Dripping with Honey (14) Achan Trouble!

 

Dripping with Honey (14)

Achan Trouble!

But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the LORD burned against the children of Israel.

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭7:1‬ ‭

The LORD had given the children of Israel a victorious taking down of the city of Jericho. Their leader Joshua had this important instruction : “And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.” ‭‭Joshua‬ ‭6:18‬ ‭

By All Means – definitely, certainly – Do Not Keep anything set for destruction and not honourable to God. Otherwise they themselves would be accursed – doomed to destruction. And their destructive action would cause trouble for the camp of Israel. Paul says in Galatians‬ ‭5:9‬ ‭that a little leaven leavens the whole lump.

So Achan whose name likely means trouble caused trouble by disobeying the words of God and keeping those forbidden things that were cursed. He coveted. What struck me is his family line is mentioned specifically ; Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah. He caused trouble for his family and the entire tribe. Then it says the anger of the LORD burned against the children of Israel. Achan sinned and God got angry with the entire people. Ps Susheel recently exhorted us to “leave no man behind. If you see your brother/sister misaligned, don’t do nothing. #buildthearc”

So how? When they wanted to take down the city of Ai, they were defeated miserably. The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.”

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭7:5‬ ‭

Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.Joshua‬ ‭7:6‬ ‭

The Lord said, “Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the LORD God of Israel: “ There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”

And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I have done: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.”

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭7:13, 20-21‬ ‭

Sin must be dealt with. We cannot stand before our enemies until we brutally rid sin in our lives. Achan was stoned by all Israel. Harsh? Read Galatians 5:9 again. We must give God legal rights over us. Our accuser accuses us day and night. (Revelation 12:10)

So the children of Israel raised over Achan a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day. (Joshua‬ ‭7:26‬)‭

A heap of stones served as a critical remembrance of the fatal trouble sin caused that day since God’s people were forgetful people. Also, they fought against the people of Ai and all who fell that day, both men and women, were twelve thousand—all the people of Ai. For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. Joshua‬ ‭8:25-26‬ ‭

A resounding victory ended with another great heap of stones :

And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until evening. And as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his corpse down from the tree, cast it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raise over it a great heap of stones that remains to this day.

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭8:29‬ ‭

King hanged. Murder the rule/control in our lives that leads to doom, destruction and death.

Father God Thank You for the blood of the Lamb. Help us keep our lives pure, our hands clean and our hearts right before You. Amen.

Thank You LORD.

Pic credit : Dave Adamson

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Dripping with Honey (13) What Controls Us?

Dripping with Honey (13)

What Controls Us?

Now when He (Jesus) was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’

For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭17:20-21‬ ‭

What possesses us? What has the power to influence us? Anger? Bitterness? Popularity? The drive to succeed? Goals you have set? We hear comments like “He’s very driven” and “She can’t control herself”. When ice cream waffles is before my eyes, I also wonder what my drive is haha. Depending on Who/who or what controls us, the outcome can be harmful or helpful.

During the times of Jesus, the Romans controlled the people so they anticipated a physical king to take down the Roman empire. But Jesus said the kingdom of God is within us. It resides in us. It is a heart posture of those who follow God as King that it is all about His reign and rule in our lives. It is a life yielded completely to God’s control. What the King says, goes. Kingdom living practises kingdom principles. God takes control of our motives, our desires, our heart attitudes, our ambitions, our everything. We lose control. But we gain Christ as our exceedingly great Reward. We gain righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

“for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭14:17‬ ‭

Take heed that kingdom culture is upside down – contrary to the culture in which we live. Check out the beattitudes!

Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

For they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

For they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

For they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,

For they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

For they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

For they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:3-12‬ ‭

When the world screams to be driven, get ahead and climb up the success ladder, kingdom living says be meek, show mercy.. We have decided to follow Jesus our King. What does it profit us to gain the world but lose our souls? He’s the Treasure we will give our whole life for. My life is no longer my own. Live it to please the King.

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Dripping with Honey (12) Purify our Hearts, LORD

Dripping with Honey (12)

Purify our Hearts, LORD

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit.

And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭7:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What are these promises? A look at the previous verses will help us see.

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.

For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?

And what communion has light with darkness?

