Monday, July 13, 2020

13 July 2020 - 2 Samuel 18:19-33

Today’s devotion is taken from 2 Samuel 18:19-33

Absalom was David’s son who was trying to make himself King. He killed Amnon (another one of David’s son) in 2 Samuel 13 to avenge the rape of his sister. In 2 Samuel 18, he prepared an army to fight David, his father. In this battle, Absalom was killed and we have the account of David finding out about Absalom’s death. In this incredible story, you would expect David to be overjoyed that an enemy has been killed.

Fatherly love
The Cushite was reporting back to David about their victory over Absalom’s army (2 Sam 18:28-32) but David was more concerned about his traitor son, Absalom, rather than Israel’s victory. Earlier we read that David commanded his army to deal with Absalom gently for his sake (2 Samuel 18:5). Despite how bad Absalom treated David, it seems David still loved Absalom. Charles Spurgeon said this "Our children may plunge into the worst of sins, but they are our children still. They may scoff at our God; they may tear our heart to pieces with their wickedness; we cannot take complacency in them, but at the same time we cannot unchild them, nor erase their image from our hearts." All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We did not deserve any grace or mercy. Here, we have a human story of how great an earthly Father’s love is for their runway and treacherous child. Imagine how much greater is our Father’s love for us that we have the privilege of being called children of God and that it was not that we loved him but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).

The greater King
In V.31-33, we read that David mourned for Absalom. Despite reading some of David’s sinful behaviour, this passage in 2 Samuel 18 really shows that David is a man after God’s heart. I remember just not a long ago my son was hurt as fell down and there was a cut on his lip, it was bleeding. My one year sold was crying uncontrollably. I was soothing him and trying to calm him down and I said I am sorry. After the visit to the clinic, I thought to myself, why did I say I am sorry? It is because I failed to protect my son from getting hurt. That must be how David felt, he must have been devastated that his son’s life ended this way. It started his sin with Bathesheba all the way down to his failure to disciple Amnon. He must have felt he was responsible.

After David’s sin with Bathsheba, God had said, “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife” (12:10). God forgave David’s sin, but David lived with the ongoing consequences of what he had done. David failed to protect his son, Absalom and he felt that he should have died in Absalom’s place. But David could not take Absalom’s place. David was a King who could not save. We need a greater David, a greater King. We find that in our King Jesus. What David wished he could do for Absalom, Jesus did for us. Jesus became our substitute and he died so that we may live an eternal life.

Suggested prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us when we did not deserve it and thank you for giving us the joy to call you Abba Father. You loved us so much that you gave your only begotten Son Jesus to save us from our sins. Thank you for extending your grace and mercy every day of our lives. Help us always to remain humble and be thankful for everything. Thank you for the blood of Jesus, your precious Lamb. Amen.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

12 July 2020 - Sunday Service

Hi Church! Here is the 2nd English Service for today which is in 2 parts. We would also like to sincerely apologize that due to technical difficulties, our team was not able to record the 1st English Service earlier today. Thank you for your kind understanding and remember to stay connected. Have a blessed day of rest. God Bless.

First Part of the 2nd English Service.


2nd Part of the 2nd English Service




Saturday, July 11, 2020

11 July 2020 - Isaiah 1:16-20

11th July 2020

Isaiah 1:16 – 20 is a call for repentance.  God makes it clear that we have 2 options.  Option 1 – stop doing wrong and learn to do right and be willing and be obedient, and we will be forgiven and be blessed.  Option 2 – resist and rebel, and we will face judgment and be destroyed.

When Christ died for us on the cross, He died for our sins and paid the price for our redemption.  As believers, we are called to walk with God daily.  In our walk, when we sin or when we drift away from God, we can always do the right thing by repenting and turning back to God.  Some times, it is not always easy to do the right thing – but the reward will be great. 

True repentance requires us to have a change of our heart and a change of our action;  and most importantly, true repentance will require us to turn back to God. 

The choices and consequences are clear.  Which option will you choose?

Reflection: 

(1)       “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  (Ephesians 4:22-24)

(2)       “… I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.”  (Acts 26:20)

(3)       “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

(4)       “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (Revelation 2:5)

Prayer:           

Lord, please forgive me for doing things that were not right.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  Help me to get back on the right path and do the right things.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, July 10, 2020

10 July 2020 - Rebellion in the Kingdom

Rebellion in the Kingdom
Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 17:1-29.

