August 2011

So Far we had describe all the individual warriors of David to part 6

Part 6: The Warriors By The Well Of Bethlehem
Part 7: The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Benjamin
Part 8 & Part 9 : The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Gad

Now we would talk about warriors from the tribe of Benjamin, Judah and Manasseh.

1 Chron 12:16-18 talks about a group of warriors from Judah and Benjamin
1 Chron 12::19-22: talks about a group of warriors from Manasseh

Interestingly, the warriors of Judah and Benjamin were actually soldiers who used to be serving King Saul. David had the courage to include them into his army. From that incident we can see the importance of trust and truthfulness.

While David trusts the men who had deflected from King Saul, you will notice that the Lords Of The Philistines do not share the same trust, it can be seen in their treatment of the Warriors from the Tribe of Manasseh (1 Chron 12:19-22).

In that incident, David was marching with the Philistines Lord to battle against King Saul, but they did not allow these warriors to join in as they are worried that they would “betray them to King Saul”.

Anyone who had understood that war is deceit can relate to why one should not trust defected enemies and enlist them in warfare. Yet King David had the courage to enlist them. It makes one wonder why David had the courage to trust.

The key to unlock the reason behind David’s actions lies in the understanding of how he handles doubt.

1. The Honest Doubt

1 Chron 12:16-18: There are warriors from the tribe of Benjamin and Judah who join David, they were soldiers who serve under King Saul. While they came to seek David, it was no wonder that David was suspicious. He must have many questions in his mind such as “Are you willing to help me? Are you a spy?” David life is filled with betrayals by the people he trusts. Many of these men appear to be loyal to him, able to understand the will of God. Yet they betrayed him all the same.

The suspicions of David are honest and we must learn to doubt at times. David has a valid reason to question the loyalty of his men, especially when they appear as if they have just betrayed their formal master King Saul. David is unsure if their spirits are right before God.

Elder John once spoke to the church in his letter

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God” – Elder John (1 John 4:1)

However this does not mean that we are not to believe any spirit. But it is reminding us to be careful, not to believe easily. In an event of a doubt, we should learn to question. We doubt not because of unbelief but because we want to believe fully. Is that spirit really from God? If it’s true, I will believe, if not I will not believe it.

This is an example of a honest doubt, arising from a truthful man.

However there is one type of doubt that is undesirable, it happens when we choose to suspect the individual with no intention to dispel the suspicions. We refuse to belief even if the other party is truthful to us because we have already concluded he is guilty. Yet on the surface we pretend that we trust him and assure him that everything is going to be alright.

People who practise this type of doubt are hypocrites and will never be sincere to the people around him.

David treats every warrior with sincerity. He airs his doubts openly and not keeps them in his heart.

2. How David Handles The Doubt

Everyone have the right to doubt and be skeptical. But the differentiating factor between sincere people who doubts verses one who is a hypocrite lies on the fact that the formal would not keep his suspicions to himself. He will probably speak like this, “I am suspicious of your actions can you explain to me why you did this or that? I am suspicious of you because I was wondering how the events could turn up this way.”

David is one who express his doubts openly, but there are times when hate such honestly. For example we get angry whenever someone raises their doubt, and we may remark “Do you doubt my integrity? Am I a dishonest person? Do you doubt my character?”

But I believe that if we are not guilty of the charge, we will be happy to explain ourselves, clearing the party mind of doubts. By so doing, we can prove our innocence and win the trust of the other party.

Therefore, we must learn to admire and appreciate people who are genuinely suspicious. They are truthful and are not hypocrites. They will not say “I trust you” yet doubts in their mind.

Let us emulate David’s method of resolving suspicions. Once the doubt is cleared, he trusts the man fully, and gave assignment to them. If we continue our suspicions against our coworkers, we would constantly be on guard against them, thus allowing ourselves to suffer.