And what accord has Christ with Belial?

Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?

For you are the temple of the living God.

As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people. Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.

I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,

Says the LORD Almighty.”

‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭6:14-18‬ ‭

These promises are that we are the temple of God, that God dwells in us, and that He is our Father, we are His sons and daughters. So, because we are His temple, His sons and daughters, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. The Christian life should be a life of constant purifying. Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians who are deeply stained with the vices of their age and place, So Paul exhorts them to be cleansed of every defilement. Christians are cleansed by the blood of Christ, to begin with, but we have still daily to cleanse ourselves by the Word of God (Ephesians‬ ‭5:26‬). Do we exercise the discipline of reading the word of God? We are washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14). The blood of Christ, the High Priest of the good things to come, through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, has cleansed our conscience from dead works so that we can serve the living God (Hebrews‬ ‭9:11-14‬ ). We are cleansed, but we have still to cleanse ourselves. Rid sins of impurity. Rid them with rigor. Recently I discovered the OCD in me as I gave no room to the slightest speck of filth in my sparkling clean floor haha. Cleansing is a process, and it can be obsessive! Be obsessed with His Word and let His Word rigorously cleanse us. As long as our spirit is yielded to Him, we will be encouraged to see ourselves overcoming one foe of impurity at one time. Ambitious we shall not be, take heed not to be hard on ourselves too. One step at a time. The closer we are to Christ the more enlightened we shall be of our sinful nature and His longsuffering love.

“A speck on a polished shield will show plain that would never have been seen on a rusty one,” says MacLaren.

A Prayer :

Thank You Father God for the blood of Christ that has washed and made us white in Him. Forgive us for every defilement we set ourselves into, every sin we commit against you. Forgive us for being prone to get distracted from loving You with our heart, soul, mind and strength. Forgive us for we are inclined to worship self and material possessions. Thank You for rescuing us. Thank You for Your mercies. Thank You for gently tearing down those destructive walls that separate us from an intimate love relationship with You.

Change our ways to conform to Yours. Help us strive for purity. Help us perfect holiness out of reverence to You. Amen.

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Dripping with Honey (11) The Steadfast Love of the LORD Never Ceases

Dripping with Honey (11)

The Steadfast Love of the LORD Never Ceases

This I recall to my mind,

Therefore I have hope.

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,

Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning;

Great is Your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:21-24‬ ‭

Today I read about a 10-year-old Mexican girl who strangled herself to death and left this suicidal note (it seemed that there’s a Three Kings festival celebrated in Spanish-speaking countries) :

“Dear Three Kings, I only want to ask you my mum will be the happiest woman in the world after I will not be here any more as I am only a pain and a ruin in her life since I was born, as I was the reason my dad left our house. I want to ask my mum to be calm, not to work a lot, the best present I can ask is her happiness. I hope some day you remember me and in the sky, finally, you hug me.

I think the best present for the Three Kings is if I kill myself.

As you always said to me I wish you had never been born.

I love you so much, mum, I know the Three Kings do not exist but I give you this great present.”

Tragic……, to say the least. I thought of my school counselling days. At the root of almost every case was the ugly rejection issue. Rejected mother rejected daughter. Hurt people hurt others. One could even hardly begin to imagine the intensity of pain involved. I dared not venture thinking of the guilt the mother might be carrying. At this juncture of my writing, this song came:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases

His mercies never come to an end

They are new every morning

New every morning

Great is Thy faithfulness, O Lord

Great is Thy faithfulness

Amen.

Along with the story were these two posts on FB :

Rock bottoms will teach you lessons that mouthain tops never will.

One of the most paradoxical truths of the Christian life is that the greatest adversity often produces the greatest beauty.

The posts might not be related but they tell me how much we, mortal beings need a hope to cling onto. How to make sense of all these challenges in life?

Prophet Jeremiah lamented :

“I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

GOD ’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great Your faithfulness! I’m sticking with GOD (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:19-24‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Hope in Him does not disappoint. We mustn’t forget He is steadfast. His love is unconditional. His covenant with His people is everlasting. To remember His loyal and merciful love we must keep ourselves close to Him. We must stick to Him. Otherwise when the emotional tank is low, we can entertain discouraging and distressing thoughts and lose hope. Let the Word of God go over and over in our mind, because He lives, we can face tomorrow. Amen. Thank You LORD.

