Monday, November 23, 2009

The Lord as the papa eagle – a vision of faithfulness, comfort and assurance

Today, I want to share about a vision I had at the end of October 2009. It was in the early hours of the morning. I was up praying for what the Lord wanted to say through me through words of knowledge for my church weekend services.

It started in a room
The vision started with me in the vision itself. In the vision I was in a room, and there were two other persons in the room. One of them I could recognize was a long time church friend, the other was a unknown young man. This long-time friend was at one corner of the room and was not involved with the rest of what happened. As to why he was in the picture I was not sure. Possibly it was to be consistent with my asking, i.e. an asking for the body of Christ - he is a Christian and is a member of my church. Also this brother had gone through much in life, especially in his career, worked for others, was in businesses for many years, been through business partners’ squabbles, had much ups and downs, and then went back to employment, and then finally out , and was on some multi-level selling late in his life.

The conversation thereof
The interesting thing was that the young man in the vision engaged me in conversation. I am a fairly old man! What would a young man converse with a much older man about? Young men are enthusiastic, and this young man talked about his plans, about “conquering the world”, how he mapped out every things, step by step how he would steer himself into positions beneficial to himself, to get into business settings, and then into business, and be successful in it. This young man was a Christian too. I could tell by his making reference to the Bible. Although not intentionally trying to dampen the young man enthusiasm about life, I said that if he had gone through as much in years that I had, he would find that things did not always worked out exactly like what he had intended. You see, I too, have had my fair share of upsets in life, career or otherwise.

Ceiling no more
Then suddenly when I have finished saying something to the effect that my setbacks, even the current one, did not necessarily spell the end of me, my eyes looked up and saw the ceiling of the room was no more there. Instead what I saw was the foliage of a tree top. The young man began to look with me, at the tree. This young man thereafter was just there watching with me. We both just watched and did nothing. The room no longer featured in the vision; the concentration was now on the tree and what happened there.

Zoom, zoom, zoom
I first saw an eagle coming into the tree top, onto a section that looked like a nest. The picture began to go on a zoom, i.e. it began to get bigger and bigger. The eagle got larger and larger. Then I saw one of its wings was placed right in front of its body. Then I could see an eaglet behind the large wing of the big eagle. This eaglet was hovering up and down behind the wing, kind of attempting to fly but was faltering. I could see the eaglet popping up and down the top of the held-up wing in front of the big eagle. Then the eaglet got hidden under the wing when the wing was brought close to the body of eagle, and the picture got into greater zoom mode. The close-up was so near that now I could see that the big eagle was really majestic, with full colors – with whites and shades of brown feathers. When I saw the body of the eagle in a close-up shot, I could see that the eagle was clothed; it had a colourful vest on, there were white as well as red stripes. Then I saw the eagle was wearing a tie (neck-tie with blue and white colours), and the impression that came with that sight, was that it was a papa eagle.

Papa, and it unzoomed
The moment the thought of the eagle was a papa eagle came, the picture went into a quick “unzoom”. This is to say that suddenly I was again looking at the spot on the tree from a further distance. I could no longer see an eagle at the spot anymore. What was there a moment ago was an eagle, now was only a coat which surprisingly still retained its form. As I was wondering where the eagle had gone, the large collar of the coat moved, and the thought that came, was that the eagle was still there, it was just that I could not see it (invisible). And with that, the vision ended.

What is the interpretation of this vision?
First, I believe this is a vision of faithfulness, comfort and assurance, and I believe it was meant for the body of Christ, in the first instance, meant for the body in my church, secondarily for the general body of Christ, and this is why I have it articled here. I have had previous dreams of assurance of similar kinds, for myself. I have one of them written up at the end of this article (see Appendix), just to encourage along the same line.

But now for the interpretation of this vision, the eaglet represented children of God. Everyone, at salvation, became a child of God. At salvation, we are adopted as children by God through the Holy Spirit. All Christians, young (represented by the young man in the vision) or old (represented by me and the old church friend of mine, in the vision) are still children, like little eaglets, to God. Some of us may have grown much older since salvation but we are really never fully grown, in the eyes of the Abba Father. I believe the young man’s referencing to the Bible in his conversation with me, was deliberately put in by God so that we know that children of God were being referenced to. And the conversation on life, the journeys and the ups and downs, and the faltering, pictured by the faltering eaglet, and the coming of the papa eagle, was to symbolize the coming of Father God to his children’s aid when they faltered in lives, regardless of whether they are young or old. When I asked the Lord for the meaning of the vision, I came to Psalm 17:8. In this portion of the psalm, King David said this: Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. This verse is spot on for the vision.

The apple of the eye, although could generally be translated as someone’s beloved, it is actually more than just that. As my Senior Pastor rightly pointed out the apple of the eye is the pupil of the eye. The pupil of the eye is rather unique in that it has autonomy to regulate itself; when it is dark, it will open the aperture bigger to admit more light; when it is bright outside, it will reduce the size of the aperture to regulate the amount of light into the eye, all involuntarily – doing it, of itself. But when there is a danger coming to the pupil of the eye, the eyelid will come down to cover it, you might tilt your head away, hold up your hands to block the danger, or do whatever needed to dodge/ward off the danger. As the apple of God’s eye means you are given freedom (your free-will not taken from you) yet when there is any danger, God would protect you at all cost. As apple of God’s eye here in the vision, whether it is represented by the eaglet, with freedom to try to fly, or by the young man and I, with freedom in our engagements in life, when we get into trouble, afflicted or faltered, Father God comes like the papa eagle to hide us in the shadow of His wings.

