July 2011


So Far In this Series we have finished talking about Individual warriors. We now move to the groups. Part 1-6 are dedicated to the individual warriors and Part 7 is used to talk about the warriors of the tribe of Benjamin

Part 6: The Warriors By The Well Of Bethlehem
Part 7: The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Benjamin

1. The Warriors From The Tribe Of Gad

1 Chron 12:8 talks about Gadites, they are strong people who knows how to defend themselves, they are skilled with shield and spears, they can block fiery darts and arrows from the enemies. In war, the ability to defend is just as important as the abilities to attack.

Besides being able to attack and defend themselves. These warriors have 2 special characteristics, they have the face of lion and legs like Gazelles.

As there are many lessons to be learnt from the Gadites, I would discuss them over 2 parts.

1.1. Armed with Shields and Spears

The Gadites are special soldiers, they are armed with shields and spears, making them the most defencive units in the army of David.

In the battles of the ancient and medival times soldiers armed with shields and spears/polearms are often grouped to form shield columns that defend archers and other infantry units against cavalry charges and the arrows from the archers. The Ancient Greek  have Hoplites  and The Medieval Pike men are examples of such units.

When the enemies rain arrows upon the armies of David, these Gadites must go forward and defend against the arrows. They are responsible for the safety of their fellow brothers, by attacking with their spears and defending them with their shields.

Today, in the army of Christ, we need Gadites, people who could defend as well as to attack. Just like the descriptions in Eph 6:16. The shields use by modern soldiers of Christ is none other than faith. Without it, we will be unable to escape from the fiery darts of the devil. It is interesting how the bible uses fiery darts as the description of the attacks from the devils.

In Ancient Warfare, archers are armed with burning arrows. . Fire plays a significant role in ancient warfare. They are often use in naval warfares to set fire on enemies ships (such as the famous Battle of Red Cliffs) and they are also used to burn the supplies store as well as the enemy encampments (such as the Battle of Xiaoting/Yiling)

While a typical arrow could be stopped by shield bearers but the purpose of the a fiery dart is not to kill. Its devastating effect lies in the fact that it could spread fire alongside the dart. If a camp where to be set ablaze by the darts, its defenders will have nowhere to run. Hence the devils loves to use fiery darts, he targets the church as the whole, and he wants the fire to affect all those around him.

 

1.2 The Lessons From The Church In The Wilderness

A fine example of the “fiery dart attack” from the devil is found in the pages of the book of numbers. It talks about the the Israelites who have left Egypt with Moses, they spend 40 years in the wilderness, seen the 10 plagues, the dividing of the red sea. They ate manna and drink from the rock that brought forth waters. Yet they were all “shot and killed” in the wilderness. Just as it was written

“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” – Author of Hebrews (Heb 3:19)

At the same time, let us read an exhortation from the same author

“Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of yoube hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” – Author of Hebrews (Heb 3:13-14 )

1.3 The Shield Of Faith

The only way to defend from the fiery darts is to have faith. Only faith can help us endure all the way to the end. The church in the wilderness failed because they lost their faith. (Heb 3:16-19). What about us today in church? Do we still have faith? There are many types of faith in this world, there are people who did not come to church but yet still believe that Jesus will come to judge the world. But is that a correct faith? Will this faith help a person to persevere in the words of God, and allow him to worship God.

Sometimes when these people were entangled by sin, the world overcome them. That is a faith that even satan has. satan believes in Jesus, he knew of the impending judgement that he is facing, but yet he did not use his faith to worship or submit to God. He does not even repent and follow God. Such faith can never save, nor can it deliver one from the snares of the world.

We need to have the right faith, that initial and pure faith base on the gospel preached by the Apostles. They cover a wide area, how to believe, how to repent, how to be baptized and received the Holy Spirit. How to have a Christian walk, how to pastor the flock of God. Do we still remember them? Do we still believe in the words we have learnt since the beginning.

1.4 A Complete Faith Requires Complete Obedience

While there are churches who follows complete instructions of the Lord by emphasizing on teachings of Baptism for the forgiveness of sin, they even studied the scriptures and talk about the correct method to conduct baptism.