It would be extremely heart breaking for any parent to have his own child becoming an enemy. For King David this was a reality. His own flesh and blood, Absalom has been proclaimed king in Hebron and has committed a national coup. King David was forced to secretly escape by the cover of the darkness of night (from his own beloved son).

There is a deep resembles with the first rebellion that had occurred centuries before in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, God’s beloved children whom he had made in His image from the dust of the ground, whom he had breathed his breath of life into, whom he has promised the entire created realm into their care as his regent (co-ruler) on earth choose to deny him as King of the universe, Lord of their lives and God of all creation. Adam and Eve attempted a cosmic coup when they took the fruit from the tree that the Lord has commanded them not to eat from. It was a declaration of independence from God. 
Can you imagine the heart break that God must have experienced when Adam and Eve rebelled against him? Can you imagine his heart break when he had to send them into exile from his presence in the garden? It must have been extremely painful. It would be too painful to imagine.
There is a cosmic rebellion and we - God’s image bearer – are leading a coup against the king of the universe. We have been participating in a spiritual rebellion against God by declaring independence from him. We have made ourselves kings in “Hebron”. And it breaks God’s heart. All over the world the effects of this spiritual independence from God has created anarchy in every human realm. I would dare to say that the CoVid19, famine and wars are all symptomatic of this spiritual rebellion.

I recall a moment of my own rebellious adolescent years. One evening an argument between my mother and I broke out. I had wanted to go out with my friends who were not good company. She confronted me and prevented me to leave the house. But my rebellious independent nature took over and violent words were being said that I still regret to this very day. These are words that I can never retract. It was at that moment I saw my mother’s heart break through her eyes. Her heart broke and our relationship broke with it. Her beloved son broke her heart.

What I did to my mother I had also done to God. I believe all of us have done this at some point in our journey in this live. We have broken God’s heart each time we rebel against Him. Each time we choose to be our own king and lord we are committing a spiritual coup in the kingdom of God. This breaks God’s heart as our heavenly Father.

King David, though was not a perfect father to Absalom is nonetheless a father. He loved Absalom deeply. But, we have a heavenly Father who is perfect and loves us perfectly. He has done everything for us so that we can be reconciled to Him, even by sending His only begotten and beloved Son, Jesus, to suffer death on the cross. God sent his Son to make us all sons and daughters (again).

Going back to my story; after I had seen the look in my mother’s eyes, I knew that I had to seek her forgiveness and repent. It was not easy to do since there was a lot of pride and self-justice in me. I wanted my way and my rights. However, I noticed that even when I had broken my mother’s heart, she never stopped being my mother. She provided for me, washed my laundry and made meals for me. She continued to love her rebellious son. I noticed that my mother has already forgiven me even before I uttered the words to her. All I needed to do was be reconciled with her and change my ways – which I have. This is the unconditional love of God flowing in and through her. Humanly speaking, it would be impossible to love an enemy, let alone a child who becomes an enemy. It requires a supernatural kind of love to every do what my mother did.

When Jesus revealed to us that God is our heavenly Father, he is showing an eternal nature of God as Father that will never change. He will always be Father to his children, no matter how rebellious they are. But to balance it a bit, if we persist in rebellion and become an enemy of God, He has every right as God to deny us for Jesus said that whoever disowns the Son, disowns the Father AND the Father disowns him (as son and citizen of heaven) (Matt. 10:33).

Friends, I invite you to consider your attitude this morning. Are you living in rebellion against your heavenly Father? Return to Him and be restored by His grace. Our God is a loving Father who is always ready to receive His children home if they repent.

Prayer:
Father, I have been rebellious and ungrateful. I recognize that I have broken Your heart with my spiritual defiance. Forgive me and restore me as Your child. Grant me Your sufficient and abundant grace so that I will walk in Your righteousness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

09 July 2020 - Psalm 63

Daily Devotion 9th July

Psalm 63
I WILL PRAISE GOD

This psalm has been used for many, many worship songs. This one below is my favourite. It’s an oldie from my younger days and it reminds me of the amazing time, when I first fully understood what being a Christian means. It is a love song that we sing to God, because we want to express our joy when we have realised how much He loves us.

