)

So let us learn to support each other in prayers

Other Notes

This battle is interesting, because later on God finally judged the Amalekites by sending king Saul to destroy them. (1 Sam 15). Saul allowed King Agag of the Amalekites to live..

Although this is not confirmed, many people reckon that Haman in the book of Esther is called a Agaghite, which may indicate that he is an decedent of Agag (Esther 3:1) although it is not specifically mentioned why Haman hated the Jews so much (besides Mordecai pissing him off)

Ironically, Mordecai and Esther are Benjamites, Saul’s tribe..

I hope that through this sharing we can learn more about love and prayer.

Lately I met a friend who made an interesting comment “You cant push the blame when there is no blame to push” I was asking him what happen and he said

They were working on an old server that ran out of disk space.. strangely, when the customer resolve the issue.. they just wanted to say that the problem was clause by unused files on the server.. and suddenly his colleague jumped up claiming.. the files are not his and it belong to a my friend..

So we both think, perhaps in our current world, we are so afraid to be blamed for anything.. that sometimes we seek to push the blamed whenever we can. This is particularly true in a corporate culture where the person who made the error is force to commit seppuku. Under the false reason of accountablity.

Sometimes I wonder, is it really that bad to make a mistakes? Doesn’t mistake allow people to learn and grow? Why then is it that everyone is so afraid of making mistakes? And finally, why do we keep singling out people to take the blame instead of spending time thinking about what lessons we can gather from it?

Theres a Chinese sayings 多做多错, 少做少错, 不做就不错. (duō zuò​ duō​ cuò​,shǎo​ zuò​ shǎo​ cuò​, bù zuò jiù bù ​cuò​ ). Meaning, the more you do something, the more mistakes you makes, the lesser the work, the lesser the mistakes, therefore, no work means no mistakes.

Sometimes corporates likes to fire people who makes mistakes.. and they prefer to keep staff that are flawless and makes no mistakes.. Perhaps they may be keeping the wrong man and firing the people that are working.

OK.. lets enjoy this song. I dedicate this to my friends colleague

Title: Sorry, Blame It On Me
Songwriters: Sparks, Clinton; Thiam, Aliaune;
Artist: Akon

As life goes on I’m starting to learn more and more about responsibility
And I realize everything I do is affecting the people around me
So I want to take this time out to apologize for things that I’ve done
And things that haven’t occurred yet
And things that they don’t want to take responsibility for

I’m sorry for the times that I left you home
I was on the road and you were alone
I’m sorry for the times that I had to go
I’m sorry for the fact that I did not know

That you were sitting home just wishing we
Could go back to when it was just you and me
I’m sorry for the times I would neglect
I’m sorry for the times I disrespect

I’m sorry for the wrong things that I’ve done
I’m sorry I’m not always there for my sons
I’m sorry for the fact that I am not aware
That you can’t sleep at night when I am not there

Because I’m in the streets like every day
I’m sorry for the things that I did not say
Like how you are the best thing in my world
And how I am so proud to call you my girl

I understand that there are some problems
And I am not too blind to know
All the pain you kept inside you
Even though you might not show

If I can’t apologize for being wrong
Then it’s just a shame on me
I’ll be the reason for your pain
And you can put the blame on me

You can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me

Said you can put the blame on me
Said you can put the blame on me
Said you can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me

I’m sorry for the things that he put you through
And all the times you didn’t know what to do
I’m sorry that you had to go and sell those bags
Just trying to stay busy till you heard from dad

When you would rather be home with all your kids
As one big family with love and bliss
And even though pops treated us like kings
He got a second wife and you didn’t agree

He got up and left you there all alone
I’m sorry that you had to do it on your own
I’m sorry that I went and added to your grief
I’m sorry that your son was once a thief

I’m sorry that I grew up way too fast
I wish I would’ve listened and not be so bad
I’m sorry that your life turned out this way
I’m sorry that the Feds came and took me away

I understand that there are some problems
And I am not too blind to know
All the pain you kept inside you
Even though you might not show

If I can’t apologize for being wrong
Then it’s just a shame on me
I’ll be the reason for your pain
And you can put the blame on me

You can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me

Said you can put the blame on me
Said you can put the blame on me
Said you can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me

I’m sorry that it took so long to see
They were dead wrong trying to put it on me
I’m sorry that it took so long to speak
But I was on tour with Gwen Stefani

I’m sorry for the hand that she was dealt
For the embarrassment that she felt
Just a little young girl trying to have fun
Her daddy shouldn’t never let her out that young

I’m sorry for Club Zen getting shut down
I hope they manage better next time around
How was I to know she was underage?
In a 21 and older club they say

Why doesn’t anybody wanna take blame?
Verizon backed out disgracing my name
I’m just a singer trying to entertain
Because I love my fans I’ll take that blame

Even though the blame’s on you
Even though the blame’s on you
Even though the blame’s on you
I’ll take that blame from you

And you can put that blame on me
And you can put that blame on me
You can put that blame on me
And you can put that blame on me

And you can put that blame on me
And you can put that blame on me