Our Ways Or God’s Ways?

​Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord . And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

1 Samuel 8:4‭-‬9 ESV

Indeed, the Bible gives us a full view of the contrasting condition of man’s and God’s heart. While man has rebellious and wicked heart, God remains to have a loving and firm heart.

As I reflect on the passage, I began to think that the unrighteousness of Samuel’s sons was not the real reason why they asked for a king. They thought they knew what was best for them and they decided follow their own way. Sadly, we are these very same people. We give in to our compulsions and desires, when we come to God we already made up our minds and we just want Him to go along with it. In spite of this, God still cares. He is not happy with our own choices if it is not for our good and according to His will. For sure, like what He commanded Samuel to warn the Israelites, He also never misses to do the same. At times, we feel uneasiness in our actions because we know that He is appealing to our conscience. Yet He allows our bad choices to prevail because He is sovereign. Our bad choices does not cause inconveniences to Him, what He does not want is to destroy ourselves with our independence from Him. So if it will restore us to Him by allowing us to suffer the consequences of our actions then He will allow it. 

Living a Christian life is a rollercoster ride, there will be times that you are on fire with God and there will be times that you feel so far away from Him. But that does not mean that He moved away when the truth is we are the ones moving away from Him. I know this very well because I always fall on the trap, the trap I make for myself. Every time I don’t feel like praying, read the Bible or work on my GLC online class but choosing to watch tv or play games all day, I feel like the Israelites falling into idolatry. Leisure is not bad but if it takes priority over God and spiritual discipline then I’m letting myself revive the old ways that Jesus has freed or restoring me from. Sad but true.

Sometimes, I wish that God will not allow me to choose and just make me follow only His ways always. But then again, God is gracious and loving that He gives us free will. Instead of questioning Him, I should appreaciate His grace. This same grace which gives hope that whenever I fall, God is sovereign to know how to bring me back to him. And that by every fall is a learning and opportunity to know Him more helping me to mature and grow as Christ’s follower. My prayer is I will not lost my focus in Jesus and the good works He has done in me. I do not want to be like the Israelites who forgot the God who brought them up out from their slavery in Egypt and chose them as His people. 

Finally, I want to finish the race and fight the good fight of faith with Jesus as my King!

Soli Deo Gloria!

– Rhia

The Ultimate Love Story In Ruth

​Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord , the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my Lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”

Ruth 2:8‭-‬13 ESV

Everytime we come across with the book of Ruth, we right away associate this as a story of how a godly woman meets a godly man and they lived happily ever after. Yes, this is very true because this led to the line of David and that gave way to the prophetic ancestry of Jesus. More so, it captures the heart of every single Christians because it gives hope that when we seek the Lord and secure ourselves with Him first, He will provide our heart’s desire for a suitable partner in a most unexpected way.

For a change, I want to highlight a different love story and it is more powerful than Boaz-Ruth tandem. Clearly, the passage shows the love of God and how He took care of the widowed Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi. This also shows us that God really looks at the heart rather than on the race or worldly affiliation to have His favor. Ruth was a Moabite (descendant of Lot) not an Israelite. She might not had grew up with the knowledge about God the way the Israelites did, but when she knew Him after she married the son of Naomi she became a faithful servant. She left her own land and chose to go with Naomi without knowing what was in store for their future. As God honored the decision of Ruth to follow Him, God also honors our decision to follow Him in spite of our pasts and where we came from. This is the ultimate demonstration of love that we are unworthy yet God loved us first, He even sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins knowing that there are people who will still reject Him and His solution of salvation.

When we receive Jesus in our lives, we open ourselves to God’s new mercies every day. He will provide for our needs, keep us calm through our storms in life and teach us to live a life pleasing to Him – an abundant life. Truly, Ruth already was victorious even before she met Boaz. For sure, God could command anyone to deliver the blessing to Ruth. Nothing can prevent God from blessing the people who love Him. As for Boaz, his godly character led him to be an instrument of blessing. This is something that followers of Christ shall always be willing to do. For in taking part of God’s plan, we are also letting ourselves receive His blessings. If Boaz had refused the will of the Lord then he might not be the one we are reading today as one of the known Bible characters in the ancestral lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ. ❤❤❤

Soli Deo Gloria!