When we sing Psalm 63, we are telling God that we earnestly seek and thirst for Him (v1). We long for him in a dry parched land where there is no water (v1), which represents a world without Him. Jesus tells us in John 4:14 that whoever drinks of the water that He will give us, will never thirst, but the water that He will give us will become in us a well of water springing up to eternal life. Jesus was, of course, talking about the Holy Spirit. We will never again run dry.

In verse 2, we declare that we have seen God and we recognize His power and His glory. We confess to God that our lips will glorify Him because his love is better than anything this life can offer us (v3). In verse 4, we promise to praise and worship God as long as we live. We declare in faith that we will be fully satisfied in God’s presence (v5). God’s complete love and glory is able to overcome any discontent in our hearts. We choose to intentionally think of Him and meditate on His word and His goodness (v6).

We confess to God that we need Him and we need His help (v7), therefore we choose to be sheltered and protected by Him (v7). We promise that we will cling to Him (v8) and we trust that He will uphold us and keep us safe from all danger. We are confident in God’s ability to vindicate us because we know that those who would want to harm us will be destroyed (v9) and will not get away with it.

We choose to rejoice in God, like King David and we know that those who swear by him (who trust and honour Him and acknowledge His authority) will be glorified. We do not have to worry about those who tell lies about us, because we have been promised that those who speak lies will be stopped (v11). King David wrote these words as he was experiencing slander and betrayal from his enemies, but he knew that God would protect and vindicate Him. As it says so clearly in Romans 8:31-39 if God is for us, who can be against us? Nothing can separate us from God’s love.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DBBMIaNt6Y



Suggested personal reflection
Spend some time to meditate on God’s goodness and worship Him today. Remind yourself of the times when God has comforted you, helped you, and provided for you. Rejoice in His goodness and faithfulness. Give thanks to Him for His enduring love for us.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

8 July 2020 - God is working behind the scenes

GOD IS WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES

Today’s passage is 2 Samuel 17:1-15

 “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom and it will stand forever.” Daniel 2:44, that is God’s purpose— to set up a kingdom that will stand forever.

If  you were with David that night on the west side of the river Jordan, knowing well that David’s son has proclaimed himself king and is coming down upon David in thousands, and it all may be over by the morning —won’t you wonder how is God going to work out His plan? Watch God at work here.

Absalom somehow wanted to kill his father King David, for the love of wanting to be the next King. So, he seeks for advice of Ahithophel and of Hushai.

Ahithophel Vs. Hushai

Ahithophel suggests to Absalom, to move quickly and come by a surprise attack with overwhelming force and with a focused objective. He advices to gather twelve thousand men at night and pursue David, when David is weak and weary. Ahithophel assures Absalom that he will kill King David. That was good advice to Absalom.

However, to be sure, he asked the advice of his next counsellor, Hushai. But Hushai disagrees with Ahithophel’s advice.  Swanking about King David’s strength in war, he says “It’s better by far to wait awhile and gather a vast army from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.” Hushai is appealing to Absalom’s vanity, that he would lead this largest army that Israel has ever seen. Absalom and his men were completely impressed with this guidance, in fact thought it was a better advice.

It wasn’t actually better. Militarily it was a poor strategy. If that time was given, David will get organized, people will go over from Absalom to David. It’s a tough tactic, but for some reason Absalom buys it because he buys into the vanity of it.

And now we learn the secret of Hushai’s success. It was because God had ordained to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel. And why? To the intent that God might bring evil on Absalom (17:14). Thus, behind the scene God was seen to be at work confirming Absalom’s defeat. When David came out of the situation successfully, all would know that it was God who had accomplished it. Don’t forget David’s prayer; O Lord, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness! (2 Samuel 15:31)

REST BY KNOWING GOD IS WORKING

Have you ever found yourself facing a situation at some point in your life, where having been praying to God about it for a while, there was still no visible change seen?

Just because you don’t see any instant change, it does not mean that nothing is happening, nor does it change the fact that God is at work behind the scenes arranging things in your favor. Romans 8:28. In all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose, this includes you. God will prepare a Hushai to talk in favour of you, because He has thoughts to prosper you.