Therefore the message in this vision is that as children of God, young or old, as apple of God’s eye, papa God is faithful to come to our aid, to protect us. The ending part of the vision is really showing us that God is faithful; we may not see God, we may not feel him, He is there watching over. The Lord brought to remembrance one of the trustworthy sayings of Paul in 2 Timothy 2:

if we are faithless{believe not}, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself (2 Timothy 2:13)

With much regret, I did not manage to deliver this vision to my church congregation over the weekend. As a matter of arrangement I have with the Lord, words of knowledge received prior to the first weekend service, would be for that first service, unless there was a sensation of otherwise. But I could not release this vision because of time constraint. In the first service (Saturday evening service), we were running out of time, and visions such as this one tended to take more time to be fully released to be understood. I had no choice but to skip it. It can be argued that this vision was meant for the entire church congregation and therefore should still be released on the next service which was the Sunday’s first service. Actually it turned out that this service did not suffered from the lack of time. But the session for the word of knowledge came on too soon in the service, and it caught me off guard; I ended up not releasing it, and was praying and ministering to people instead. Maybe I failed the Lord there, I am not sure. But one thing did happen though, a sister, from the congregation gave this word (in its place?) from Deuteronomy:

10 In a desert land he found him,
in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them on its pinions.
(Deuteronomy 32:10-11)

I decided that in the 3rd service, Sunday 10:30am service, I would release the vision. I stayed but no time was allotted for words of knowledge for that service.
I believe visions, words of knowledge and manifestations of the Holy Spirit can be spiritual food for us (if you want to catch a exposition on what constitute spiritual food, read this article – Spiritual food), and anyone reading this vision can claim the goodness, assurance and promises in it.

Anthony Chia – Lord, this vision has left an imprint in me of you as the PAPA, may you still use this write-up of the vision to speak to many.

Appendix – saved by the Lord’s golden sash:
This was a dream I had quite a number of months back. In this dream there was no one else in the picture. I was just me in a room, much like in a room of a posh hotel. The room, very well furnished, had glass walls. There was a low cabinet against one of the glass wall, and on top of the cabinet was a black luggage. In the dream, I reached for this luggage. Unexpectedly, I ended up giving a push to the luggage, and before I knew it, I was slipping along with the luggage over the cabinet, and into the air outside of the room! Apparently, the glass could be pushed opened, and somehow, not knowing to me, the wall was not there, the glass was pushed opened. I fell from the room, and then I realized it was a tall building, and I was in free fall. It was a long drop. Just before I hit the ground, suddenly, I went upright. My hands stretched out, and around one hand, and extending to the other hand across the chest was a golden sash, and I began to rise and rise, all the way back up to the room I fell from. I can still remember when I got back into the room, I hung the golden sash on a clothes pole.

Personal to me, as this is clearly a personal dream – no one else was in the dream; I was not particularly praying or interceding for another, and the only character in the dream was me. This dream spoke of the assurance that my God was watching over me. Even if I unwittingly stumble, God is there to save me. The moving back up through the air to the room has the connotation of restoration. So, it is not only that God saves, He will restore. How do I know it was a dream from God? We read in Isaiah 11, the sash represented faithfulness of God (Isaiah 11:5b - … and faithfulness the sash around his waist). In fact, Isaiah 11 is a prophetic description of the Messiah, Jesus. In Revelation 1:12-16, John gave a description of the one “like the son of man”. I believe Jesus was being described there. Notice that verse 13 said that He had sash around His chest. In that dream, Jesus took off His sash, wrapped it around my hands so that I could be propelled up in the air by His sash. This is how personal Jesus can get. This is how faithful Jesus can get.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Judges series - Judges 4

The way to read this article is that the orange underlined texts are the verses of the Bible (NIV, unless otherwise stated). The black texts following the Bible verses (and enclosed by square brackets) are my commentaries. At the end of these Bible texts and commentaries, I have inserted a section on "Points to take note".
{For full listing of all articles in this series, click here}

Judges 4

1 After Ehud died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the LORD. 2 So the LORD sold them into the hands of Jabin, a king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth Haggoyim. 3 Because he had nine hundred iron chariots and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the LORD for help. [Once again, when the judge died, the Israelites went back to their evil ways. How similar is this even in our own lives? Often we too, felt conviction and repented of our sins and then we went back again, over and over, to repeat the same mistakes we made. Talking of long-suffering, no one can compare with the Lord. One of the fruits of the Spirit is long-suffering, and if you think about it - that which the Lord wants to see developed in us, is also what He himself is capable of doing most excellently. But at the same time profaning the grace of God is really a bad thing to do. If we keep profaning the grace of God and are then caught off-guard, we are to be blamed, not God. What happened to the Israelites here was that they were given over to the Canaanites under the Canaanite king, Jabin. The Hebrew word used here for “sold” I believe is “makar” which means “to be given over”. There are a few Bible translations that use the words, “gave them up”, “delivered them up” or “used Jabin.. to defeat”. The words, “give over” I believe capture the essence of what really happened in these scenarios in the Bible. God did not and does not set up a snare for his people; that would be wickedness which will never happen with God. The workings of the fallen world/sins are what caused many of the so-called “bad things” that happened. It is not a question of God acting wickedly but it is a question of whether or not the hands of protection/blessing of the Lord are over certain people/individuals. It is most disastrous to find yourself completely without any protection/blessing from the Lord in this fallen world. It is believed by Bible scholars that previously Joshua defeated another King of the Jabin clan who reined in the same territory (Joshua 11). It was probably the descendant of the killed Jabin that came for revenge against the Israelites; God merely lifted his hands of protection over the Israelites. God had not the obligation because firstly God’s covenant with the Israelites had been broken by the latter, and secondly the Israelites were just unrepentant despite many years of help by the several judges that God had given them out of grace. God’s compassion moved Him, especially after the cries of the people having come up to Him, to stretch out his hands to protect, all out of grace. When things are given out of grace, i.e. given when the recipients were undeserving (unmerited favor, we say), when God stops giving, the recipients cannot blame God, can they? I believe this was what happened here.]

4 Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. 5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided.[Under the 20 years of cruelties of King Jabin, the Israelites again cried out to the Lord. In life, there is one thing that we as Christians can do, no one can stop us – that is to cry out to the Lord. Who can stop you? No one. You can pray in your heart, and if you baptized in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God will help you to pray (in tongue) even when you do not know how to pray or too distressed to think out the words to pray (again it can be done, silently, under breath). If nothing else you can do, you can always appeal to the compassion of God. After that, of course, it is up to Him. In this case, a prophetess, Deborah, had been raised as a judge for the Israelites.]

6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, "The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. 7 I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.' " [Deborah sent for Barak and asked him to lead an army consisted of the Israelite tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun to fight Jabin. Deborah got her instructions from the Lord, and she told Barak that she would lure the commander of Jabin’s army into Barak’s hands.]