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Dripping with Honey (10) Harbour

Dripping with Honey (10)

Harbour

For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock.

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:5‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

I’m asking GOD for one thing, only one thing:

To live with Him in His house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate His beauty; I’ll study at His feet.

That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world,

The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic.

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:4-5‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Today the word ‘harbour’ came to my mind as I was thanking God for a place He has given me. The harbour is a place of refuge and comfort and security for the vessels from the stormy waters. It is a safe haven. Is life just so busy and challenging for you these days? We can find shelter and solace in God.

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;

The righteous run to it and are safe.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:10‬ ‭

God is our Refuge. John Delancey says He ‘harbours’ us within the protective walls of His precious promises. In Him we find rest and retreat. It delights God when we entrust our lives to His care and depend on Him. I think of the apostle Paul who would write how God strengthened him and stood with him.

“.But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”

‭‭II Timothy‬ ‭4:17-18‬ ‭

Amen.

Let’s anchor our souls in God alone. Don’t run to man or other false securities. When the waves of life’s uncertainties and unending-pressures press in, we can abide safely in Him. In days of trouble, God keeps us safe and He is our Shelter. Hallelujah. Thank You LORD.

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Dripping with Honey (9) Heaping Coals

Dripping with Honey (9)

Heaping Coals

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;

And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;

For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,

And the LORD will reward you.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭25:21-22‬ ‭

Today I gained a few interesting insights to what it means to heap coals of fire on an enemy’s head. I hope to share the insights clearly here!

Firstly, Paul quoted Proverbs 25:21-22 in Romans 12 when he exhorted his readers how to deal with an enemy and those who have wronged us. Read his wise advice :

Repay no one evil for evil.

Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink;

For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:17-21‬ ‭

Lois Tverberg thinks that this proverb uses physical images to describe emotional reactions. An enemy will experience emotional discomfort when we waken his conscience about his conduct toward us and help him to realize his wrong. It seems to be a picture of stirring up the coals of a fire to rouse it back to life again. Hence, it is a picture of stirring within a person a response of remorse, when he sees our kindness in the face of his meanness. In doing so we overcome evil by doing good.

From Dave Adamson, I gleaned another perspective. Dave uses the rule of the first mention in the Bible to explain the proverb. In Genesis 15, God appears to Abraham as a smoking firepot made by filling a clay pot with hot coals to create smoke :

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, …”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭15:17-18‬ ‭

Hence the rule of first mention means that whenever ‘smoke’, ‘fire’, ‘burning coals’ are mentioned, it represents the presence of God. Think of the burning bush and the pillar of fire that led the children of Israel in the desert.

So heaping burning coals on an enemy’s head means praying the presence of God over him. Praying blessings. Releasing the sweet presence of God over him. Now, that’s something. We can pray blessings over an enemy when there’s forgiveness and compassion. May the LORD have mercy on us and help us.

Check out the Message translation:

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:17-21‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Picture credit : #aussiedave

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Dripping with Honey (8) Expectations

Dripping with Honey (8)

Expectations

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahveh, thoughts of shalom (peace), and not of evil, to give you tov (good) tiqvah (hope) in the end. Jeremiah 29:11.

This morning the song “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” came to my mind. Indeed, the LORD is our faithful Friend and we can take everything to Him in prayers.He gives us hope and a good and expected end, our expectation comes from Him.

My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him.

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭62:5‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

The word expected is translated from the Hebrew word “tiqvah” which is not limited to just expect or hope. The root verb “qavah” means to hope, to expect, to wait or look eagerly for, to lie in wait for, to wait and linger for, to collect, bind together. “Tiqvah” literally means to expect and wait for a particular outcome.

When our expectation is from Him, we will never be disappointed and we will always have hope. He gives us the promised outcome of a sure hope. We wait upon Him alone and silently submit to Him. No need to strive. He knows. He says it’s all been taken care of. Just go to Him in prayers.

Thank You LORD.