But there are Christians who questioned “You may have used the right mode of baptism, but without faith, it cannot save. Therefore  faith and repentence  is more important.  If I were to have faith and repentance, it really doesn’t matter if I have received baptism using   the correct mode.

Though it sounds very reasonable, but is that what the bible teaches?  Did the bible say by having repentence and faith one does not need to go through baptism? Did the bible says that you only need to follow the instructions without faith and repentance?

There is a need to be obedient to the command of God written in the bible, especially if it pertains to the remission of sin and pertain to salvation. for example, if the bible says that one must believe and be baptized to be save (Mk 16:16) it is necessary one to have faith in the words of the bible and to do it.

Not having faith nor repentance if at the point of baptism is really the personal failure of the individual.  We cannot disregard the command of the Lord just because just because that there are individuals who refused to have faith.

However, there are many Christians who emphasize so much on faith and the awesomeness of God until they void many instructions given by Jesus. They claimed that that baptism, holy communion is not important. They compared themselves often and make comments such as they are extremely full of the power of the spirit and they are not like us who weep so often in our prayers.  Their church services is full of Hallelujahs and Amens,  unlike us who listen to sermons till we fall asleep and drop our bibles.

Hence they down play the focus of the scripture and up play the electrifying atmosphere.  This resulted to many  Christan who  no longer pursue the teaching and faith prescribed in the bible.

Will we now be able to hold fast in the confidence preached in the early days of the church? In those days  Paul and Peter are still there, the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven not too long ago. But at this point of time  many of the mordern churches have to thrown away doctrines and disregarded the instructions of the Lord.

Worst still they accuse churches that preaches the doctrine and the instructions of the Lord as practicing asceticism. Some of them pass comments that churches who follow the word for word instruction of God are  “not knowing the awesomeness and denying the power of God”,  “Having a dead faith”, “Blindly following the words of the bible and not God”.

1.5 At The End Of The Day

This is precisely the reason why the author of Hebrews remind everyone to hold on to that confidence in the words of the Lord. Only by becoming  partakers of Christ, can we withstand the fiery darts of the devil.  If we do not have a correct faith, we will be shot, and that fire will not just affect you, but those around you. The greater the fire, the greater the destruction, only truth can save a man, if we doubt it, deviate, or preach beyond it, how can we establish the church of God. Can such a church still save? Let us learn to ask God for help

In that battle, we need soldiers that could operate weapons like the Benjamites, who can hurl stones and shoot with both hands, but the Benjaminites are not like the Gadites, who could handle the shield. They are unable to withstand the fiery darts. They can be shot, and the fire affecting others. Therefore they will need others who could hold on to the shield of faith, to assist and encourage, and to help them move forward in battle.

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I was listening to a friend talking about this in his sharing, he said that he likes it because he seems to be working afar for years.

As this is nearing the first year of me working in a foreign land, suddenly the lyrics of this song seems just as meaningful to me.

Its a Oldie that comes around the 80s, I believe its first writer is Chyi Qin and it was sung by his sister Chyi Yu. It was later sang by many singers such as Stephanie Sun.

Title: 橄榄树
Lyrics: Chyi Qin
Artist: Chyi Yu, Stephanie Sun

不要问我从哪里来
bù ​yào wèn wǒ cóng​ nǎ ​lǐ lái​
我的故乡在远方
wǒ dí​ gù​ xiāng zài yuǎn ​fāng
为什么流浪
wèi ​shén ​me​ liú​ làng
流浪远方流浪
​liú​ làng​ yuǎn ​fāng liú ​làng

​为了天空飞翔的小鸟
wèi ​le tiān ​kōng fēi ​xiáng​ dí​​ xiǎo​ niǎo
为了山间清流的小溪
wèi ​le shān jiān​ Qīng ​liú dí​ xiǎo ​xī​
为了宽阔的草原
wèi ​le kuān ​kuò dí​ cǎo ​yuán​
流浪远方流浪
liú​ làng​ yuǎn ​fāng liú ​làng​