8 Barak said to her, "If you go with me, I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go." 9 "Very well," Deborah said, "I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman." So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh, 10 where he summoned Zebulun and Naphtali. Ten thousand men followed him, and Deborah also went with him. [We were not told what went on in the head of Barak. It appeared that Deborah was not meant to go with him but he insisted Deborah went with him. Maybe Barak did not trust the words of the prophetess completely, but whatever it was, it was not pleasing to God, and for that Barak would not have the honor of slaying the commander of the Jabin army; a woman would have that honor. Maybe many times, like Barak, we too missed that honor that God wanted to give us; why can’t we just do as directed!]

11 Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses' brother-in-law, and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh. [This verse is here to introduce Heber, a Kenite. You will read later that God used Jael, the wife of Heber to kill Sisera, the commander of Jabin army. God did not use Deborah to kill the commander; the woman referred to in verse 9 is Jael, the wife of Heber.]

12 When they told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera gathered together his nine hundred iron chariots and all the men with him, from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, "Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?" So Barak went down Mount Tabor, followed by ten thousand men. 15 At Barak's advance, the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera abandoned his chariot and fled on foot. 16 But Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim. All the troops of Sisera fell by the sword; not a man was left. [As earlier indicated by the Lord through Deborah, the Jabin army went to Kishon River, and the battle was won by Barak; but the enemy’s commander fled on foot.]

17 Sisera, however, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there were friendly relations between Jabin king of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, "Come, my Lord, come right in. Don't be afraid." So he entered her tent, and she put a covering over him. 19 "I'm thirsty," he said. "Please give me some water." She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up. 20 "Stand in the doorway of the tent," he told her. "If someone comes by and asks you, 'Is anyone here?' say 'No.' " 21 But Jael, Heber's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died. 22 Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. "Come," she said, "I will show you the man you're looking for." So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple-dead. [Sisera reached the tent of Jael, and the rest, like people say it, is history - Sisera was killed by Jael while he was asleep, with a tent peg driven through his temple. The honor went to Jael, a woman.]

23 On that day God subdued Jabin, the Canaanite king, before the Israelites. 24 And the hand of the Israelites grew stronger and stronger against Jabin, the Canaanite king, until they destroyed him. [Israelites continued to win over Jabin until finally they destroyed him.]

Points to note/Questions to ponder:

This entire chapter was devoted to judge Deborah. I suppose Deborah can be considered a major judge; the next chapter, which we will cover in a separate article, was also devoted to Deborah – the Song of Deborah.

Again, here we read of the recalcitrant nature of man. Have you given serious thoughts to what I said for the first few verses of the chapter?

“Once again, when the judge died, the Israelites went back to their evil ways. How similar is this even in our own lives? Often we too, felt conviction and repented of our sins and then we went back again, over and over, to repeat the same mistakes we made. Talking of long-suffering, no one can compare with the Lord. One of the fruits of the Spirit is long-suffering, and if you think about it - that which the Lord wants to see developed in us, is also what He himself is capable of doing most excellently. But at the same time profaning the grace of God is really a bad thing to do. If we keep profaning the grace of God and are then caught off-guard, we are to be blamed, not God.”

Another repeating theme in the Book of Judges, and can be seen here is the concept of God’s giving over of people to the enemies. Can you agree with me that the utmost nature of God is holiness, and that there cannot be any wickedness in God?

“God did not and does not set up a snare for his people; that would be wickedness which will never happen with God. The workings of the fallen world/sins are what caused many of the so-called “bad things” that happened. It is not a question of God acting wickedly but it is a question of whether or not the hands of protection/blessing of the Lord are over certain people/individuals. It is most disastrous to find yourself completely without any protection/blessing from the Lord in this fallen world.”

Again we read the cries of desperation can touch the heart of compassion of God. Can you agree with me on what I said concerning this aspect, and will you remember it for your own good?

“In life, there is one thing that we as Christians can do, no one can stop us – that is to cry out to the Lord. Who can stop you? No one. You can pray in your heart, and if you baptized in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God will help you to pray (in tongue) even when you do not know how to pray or too distressed to think out the words to pray (again it can be done, silently, under breath). If nothing else you can do, you can always appeal to the compassion of God. After that, of course, it is up to Him.”

Judge Deborah was a prophetess. Much of what was seen in the chapter was a record of the fulfillment of prophesies made by Deborah. How do you look at prophesies? Do you embrace wholeheartedly prophesies? Or are you like Barak who moved with hesitation and did not get the honor God originally intended for him? Or is it really as simple as I remarked in the commentary, “Why can’t we just do as directed?”

Anthony Chia - Lord, may I not hesitate like Barak, but just do as you direct.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Another Testimony of God’s healing for me

Usual Sunday
This testimony happened on the Sunday 25th October, 2009. A usual, I would be in Church Sanctuary at around 7.30am in the morning. As in other Sundays, I interceded that morning for the day’s services and for my little “ministry” and for some individuals whom the Lord had placed in my heart to intercede for.

Break new ground, give effect to the words
This particular morning I arrived a little earlier and so had slightly longer time for this intercession hour. Over the last 2 weeks, 2 new prayers phrases had come to me. One, the earlier one, was this, “Break new ground.” In fact, this one came as a short song. The second one was this, “Give effect to the words”.

The first one is easier to comprehend, it is an asking of the Lord to break new ground – do a new work, break-through, in events, in situations, in people’s problems or lives.

A little about favor too
The second comes from a posture of cashing in on God’s favor. Favor of God is very important, even more so for people in ministry for the Lord. In the Parable of the Shrewd Manager, which we looked at in a separate article, not too long ago (click here to read the article), it was said in Luke 16:11, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” I said in that article, favor with God would qualify as one of the true riches. The word favor implies fulfilling of a request out of goodwill. Favor with God is a previous thing; in another article of mine – Reserve glory and worship for God, practice honor, and grow in favor with God, I said people with God’s favor are capable of doing great exploits for God. In the context of words of knowledge and prophesy, the area of gifting that I move in, a little, favor is so very important. Was I 100% accurate, and precise when I moved in this gift of the Holy Spirit? No. Did I try to be? Yes. What happened in the times of shortfall? I believe that, that was when favor of God came in (but of course, not at the total exclusion of other factors). Asking God to give effect to the words given out is to spend my true riches that I have with God. And I ask not just effects for my own words but also for the words released by others. Moses, the great deliverer after Jesus, pleaded with God, after God’s refusal to travel with the Israelites, after the Golden Calf incident at the foot of Mount Sinai (you can read about this in the article last mentioned). This is how he pleaded, “O’ Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us.”

