Sunday, March 25, 2018

"Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"

Good Morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the king of Israel!" (John 12:13)

Jesus came to this world not to be served, but to serve.   He laid out himself as Lamb of God, and became the ultimate sacrifice for all to forgive all our sins and transgressions so that we can be saved from the eternal death.   For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Throughout three years’ of His ministry, Jesus continuously ministered those who were poor in spirit, and mourned, hungered and thirsted for justice, and were persecuted. He comforted, encouraged and satisfied them with His mercy, love and righteousness.   They tasted Jesus’ mercy and love, and saw the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.  Jesus was truly compassionate to those who were suffering.   One time, Jesus even wept when He came back and saw again Martha, Mary, who were Nazarus’ sisters and His friend.   They were mourning for Nazarus’ death with those who were close to Nazarus.   Jesus saw the deep sorrows of the people.   Out of His deep compassion, Jesus told to roll the tomb stone blocked the Nazarus’ tomb.  Then He called Nazarus out of the tomb with His authority and power.   Even death could not hold of Nazarus anymore.  Nazarus was released from his death, and he walked out of the tomb.    Martha and Mary were greatly comforted along with others around them.   All praised God for His mercy and comfort given to them.

However, the religious leaders were troubled by Jesus, because He raised Nazarus from the dead.  They plotted to kill Jesus, but they were also very cautious.   It was almost time for the Jewish Passover celebration, and many people from all over the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the purification ceremony before Passover began.   Passover was a very important day.  All Jews celebrated Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses in God.   The religious leaders were continuously searching for an opportunity to arrest Jesus.

Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead.  A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. 

When all the peopled heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted theme and believed in Jesus.

The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,

“Praise God!
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!
Hail to the King of Israel!” (John 12:13b)

Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:

“Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem.
Look, your King is coming,
riding on a donkey’s colt.” (John 12:15)

Jesus was the humble King, who rode a donkey, not a horse to Jerusalem, the place where He would be sacrificed.   The people welcomed Jesus as He was making a triumphant entry, but nobody knew the true meaning of His entry to Jerusalem.   The religious leaders were fully prepared to arrest Jesus and kill Him.   Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about!  You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”

Of course, Caiaphas did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation.  And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.  Again the religious leaders did not know Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb of God for all.

On the contrary, the people in Jerusalem were in joy with Jesus.  Many of them had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it.  That was another reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign.  Then the crowd believed finally they had their own messiah whom they waited for long time.   They believed Jesus was the one who would save them from their oppression from the Roman occupation of their country.

Some came to Jesus and asked about Him.  Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory.  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.  Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.  Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.”  (John 12:23-26)

Jesus foretold His death for the lost like a kernel of wheat that dies when it was planted in the soil.    However, when one kernel of wheat died, it would produce many new kennels – a plentiful harvest of new lives.   Jesus was ready to give His life as ransom for many to produce countlessly many new lives – we are the very fruit of His sacrifice on the cross.
Then Jesus told not to love their life of this world because our earthly joy and pleasures are deceiving.   We feel we live forever when everything goes well with us, but it passes away without trace.   Often our live is filled with sorrows and pains.   Additionally, none of us could hold our life on earth forever although we might want to have forever.   Our love for the life on earth ends, and our earthly life perishes without an exception when the time comes.   Jesus asked us to follow Him.  The One who came to this world to serve and give Himself as ransom for many to forgive sins and save souls by offering His own blood as the ultimate sacrificial to God.    Today Jesus wants for us to Him by serving and loving others.    By doing this, our Heavenly Father’s name will be glorified, and God will be pleased.   He will honor us, who are faithful follows of Jesus’ footsteps.    

Of course, following Jesus is not easy.  Even Jesus said,  

“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!  Father, bring glory to your name.” (John 12:27-28a)

Jesus’ soul was deeply troubled before the cross.  Jesus prayed while focusing on His purpose on earth – being a sacrificial lamb to forgive our sins, and save His children from the eternal death.  Only through Him, we become His Eternal children of God.  This is the glory of God, and the very reason why Jesus came to this world.  Jesus was absolutely obedient to God.  He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

God, Our Father, could not be silent.   Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” (John 12:28b-29)   God was with Jesus, and Jesus with God.   This is our comfort and assurance.  The God, who was with Jesus when Jesus was deeply troubled, is with us when we are deeply troubled.   This is the promise of God and His love toward us.    Yes, God is always with us, especially when we are in life pain and troubles. 