There are times when we observe the “body language” of others in doubt. Sometimes we try to analyse our observation by asking questions such as “Why did he turn his head and walk away?”, “If he is not guilty, why did he look away?” or “Why is he talking to me with “Slanting Eyes”? Is he looking down at me?”. This usually make us doubful and distrusts others

best way is to talk to him and ask him directly. Perhaps he may be surprised that his reply may be “I did not notice that, sorry if it offended you.”

Therefore my friends, let us not do things in dark and doubt in secret, let us learn to treat people with sincerity and honestly

3. The Basis For Honestly And Sincerity

As we are reading this, sometimes we will wonder, how is it possible for David to maintain his honestly and sincerity to his men. This secret could be understood if we look at his response to the warriors from Saul.

“If you have come peaceably to me to help me, my heart will be united with you; but if to betray me to my enemies, since there is no wrong in my hands, may the God of our fathers look and bring judgement.” – David (1 Chron 12:16)

The Basis for honesty and sincerity is God. David maintains his honestly and sincerity based on the fact that God is watching and judging over them.

David once wrote

“Vindicate me, O LORD,
For I have walked in my integrity.
I have also trusted in the LORD;
I shall not slip.
Examine me, O LORD, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.
I have not sat with idolatrous mortals,
Nor will I go in with hypocrites.
have hated the assembly of evildoers,
And will not sit with the wicked.
I will wash my hands in innocence;
So I will go about Your altar, O LORD,”-David (Ps 26:1-6)

There are some who reckons that if David holds on to reverence to God, he would be incapable of showing deceitfulness. But let us take a step back and ask ourselves “is it possible for him to become a deceitful and scheming snake?”

In fact David is capable of being deceitful and scheming. If he were to turn his scheming mode on, he can enter a state of hypocrisy that no one can ever tear his facade apart. In fact David demonstrated his deceitfulness once in his life. It became so bad that God has to tear up the facade by sending Prophet Nathan to speak on his behalf.

When Nathan told him the parable of the poor man and his sheep, Nathan just replied plainly, “You are the man”. David knew that it is not because Nathan is intensely brave but rather it was the judgement of God. He had been truthful all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittte and Bathsheba

But then it would be unfair to now brand David as a evil person, only God knows. Moreover, God was willing to forgive him, for most of his life, he had feared God and is just. Therefore as Christian soldier of Christ we must make sure that we must follow God, most and if possible, all the days of our lives.

4. The Warriors Response

There are times we wonder how can we prove our truthfulness? Is there a need to cut our hearts open or to make a oath? Actually the Warriors of David did not do that. Amasai who was their leader simply replied

We are yours, O David;
We are on your side, O son of Jesse!
Peace, peace to you,
And peace to your helpers!
For your God helps you.” – Amasai (1 Chron 12:18)

In fact he is telling David, “We are like you, we serve God, we are not disloyal to Saul, and we did not leave Saul because he had mistreated us. Indeed if we could betray our former master, we could betray you as well, but we joined because we knew that you are Gods anointed.”

The warriors of David joined David according to the word of the Lord, Their true master is God himself. They came to David because they fear the Lord. David knew that God is the judge between the men and him should they deal with him treacherously. David knew that God will judge each man according to his actions. Therefore David is able to set his mind at ease

We know that the warriors of David joined David according to the will of God. The Lord is their true master. God is the judge between David and his followers, it assures David. It is easy for David to believe because they all worshipped the same God.

We can see here that these warriors did not make a oath or use the name of God as a testimony to their loyalty.

5. Using The Name Of God As Assurance

Sometimes it makes us wonder, is there a need to “swear to God” or use the name of God to be a surety for our words? But on the hind side, what type of assurance will it bring? While we are people who will not dare to use the name of God in vain.

That will not stop others from invoking the name of God and cheats, because he does not believe that he exists. These people make use of Godliness as a method of gain.

If Christians were to swear an oath in the name of God and cheats, will God forgive such treachery?