Pressing in
This morning, I kept asking God to break new grounds, and give effect to words that would be released, for more signs and wonders and miracles for the ministry times in the church services. I wanted the people who would come forward, to be healed, to be set free, to be ministered, to be helped. Such ministry times cannot be sustained by me or any other persons, but by God who does the work of ministering together with the Holy Spirit and angels. Whenever, I saw an “ebbing” in the ministry, including my own, I had to plead more with the Lord. This morning was such a morning. I remember telling the Lord that I had not witnessed people being slain (when prayed by me) for 2 weeks or more now. It was not that I must slain people, but ministry momentum must be watched. When it slows, we have to ask ourselves if there is anything wrong, and press in for answers or recovery.

Here is where it really began
There I go again, blah, blah, blah. At the end of the intercession, when I opened my eyes and got up from the kneeling position, I realized that a pain had come on, in my left eye. I was without the pain when I entered the sanctuary, and when I was prayer-walking the front of the sanctuary. I had a small swelling in my left eye, the common kind of tiny swelling at the lower eye lid, the kind that mothers would say you would get if you had been a peeping tom. But the pain got worse and it extended right into the head. As I raised my voice and exerted myself in singing aloud in the praise and worship session of the 1st Sunday service, it got even worse. By praise and worship time, it was all in the head, somewhere at the back of the left eye. Of course, this was not a word of knowledge through pain sensation. As far as I know, it does not work that way, why would God want to torture? It is not in his nature. Commonly, pain sensation would go away once I acknowledged it. I have heard others saying that sometimes the sensation would persist until word of it had been given out, or until someone responded. It is possible but I do not think it is the norm. Even if it were the case, the pain should not be torturing to the person used by the Lord.

Body parts from Heaven!
When it came to the time to give words of knowledge and prophesy, an anointed servant of the Lord, brother KH, shared that he had an impression that the Lord would rain down body parts for healing! What more could you add or ask? I straightaway remembered my morning intercession, and knew that many people would come to the front of the sanctuary for healing prayers, and I was right. I was still having the bad pain in my head, behind the left eye, but I had to work, right! In that session I first prayed for a man who had gone for an operation on a sensitive part of his body.

A knack?
After that, before I could think of whether or not I could get someone to pray for my “pain in the eye”, another man come to me for prayer. I sometimes wondered if I have been assigned a specialty like praying for people with physical problems of the kind that got to do with bones and muscles. Although I have had a dream in which I saw a person stood up from a wheelchair, right before me, in a scene that had more than one person on wheelchairs, I had not have any such real happening. Maybe, I had not prayed for many wheelchair bound people. Maybe, the time is yet to come. But I do get the feeling that I have a knack for praying for people with bones and muscles problems. If I did not get it wrong, many of the people who got slain in the spirit under my hands were people in this category. This second man who came to me, said he had aches and pains in the bones and muscles at various parts of his body because of a distorted curvature of his backbone. When I launched forth my prayer for this man, words came in quick successions and with strength. I soon got the inkling that he would fall under the power of spirit. There was no catcher behind him. These occasions just happened again and again - when there were catchers, people did not get slain, when there were no catchers, people got slain. The next moment I found myself trying to break this man’s backwards fall. I leaped twice, first, forward, to break the man’s fall, second, forward and to the right, on being somehow tripped by the man as he fell. I ended up just short of crashing into the first row of seats. It must have been quite a sight for those happened to be looking in the direction of where I was ministering. When I regained my posture, I could see there were others being slain, on the floor. I supposed the Lord had his way of ensuring that I did not land crashing into the seats or stepping on another human! I went back to the man lying on the floor; I bent down with the intention to pray further for him. I could see the Lord was already doing some kind of work on him – I could see he was breathing very deeply, his chest was moving up and down in big steps. He stayed down for quite a long time, 2nd to get up; the lady who was slain under prayers of brother Frankie was the last to get up. The man got up, came by me, thanked me, maybe he shook my hand, and went back to his seat. Had he been healed? I probably would not know unless he tells. Those who are healed by the Lord should try to report back (give testimony) so that people, including me, may be encouraged.

I was in pain even through the sermon
Back to the pain in my eye. Throughout the sermon time I was still in pain. Half of the time, I had to close my eyes and put my head down, to feel “better”. I was also contemplating whether or not, later, after the 1st service to ask my senior pastor to pray for me. I was thinking if I got questioned on why I did not ask for prayer during the ministry time when the anointing was clearly present, I would just say I was ministering to others.

Minister again despite pain
Surprise! Surprise, at the end of the sermon, another altar call was given. This time I went forward to minister to a lady. This lady had suffered much disappointment in her family. I must say I do not normally ask the Lord for a word for a person in such short ministry time, maybe only the duration of a song. But somehow, these words rang in me, “She is precious in God’s sight”. Then I felt I had to say it to her. So I told her that God said she was precious in His sight, and I repeated it, asking her to believe. I could see she felt the impact of the assurance, and I could see tears from her eyes. I asked a close-by lady to hug her. I believe the hugging further ministered to the lady. But what does this got to do with the pain in my eye?

It’s gone
What do you know! The pain in my left eye had left me. The Lord had healed me even as He healed the lady of her hurts. I believe it could have been at the time that I said she was precious in the Lord’s eyes that I was also healed.

Testimony and more
In the following service, the 2nd service, I was able to worship the Lord with no more pain in the eye or head. In fact, as I entered the sanctuary again for the 2nd service, I felt a pain in my lower back, I paused and after I acknowledged it as a word of knowledge from the Lord, it went away. In the time allotted for word of knowledge and ministry thereof, I gave testimony of my healing, and gave out words of knowledge. Indeed there was a person with a bad back problem. She hurt her back a couple of days before this, helping at the Padang, Indonesia where massive earthquakes had hit the place. After prayers, she experienced some relief and I trusted her to the Lord to continue the healing work in her for she responded obviously on both the testimony and the word of knowledge. In my prayer for her, I kept asking the Lord to remember that she hurt her back helping others in need, in a disaster area (She went from Singapore to give medical assistance to victims of the quakes in Indonesia). Lord, you please heal her completely.

