Wednesday, 1 October 2014
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
Monday, 25 August 2014
Tuesday, 5 August 2014
The one from John 2b:
Posted by yemsee at 22:01
Thursday, 8 May 2014
Good Fri & Easter on Death
A sermon on the whole of Jacob's life - Gen 48
A sermon on the whole of Jacob's life - Gen 48
Posted by yemsee at 15:50
Sunday, 6 April 2014
Friday, 28 March 2014
Monday, 24 February 2014
Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Blessed to be a Blessing?
In our last meditation, we considered that God was going to bless the nation of Israel, starting with Abraham so that they could be a blessing to others (Gen 12).
Yet as we noticed, Judah and his brothers seemed to utilize the blessings and privileges given to the fledgling nation of Israel and abused them for their own selfish gain – turning more into wild animals (Gen 37:23) than benevolent princes.
So how do we solve a problem like Judah?
Well, Moses gives us some clues, pointing at the end of Gen 38, once again to the birth of the promised seed (Gen 3:15) – the one who would break out against (or into) this decaying race, not to destroy them – but bring the dawn (Gen 38:28-30).
And then immediately, we are told of Joseph’s descent into Egypt (Gen 39:1). Unlike Judah, he is forced into this descent and becomes a slave – a servant. That is his new identity, no longer the royal son.
But yet through his service, Joseph becomes a tremendous blessing to everyone around him (Gen 39:2-6). In fact, as Tze-Ming mentioned, ALL benefit when Joseph is in charge. ALL benefit through the suffering and humiliation of this son, who was beloved by his father (including Potiphar and wife!).
Ironically, Joseph’s continual faithfulness to God and Potiphar only leads to more pain on himself. Joseph’s life continues to get worse – he gets harassed, tempted, thrown into jail, left to rot. Yet it is THROUGH his betrayal, his temptation, his trials, his wounds - that others benefit. Each level of his descent leads to greater levels of sustained blessing to others.
Joseph is not blessed to be a blessing. He is cursed to be a blessing.
Strange as it seems, God is in the background of all this, God is the one who orchestrated his descent, his suffering service, his humiliation. It is God that chooses to afflict him – and it is God that channels the blessings to others through his misery.
So then, how will the nations be blessed? How do we solve the hypocrisy of Israel?
The two questions are related. It is all found through this One – the Suffering Servant. And so Moses’s biography of Jesus Christ continues…
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)
If you wish to be blessed – all you have to do is be under His Rule, His Household. The primary application here is not that God will make you suffer to the extent that Joseph did, not that you have to resist temptation to his level, but rather that the Chosen One will suffer and resist on your behalf. Trust Him, let Him rule your life and you will be blessed – God will work in all things for your good.
Posted by yemsee at 14:23
Tuesday, 28 January 2014
How do you solve a problem like Judah?
Blessed to be a blessing to others.
That was the function of the nation of Israel from the very beginning, all the way since the call of Abraham in Genesis 12. They were meant to be the great family that shows God’s goodness to all the other families in the earth – drawing all men to Him.
But by the time we get to the sons of Jacob, 3 generations later, their identity as the blessed nation is barely recognizable.
In Genesis 34, the sons of Jacob end up using their privileged position as future heirs of Canaan to destroy and pillage the city of Shechem – making them a stink to the surrounding nations (34:30).
And in Genesis 37, we see that they are irresponsible shepherds rather than sacrificial caretakers. When their younger brother tries to point that out to them, they hate him and come upon him to kill him like a pack of wild dogs, skinning him of that beautiful coat – covering it in blood. Indeed some ‘wild beast’ devoured him – the wild beast that is the current nation of Israel.
Things get even worse in Genesis 38, exemplified through the youngest son of Leah – Judah. Judah has already portrayed himself to be more interested in money than in the well-being of his brother Joseph. And now by leaving his brothers (38:1), he enters deep into Canaan, intermarrying with their women – mimicking his uncle Esau.
His sons amplify his attitude. Onan, as Tze-Ming reminded us on Sunday, spills his semen on the ground because he’s acting selfishly to protect his own self-interests. He wants the double portion of the inheritance of the firstborn for himself. Judah blames Tamar for all that mess instead of seeing his own wickedness.
The result of all this is that Tamar comes up with a plan to have children through her father’s desires – indicating she must have known he would be up for sleeping with prostitutes. She didn’t even have to get him drunk, as in the story of Lot and his daughters.
The irony of all this is that Judah gets so angry when he hears about the fact that Tamar has been sexually immoral – so much so that he wants to burn her (38:24).
So on one hand, Judah has no qualms about pillaging, murder, slavery, fornication and deceit (though keeping face is important to him – 34:23). But on the other hand, claims to be righteous (38:26) and insistent on certain religious practises (34:14, 38:8).
This whole nation of Israel at this moment seems to be full of contradictions. Full of moral statements and religious talk – yet highly self-seeking and fleshly in their behaviour.
Judah has shown us that these sons of Jacob have indeed embraced their place as rulers of Canaan (they certainly act like tyrants) – but have turned out to be Class A hypocrites.
Now that’s a problem.
If the generations of Israel continue this way, God’s goodness will never be known by all the nations. Indeed His name would be dragged into the mud by such twisted and perverse behaviour.
So, how do you solve a problem like Judah? In fact how do you turn a hypocritical nation into one filled with God’s spreading goodness?
That’s the question we must be asking as Moses continues his story….
Posted by yemsee at 11:50