– Rhia

The Trouble When Everyone Just Does What Is Right In His Own Eyes

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Judges 21:25 ESV

As I continue with my Bible Reading in a Year challenge, this passage has to be shortest yet profound verse that I have to reflect so far in the Old Testament. The book of Judges ends in this verse and so it is important to reflect on the entire book to get the magnitude of this ending verse. Judges is one of the books of the Bible that narrated the cycle of idolatry of the Israelites. The Israelites would sin, God would allow them to fall into the hands of their enemies, then they would cry out to God for deliverance and God would redeem them by sending judges to lead them back to Him. 

One who is reading Judges will see how patient and merciful God is, for sure in our own standard we would have given up easily on these people because they don’t tend to learn. Someone must think how such people keep on sliding back to idolatry in spite of all the wonders that God revealed to them but I think this story is our story as well. Everytime that we don’t intentionally make God our priority, we more likely to focus on our own idols whether it be money, relationship, work, vices or material things. And that is when we start to fall apart as that of generation of Israelites, unlike those generation in Joshua where they were fully committed to obeying the Lord.

Truly, I could not help but relate this to if it feels good then it must be right belief. Self-defined pleasure is not everything and should not be our one thing because it is blinding. Such is the issue of homosexual practices which others support as their right to love and they subscribe to it as love is love. This can be a good universal moral statement. However, if we apply the same concept to a father-daughter or mother-son in a romantic relationship, for sure the same people who support love is love belief might be against it or furthermore feel gross about it. As I heard from one preaching, love is not love if it does not follow God’s design. Moreover, we should not define our own moral compass because we on our own are not good with morality. That is why God already provided the moral laws for us and He laid it out for us to prevent us from harming and corrupting ourselves. This is real love that our loving Father in heaven does not want us to perish in sin, just as He sent the judges, He sent His Son Jesus to die for us sins and be cursed in our behalf.

This is what I’m so thankful about Jesus, we were so dirty of sin but He saved us and made us clean. Not that He only redeems people but He also teaches them how to live a life according to God’s moral laws. Yes, at times Christians still commit sins but as new creation who traded life with Christ, we are now convicted when sins enter our way of life. We become sensitive to our guilt and conscience for it is the power of the Holy Spirit who keeps us to abide in Jesus and obey the Father’s will. Without Jesus, we do not have king as that generation of Israelites in the book of Judges. Actually, they had king which is God but in their hearts they did not acknowledge Him as such. So the question now is will you allow Him to be your Lord of all and be the king you will faithfully serve?

Indeed, Jesus is the king everyone needs!

Soli Deo Gloria!

– Rhia

The Justice In Moses Not Being Able To Enter Promised Land

​That very day the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.”

Deuteronomy 32:48‭-‬52 ESV

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord , and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended. And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses. And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

Deuteronomy 34:1‭-‬12 ESV

When I first read these passages in the Bible almost 2 years ago, I deeply felt for Moses not being able to cross Jordan and enter the Promised Land. I thought to myself why God wouldn’t allow Moses to reap the fruit of his labor of leading the Israelites out of Egypt and sticking around with stiff-necked people for 40 years in the wilderness. And why hitting the rock instead of speaking to it in Meribah cost Moses too much? Couldn’t God just forgive him given all his obedience?

But as I mature on the faith and get to know God more, my questions began to fade. I realized that the real blessing was not inheriting the Promised Land but the 40 years of personal encounter with God. Furthermore, this made me see that without God, we are materialistic and have a corrupt definition of goodness. Moreover, notice also how Moses did not question God on His decision. Many times during their journey in the wilderness, Moses cried out to God for justice while when he was not let to pass Jordan we heard nothing from him. Therefore, this tells me that Moses knew the heart of God very well that he did not feel left out when God gave the decision. Truly, Moses’ humility and his complete surrender to God is just so admirable.

As I reflect more, it reinforced the truth that God is not transactional. He does not do things depending on what we can do for Him. He gives grace to whom He gives grace, He will have mercy to whom He will have mercy. He is sovereign and He freely gives blessings to both good and bad people out of His love. If God will based His blessings according to our good deeds then we are doomed because we cannot earn our salvation. Moses who was regarded as a great prophet would be in hell as he was a murderer and disobeyed God in Meribah later in his life. Thankfully, our God is a God of love. He took the effort to save us from eternal separation from Him by sending Jesus to be the propitiation of our sins. His death and resurrection gives us the reality of living a life with personal relationship with God, the way Moses did. ❤❤❤

Soli Deo Gloria!!!

– Rhia

PS:

God is holy and just so He did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land but He is loving and gracious that He allowed Moses to see the land that He was about to give the Israelites. 《teary-eyed moment》Moses was mission-accomplished!