Anthony Chia – My soul, my soul, learn to trust God, from even the small things God had done for you.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I too must testify to the goodness of God

Some previous articles did not make it
It has been some time since I last I put up an entry on myself. Actually, I think I have written an article or two, but they were “curfewed” because certain things, on second thought were best not publicly made known as yet. So this is a fresh new article. As I write I hope this will get onto the blog and it will not suffer the same fate as the other one or two previous articles.

It is still on
Am I still doing the little “ministry” thing? The answer is yes. In fact, ministry time after the praise and worship in my church services has become a more or less permanent feature. That is good, and I hope it stays that way. There are 2 reasons for it. Firstly, this is where I “work”. If this “working place” is gone, where would I go to work, without working what will happen to the spiritual gifts endowed. Ministry gifts are for ministry to others. If not ministering, why would there be a need for the gifts. If I still want the privilege and honor to exercise His gifts, I better want to minister. Secondly, there are many needs simply because there are many members; who have no problem? In fact, often I kind of wish I was more “powerful” so that people were helped more, more instantaneous reliefs could come to people for their problems; but I am not the God, He is; I am not the Doctor, He is; I am not the Deliverer, He is. What about the weekly Full Gospel Businessmen Meetings? Yes, that is still on-going. How much do I do there? Nothing much, but I thank the Lord for the occasions He used me there to minister in word of knowledge/prophesy, and in praying for people.

Tiny testimonies of others
Before I go blah-blah-blah again, let’s get to testimonies. As to other people’s testimonies as a result of my little “ministry”, no big testimonies to share, not even 1 big one, Lord. Maybe it is telling something! The only noticeable sign of late, was that more people voluntarily said that their conditions got better – shoulder pain/discomfort gone, leg got better and gave visiting the doctor a miss, backache from fall left over time, foot pain relieved, knee problem got better. I want to say they were all small ailments yet I also think it is not right to say that. Some of these physical ailments could really be quite a nuisance if not a torture, to the sufferers. Yes, I still witnessed people being slain under the power of God when I prayed (Of course, not very often). Some others, though did not fall, could be seen to experience touches of the Lord. I mean you could see one swerving under power of God, another, trembling, others staggering backwards (no deliberate pushing, of course); still others broke down (crying), ministered of their emotional hurts, etc. There are those who fell to the ground the moment I stretched out my hand (usually right hand) over their temples. There was one occasion, I ministered to a man who did not want to tell me his prayer need, I just held up both his hands, after a while he still got slain by the Spirit and fell like a tree to the ground.

Dream and believe
How about myself? Have I ever experienced healing from the Lord since my little “ministry” tended to be in the healing area. Foremost, I want to thank God for keeping me healthy. Except for occasional food poisoning, I was rarely sick. Well, I “cheated”, sometimes I would ask the Lord to let his healing anointing healed me first, preventively. Elijah had a cloak that carried an anointing (In 2 Kings 2:8, he parted the Jordan with it). Elisha caught hold of Elijah’s cloak and received a double portion of Elijah’s anointing. Well, between the Lord and I, I asked for the “cloak of Jehovah Rapha” (Remember, Jesus had a cloak on, when the woman with the blood issue touched Him). From time to time I would ask the Lord to charge this invisible cloak with the healing anointing. Of course, sometimes I would ask that the anointing from the cloak to heal me first-lah. No, I am not crazy. I only dream with Lord, there is no cloak on my back? It is invisible, you cannot see, can you? I say there is a spiritual healing pool at the front of the sanctuary of my church, people cannot imagine it; I can. I often prayed for angels to surround me. You cannot see my angels but that does not mean they are not there. I have seen one of them, many years ago, in a dream, an incredible creature, logic defying. So, recently when I prayed for a brother, he said he sensed angels around, perhaps one huge one at the back of me, I just looked at him, but I believed him. I did (and still do), from time to time, feel “heat” on my back, sometimes a very strong one, maybe the huge angel was pressing too closely!

Out of the blue pain and discomfort, finally gone!
There was an occasion I believed the Lord healed me. Not too long ago, for some 2 weeks I had, out of the blue, discomfort and pain in my thigh and side of my knee, on my right leg. In case, someone from the church tries to link this to one of the words of knowledge I gave in church, I want to say I had not given the “false” word of knowledge. It was “out of the blue” because it could not be due to any food I had taken; I was fasting when it came on. I was attending a 2 ½ days weekend International Disciple Making Conference. I fasted over the conference, and the discomfort and pain set in during the conference. I also did not do any strenuous exercises that could have caused it; I was at the conference (full 2 ½ day). It continued after the conference. Because I had it almost continuous throughout the days, of course when it came to weekend church services, I would not give any word of knowledge on pain/discomfort at the thigh or knee. On the 3rd weekend while in church, in my usual waiting upon the Lord for words of knowledge, I felt the pain and discomfort had left my right leg. Instead, on my left knee I felt a “pain” sensation. The latter was a sensation for a word of knowledge indicating that the Lord was desiring to minister to people with knee problems, and my right leg problem was healed by the Lord. The Lord was marvelous wasn’t he? Sometimes, this was how things worked, in one church service, I would have the sensation on one side, say, on the leg or the arm, then, at a subsequent service, the sensation jumped from the earlier one side to the other. In this way, I knew the Lord wanted also to minister to some people with the same conditions as the ones in the earlier service. Some might have thought that I merely repeated the word of knowledge for another service, but it was not like that, there was a sensing, at the least.