Let me remind you, how God was working behind the scenes, in the life of Joseph. To bring three men together in the same place–so that Joseph could interpret their dreams. Be certain, that God is working in the lives of a person or people perhaps you have never met, in a place you have never been, in order to accomplish His purpose for you and for them. Philippians 2:13, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. No suffering is wasted, and God is always at work for our good and His glory. When we cannot comprehend why trials come and struggle to imagine that anything good can come from them, we can rest in the security that GOD is in CONTROL because HE IS SOVEREIGN.

Prayer: Father, sometimes I struggle to trust you when you are silent. Increase my faith and help me believe I am always in Your thoughts Father. You have plans to prosper me and, give me an expected end. In Jesus name Amen.


 

 

 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

7 July 2020 - 2 Samuel 16:15-23

7 July 2020 - 2 Samuel 16:15-23

In today’s bible passage, we read of two men, Hushai and Ahithophel. Both men differed much in moral character, but they were similar in position as both were advisers in the affairs of state. From their acts, it showed that they are men of wise mind. Using their wisdom, they played the most important part in the events of this part of David's life who has been hit with series of opposition. Even his son, Absalom, was impatient to become king himself, and started a rebellion to take over the throne.

Hushai –

He was a friend of David, a trusted member of David’s court. In other words, he is the personal adviser to the king. In verse 17, Absalom was wondering why Hushai did not go with David, as this is what a friend should do when one is in need. Hushai answered Absalom that “just as he served the father, so he will serve him” (verse 19). This answer most probably will have Absalom to believe that Hushai is also loyal to him too.

In the next chapter, 2 Sam 17, you will read that Hushai was very loyal to David. When consulted by Absalom of Ahithophel’s plan to attack David in the night, he opposed that plan and proposed his own plan to Absalom which was accepted and that gave the advantage to David. In actual fact, it was David who sent Hushai back to Absalom, to both spy on him and to give him bad advice (2 Samuel 15:32-34).

What about you? Are you a close friend of Jesus? Would you follow him faithfully, willing to bear the cross, “walk as he walked,” to separate yourself from the evil that is in the world, to confess his name before men, and to promote the accomplishment of his purposes? Friends come and go. But if Jesus is your friend, He will be your friend forever.

Ahithophel –

He was Bathsheba’s grandfather, a wise and respected counselor, one of David’s most trusted advisers. Sadly, he devoted the force of his wisdom to the evil cause of a rebel. He appears to have secretly aligned himself with Absalom’s rebellion in its planning stage.

In verses 21-22, Absalom, seeking counsel from Ahithophel, is advised to strengthen his position by lying with his father’s (David) concubines in the sight of all Israel. Why would Ahithophel suggest such an act? He could have been motivated by the bitterness he had against David for his treatment of Uriah and Bathsheba, so now it is time for him to get even.

However, for Absalom to take possession of his father’s concubines, would signify Absalom’s assumption of royal power, and in doing that, will shut off all avenue of possible reconciliation between father and son. All of Absalom’s acts were calculated to proclaim without any doubt that he was the new king who had fully replaced David. Interestingly, this advice by Ahithophel was prophesied by prophet Nathan to David in 2 Sam 12:11-12.

Verse 23 also pointed out that “in those days, the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice.”

Ahithophel was a man in great repute as a counselor, but he was not in honor with God. His clever head was associated with a corrupt and treacherous heart. The fact that David had been anointed by God must have been familiar to them all, and to rebel against the Lord’s anointed is also to rebel against the One who anointed him. But when men are alienated from God, they became blind and desperate, seeking not God, but the worldly pleasures and power. Thus, the greater the abilities, the greater the sin of not using them for God and his kingdom.

Suggested Prayer –

Ø  God is indeed a God of Grace and Forgiveness who delights to forgive and to restore. Bring before God any wrongdoings and seek for His blessing.

Ø  Pray that you will stay close to Jesus always. Be His close friend. Ask Jesus for divine protection against any temptation that intends to draw you away from Him.

Ø  Pray for those whom we know are mentally gifted, holding high positions – that they may be good men including their solemn responsibilities before God.