May 2015

Recently there was a comment on the blog that got me curious about the name list of the Descendents of Israel. Hence I decided to list the names in a table and do a calculation of the people listed in Genesis chapter 46. The counting of the children born from each of Jacobs 4 wives could be verified easily. But I think the difficulty lies in the following verses

“All the persons of the house of Jacob
who went to Egypt were seventy.” – Moses (Gen 46:27)

12 Sons + 1 Daughter +  53 Grand Children + 4 Great Grandchildren = 70

Interestingly, I believe that when all the house of Jacob was used. Even the children who had passed away in Canaan are included in the number.

“All the persons who went with Jacob to Egypt,
who came from his body, besides Jacob’s sons’
wives, were sixty-six persons in all” – Moses  (Gen 46:26).

I believed the numbers are derived as follows
70 – Er (Died in Canaan ) – Onan(Died in Canaan)- Ephraim (Living In Egypt)-Manasseh (Living In Egypt)

Just to share the chart since it was already completed

A Summary of all the names and the numbers in Gen 46

A Summary of all the names and the numbers in Gen 46

A PDF version can be downloaded here: Gen 46 Numbers


So far we have examine the choices made by many characters in the bible.

We look at the choices of the following Characters

1. Choice Of Oprah And Ruth
2. The choice Of Mary And Martha
3. The Choice Of Abraham And Lot
4. The Choice Of Joshua

Let us take a look at the choices Of Agur

Many of us would wonder who Agur is, for there are no bible stories associated with him. What choice did he make?

“Two things I request of You
  (Deprive me not before I die):
   Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
  Give me neither poverty nor riches—
  Feed me with the food allotted to me;
  Lest I be full and deny You,
  And say, “Who is the Lord?”
  Or lest I be poor and steal,
  And profane the name of my God.”- Agur (Prov 30:7-9)

So what do you think of the choice that Agur made? He prayed for 2 things before the Lord. He wanted the Lord not to deprive him of it. He wanted to receive them before he die and they are important to him. His choice is a choice that we must make in this life as well. 

But do we regard these as important? If we believe in its importance  we will pray for them just like Agur.  One of his choice concern his life on earth while the other concern his character. 

These are the choices we ought to make as we live our lives on earth.

The Importance Of Making The Right Choice

We need to be mindful of how we live and how we behave.  For Agur saw something that is beyond our lives on earth. He knew that we will eventually be judged by God, just as  Elder Peter said. 

“but as He who called you is holy, 
you also be holy in all your conduct,
because it is written, “Be holy, for I 
am holy.”

  And if you call on the Father, who 
without partiality judges according 
to each one’s work, conduct yourselves 
throughout the time of your stay here 
in fear; “ – Peter (1 Pet 1:15-17)

Our God is a just God, and he will not treat us with partiality when he judge us. As the children of God we need to put the fear of God in our heart. That is why Agur made his choice knowing that we all have to face judgement one day.

Likewise we need to make a choice on how we want to lead our lives on earth. The people of the world often plan for their lives. They set goals, and they wanted to enjoy their lives and attain their goals. That is a good thing

But Christians need to make an additional resolve to lead a life without sin.For we need to consider how we would appear before God at his judgement seat.

The people of the world had many goals in life. Some wanted riches, some wanted power and authority, some wanted to be famous. For all wants to be somebody before the eyes of the world. Yet Agur choose to focus on how he would appear before the eyes of God. He had made the right choice for we will all face judgement eventually. 

Therefore let us learn from Agur and make the right choice, let us strive to be a true and sincere man so that we can stand blameless before God. Let us examine his choice in greater details

Pt 1: To Remove All Falsehood And Lies  

Agur ask the Lord to remove all lies and falsehood from him. For our God is a truthful God who hate all forms of Hypocrisy and falsehood. He is pleased with a true and sincere person. He will often choose men with such traits to serve him. Lets take a look at one example

Jn 1:47-48

Jesus : “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”
Nathaniel: “How do You know me?”
Jesus : “Before Philip called you, when you
                were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

When Jesus was preaching, he came across many Jews, he called many of them hypocrite. But here he called Nathaniel a true Israelite. But what did he mean by a “True Israelite”. Perhaps we all have our own definitions. But Jesus defines it as “A man with no deceit , a man with no guile” .

When Philip told him that he had seen the Messiah and he is Jesus of Nazareth. He remarked “Can anything good came from Nazareth?” . In his eyes the town of Nazareth is not famous and there are nothing good will come from there.  Philip did not debate with him and he just said “Come and see”

At that point Nathaniel realised he had been very partial and unfair, for even a honest man can have the wrong perspective and thinking. Nathaniel realised his mistake, so he changed and went with Philip. He was willing to change for he know that it will only be fair if he sees Jesus before commenting.

But when he came to Jesus, Jesus said “Behold an Israelites Indeed in whom is no deceit”. For Nathaniel came in search of the true facts, and he is trying to understand. If he insist on his view that nothing good came from Nazareth, then he is a deceitful man. But now he is honest and he knew that what he said was wrong.

These are the character that pleases Jesus.  For there is a possibility that we may have said something wrong as a human being. But we need to have a honest and truthful heart. We need to have the courage to admit our mistake and change.

Honestly As The Most Important Character Trait

What will we regard as the most important character trait?  Will it be love, Humility , Gentleness Or Honestly. Some regards love as the most important for it endures forever.  Some regards humility as  important, for God hates the proud.

But I feel that honestly and truthfulness is important, for without it, nothing will be real.

You may see a man full of  acts of love & humility. His love and humility may move you to respect him and to love that person. It may even make you testify of his good deeds. But if one day you are aware of the true objective behind his action. You will lose all your respect and love for that man, for now you know that his humility, love and gentleness are nothing but a facade.  