Let us read what God has spoken through Zechariah the Prophet

“These are the things you shall do:
Speak each man the truth to his neighbour;
Give judgement in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;
Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbour;
And do not love a false oath.
For all these are things that I hate,’
Says the LORD.” – Zechariah (Zech 8:16-17)

From the words of the prophets, it seems that we should be truthful to our neighbour. Does that mean we can be dishonest to others? Especially if they are non Christians?

We have to understand that non Christians are still the children of God even though they they do not know God. Therefore we must always be truthful and sincere in whatever we do.

In those days, the Israelites brings their dispute and trades at the gates of their cities. Therefore here the prophet told the people to give judgements in the gates. and God requires them to judge by truth and justice. If we were to malign others and pretend that we are innocent, God will know, and that will be a testimony against us.

Therefore let us not make an oath hastily using the name of God , let our yes be yes and our no be no. There is no need to swear to increase our credibility. It is up to the individual to choose to believe. But if we were to swear in the name of God and cheat, we would be adding sin onto sin.

Let us learn to be truth and take responsibility for our words and actions. If we have indeed lost some credibility at times, we could slowly earn them back, without losing our grace in God. However if we are dishonest but yet refuse to step down and admit defeat, on the contrary we lie and make and oath to run away, we would have more to lose, we would lose our integrity as well as the blessing of God.

Like what Zechariah said, these are things that God hate, therefore we must be truthful in our lives. Just like the warriors of Benjamin and Judah, the bible did not talk about their skills of wars, but they bear testimony that they are moved by God and are willing help David.

A truthful heart way surpasses many techniques of war. God wanted his servants to be without Guile. Just like what Jesus said about Nathaniel

“Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” – Jesus (Jn 1:47)

May we one day receive the same praise from the Lord

Hmm actually this song was taught to me by my primary school teacher.. Later on in life when I was working overseas far away from home. I just started to feel so much for the lyrics.

This was an American folk song that was made popular during the 1960s folk revival. I understand that it was first sang by a group known as “The Journey Men” and it was also translated to French and it was titled “J’entends siffler le train” and was sang by a singer called Richard

Since then it was sang by many folk and country music groups as well as the famous Elvis Presley.

This song was known by other names such as “500 Miles Away From Home” and “Railroaders’ Lament”

Personally I felt very much for the lyrics now especially because now i am more than 500 miles away from home 500 miles is simply an understatement in fact I am 781 miles away from home (* according to . But I certainly hope i won’t be like the traveller in this song, who is far from home, penniless and too ashamed to return home.

I was very tempted to put the originals by the Kingston Trio or Journey Men, but I find the version sang with Elvis Presley closer to the tune I heard when I was a kid. So I decided to use that version.

Title: Five Hundred Miles
Composer :Hedy West
Artist:: Various
Featured: 500 Miles (In A Private Moment) By Elvis Presley

If you miss the train I’m on, you will know that I am gone
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles,
A hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles,
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.

Lord I’m one, Lord I’m two, Lord I’m three, Lord I’m four,
Lord I’m five hundred miles away from home..
Away from home, away from home, away from home, away from home
Lord I’m five hundred miles away from home.

Not a shirt on my back, not a penny to my name
Lord I can’t go back home this a-way
This a-away, this a-way, this a-way, this a-way,
Lord I can’t go back-home this a-way.

If you miss the train I’m on you will know that I am gone
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.
A hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles,
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.

This song was a song that existed around the time when I was in the army. At least a good 8-9 years ago. The days of working in the army camp, churning roll call sheets, syndicates classes, helping to prepare texts books are boring but at least life is more straightforward then.

Recently there was a friend of mine who encountered a very interesting proposition which reads “I do not wish to correspond with you but that doesn’t mean we are not friends.” the notion of that really perplex me. Perhaps his friend can enlighten me how to be “friends that do not correspond”. That proposition itself is a paradox. Runs in the same line as “Let’s go for swim and not get wet”.