Lost and found
Another testimony that I want to share has nothing to do with healing. I want to thank the Lord for enabling me to get back my wallet with all the content intact. On 10/10/09 weekend, between the church and the nearby supermarket (NTUC), I lost my wallet. I was at church for the Saturday evening service. The supermarket was only a short walking distance away, next to the multi-storey car-park where I parked my car. Almost in all services, I would normally sit in the first row, but that day I sat at the 2nd row, just behind my usual seat. A slightly autistic youth was seated next to me, at the 2nd seat from the central aisle. I was at the 3rd seat. On that day the church service ended early but with an altar call that had many people going forward to the front of the sanctuary for prayer. As a voluntary lay Altar Minister, I readily went forward to minister to people. I was very hard-working that evening, I ministered to several people. Even when it was done, I did not go off immediately. The next service was the church’s youth service, and the youths had begun to stream in. I saw a youth in a wheelchair being pushed in by his mother. I had previously seen this youth before, and had on an earlier occasion prayed for him for his “condition”. This youth, I had learnt from the previous occasion, had his brain affected because of a drowning incident. In fact, the first time my anointing oil was used, it was used on this youth, not by me though, but by an overseas lady speaker who ministered to this youth, and had asked for anointing oil. I asked the mother whether I could pray for the wheel-chaired boy. The mother gladly consented. I squatted to pray for the boy, and after that the mother said she wanted prayer. She started to break down and cried as she shared of her desperations. I listened and prayed for her. After this, I went over to my seat where my belongings were, took the belongings and left the sanctuary. I walked to the supermarket to pick up some stuffs, I did squat to get some biscuit from a low shelf, and proceeded to the cashier to pay. The moment I reached for my wallet in my back trousers pocket, I got a shock, my wallet was missing. I first re-traced my steps in the supermarket but I could not find my wallet. I thought if I did not get pick-pocketed in the supermarket, I must have either dropped my wallet or got pick-pocketed in church. I doubled-back to the church. I went into the sanctuary which by now was having the youth service on. The youths were having praise and worship with free movements – for our youth service’s praise and worship, many youths would gathered at the front for worship. I went to 2nd row, to the seat that I sat earlier, spoke to a few youths at the seat and seats nearby. I looked, the youths looked; at least two youths went down to floor to see if the wallet was on the floor. I remember seeing some bags on the seats, and I counted to the correct seat that I previously sat, it was upright (the chairs were of the kind that were joined together, with common arm rests, and would flip up when no one was sitting on a seat, like those you commonly find in some cinemas). I flipped that seat just in case the wallet was sandwiched between the seat and the back of the seat, since nobody was seated down on this seat. No one could see any wallet.

My wallet had in it, my identity card, driving licence, credit cards, ATM cards, quite a bit of cash (much of it did not belong to me) and 2 important cheques; it was an “out of shape” bulky wallet. The money that did not belong to me, and the 2 cheques, they belonged to the Full Gospel Businessmen Chapter I was involved in. The cheques, one of it for an amount of $5,000/=, were for contributions for an Israel fund. Was I in deep trouble!? I checked with the church’s lost and found, it was not there. I had no choice but to call up the institutions from my sister’s house (nearby) to cancel my cards, and made a police report at the nearby Queenstown police station.

Prior to this, when I was at the supermarket picking up the stuffs that I wanted to buy, I was thinking to myself, I was very hard-working, I prayed for so many people, even for the boy on the wheel-chair and his mother when they were not even part of the adult service that I attended. Compassion moved me to pray for them. This loss of wallet shock was really a nasty one, especially I had extra money and cheques that were not my own. When I called my sister who was living nearby, she told me that “so and so” was saying there were pick-pocketers operating in the area, and could had even mingled into the church. It was upsetting, to say the least. I wondered whether or not I was pick-pocketed at the supermarket while squatting and choosing the biscuit I wanted to buy. I also wondered whether or not I was pick-pocketed at church when I was squatted and praying for the wheel-chaired boy.

At the police station, a Christian police officer attended to me. He was from the same church where I attended the Disciple Making conference mentioned above, and he too had previously functioned as Altar Minister! He kept repeating that he thought I would get my wallet back; he repeatedly said also the money and the cheques were the Lord. I told him that judging from my previous experiences of these sorts (not that I had previous case of missing wallet, but about occasions where “bad” events unexpectedly happened), the Lord was going to do something more powerful, if I kept my spirit up.

When I got home that night, I told myself not to be affected by the loss. I still had the next day to contend with. You see, weekends are serious business for me. Why? Because it is the time when I will work for the Lord. In case, there are others who had not been following this blog, I do not work in the church, I have a secular job; I go to church on the weekends for all the adult services, serving as a voluntary lay Altar Minister, giving words of knowledge and prophesy and praying for people. I watched a little TV show and then prayed and went to bed.

The next morning, as usual, I was at church early, about an hour before first service started. I saw a pastor and related my loss to him, went to the lost and found section again to see if anyone had found and surrendered the wallet there. No, no wallet was found. I went into the sanctuary. As usual, the praise and worship team was already on stage for the practice before the morning service. I looked at the 2nd row from the central aisle. The seat in question was only the 3rd seat from the aisle. All the seats were flipped up, very clearly nothing was seen except the chairs. Nevertheless, just in case the wallet got stuck at the legs of the chairs, I bent down to the floor to make very sure no wallet was there. I still remember when I did that, the papers in my shirt pockets fell out on the carpeted floor. I then moved to 1st row, to my usual seat, also 3rd one from the aisle, directly in front of the seat I sat the previous day.

I told the Lord I had to do all the things that I normally do. The hour before the first service is the time I would spend doing prayer-walk around the front of the sanctuary, around the spiritual healing pool I talked about above, interceding for the services (for the praise and worship, inclusive of the team on stage, the speaker for the day, the ministers who would be ministering at the front, etc), as I walked. I would also pray for my own little “ministry”, and intercede for some people after the prayer walk. These things I must do and I must keep my spirit up, I told myself. In fact, that morning before leaving home, I told my son that I thought of staying until the end of 2nd service because the speaker looked like he would be doing altar calls at the end of services (he did the previous day). I normally stayed until the end of the ministry time after the second services’ praise and worship; I would not stay to listen to the same sermon for a 3rd time (I would have heard the same sermon on the Sat evening service and Sunday’s 1st service), so staying until the end of the 2nd service on Sunday was not normal practice for me. Of course, I could also use the loss of my wallet as an excuse and leave after the 1st service that Sunday since my son also normally finished his service in the Sunday School Ministry at the end of the 1st service. Also, since no time was allotted for word of knowledge/prophesy and ministry, after the praise and worship on that Saturday service, I could just assume that it would be so also that Sunday morning, with the same speaker on (I go for multiple repeated weekend services for the purpose of working for the Lord in these time slots – no time allotted, means no need to work.). But in my heart I was telling myself that it was not right that I was extra hard-working the previous day and was initially glad that I did so (before my discovery of my loss of wallet), and now would think of skipping the same when the only thing that had changed was that I had lost my wallet. I decided, wallet or no wallet, I would do the same, stay for the 2nd service, and stay until the end, to minister at the end of sermon altar call, if any.