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Dripping with Honey (7) Occupy Our Proper Place

Dripping with Honey (7)

Occupy Our Proper Place

Seek the LORD,

All you humble of the earth

Who have carried out His ordinances;

Seek righteousness, seek humility.

Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’S anger.

‭‭Zephaniah‬ ‭2:3‬ ‭

Today I learnt the meaning of ‘anavah’, ‘humility’ in Hebrew. It carries more depth than what we may think being humble is.

Humility is occupying our proper space, neither too much, nor too little. Do we know our God-given space in the world?

We do not overestimate our abilities, neither do we underestimate them. We are aware of and comfortable with the space God has assigned. How Archippian is this!

Know what God has assigned us, stay in our lane, run with eyes fixed on Jesus and finish strong!

My pastor once said do not be too big to do small things nor too small to do big things. Occupy well that God-assigned space – do not squeeze others out and do not take too little space such that we fail to fulfill that assignment.

Anavah.

Seek it.

May the LORD be merciful.

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Dripping with Honey (6) God Remembers And He Acts

Dripping with Honey (6)

God Remembers And He Acts

Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭8:1‬ ‭

So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭2:24-25‬ ‭

When I discovered the meaning of the Hebrew understanding of the word ‘remember’, I was very encouraged in my faith in God. You see, the word ‘remember’ or ‘memory ‘ is ‘zakar’ which means more than recalling something to mind. For the Jewish believers, remembering always follows with an action. Because that’s what God does. God remembers and He acts. God remembers Noah and God sends wind to cause the waters to subside so He saves the people and animals in the ark. God remembers the children of Israel and God sends Moses to deliver them out of bondage.

So zakar does mean ‘to remember’ but it also means ‘to bring someone to mind and then act upon that person’s behalf’. The Hebrew idea of remembering always includes acting on behalf of the one brought to mind.

God remembers all the promises He has spoken over us and He will come and save us. Let our faith in Him be strengthened as He is a God who remembers and acts on our behalf. God remembers us and turns His attention towards us. Let our gratitude in Him be deepened as He is a God who watches over us in faithful care.

Picture credit : Nephew ZK

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Dripping with Honey (5) I Am Your Exceedingly Great Reward

Dripping with Honey (5)

I Am Your Exceedingly Great Reward

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭15:1‬ ‭

Josh Yeoh, the founder and director of Penang House of Prayer wrote this song ‘Reward’. Last evening we sang it at Salem Chapel. My heart was touched by these lyrics :

Come and be my exceedingly great reward

You’re the treasure that I would give my whole life for

What would it profit me to gain the world but lose my soul?

I know my life is not my own.

1. After these things…

For Abram, it was after the battle of the kings, after the captivity of Lot, the rescue of him and his goods, and of those of Sodom and Gomorrah by Abram, and after the conversation that passed between him, and the kings of Sodom and Salem…

2. …the LORD spoke

After these things… the word of the LORD came in a vision to him.

3. Do Not Be Afraid, Abram

And the first five words the LORD were :

DO NOT BE AFRAID, ABRAM.

Do not fear, Abram. Fear not, Abram.

The LORD calls Abram by his name. After fighting the battles with the kings, Abram could do with some assurance from the LORD! What if the enemies came back to fight again?

4. I Am Your Shield

The first characteristic of the LORD that He said to Abram was : I AM YOUR SHIELD.

Fear not. I am your Protection.

I am your Security. I have you covered.

5. Your EXCEEDINGLY GREAT REWARD.

You see, the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me back the people but keep all the plunder for yourself.”

But Abram told the king of Sodom, “I swear to GOD, The High God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, this solemn oath, that I’ll take nothing from you, not so much as a thread or a shoestring. I’m not going to have you go around saying, ‘I made Abram rich.’

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭14:21-23 MSG‬‬

So the LORD said to Abram He Himself is his exceedingly great reward. Not just a great one. Exceedingly great. Christ is our exceedingly great Reward!

In Christ we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. In Christ we have our inheritance, allotment and possession from Father God. In Christ there is no more condemnation. In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians‬ ‭1:7‬).

Is Christ then the Treasure we seek? Do we live our life like it is not our own? We have been bought with a price. Is He our exceedingly great Reward or are we still chasing after the world?

O LORD help us.

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