Thursday, May 24, 2018

Psalm 56 (DB of 23/5/2018)


WHAT CAN MEN DO TO ME?
Verse Key 56: 5
The psalmist groans night and day because of his stalking enemies (1Sa 21:11-15). The Gathians waged war without cause, blaming him. However, at that time he placed his trust in the Lord and he praised the Word of God. It was his only refuge and valid remedy.

1. Give me a break. (1-7) David called for God's mercy (2). His enemy's throbbing weapon was their tongue. It was like a poison, a viper. They were unscrupulous by blaming the innocent. They were plotting to kill David. Nevertheless, he framed the confession of fear, which gradually gave way to trust (v.4-5). Human beings, weak both physically and morally, find help in God who is strong, has life and eternity. The psalmist made a perfect act of faith in the Word of God. His Word deserves praise (v. 5a). What's this "Word": it is the promise made by God to protect and defend his faithful, as Ps 119:41 recalls: "Let your graces come to me, O Lord, your salvation, according to your words". And 119:65: "You have done good to your servant, O LORD, according to your word. Deep in his anguish, the psalmist discovered that he who trusts in God has nothing to fear from human actions.

2. O God, I want to fulfill my vows (8-14) The psalmist cried, "O God. He really wanted to fulfill his vows before God (13). Help was needed for this (v.8-9), because the situation was really hostile. The psalmist expressed "his tears" as his human fragility, knowing that his misfortunes were taken into account. Since God's goodness was manifested in favour of the needy whom he certainly delivered, the psalmist would praise the divine word of salvation. The trials and sufferings had led the psalmist to the certainty of faith engendered his trust and led him to entrust himself entirely to God. In the face of danger and harassment by his enemies, the psalmist appealed to God, implored him, and being strengthened by the Word, he surrendered himself to the LORD. The petitioner glimpsed a prospect of victory and the collapse of evil, here called "the peoples" (v. 8b), then "death" (v. 14a) and pledged gratitude to God (v. 13b).

Luke 3: 1-14 (Thursday, May 24th 2018)

BEAR FRUIT OF REPENTANCE

key verse: 8

Thirty years after Jesus' birth, God began his work through John the Baptist. It was a dark time, but God's work is always begun by a forerunner. Let us each become one.

1. Baptism and repentance for the forgiveness of sins (1-6)

Under the cruel hand of Tiberius in Rome, Pontius Pilate in Judea, Herod in Galilee and others, the people suffered. Yet, for God it was the most favorable moment to begin his work. He sent John the Baptist, son of Zachariah. Isaiah describes him as the voice calling in the desert. Instrumental in the people's salvation, he was a humble and self-sacrificial man. In terms of repentance, there were none like him. He cried aloud, "Repent and be forgiven". It's not that he enjoyed speaking harshly. There was simply no other way for man to be saved. The Word works powerfully and twisted hearts become straight. If we obey and preach the message of repentance, God's powerful work will always be there. This is how we overcome our timidity. 

2. Bear fruit of repentance (7-14)

John's message was very heavy with the premonition of judgement. Its contents were about bearing the fruit of life for fear of the falling ax. When John baptised with water, many came to him in spite of his severe words. They each had a serious problem, but to each, John gave the best counsel, and he spoke to all on the problem of selfishness. It's the greatest evil among mortels. John's focus on repentance is invaluable. Repentance is expressed not only by the mouth but also by the results of one's life. Evil is born and grows in a man. The forerunner's role is difficult and delicate because he must attack the seeding and the harvesting of evil. If we do this labor, bad fruit transforms into good fruit for the glory of God.