Jesus made the triumphant entry to Jerusalem, not to be served as a king, but to serve and give Himself as ransom for all who believe Him as savior.   The walk to the cross was not easy even for Jesus.  Jesus was deeply troubled.  Even so, He was completely obedient to death on cross – the most gruesome death for us.   This very act of Jesus glorified God, Our Father, and God honored Him.  

Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  (Luke 9:23) 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

We Are More Than Conqueror In God Of Steadfast Love!

Good Morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 145:8)

The ppeople of Israel met God at the Mountain Sinai.   God led them through the miracles –  the ten plagues in Egypt that made them free from the bondage of the miserable slavery, and parting the Red Sea that saved them from the swords of the Egypian Army who changed minds and chased them.   Then the Israelites walked on dry land through the Red Sea, but the Egypian Army were drowned in the Red Sea.   The people of Israel shouted for joy and praised the God of mighty.   However, only three days later, they complained to God because the water that they found was bitte.   (It is unthinkable to most of us.  Complaining to God only three days after the miracle of parting the Red Sea to save them from the Egyptian Army).   God changed the bitter water to sweet for them to drink.  Soon they complained to God for food because they were hungry in the middle of the wilderness.   They even thought that even God could not feed them (about two million people in total) in the middle of nowhere.   But God rained the manna from heaven to feed them.  They ate the manna and were satisified.   It was not long before they again complained to God because there was no water.   For this time, they were hostile enough to stone Moses while telling,  “Why did you bring out here in this wilderness?   We’d be better off in Egypt as slaves.”  Even so, God made water gushed out of rock, and they drank the water from the rock.  Why?  God was merciful, compassionate, and most of all, dearly loved them.   

Indeed, God told again and again, “Listen and obey My Word,”  but they did not hear.   They saw those mircles and His mighty hand, but they could not see the true nature of God.   What they saw and felt was always bigger and greater than God, who is invisible.  Therefore,  God had to correct this wrong behavior.   Out of His love,  God introduced a really time-critical threat – the invading warriors of Amalekities.   They realized that it was not time for whining and complaining to God.   Thus, rather than complaining to God as they used to, upon the quickly approaching danger, they rapidly united as one while completely trusting God.   Yes, they bravely went out and fought for the Armaleklites against the odds – the ex-slaves of the Israelites vs. the well-trained warriors of Amalekites.  Moses prayed to God.  His prayer did not stop till the end of the battle.   It was a long battle.  Aaron and Hur stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands.  What a beautiful scene before God!   God saw their faith, and gave the huge victory.  The bunch of ex-slaves defeated the warriors of Amalekites.  The Israelites experienced God’s mighty hand.  In fact, it was God’s love.

God then showed up Himself to reinforce their faith and encourage them.   Yes, God always patiently worked on their lives to grow in faith.   Finally, their hearts was also ready for the next step.  God called up Moses to the mountain.   For the first time, God directly provided Ten Commandments as His covenant to the people of Israel.   Upon receiving the Ten Commandments, Moses went down, and gave the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel.   

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

1.       “You shall have no other gods before me.

2.       “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

3.       “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

4.       “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

5.       “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

6.       “You shall not murder.

7.       “You shall not commit adultery.

8.       “You shall not steal.

9.       “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

10.   “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”  (Exodus 20:1-17)

The first four commandments are about for our relationship with God.  God dearly loved the people of Israel, and God commanded them to love God.  God never changes.   As He loved the people of Israel, He loves us because we are His people and His children.   Then how to love God?  As His beloved children, we show our love by listening to Him and keeping the His Law wholly.  That is, first believe God who is the only one and true God, and worship Him only.  Don’t make nor worship idols.  Don’t carry His name in vain before the world and the unbelievers, and be His faithful people.   Remember God’ creation and join His rest to dedicate our lives to worship Him rather than indulging in on our own lives.  

The rest six commandments are about for our relationship with others.    Honoring parents and not harming others are beginning of our quest to love others.   God taught the people of Israel like a baby.  He gave them step by step instructions by listing out what the people of Israel had to do to love others.   For example, how can we say we love others if we harm them?  Yes, not giving harms to other is our first step to love others.  

