Road to Mt.Gilboa-Lamentations of David(2 Sam 1:1-27)

These were the grieving and painful words penned down by David when he heard the death of Saul and his best friend, Jonathan.  Despite how Saul sought to take his life many times, he looked up to Saul. He was still his mentor, a man he admired as a great ruler and through him, his people enjoyed great success and wealth.

 “A gazelle(symbolizes a human dignitary) lies slain on your heights, Israel.
   How the mighty have fallen!

  “Tell it not in Gath,
   proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, 
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.

  “Mountains of Gilboa,
   may you have neither dew nor rain,
   may no showers fall on your terraced fields(flds. that yield grains for offerings)
For there the shield of the mighty was despised,
   the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.

  “From the blood of the slain,
   from the flesh of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, 
the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied. 

 Saul and Jonathan— 
 in life they were loved and admired, 
 and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles, 
 they were stronger than lions.

 “Daughters of Israel, 
  weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and finery, 
who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.

 “How the mighty have fallen in battle! 
 Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; 
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful, 
more wonderful than that of women.

“How the mighty have fallen!
   The weapons of war have perished!”

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Road Home – The HomeComing(Gen 30-33)

February 3-17, 2011  is the  Lunar New Year for the Chinese.

  Happy, Healthy & Prosperous Chinese New Year

It is a 15 days celebration: time of reunion, of rejoicing, of happiness, of fostering closer ties and basically time to make amends.  It is a time of peace making, a time to catch up on all the days, months and years away from home. Family members make it a point  to make that journey back home, no matter the distance, the traffic congestion  nor the costs. It is this time of the year when we put behind our jobs, our businesses, our busy schedules , our differences, our pride  and even our grievances with each other.  

There is no other time more meaningful than the Chinese New Year reunion meal. To the Malays, it is during Hari Raya and to the Indians, the Deepavali.

What stop you from going home? Dont let anger, hurt, pride, misunderstanding  be the excuse. We live to regret when we look back later in life, how much time was wasted because of this silence.

The days, the months and the years that passes by, Rebekah must have waited with a heavy heart  as she look out across the pasture for a sign of her beloved son. She must have regretted that she encouraged her son to cheat his elder brother of his blessings.  Every meal, every feast, every festival is never the same again for Rebekah.  Her beloved son, Jacob became a fugitive,  a vagabond fleeing his home  in his youth from the wrath of a brother he stole his birthright,  a father he misled and the love of his mother.  

Jacob longed to return home. Finally, after working for his uncle and marrying his two daughters, Rachel and Leah, Jacob decided it was time to go home and made amends with his brother and see his parents.  .  Despite making his home with his uncle Laban, it was never the same. He is like many of us. We left home to work, but we yearn to return.  He still feel like an outsider. So he finally said to Laban,  “Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland”.

Jacob’s Homecoming was not so easy. In Gen 32:7, we read that he was fearful and distress, about his going home. In  Gen 32:7-20 afraid of the wrath of his brother,  so he thought, “I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.” 21 So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him to appease his brother  but he himself spent the night in the camp.

In Gen 33: 1-3 Jacob bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.  But when Esau saw him, he ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.  But when Esau refused the gifts that Jacob presented to him, Jacob insisted.  “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.

What a homecoming!

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Road of Stones – Stone dead, headstone & gemstone

Lessons from stones

Since David the shepherd boy picked up his five stones and with one shot from his sling, brought down the great giant Goliath,  the story has been used widely as  bedtimes’ and moral stories by parents and teachers alike. The story of David vs. Goliath made such an impact that century down the road, it still fascinates any children who hear it and story teller who shares it. Many parents have even named their children after him.  The “five stones” I played when I was a child with my neighbors’ kids must have come from David’s story. 

 This story is recorded in 1Samuel 17:1-47 “…And he [David] took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine….And with one stone in his sling, he struck Goliath on his forehead and he fell on his face”.  

 Stones have been used in many ways: good and bad. One of them was for stoning. We read of the woman caught in adultery. The Jews were ready to pick up stones to stone her. Stephen was stoned to death for preaching about the kingdom of God. Paul himself had been stoned many times, so did Jesus Himself.  As for the Muslim, it was to stone the devil himself. Stoning of the Devil or stoning of the jamarat (Arabic: ramy al-jamarāt‎) is part of the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Muslim pilgrims fling pebbles at three walls called jamarat in the city of Mina just east of Mecca. It is one of a series of ritual acts that must be performed in the Haj.