I can only say that my friend must be seen as worthless before his friend. Perhaps that’s a very friendly way to say “Please leave me alone, i have found someone else more interesting than you”

Its ironic to see how people use various methods to reject a person, “Please understand that I am still recovering from a broken relationship”. “Lets build a friendship first”. They expect a friendship to developed without talking and corresponding.. isn’t that just plain rejection?

The most ironic part is. while that individual is in the process of “recovering from a broken relationship”, that individual started a new relationship in less than 2 months. That individual went missing in action for 2 months, until my friend out of concern, wrote a simple “How are you?” message. Yet that individual had the cheek to tell my friend “Please be understanding”. While my friend have been nice, forbearing and kind, have that individual ever spare a thought for him? Have that individual gave my friend the respect he ought to have as a human? Yet that individual expect my friend to be “even more understanding”. Is that fair for my friend?

Sometimes i wish they would have just told my friend plainly that “You are not good enough for me” or “Sorry, I am not interested” or even “You cannot make it! I am not interested! Leave me alone! I got someone else better to be with now!”. I am sure he would prefer a short momentary pain compared to a paradoxical propositions that insult his intelligence.

This song is dedicated to my friends from the Warrant Officer School as well as those poor souls whom other deems as “Not good enough for me”. May there be a day where people will appreciate them . May there be a day where people stop acting with hypocrisy and just speak their mind.

Title: Sk8er Boy
Songwriters: Scott Spock;Lauren Christy;Graham Edwards;Avril Ramona Lavigne
Peformed By : Avril Lavigne

He was a boy, she was a girl
Can I make it anymore obvious?

He was a punk, she did ballet
What more can I say?

He wanted her, she’d never tell but
Secretly she wanted him as well.

But all of her friends stuck up their nose
They had a problem with his baggy clothes.

He was a skater boy, she said see ya later boy
He wasn’t good enough for her
She had a pretty face, but her head was up in space
She needed to come back down to earth.

Five years from now, she sits at home
Feeding the baby
She’s all alone

She turns on TV
Guess who she sees
Skater boy rockin’ up MTV.

She calls up her friends, they already know
And they’ve all got tickets to see his show

She tags along and stands in the crowd
Looks up at the man that she turned down.

He was a skater boy, she said see ya later boy
He wasn’t good enough for her
Now he’s a superstar
Slamin’ on his guitar
Does your pretty face see what he’s worth?

He was a skater boy, she said see ya later boy
He wasn’t good enough for her
Now he’s a superstar
Slamin’ on his guitar
Does your pretty face see what he’s worth?

Sorry girl but you missed out
Well tough luck that boys mine now

We are more than just good friends
This is how the story ends

Too bad that you couldn’t see
See the man that boy could be

There is more than meets the eye
I see the soul that is inside

He’s just a boy, and I’m just a girl
Can I make it anymore obvious?

We are in love, haven’t you heard
How we rock each others world

I’m with the skater boy, I said see ya later boy
I’ll be back stage after the show
I’ll be at a studio
Singing the song we wrote
About a girl you used to know!

I’m with the skater boy, I said see ya later boy
I’ll be back stage after the show
I’ll be at a studio
Singing the song we wrote
About a girl you used to know!

To the many that are wondering what happened to the poor guy writing this blog.. He is stuck with a bad and tough project and can barely find time to even sleep effectively.

Moreover, Zoundry Raven had been giving him alot of problem tidying up his blog post. So do ignore the mess as he needs to fix the formatting issues slowly.

So far we have been looking at the various groups of Warriors, Part 6 marks the last of the individuals. Now we are talking about the armies of the various tribes that had joined David when he was still a fugitive running away from King Saul.

Part 6: The Warriors By The Well Of Bethlehem
Part 7: The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Benjamin
Part 8: The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Gad (Part 1)

This is the second part about the Gadites Warriors. They have 2 distinct characteristics. Which are.