And so, in the 1st service, I kept my head up and did my usual things. There was even an unexpected twist, there was a time for words of knowledge/prophesy and ministry thereof, before the sermon, different from the previous day’s proceeding. I was prepared. I had words of knowledge, gave them and ministered. I was happy I did not fail the Lord. I had long understood it was my job to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit for words of knowledge in a service, whether or not, I would have the opportunity to release the words. The service also had another twist compared to the service of the day before – the speaker did not ask that the people who needed prayers to come forward to the front of the sanctuary, at the end of his sermon, instead he asked people to lift up their hands, and asked that people seated around those with raised hands to pray for them. This struck me as there was no pattern here. One, of course, can reason this way: since it was probable that the original intention was not to have a word of knowledge/prophesy cum ministry time (but somehow we had it in this 1st service) for this weekend services (sometimes it could be due to the speaker wanting to do a ministry time at the end of a sermon), and since it was also probable that the speaker had abandoned his original intention of getting people to come to the front of the sanctuary for ministry, there was not a need for me to stay for the second service (these situations do happen, ending up with me sitting through a 2nd Sunday service with no “actions”). Did this thought cross my mind? It did but I brushed it aside because I wanted to be there if actions were needed, consistent with the decision I made in the morning while still at home.

At the direction of the speaker to look around to pray for people with raised hands, I looked back and I saw behind me, all the seats in the second row, as far as my eyes could see, were filled, including the seat (3rd seat from the central aisle) that I had sat on, the previous day at the Saturday 4 pm service.

After the Sunday’s 1st service, I walked over to a pastor and told him of my loss. He suggested that I ask the speaker to pray for me. The speaker was right there in front of me, having a conversation with a member of the congregation. When the speaker was available, I told him of my loss. The speaker, for the weekend, spoke on the topic that God can do the seemingly impossible things. He shared on Jesus feeding the 4000 men with 7 loaves and a few fishes. The speaker said he understood how I felt; he said it happened to him several months ago, also. This speaker had spoken about embarrassment in his sermon – that he would not be surprised that one of the disciples of Jesus had been embarrassed by the sight of nothing happening when Jesus prayed and gave thanks for the food, before passing the food around (it was only later, as the food was being passed round, that it became more than sufficient for the crowd to eat and be satisfied). The thing was that he did not hesitate to ask the Lord to get the wallet back for me the very same day with ALL the content intact. In my mind, I thought this man prayed his talk. Did I pray such a prayer too? Of course; it was my wallet what! - that same morning I asked the Lord to have my wallet returned to me with content intact, but I must confess that I deliberately did not say “today”, and I did not use the word, “all”. I thought I had to expect cash to be gone, maybe it served me right to have been not “more careful”.

This is the part you are waiting to read, but I tell you, then I still did not know how I lost my wallet, whether I dropped it or I got pick-pocketed. After that 1st service which ended at 10.30am, and after the prayer by the speaker, I went out of the sanctuary for a coffee break at the hospitality corner (with the intention to return to the sanctuary for the next service). I had wanted to see if I could see the man who wrote the $5,000/= cheque that I referred to, above. This gentleman worshipped in the same church. I had wanted to confirm that the cheque was a crossed cheque. I did find him and told him if, after some days the wallet was not returned, he might have to re-write the cheque. I also saw and spoke to the drawer of the other cheque (there were 2 cheques in the wallet; this other cheque was for $1,500/=). With that I went back into the sanctuary, to my 1st row seat. And I saw the slightly autistic youth who sat next to me in the previous day service. He was at the same 2nd row, 4th seat. I asked him if he had seen a wallet the previous day. He did not seem to understand what I said. I only noticed he repeated his swinging of head to the back. Remember now, I was at my 1st row, 3rd seat from the aisle; I looked towards the back, at the 3rd row, 3rd seat position, a young lady was standing there, we were all standing because praise and worship had started, the 2nd row, 3rd seat (in seat in question) was empty, and flipped up, and was between me and the lady standing in the 3rd row. She just pointed her finger to the wallet underneath the common arm rest between the 3rd seat and the 4th seat (the flipped up seat of the slightly autistic youth) in the 2nd row. The arm rest was hollow and narrow, yet my wallet was right there, in the hallow, sandwiched by the 2 flipped up seats. The young lady reached for it and handed it over to me before I could reach for it. Everything in the wallet was there, intact. How elated I felt!

How could it be that the wallet was there all those time, and did not fall out over the several services, had I dropped it while sitting down at the previous day 4pm evening service! Afterwards, some people said it was possible, wallets getting caught between the common arm rests. I say the Lord was at work. You see, I checked the evening before, a few youths of the youth service checked, there was no wallet. In a typical service in this church, a person sits down when he enters the sanctuary, gets up to do praise and worship, then sits down, and then only to get up again when the offering bag gets passed round, accompanied by singing, before finally he gets up to leave the sanctuary at the end of the service. In the youth service, they may do more, they do leave their seats to move around or gather at the sanctuary front. Even if we ignore the 4pm service in which I sat, there was the youth service that evening, and the 1st service of the following day; remember, I saw at the 1st Sunday service, the seats on that 2nd row were all taken. The repeated sitting down and getting up at the 2 relevant seats would have dislodged the wallet even if indeed the wallet was somehow caught there when it dropped out of my back trousers pocket. Remember, quite a few people checked and rechecked the seats, although I did not specifically looked at the particular spot where the wallet was later found to be at; you see, it was an “one eye, see it all” kind of scenario. You remember, I even flipped that particular seat on the evening of the wallet loss when I came back to look for it. It was an over-stuffed, out of shape wallet, if I put it on a flat surface, it would not even stand. How could it have stayed in the hollow of that thin arm rest, and not dropped out to the sides of either seats, or onto the floor, I really cannot comprehend. On top of that, no one saw the wallet the whole time, and this young lady at the 3rd row, at the start of this 2nd Sunday service could just see it. To me, this was unbelievable, yet true!