On the good side, stones were used to erect altars. In the case of Jacob, he set up an altar for the Lord as he was returning home to his father and to ask forgiveness from his brother for stealing his birthright. During the Stone Age era, they were used as hunting tools for survival. Stones were used to lay railway lines for transportation, as headstone for the dead to RIP and as healing reflexology for the tired feet. These days, some stones like the gemstones are used as ornamental items to be hung around the neck or worn around the wrists.

Stones are just tools that we use to accomplish our objectives.

Stones are by themselves useless but when a user uses it well, it brings benefits. But when use wrongly, it can bring hurt, pain and even death.  The sling and the five pebbles were by themselves harmless. But when used to save the Israelites from the scorned of the Philistines with the power of God’s might, VICTORY prevailed.  When the multitudes were ready to stone the woman caught in adultery, Jesus said, “the one without sin, casts the first stone?”, the crowds slowly dispersed. It is not as though Jesus accepted the sin of the woman, because in the following verses from the scripture, He told the woman, “Go and sin no more”.  Death brings no benefit but for the woman, a second chance to life.  

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Road to Nahor-The Match-maker(Gen 24:)

When a couple utter those final words, “I do, I do”, it is a legally binding vow that they take each other for good or bad. It is to be “Till Death Do Us Part”.  So finding the perfect match is of utmost importance. During my mother’s era, finding a partner is mostly done through the match-maker. There are certain criteria and qualifications that my grandparents set for the match-maker. 1) he must be from a good  home 2) Physically fit  3) pleasant personality 4) respectful to elders

Today we take the road to Nahor to meet the Match-maker. 

As he set off on the road, the mammoth task he carried on his shoulder must have weighed heavily on him. He was Abraham’s most senior servant who was in-charge of all that Abraham had. He could easily tell you how many servants or number of sheep Abraham had, if you want to know. He could probably tell you the extent of Abraham’s wealth or what time Abraham had his meals or his likes and dislikes. But today,  he is the Match-maker for his master’s son, Isaac.  

What made Abraham entrust such a job to a servant of his household? Is there no one amongst his relatives who are more capable and qualified than this servant?

For Abraham to send him,

1. he trusted in the Lord to provide. Verse 7: it says, ” the god of heaven who took me from my father’s house swore to give him and his descendants this land. He will send his angel ahead of you to prepare the bride”.

 What does a man look for in his bride? To the servant, his master told him the type of wife he wants for his son.

Conditions : 1) never take a woman from the Canaanites   2) never send Isaac to go there because he remembered God’s promises that thro his seed, or offspring, Lord will give him this land 3)the woman must be humble, showing hospitality even to a strangerf  4) must be willing to follow her husband, an respectful & obedient wife.

Abraham trusted the servant with his choice.

Abraham trusted him to obey his request.

Abraham trusted him  with his faith.

What made the Servant’s chose the right wife? He prayed before he began his journey. He prayed his Lord to provide , to guide him to the right path (vs 27.  Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His Truth toward my master as for me the Lord has guided me in the way to the house of my master’s brothers)

And when he finally found the right wife for Isaac, in Vs 48: he ended his journey with a praise and thanksgiving and acknowledged that God is the One who guided him to the right path.

“And I bowed low and worshipped the Lord and bleesed the Lord, God of my master Abraham who had guided me in the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son”.

No matter if you are a lowly person, a servant, or the rich man or one who has given everything to God or the position you hold in society or if you feel time is running, take the Road that God leads. You will not fall into a pit! 

 

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Road to A Dying Man’s House – The Will(Gen. 27)

No one knows the day of their death. So making a Will these days is a must, if you dont want to end up having your loved ones fight over your assets all the way to court and then have someone decide who gets what and what goes to who, upon your dying bed.  And in most cases, you would leave the better part of  your inheritance to your favorite person or the apple of your eyes.  If a Will is not drawn,  we have seen how loved ones faced difficulties getting the deceased’s  estates released or how loved ones became enemies fighting tooth and nail to get their  share of the pie.

Today, we shall travel the road Isaac took and the impact it had on his two sons.  During his time. a man’s word is his honor. When a person says, “I give you my word”, it means he will honor every word he speaks. 

Isaac knew death was imminent and un-escapable. He wanted to name his beneficiary, so he called his favorite son, Esau.  Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death.  Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me.  Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.” 