1. They have the faces like Lions
2. They are as swift as the Gazelles

1. Faces Of Lions

Lions have always been a symbol of courage and firmness. They are unafraid and do not waver in the face of the their enemies. The bible recorded 2 interesting facts about the warriors of Gad

A. 1 Chron 12:14: They are captains of the army, least over 100 man and the greatest over 1000

These men are officers in the camp of David. Military officers in the past are very different from their modern counterparts. In modern warfare, the high ranking officers are at the back office directing the operations. However Officers in ancient warfares are in the battle front , leading the armies. When they charge, his soldiers follows and when they retreat, his soldiers will withdraw from battle.

In order to take on the role of a captain, these men must be more courageous than their men. Without it, he will never be able to command respect among his ranks.

B. 1 Chron 12:15: They crossed over river Jordan as it is flooded, made a surprise attack scattering their enemies to the valleys, the east and the west.

The enemy did not expect the warriors to cross the Jordan when its high tide. The reason behind that was because the Jordan river is one of the fastest flowing river. Its flowing could easily swept the people off their feet.

There are some who may mistook their bravery as recklessness. But I feel that these men were not on a suicide mission, they are well aware of the difficulties and the dangers in their operation and have made their plans base on careful strategies.

If one were to serve God out of recklessness, such recklessness often lead to many issues within the church. Therefore it is important for us to understand how the bibles define courage.

1.1 The Courage of Timothy and the Encouragement from Paul.

The correct form of courage is one that relies on God. There will be times when we encounter difficulties in our service to the Lord, we need to remind ourselves that God is always willing to help if we were to rely on him. We must face our difficulties with such a faith.

Paul once told Timothy

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, ” – Paul (2 Tim 1:7-8)

Timothy was a young soldier for Christ, he felt discouraged in his battle of faith. He had good reason to feel so, his beloved teacher is being imprisoned. Judging from the situation, he can be certain that Paul will not be released.

At the same time within the church, Timothy is facing persecutions from his enemies, there are some who make fun of his teacher saying “Even God refused to help him.”. If we were to be in his shoes, we would have difficulty to maintain our faith as well as our resolve to serve God. Therefore Paul finds it necessary to write to Timothy, encouraging him to be brave and to continue preaching.

1.2 Having Faith And The Right Perspective

As we have faith to believe that God can free Paul just like what he did to Peter in Acts 12. But at the same time we must also remember that the bible already said that “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)

In order to accomplish the will of God we must be patient and persevere. There being silent and patiently waiting could also serves as a good testimony before others, and we should always have confidence in God

Having courage is not just about charging forward into battle, but its also about perseverance and holding on to the promise of God.

1.3 Drawing Strength From Prayers

Besides drawing encouragement from the words of God, prayers are also necessary. In Eph 3:16-17, Paul prayed to the Holy Spirit to strengthen the believers. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead us to the truth and to accept them whole heartedly. But This would be pointless if we lack the courage to keep the words of God

In the midst of trials and temptation, it is important for us to receive Gods words into our heart, but its even more important for us to persevere in keeping the word. While the church can help Christians by reminding the congregation through sermons and exhortation, Prayers is something only the individuals can do. We need to pray and to ask the God to strengthen our faith, only by so doing can our faith and our reliance on God be rooted and grounded.

1.3.1 Effective Prayers

We have all read from the Scriptures that Jesus intercedes for all the believers.

While it is possible for us to remind ourselves by reading the bible and attending church services. But prayers is something that requires our own effort. We have to pray and ask God to strengthen us, only then can our faith and our trust in God be rooted and grounded.

We often read of Jesus siting and the right hands of God praying for all of us (Rom 8:34) But sometimes we cant help thinking “If Jesus is praying for me, why am I feeling so weak?”