Jesus was friend of those who were poor in spirit, hunger in righteousness, suffering, and/or persecuted.  Jesus blessed them, and people came and took rest in His comfort and peace of Heaven.  Those who were comforted by Jesus felt that Jesus’ teaching was completely different from what was taught by their religious leaders.   Jesus explained that His teaching was not new, different from the Law, nor replacing the Law, i.e., the Ten Commandments given by God to the people of Israel at Mount Sinai.  Jesus clearly explain them.  All of the Law and the Prophets would be fulfilled:  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.   (Matthew 5:17-18)   Indeed, Jesus’ mission on earth was to fulfill the Law of Moses, i.e., Ten Commandments, and other writings of the prophets given by God to guide the people of Israel.  

Since Moses received the Ten Commandments, the people of Israel made every effort to keep the law and the other writing of the prophets wholly.  However, due to the fallen nature of human beings, the people of Israel could not keep all of the Law and the Prophets wholly.   Despite of every best effort, nobody was able to keep the Law.   Sadly all were ended up becoming lawbreakers and sinners.  In other words, nobody could not be righteous before God by keeping the Law, because it was impossible for any human being to keep them all wholly.   This impossibility is still true to all of us today.   This is the reason why Jesus Christ came to this world to save us as our true and only one Savior.  Give thanks to God, who gave Jesus Christ as sacrificial lamb to save us from our sins.  This is His love that we cannot fathom.  

Soon Jesus was questioned by one of the religious leaders at that time, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  (Matthew 22:37-40)

Jesus clearly answered that there is no commandment in the Law will be ignored or omitted.    All of them will be fully accomplished before the heaven and earth pass away (Matthew 5:17-18).   Jesus directly and plainly explained the God’s true intention:
1.       Love God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind, and
2.       Love your neighbor as yourself.

Can we really love our God and our neighbor as ourselves?   No, again, déjà vu like the people of Israel.  We cannot love God whole heartedly.    We all know that we love God, but one part of our hearts loves our sinful nature, and craving for sinning, which is our fallen nature.   

Apostle Paul lamented, Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? (Romans 7:24)    This struggle is not just for Apostle Paul but real for everyone on earth.   Even so, Apostle Paul proclaimed His victory in Christ by telling, “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 7:25a)

Yes, we cannot win the battle against the sins in us if we only fight with our own might.   The outcome is sure – our defeat, which is truly miserable.  However, if we are in Jesus Christ, we win this battle through the power of the Jesus Christ, and His blood on the cross.    Yes, Jesus accomplished the Law by nailing Himself on the cross as our sacrificial lamb to wash away all our sins.   This is the love of Jesus Christ.   God, Our Father, did not spare His own Son and gave Him up for us all.   This is the love of God, Our Father.   Let’s say loud and shout: God, who created heaven and earth, dearly loves us.  Then what can we fear on earth?    Surely, in all things, we will come out as more than conquerors through Him who loves us!  Praise God!

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:38-39) 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

God is Love! Experience God and His Love Through Faith.

Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ (Exodus 19:6)

Moses saw again his father-in-law, and spent a good time with His wife and two children.  Not just Moses, all of the people of Israelites had a good time with plenty of food from heaven and water from the rock.   They even defeated the Amalekities and their warriors although they were just a bunch of ex-slaves, who had no training for any weapons and any military disciples.   Upon this surprise attach of the Amalelite’s warriors, they actually united and came to God while fully trusting God.   What a change!   They used to complain and argue against Moses and to God.   It was in fact a whining like a child before a parent.   They found it was not time to whining.    They knew and experience the mighty hand of God, which made them come to God while trusting God.  God gave them the first huge victory from the impossibility.    It was the first opportunity for them to search for God and trusted Him before the impossibility, which was the faith that truly pleased God.  

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)   Yes, faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen.  That is, faith is for future and our confidence for the future that our hope will come true in Him. Then how do we assure that our confidence is true?   The evidence is our faith in Him.  Although we cannot see and touch our faith, the faith itself is the proof about what we hope for will actually happen including something impossible.  If we only believe what is possible in our eyes, then is our faith truly faith?   Precisely speaking, if we only believe what will happen in our eyes, we believe our eyes.    If so, we’d better to question about our faith.  It is not faith because we trust our own eyes.   Faith is our assurance about what we do not see, but we believe.  

It was exactly two months after the Israelites left Egypt.   The people of Israel arrived in the wilderness of Sinai.  After breaking camp at Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and set up camp there at the base of Mount Sinai.   Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God.

The LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel:  ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.  Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me.  And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.” (Exodus 19:4-6)

God truly loved the people of Israel.   Whenever there is an opportunity, God told what they should do – “obey and keep My commands.”   God again and again promised His blessings that be only reserved for His people.   So Moses returned from the mountain and called together the elders of the people and told them everything the LORD had commanded him.  And all the people responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has commanded.” So Moses brought the people’s answer back to the LORD.  Everything was really good.    The people of Israel said with one voice, “We will do everything God has commanded.”  

God knew that they were not fully trusted although they said with one voice that they would obey and keep God’s commands.   As Moses came back and told what the people said.   Then God told Moses, “Go down and prepare the people for my arrival. Consecrate them today and tomorrow, and have them wash their clothing.  Be sure they are ready on the third day, for on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai as all the people watch.  Mark off a boundary all around the mountain. (Exodus 19:10-12a)  Warn the people, ‘Be careful! Do not go up on the mountain or even touch its boundaries. Anyone who touches the mountain will certainly be put to death.  No hand may touch the person or animal that crosses the boundary; instead, stone them or shoot them with arrows. They must be put to death.’

Yes, God decided to show up to the people of Israel.  Of course, nobody could not see God because the absolutely Holiness of God could not coexist with the sin of the people.   If happened, it immediately meant death.   God asked them to:

1.       Consecrate them for three days
Why three days?    The people of Israel had a bad habit of forgetting.   They forgot the miracle of parting the Red Sea in three day, and they complained to God.  

How about us? Are we different from the people of Israel?   This question should be the reminder of our nature.    Good three days are often enough to shift our eyes from Jesus to the world.   The taste of the world is so seductive that in three days, our hearts can be easily melt down and drowned by slowly forgetting God, who is the real master of us and everything that we touch.    Please continuously remind that three days of our earthly comfort can be deadly to our faith and inner person. 

2.       Mark off a boundary all around the mountain
Again, the holiness of God could be mingled with the sins of ours.  A clearly separation was must to prevent them from being destroyed before God’s holiness.   This separation was for their protection.  God loved them, and wanted keeping them alive by not being touched by His Holiness, which meant death due to the sins of the people of Israel.   Again and again, God demonstrated His love toward the people of Israel.  As a parent loves his/her children, God dearly loved the people of Israel.    Yes, God was love.

Our God is the same God, who dearly loved the people of Israel.   God dearly loves us.  There is no other reason, but we are His children.    However, there is a gap that cannot be crossed by our own might and effort because God’s holiness and our sins cannot coexist.    Thus, God provided a way to come to Him and to be with Him forever, which is Jesus Christ.   Jesus Christ is the only way that allows us to approach to God although we are full of sins.   Why?   Jesus paid them all by His own blood, which is His own death on cross for our sins.   Since His sacrifice for all our sins, we now can come to God without fear of eternal death before His Holiness because all our sins are forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ.  Now, we can come and united with God as His eternal children.   This is the Gospel, the Good News to all of us.   We are truly blessed.   The people of Israel saw the shadow of this eternal forgiveness and blessings of God’s mercy, grace and love, but we are truly enjoying this blessing from now till forever as long as we truly believe Jesus is our savior.   Praise God, who dearly loves us, His children from now to eternity.  

Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.  (Galatians 3:14)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

God Provides. Yes, God Provides For Us!

Good Morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." (Genesis 22:14)

The powerful and compassionate God was full of love toward the people of Israel, His people.  He was slow to anger to them.   God provided again and again for the people of Israel, not because they were faithful, but because they were His children.  The Amalekite raised their fist against the  God’s people.  God utterly defeated them before the Israelites, who were just a bunch of former slaves.   Moses raised high his staff before God.  Both the people of Israel and the Amalekites saw the Moses’ staff lifted high before God.    The Moses arms were getting heavier and heavier, and he could not continue raising the staff.   Aaron and Hur supported the Moses’ hands from both sides.  God answered for Moses, Aaron, Hur, Joshua and the people of Israel.   By the sunset, the people of Israel completely defeated the army of Amalek in battle.  The victory was the manifestation of God’s love on His people, and the Israelites trusted God, and completely faithful to God.   After the victory, the place was named as Yahweh-nissi, the LORD is my banner, which was the praise of the people of Israel from the deepest part of their hearts.  

Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything God had done for Moses and his people, the Israelites. He heard especially about how the LORD had rescued them from Egypt. 

Earlier, Moses had sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons back to Jethro, who had taken them in. (Moses’ first son was named Gershom, for Moses had said when the boy was born, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” His second son was named Eliezer, for Moses had said, “The God of my ancestors was my helper; he rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh.”)  Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, now came to visit Moses in the wilderness. He brought Moses’ wife and two sons with him, and they arrived while Moses and the people were camped near the mountain of God.  Jethro had sent a message to Moses, saying, “I, Jethro, your father-in-law, am coming to see you with your wife and your two sons.”