Monday, May 21, 2018

1 Samuel 5: 1-12 (Daily Bread of 19/5/2018)

THE ARK OF ETERNAL BECAME THE SOURCE OF GREAT EVIL Key verse 5: 11b The Philistines took the Lord's ark . The Lord's ark was a symbol of power and protection. However, it was no longer powerful or protective, when God's people's fait became superstitious. He did not save them. This morning's Word describes how the ark became the source of great evil for man. 1. The Philistines (1-9) The Philistines were extremely idolatrous people. Their god was Dagon. It guaranteed the fertility of the earth. They rejected the God of Israel, even though they knew He was powerful enough to punish the Egyptians. Deliberate rejecting God is a great sin. For those who reject the God of Israel, and in the New Testament era, those who reject the Lordship of Jesus, judgment will come according to the condemnation of the Law. The presence of the Lord's ark is frightening, and it can bear a frightening prejudice to those who, like the closeness between God and Dagon in this passage, do not believe in spite of the knowledge they have of God's name. Many listening to God's name reject it. Their end will be dreadful. The Asdodians, then the Gathians, then the Ekronians suffered damage. God caused diseases provoqued by hemorrhoids. They shouted for the removal of the Lord's ark of the source of all their woes. 2. God's hand weighted heavily on them (10-12) The Ekronites were afraid, for the presence of the Lord's had already caused many deaths in Gath. They wanted to refuse it. The dilemma was that as long as the ark was there, someone or some tribe had to suffer the damage anyway. Hence their strong request to return the ark. They, who were strongly idolaters, interpreted that it happened to them because of the anger of a foreign god, because they had changed the place of his dwelling without his permission, hence his discontent. They demanded the ark be returned to where it was. The God of Israel will then leave them alone.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Deuteronomy 20:1-21 (Daily Bread of 28/4/2018)

MAY THE COWARDS RETURN HOME!
 Key verse 20:5
This text talks about exemption from military service. However, it is not the dispensation of service by illness. God also explains how to carry out a siege.
1. Let the cowards go back home! (1-9)
God says that when we enter the country and fight the enemy, we should not fear tthem. When the battle time is near, the priest gives the people inspiration saying," The Lord will walk with you and fight with you. Do not weaken, do not fear, do not be afraid, do not be frightened. As the President of the republic said in the American Congress, "fear does not build, it weakens and paralyzes." That's right, we have to overcome fear before we fight. The officers will speak and say, "all those who are fearful, all those who have family concerns go home." (5,6,7). They'll also say, "All those who are afraid and lack courage, go away!"
2. You will siege the far cities (10-21)
   
God gives very concrete instructions regarding combat. There will be a distinction between near and far nations. It will be necessary to ban the near nations, for they  commit horrible practices before God and God decided to judge and destroy them. This act is needed so that they will not teach Israeltheir horror. As for distant nations, a distinction will be made between submissive nations and rebellious nations. The latter will be destroyed, while the former will be subjected to tribute. The Israelites will spare the women, children and the fruit trees in the destroyed cities -  what sin would they have committed they, when they will be rather useful to men - but on the other hand, they will kill all the men. They will cut down the other trees so that they can be used as building materials for the entrenchments.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Deuteronomy 17:1-20 (Daily bread of 24/4/2018)

IDOLATERS WILL BE PUNISHED
Key verse 17:5
God talks about how to deal with idolatry in Israel. Israel will have to follow the servants in legal matter and the King is supervised.     
1. You will extirpate idolatry from the land (1-7)
Moses told the people not to offer malformed animals to God. It is strange that he should mention it in the midst of idolatry. Perhaps because idolatry is similar to a malformed animal. God wants the people created by Him to be faithful to Him. God is a perfect God, so one cannot bring him something imperfect, even though he is not at fault for himself. Human idolaters are different. They are not distorted in appearance, but they are internally twisted beings. God hates them. They don't do their creator any credit. They must be punished by the people. The investigation must be serious and we need two witnesses, because man's heart is not trustworthy. The man and woman who rally with the idols must be stoned first by the witness and then by all the people. The evil is eradicated.
2. Judgments and Royalty (8-20)
   