Sometimes we even doubt to the extent where we feel that the prayers of Jesus is ineffective. But that is a wrong perspective. Jesus is always praying for us, so that our faith be strengthened, but vice versa, we must ask God to give us strength and comfort. We need to tell Jesus our sorrows, our problem and our pains, only by so doing can we receive strength and comfort.

The church can intercede for you, but they cannot pray on your behalf. Even Jesus cant do that, because Prayers is an effort on our side. Only with our prayers and the Lord mediating for us, can our inner man be strengthened. We need to tell Jesus all our sorrows, problems and pain. We need to talk to God direct. We need to believe that Prayers is not a ritual. If we do not change our mentality, our prayers will not be effective even if we have been praying about it for more than 10 years.

1.3.2 Overcoming The Doubts When Praying

I believed we all experienced this while we are on the phone. There are times when we ask the party “Are you still there?” Especially when we do not hear a response. I am sure while we are praying, we would like to ask God the same question. When we are at the low time of our faith, we may feel that we are talking to a brick wall and not to God.

In times like this, we have to constantly remind ourselves that we are not talking to thin air. Such understanding can only be built if we ground our faith with the right knowledge from the scriptures

We must continue to trust that God will not abandon us or stop listening to our prayers. We must not deceive ourselves by imagining a Jesus sitting in front of us when we pray. We need to have the faith to go near him, to be able to tell yourself confidently, “I know my Savior lives, he is right in front of me and he lives within my heart”. Only then can we truly draw strength and comfort in prayers.

2. Being swift as Gazelles

Gazelles are swift creatures, they are active , lively and with hope. They run with a passion when contrasting with an old ox pulling the carts. There are times we are assigned with church work that we do not like, sometimes we can’t help feeling helpless, filled with bitterness and losing every tint of joy and hope within us. Sometimes we drag ourselves saying “It doesn’t matter, I am doing this only because it is a commission given by the Lord” .

The saddening part is the very fact that we followed the same attitude when we serve in Religious education classes and when we speak sermons. Though we are moving forward, we look more like an old ox pulling the cart.

I would very much like to “trick” all of you to believe that work given by God is simple and easy. But honestly, there are times when we find it hard and heart wrenching. Especially if we see the current situation within the church. It is inevitable that we will start to feel the strain especially when we see no results in our labour.

2.1 The Performance Appraisal From God

While modern corporates like to ask questions like , ” What have you done? Are there any quantifiable results?”. We talked alot about meritocracy and quantifiable results.

We must realised that God does not do performance appraisal based on such methods. On the contrary, he asks questions such as “Have you put in effort in the work I have assigned to you?”

God is not looking at what we produced but he is checking if we have done the work according to his instructions. We will be in the wrong if we did not do the work, but if we have done it and there was no results, its perfectly alright.

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” – Paul (1 Cor 3:6)

Our job is to sow and water, it is Gods effort to make the seeds grow.

2.2 Overcoming The Lack Of Talent

While we often say that we do not have the gift to speak to skeptics and difficult people. We could always preach the words of God to children. We may not have the gifts of children ministry, but I am sure we would not fear when talking to them.

Let us learn to preach to the people around us, God only want to see the effort from his children. If God has indeed grant us a special talent, then we have to bear more.

If we know the will of God and understand the fact that the growth came from God. We will be able to be joyful even when people mock us and refuse to listen to our testimony. We would be glad that we have done our parts.

2.3 The Joy Of Service

If our joy of service is derived based on quantifiable results, we will only be glad when we succeed. But as we thank God for bringing a soul to him, have we accidentally glorfied ourselves in the process?

What if we fail? will we now turn back and blame God saying “Why did you not work with me? What have i done wrong?”.

Let us learn to derive joy from the fact that we have seize hold of every opportunity to serve him. Let us learn to trust the growth to God. Let us serve joyfully with a living hope. Let us be as swift as Gazelles, just like the warriors of Gad.