His wife, Rebekah was eavesdropping on their conversation. She loved her other son, Jacob so much she was willing to take the curse for tricking and deceit.  Because Isaac’s eyes was failing, he could only depend on his hearing, smell and taste to recognise people.  So that was how Jacob deceived his father dressed up like Esau and prepared his favourite dish to get his father’s blessings, his so called “Will”.

THE WILL

“Ah, the smell of my son
   is like the smell of a field
   that the LORD has blessed.
28 May God give you heaven’s dew
   and earth’s richness—
   an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you
   and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
   and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed
   and those who bless you be blessed.”

Once the words had gone out of his mouth, there was no getting them back.  When Esau heard about it, he hated his brother and sought to take his life. Because of her deceit, Rebekah lost the respect of one and separated with the other for  over 18 years. As for Jacob, he became a fugitive, a vagabond. He had to hide and make his home with his uncle, Laban, Rebekah’s brother for the next 18 years working for him.  In Gen 30: 25, after his wife gave birth,  we read how  Jacob longed to return home. He missed home. He has been a fugitive for the last 20 years. So he said to Laban,  “Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland.” He wanted so much to see his father’s homeland, his mother and brothers.

Jacob travelled the road that separates him from all that he loved. Esau went and took wives for himself from the Canaanites  to spite his parents. 

Two roads: Did it make a difference?

 

  

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Road to Emmaus – A “Ghostly” Encounter (Luke 24:13-32)

Cleopas and his friend had a lot on their minds as they made their way to Emmaus, a 7-mile

Pix from Biblos.com

 journey from Jerusaleum. They  talked and reasoned amongst  themselves about the strange things that had happened the last couple of days. As they were conversing, they met a stranger on the road.

“What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad”, the stranger noticed.

Are you only a visitor to Jerusaleum and do not know the things that had happened there?, they answered disbelievingly.

“What things?”, the stranger asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth”, they almost shouted. 

They had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And yet, today being the third day, they had just heard some women of the faith who said they saw a vision of angels who said He was alive. Some of the men went to an Empty tomb! Unbelievable!

The two men were clearly waiting to spew out their guts to anyone, anyone who could clear away their confusion and doubts. Of all the people they should meet with was this stranger. (Remember what Heb. 13: 2 says, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it”?)  Before the night was over, they not only met a stranger, but one who clearly knew everything about Moses, the law and the prophesies more than they bargained for. The more they heard the stranger talked, the more their  hearts began to burn within them . Just as mysteriously he appeared,  same manner he vanished into thin air!

Jesus had been their mentor, teacher, defender and physician when He was with them.  After his death, they were like the lost sheep of the house of Israel without a leader, a shepherd, a master. They were still  drinking milk from the bottle instead of taking solid food.  

Did the road they took changed their lives?  Yes,  that “ghostly” encounter on the road did it.   From then on,  they went about bearing witness for the Resurrected Savior, turning  the world upside down with their preaching and testimonies.

Did it changes yours?

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Road to Nazareth: A Blind Faith

 Prescription

Take two tablets , 3 Xs a day. One tbsp. cough mixture 4 Xs a day. If fever, take 2 tablets every 4 hours. Drink plenty of water, no oily and spicy food. Take plenty of rest.

With this the doctor sends you  away with his  magic portion to heal your ailments.  You go home , dutifully and trustingly carry out his every instruction. Why?

Matt 9:27-31  On this occasion, Jesus was in his own land of Nazareth where He grew up. He had just raised  the ruler’s daughter from death and healed the woman who had an issue of blood for the last 12 years. Such events must have spread like wild fire into all the surrounding land.  As Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying,”Son of David, have mercy on us!”.  They then followed Him into  the house. Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can do this?” They answered, “Yes, Lord.” Then Jesus touched their eyes, saying “According to your faith, let it be to you.” In that instant, their eyes were opened.  When they left they declared the good news to all that country.

What about us? We placed our blind faith on a pilot who most times cruise his plane on autopilot, flies us into empty space with miles and miles of clouds and nothing else. We placed our faith in wealth, in our business, even in our dog!. Many of these things kept us glued to them but when it comes to Jesus, we asked for signs and evidence. We are like Thomas John 20: who has eyes but could not see.  Jesus said, ” Thomas, Thomas……. be not faithless but believing. …Blessed are they who have not seen me and yet have believed.” 

 Today, has your life been touched or have you touched someone’s life? The two blind men did. Jesus touched their lives.

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