If the cause of judgment is too complicated, the people have to go up to the temple of Jerusalem and ask the Levite priests who reside there for advice. When someone brings the case before them, his heart needs to be emptied of all prejudices. He must be ready to listen to the servant's opinion, whatsoever it may be. He must not give up in the middle because of his preference. It is necessary to follow the  teachings which are given to him until the end . God foresees that the people would claim royalty when they enter the country. Samuel said what good would it do, but he hearkened to the voice of the people, and crowned them King. The King's status will not be special nor above the people, he is one of the citizens. It is especially necessary for him to move remove any objects which would distance him from God, such as many horses, gold, women etc.. He has to make a copy of the law and keep it on his bedside table and read it every day. Thus he will not depart from God and will assume the role of King to rule the people.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Deuteronomy 6:1-25 (DB of 12/4/2018)

Key verse: 5

YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART

Moses exhorted his people to love God with all of the heart, soul and might. This is the fundamental base for a believer, and this love is expressed through the commandments. 

1. That you may do them (1-19)

God gave his people the commandments so that they would observe them and in doing them be happy. To observe means to fear the Lord. Love for the Lord also means to fear him, for he is our Creator God. When man maintains this attitude, he is blessed and his life on earth prolonged. Not only that, God also multiplies his fruit. Israel had to listen to God because God is one. Our God is the tri-une God, existing as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but he is one. He was incarnated in Jesus Christ to save man, but he is the God of eternity. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We must love God with all our heart, soul and might. The people would experience great blessing in the new land, but at this moment, man's heart was ready to fall. We must well remember God's grace and thank him, lest we turn to idols and be vainquished by the enemy. 

2. You shall teach them to your children (20-25)

Moses pointed out the importance of religious education, since man is quite forgetful. We must therefore teach children so that they obey the commandments with joy. The young generation has no understanding of history. But they must be told who they were and how a loving God delivered their ancestors from the hand of enemies through miracles. They must know that this loving God had given them these commandments based on love. So, we must not perceive God as too demanding or legalistic, for his fundamental motive is love. It is so that his people enjoy a long and fulfilling life. We must believe in his love. Moses says that obediance is righteousness for the people. 


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Mark 15:1-20 (DB of 29/3/2018)

key verse: 2

YOU HAVE SAID SO

Mark tells of the morning assembly of the Jewish Council, the interogation in the praetorium and the exchange between Pilate and the crowd. Pilate finally gave Jesus over to be crucified, while Jesus himself kept silent.

1. Jesus kept silent (1-5)

Wrongdoers rise early to conspire against an innocent man. They were not tired from the previous night's trial and rose early. They bound Jesus and sent him to Pilate, since his permission was needed to put a man to death. Thus, Jesus stood before Pilate. When he asked if he was the King of the Jews, Jesus replied in four words, "You have said so". It was a dangerous answer to give the Roman governor because it could be interpreted politically. Yet, Jesus identified himself as the King of the Jews. Spiritually, it was the title of the promised Messiah. He is our Savior and Redeemer. Pilate pressed Jesus to defend himself in face of several accusations. But Jesus no longer answered. Before his accusers, he kept absolutely silent. Pilate was astonished, since whoever is on truth's side has no need to defend himself. Pilate was someone with an ethic of circumstance.

2. Crucify him (6-20)

During the Passover, a custom of national amnesty was observed. Perhaps the Jews had imposed this rule on the governor to commemorate God's delivery of Israel from captivity in Egypt. Thus, people asked him to release one person. Pilate thought the crowd would ask for Jesus the King of the Jews, since he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had asked for the death of Jesus. Yet he was mistaken because the leaders had already stirred up the people to ask for Jesus' death. Pilate was stuck, even more so because he hadn't formed his own opinion. "What evil has he done?" It was his desperate cry in face of the injustice that he would have to uphold in spite of himself. He finally gave in and sent an innocent Jesus to be crucified. The soldiers treated him arbitrarily with all kinds of physical and moral violence. Jesus was struck and mocked more than he had been by the religious leaders. He was treated that way in order to save sinful men like you and I. Thank you, Lord.