Are there lessons here about the wallet? If it were not a case of my wallet simply dropped out of my back trousers pocket while I was seated at the chair, it would be an even more incredible miracle - from where did the Lord bring the wallet back from? And how did he do it? But if I assumed it was simply the case of my wallet dropping out whilst I was seated there, why was I not allowed to see the wallet by the Lord until it was pointed out by the young lady? Why did the Lord block even me from seeing the wallet? I could have saved myself some trouble – the cards cancelling, and the reporting at the police station! Perhaps, the Lord wanted me to be more careful, the hassle involved would make such a “wake up” call stick. Perhaps, the Lord wanted to see I would still keep my head up, and continue to serve Him. I have had these testing before, though, and yet the Lord was still testing. I suppose the Lord will keep pruning.

Anthony Chia –Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2)

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Judges series - Judges 3

The way to read this article is that the orange underlined texts are the verses of the Bible (NIV, unless otherwise stated). The black texts following the Bible verses (and enclosed by square brackets) are my commentaries. At the end of these Bible texts and commentaries, I have inserted a section on "Points to take note".
{For full listing of all articles in this series, click here}

Judges 3

1 These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan 2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): 3 the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 4 They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD's commands, which he had given their forefathers through Moses. [What is stated here is that there were 2 reasons the Lord did not secure all the territories in the Promised Land under the hands of Joshua who died at the age of 110. The territories not yet secured are listed here, and the reasons for non-securing according to the Lord are, firstly to teach the descendants of Israelites warfare, and secondly to see if the Israelites would obey the Lord’s commands, which He had given to their forefathers, a testing from the Lord. It must be understood that followers of the Lord will be tested and chastised for their good, but at no time was the meditation of the heart of God evil for He is absolute holiness, no evil can be found in Him.]
5 The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6 They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods. [In the covenant between God and the forefathers of the Israelites, the Israelites, for their part, were commanded not to make treaties with the locals, and to break down all the local altars, i.e. completely destroy the practices of worship of the locals which were detestable and abominations to the Lord. We read here the inter-marrying of the Israelites with the locals, and not only that, they served the gods of the locals. The disobedience of the Israelites caused the break of the covenant the Lord made with the Israelites’ forefathers, this we read in Judges 2:1]

7 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. 8 The anger of the LORD burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. 9 But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, who saved them. 10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, so that he became Israel's judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. 11 So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died. [We read in Judges 2 that the Lord, nevertheless had compassion on the Israelites and began to raise up judges to deliver the people. Othniel was one such judge. We read here that judges were not appointed by men but were supernaturally raised by God when the Spirit of the Lord came upon the persons. We also read in Judges 2:19 that the Israelites behaved when a judge was alive and with them, but the moment a judge died, the Israelites would return to the evil ways. We read here in the last verse (v11) that peace ended with the death of the judge Othniel.]

12 Once again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and because they did this evil the LORD gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel. 13 Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms. 14 The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years. [Once the judge died, the Israelites resumed the practices of worship of the local gods, evil in the eyes of the Lord, the protection the Lord was again off, and we read here that Israelites again became subject to a local king, Eglon king of Moab.]
15 Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab. 16 Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a foot and a half long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. 17 He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man. 18 After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way the men who had carried it. 19 At the idols near Gilgal he himself turned back and said, "I have a secret message for you, O king."
The king said, "Quiet!" And all his attendants left him.
20 Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace and said, "I have a message from God for you." As the king rose from his seat, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king's belly. 22 Even the handle sank in after the blade, which came out his back. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. 23 Then Ehud went out to the porch; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
24 After he had gone, the servants came and found the doors of the upper room locked. They said, "He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the house." 25 They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead.
26 While they waited, Ehud got away. He passed by the idols and escaped to Seirah. 27 When he arrived there, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down with him from the hills, with him leading them.
28 "Follow me," he ordered, "for the LORD has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands." So they followed him down and, taking possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab, they allowed no one to cross over. 29 At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not a man escaped. 30 That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.
[Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord and the Lord gave them a judge, Ehud (v15). Notice that the deliverance of the Lord came when the Lord heard the outcries of the people. Outcries to the Lord, is a manifestation of the condition of our hearts. When the Lord sees that the condition of our hearts is right, He will respond – this we should always remember for our own good.

Here we read of a very detailed account of how judge Ehud killed the king of Moab, and how the Israelites, led by Ehud subjected Moab; and the land following that had peace for 80 years.]

31 After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel. [After judge Ehud, came Shamgar; all of the judges raised by God did mighty exploits. Shamgar struck down 600 Philistines with an oxgoad. A goad is stick for driving herds, therefore an ox-goad is stick for driving oxens. Just imagine, stricking down 600 people with an ox-goad!]

Points to note:

Testing and chastisement are inevitable for man. Right from the beginning, at creation, man was created with a free-will. We should not deny it or pretend that it was not so. Even when we have become a Christian, we are capable of committing a sin. In whatever way you explain the new creation theology, please do not say or imply that all of a sudden, we somehow became a “goody” man who will not sin. Our free-will is not taken from us when we become a Christian. You and I have a free-will, if we give in to a temptation, we will sin. Something is mystical in the faith, something is not, and we should not make this aspect sound mystical because it stumbles people, confuses people, and costs people to be disheartened. Misled people got disheartened because they thought how come they were struggling not to sin when every other person was seemingly above sin. The truth is that every other person was managing his or her propensity to sin. The process of sanctification is a lifetime affair. When there is sanctification, there is testing and chastisement. God is the examiner, we are the candidates; we do not tell the examiner what to test us on, the examiner decides, and he knows what you must learn. By the time Joshua died, the Lord left some territories untaken because He wanted to test the Israelites whether they would obey his commands (Judges 3:4).

The other point to note here is that God has a big heart of compassion. If you are bent on being wicked, I do not know how to advise you, other than that, if all else failed, you can always cry out to God. I am not saying you can abuse the good nature of God, but I am saying if your heart condition is right, your outcries to God can move his heart. We have already read that even when God was not obligated under covenant to act for the Israelites, when the Israelites cried out to God out of desperation, God still raised up judges, repeatedly, to deliver them.

Anthony Chia - Lord, help me in my managing of my propensity to sin.

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