If we could appreciate the scenario above, you will regard truthfulness and honestly as the most important traits. You will understand  why Jesus hated the Pharisees, for they appear good and spiritual before everyone around. They are often seen offering tithes, preaching and expounding the words of God. Many of them spent time copying scriptures and teaching them to the children of Israel. They receive recognition and admiration from others, they are called Rabbi on the streets.

But yet Jesus criticized them directly, he called them hypocrites. He said they are not truthful and they did them only for others to see. They have their own agenda and they had gone against the word of God. We knew that Jesus hated their hypocrisy for it was written all over the gospel. 

That is why we need to learn from Agur, and to ask God to help us, we need to ask God to take away falsehood and lies away from us. It is important before God and important to man as well. For we like things that are real and sincere  We wanted our spouse to love us with their heart, we like our children to show us filial piety from the heart .

If one day we have spent a fortune  getting something  only to find that it is a fake. We will be very disappointed. That is why truthfulness and honestly is so important.

The Value Of Honestly In The Eyes Of The World

There was a man who once said to a Christian mother, “Your child is honest, he choose not to cheat even when his friend cheated”.  But the mother said “What is the use of being honest?  He still failed his test”

There was once someone who said to a wife “I envy that you have a honest husband” Yet the wife replied “What’s the point of  him being honest? He got no talents”

It seems that everyone understood that a honest man is a good man. But we feel that honesty is a  useless trait.  On the contrary, we  look up to people with the ability to study, the ability to make money. We regarded those abilities as  more important than honesty. Our world is a world that do not value honesty nor is it interested to nurture honestly among the people.

We have many type of  prizes in the world, there are given to people who made contribution in the field of science and the field of literature. There are prizes for the promotion of economic sciences but never a prize for the morally upright. Perhaps the only prize closest to that is the peace prize. But that is given to anyone who made contribution to world peace. The winner need not be a morally upright person . He could receive the prize as long as he uses his influence to promote world peace. It does not consider the fact that the individual may be immoral or perhaps even violent.

In our pragmatic world, it rewards anyone who is able to make a contribution to the world. As long as one could contribute, the world will always be willing to give all the applause and laud the he wants. They will respect him and give him whatever he desire/

But the world regard men without talent as pitiable regardless of  how morally upright the person may be. That is how our world works, it will be so even if we like it or not.

But God is different from the people of the world. God does not look at our abilities nor look at our contribution to the world. God is interested in what is in our heart, what type of character we are. He wants to know if we are a man without guile.

Pt 2: Give me Neither Poverty Or Riches

If we only focus on our accomplishment and our contribution to the world. We will sigh and be disappointed when the day comes when we outlive our usefulness.  For the world no longer looks up to you and they have found a new idol to idolize.

That is when we would rather be less capable and more faithful. 

Perhaps we may be poor in the past, but we used to have a happy and affectionate family then. But now even though we are rich and capable, we are unable to find time for our family.

Perhaps our children are filial and loving in the past. But even though they are rich, successful and famous, they refuse to acknowledge their parents.  Then we would rather wish that they were poor, simple and honest.

We need to be careful with our choices so that we can avoid that regret.

The Brutal Truth About Our Achievements In Life

There was a woman diagnosed with breast cancer during the year 2010. She died in 2011 and she reflected much over that last year for her life. She ponder over the question “Why am I suffering from breast cancer?”

She was a young doctorate degree holder, with a wealthy husband who loved her. They had a lovely child and her life was smooth and beautiful. She used to believe that these were all  the fruit of her labour. For nothing is free in this world and there is a price to pay for every success and pleasure. The more she reflected, she realised that she had indeed sacrificed much for her personal success.

Just as these successes came quickly, they were taken away from her swiftly as well. There was nothing she could do to take them back. If she could turn back time, she would have chosen to lead a less busy but simpler life.

We all knew that it is impossible to turn back time, that is why she shared her experience hoping that others like her would listen. She wanted to say that one could never take their achievements back to heaven.

This is a truth that we are all well aware of, will we choose to make the right decision?

Let us not regret only when we are at the end of our life. Let us not wait until we lose our health, our love and our children before we regret. If we have sacrificed our faith for those success. Would that not be too big a price to pay?

Let us come to this realisation and let us make a good choice in life.

As it was my custom since 2010, I would specially post a hymn on the 3rd may of the year.  3rd may had always been a special day in my life.

So far I have shared the following hymns

What A Friend I have In Jesus” – May 3rd 2010
“Thanks to God” – May 3rd 2011
“Day By Day” – May 3rd 2012
“All The Way The Savior Leads Me” – May 3rd 2013
“Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer” – May 3rd 2014

This year I was reading an article about the hymns “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus”.  It was a hymn that I have not heard for some time,  So I did a bit of research onto the lyrics and the history behind the hymn.

The lady who wrote the lyrics was Louisa Stead. She was a widow, she lost her husband during a family picnic.While they were sitting down enjoying the day,  they heard a scream. They saw a boy drowning in the water. Mr Stead attempted to save the boy, but it was not successful. Louisa and Lily could only watch helplessly by as Mr Stead died with the boy.

Louisa and Lily became a pair of helpless widow and child. They became poor and destitute. But yet they experienced the love of God. For God moved many people to provide for them.

Eventually the love of God moved Louisa and Lily Stead to work as missionaries in south Africa. Let us read the lyrics of the hymn together.


Title : Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus

Words: Louisa Stead, 1882.
Music: William Kirkpatrick.

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise;
Just to know, Thus saith the Lord.

  • (Chorus)
    Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him,
    How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er,
    Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus!
      O for grace to trust Him more.

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
Just in simple faith to plunge me,
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood.

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life, and rest, and joy, and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.


Here is a video of the backstory