So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. He bowed low and kissed him. They asked about each other’s welfare and then went into Moses’ tent.  Moses told his father-in-law everything the LORD had done to Pharaoh and Egypt on behalf of Israel. He also told about all the hardships they had experienced along the way and how the LORD had rescued his people from all their troubles.  Jethro was delighted when he heard about all the good things the LORD had done for Israel as he rescued them from the hand of the Egyptians.
“Praise the LORD,” Jethro said, “for he has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Yes, he has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt!  I know now that the LORD is greater than all other gods, because he rescued his people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians.” (Exodus 18:10-11)

Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God’s presence.   What a beautiful scene before God!    Moses saw Jethro again, and reunited with his wife, two sons after the treacherous days of leading the stubborn people of Israel, who could not and did not trust God whenever they encountered with any kind of hardships.   Then they complained to Moses and God.   The time with Jethro, his father-in-law, and his wife and two sons was a really precious and refreshing moment for Moses.   Yes, God provided! 

God always provides although we feel trapped and there is no way out.  It is just our feeling.   God already has a plan to way out, and He is patiently waiting for the perfect time for us, as God did for Moses and the people of Israel.   This is our God’s mercy and grace.

One time, the people of Israel tried to stone Moses when they found no water to drink although they had plenty of manna to eat: the heavenly food from God.   The food that they had neither planted nor paid for, but God provided abundantly.   Despite of their complaints, God had just poured on His children as His love and grace.  However, the people of Israel quickly changed, when the Amalekite’s warriors attacked them.   Nobody complained.   Why?  
Not having water or food was really a real hardship for the Israelites, but it was not so time-critical as the swords of the Amalekite’s warriors, which were about to be swung to kill them.  Before the Amalekite’s swords, there was no time for them to complain.   They always acted like babies – whining and complaining rather than listening to parent’s voice.   Even so, they exactly knew when they could whine and complain to God or not.    Before the invading warriors, their whining and complaints were absolutely useless, i.e., nothing to gain but being perished.  Of course, this was their point of view, not God’s point of view.

Let’s ask to ourselves: didn’t God know about the above?  No, God exactly knew what was going on in their hearts.   God knew how they responded before the invading Amalekites, who were well-trained warriors.  The Israelites were just slaves recently released from Egypt, who had never borne arms as an organized army.  The people of Israel quickly realized that it was not time to complain, but come to God and trust Him to get His help.   They saw before the God’s greatest might and His hand, and they remembered.   Then, they fought in faith in God, who would rescue them from the invading army.   God, who patiently waited for their trust in Him, provided: they miraculously defeated the Amalekite warriors.   Yes, they won the battle.    God gave the Israelites the amazing victory.   How gracious, merciful and loving God He was for the people of Israel!   

God of grace and peace came to the Israelites in the wilderness.   They were satisfied by the manna from heaven, and refreshed with the water from the rock.    Most of all, they could really experience God.   Before the attacking warriors, first they trusted God rather than complaining and whining to Him.   They fought in faith, and they got the first victory over the formidable enemy – the Amalekite warriors.   Yes, it was a miracle, and a faith builder.   All of these was provided God.   Yes, God provided.  

Is our mouth about to utter complaints to God due to one aspect of our lives on earth?    Then remember what God did to the Israelites to get rid of their bad habit of complaining and whining.   If we keep complaining and whining before God, of course, first God patiently waits for us and provides.   Then we easily and mistakenly presume that we did something right before God.   No, absolutely not.   God is merciful, and provides to us because He is patient in His love.   If we continue complaining and whining, then God have to do something dramatic by changing the situation around us.   God eliminates the room that we used to enjoy while complaining or whining, and then introduces something that really gets our undivided attention in order to make us focus on Him.  For example, the attacking warriors to the Israelites.   Then we should not harden our hearts, and come to Him while quickly focusing on our eyes on Him.   Surely, we will experience Him and go deeper relationship with Him.   Then we will truly appreciate God’s grace and peace prepared for us.   Praise God, who dearly loves us!   There is no other reason, but we are His children, who were purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Amen!

Remember what it says:
“Today when you hear his voice,
       don’t harden your hearts
       as Israel did when they rebelled.”  (Hebrews 3:15)