​还有还有
hái ​yǒu hái ​yǒu
为了梦中的橄榄树
wèi ​le mèng ​zhōng dí gǎn ​lǎn ​shù​
橄榄树
gǎn​ lǎn ​shù

不要问我从哪里来
bù ​yào wèn wǒ cóng​ nǎ ​lǐ lái
我的故乡在远方
wǒ dí​ gù​ xiāng zài yuǎn ​fāng​
为什么流浪
wèi ​shén ​me​ liú​ làng
为什么流浪远方
liú​ làng​ yuǎn ​fāng liú ​làng
为了梦中的橄榄树
wèi ​le mèng ​zhōng dí gǎn ​lǎn ​shù

Translation

Title: The Olive Tree

Do not ask me where did i come from?
For my hometown is faraway from here.
Why am I wandering here?
Wandering far, wandering still.

For those little birds that are flying in the air
For those clear streams between the mountains.
For those wide and spacious grassland
Wandering far, wandering still.

But there is more
For that olive tree from my dream,
the olive tree

Do not ask me where did i come from?
For my hometown is faraway from here.
Why am I wandering?
Why am I wandering a far off.
Wandering for that olive tree in my dream

I was watching some video about 7 laws of effective Christian lives. They are talking about returning to the basics of worship and the fact that a Christian life begins by learning to worship, before learning to service. And the fact that many a times, Christians spent much time serving that they forgot whom they are worshipping.

There are also cases where congregations lost their focus in the purpose of Worship and focus too much on the cool looking rock bands and state of the art equipments.

There was once a mega-church that boast of its state of the art equipments and great atmosphere. Sometimes it makes me wonder have Christians forgotten the reason why they gather together for worship.

Let us take a look at what the early church did in their church service.
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the
breaking of bread, and in prayers

Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done
through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all
things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided
them among all, as anyone had need. ” -Luke The Physician (Acts 2:42-45)

The basis of Christian worships involves
1. Learning and practising the teachings of the Apostles
2. Having Holy Communion, remembering the Lords Death (Breaking
of Bread)
3. Praying (Making supplications before God)
4. Ministering to each others need (sharing all things in common)

At that time, the early church believes that Jesus is returning very early, (perhaps even before the death of Apostle John (John 21:23). Therefore, they genuinely thinks that their worldly possessions is worthless and they would devote themselves in fellowship.

Most likely the practise may have been stopped when the church was persecuted and the disciples have to be on the run. But the bible was silent about it. The last record of the apostles sharing all things in common is found in Acts 4:32-37

But this church in acts serves as a model for all churches to follow. Therefore to worship God involves

1. Understanding the truth and practising it
2. Having Holy Communion to proclaim the Lords death
3. Praying for the will of God to be done
4. Taking care of fellow members.

But it is sad that sometimes as technology progresses, the church seems to place so much emphasis on its equipments and generating of a electrifying atmosphere that they seems to lose the main object of Worship.

In the end times, the church is still doing the same work like in the days of Old.

” After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no
one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing
before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with
palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living
creatures, and fell on their faces before the
throne and worshiped God, ” – John (Rev 7:9-11)

Therefore let us not forget that the primary focus of a Christian life is a life of worship.

In that recording, the speaker quoted the example of a Church in England who over the years struggled to find meaning in their ministry.

that is when the Leader decide to put away the sound systems and bands, just using voices in their service. And it was in that period he wrote the lyrics of this hymn that I am sharing.

God is constantly looking at our hearts to see if we know the heart of worship. So let us learn from the example of the church of the apostles. Let us learn to go back to his words, and to focus our worship on God. Let us consider carefully who we are worshipping whenever we come to the house of the Lord.

Title: The Heart Of Worship
Lyrics : Matt Redman

Verse 1:
When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart

Bridge:
I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus:
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus

Verse 2:
King of endless worth
No one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is Yours
Every single breath

Bridge:
I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus:
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus

Chorus:
I’m coming back to the heart of worship,
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
Verse 1:
When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart

Bridge:
I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus:
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus

Verse 2:
King of endless worth
No one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is Yours
Every single breath

Bridge:
I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus:
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus

Chorus:
I’m coming back to the heart of worship,
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus