Mr Francis Yong, our Alumnus (Grad DipCS, 2010) and currently a MCS student preached on the topic, “Obedience and Victory.” It was based on 2 passages in Numbers 20: 1-13 and Deuteronomy 32:48-52. He provided a summary of the sermon.
The sermon began with a brief survey of the background of the texts.
1. When the Israelites reached Kadesh in the Desert of Zin, there was no water and they gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron.
2. They accused Moses of bringing them, their families as well as livestock to die in the desert and demanded from him water. They pined for the grain, figs, grapevines and pomegranates of Egypt. “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD!” (v 3)
“Often the crowd does not recognize a leader until he has gone, and then they build a monument for him with the stone they threw at him in life” (Cowan, quoted in Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders.
3. God spoke to Moses in Numbers 20
- 20:8 – “Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”
- 20:10 – Moses in response to the provocation: “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff.
- 20:12 – God’s judgment: “Because you did not trust in me enough to honour me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
On the subject of “Obedience and Victory,” Francis emphasized two main points for our consideration and meditation.
The Glory Of God
- God’s glory must be foremost in the course of our work or ministry including our studies as students, and is not a commodity that we can take or use flippantly.
- Isaiah 48:11 – “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.”
- God intended to use the situation at Kadesh to declare His glory to the Israelites – a gift to the people from a Holy God. Moses sadly allowed his anger to deny God that glory.
- God said: “You will bring water ….” Moses said: “Must we bring you water?”
- Instead of a miraculous provision of water for the Israelites, in order that the glory of God would be displayed, it came forth by the hand of Moses.
- God in His grace met the needs of His people because He is a God of compassion and infinite goodness, but He did not overlook Moses’ sins” (Warren Wiersbe).
Reacting With The Arm Of Flesh
- Moses was under severe provocation. He was tired by the journey, stressed by the constant complaints and demands of the people and his sister had just died (Ex. 20:1). Was the penalty too great a price in view of all that Moses had done? Was God too hard on His servant?
- Humanly it appears to be so, but in the divine order, we are reminded in 1 Sam 15:22 that “obedience is better than sacrifice.”
- “Obedience to commandment is the way in which the utmost of devotion and fidelity is to be exemplified. The truth of love and faith is to be proven by obedience to commandment, and obedience is the principle of integrity” (Andrew Murray).
- What was the possible underlying cause for Moses’ failure, taking into account all the miraculous acts he had performed from the time before Pharaoh, the dividing of the Red Sea till the present incident?
- It appears that Moses’ very strength of passion and intensity in his duties was his weakness – he was easily provoked, and reacted to circumstances with much emotion as in Ex. 2: 11-12 – the killing of the Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew.
- All that we have done or accomplished are not our works but the work of God through His Holy Spirit through this very jar of clay. We cannot lean on these “achievements” to barter with God when we come to the point of obedience in discipleship.
- When we go through our personal list of weaknesses little do we realize that our very strength could turn out to be our weakness, as it consumes and drives us on in our endeavours for God and self and in due course blinding us to our relationship with the very God we serve and the people whom we are called to minister to.
Lessons We Can Learn
- The incessant pressure of complaints from the Israelites; the toil of the arduous journey affected Moses. The death of his sister cannot be taken lightly. The routine pressures and drudgery of our lives could similarly affect and derail us too.
- Thus the need of our daily Quiet Time of devotion and solitude with God in His Word, to find our life’s bearing and purpose amidst the responsibilities and many clarion calls that come our way.
- Each day of life’s journey, in the midst of these situations, we need to be sensitive to the prompting of God’s Holy Spirit to “bring water for others to drink” as we are channels in God’s Hands.
- Each contact is an opportunity to bless others regardless of their station in life, either to direct them closer to God or to drive them away – for we may never pass this way again, because death does not come by chronological order unless we are spared by the grace and mercy of our Loving Father above.
- Moses’ strength was his failing and that led to this tragic ending. I too have mine, but that is not the excuse.
- Jesus has given the victory through the Cross.
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
I was taught that the Cross should be viewed as a burden, a defect, handicap or shortcoming that I have to live with through life – a thorn; a pain in my flesh.
But, I disagreed with the interpretation. Instead I discovered that the Cross is Love and Deliverance – its victory as we carry it each day and our sins, flaws, prejudices, our pains and hurts, etc., are nailed onto it as we move through life’s journey.
My understanding and prayer is best summed up in the words of “Near the Cross” written by the visually-impaired hymn writer, Fanny J. Crosby:
Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain
Near the Cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help my walk from day to day.
With its shadows over me.
Mr Quek Tze-Ming will be preaching at Emmanuel BP Church at the 3 pm service on Oct 24. The topic is “Paul’s Farewell to the Ephesian Elders (Acts 20.13-38).”
|Congratulation to Daisy!
In recognition of Daisy’s faithful service to BGST, she is promoted to Senior Library and Bookshop Assistant. She will assist the Librarian and Bookshop Manager in managing the library and book corner.
|Student and Alumni News
The BGST family extends its deepest condolences to Marcus Mok (Grad Dip CS Student) and family, on the sudden home-going of his beloved father Mr Mok Siew Kok on Oct 16, 2010.
This is what Marcus had to share about his father’s faithful witness:
“(W)e thank the Lord that he is a faithful Christian and was the first person to receive Christ in his family. He also led my mother and subsequently my family to faith in Christ.”
Please pray for Marcus and the family in this time of bereavement, as well as the arrangements for the transfer of the late Mr Mok back to Singapore. Mr Mok was abroad visiting Marcus’ brother at the time of his passing.
Notice to All Programme Students Who Are Admitted Before 2009
Reference is made to the announcement in Jun 2009 regarding course fees revision. We have made an arrangement for all students who were admitted before 31 Dec 2009 to enjoy the previous course fee of $100 per credit till end 2010. This is just a gentle reminder that we are coming to the end of this arrangement and for all courses scheduled in 2011, there will be a nominal increase of 10% to $110 per credit.
The fee structure for all students with effect from 01 Jan 2011 will be:
|1.5 credit course: $165
3 credit course: $330
|1.5 credit course: $115
3 credit course: $230
Union Industrial Building is conducting a fire drill on 21 Oct 2010 at 10:30am sharp. Everyone present within the BGST premise is required to participate in this exercise. Instructions will be given to those present.
|Courses commencing in October
New Testament Textual Criticism (BG253, 1.5cr) (Group Tutorial)
Oct 11 (new commencement date), 18; Nov 1, 15; (Mon 7.30-9.45pm)
Venue: Zion Bishan BP Church (4 Bishan St 13, Level 3)
Lecturer: Dr Quek Swee Hwa
Tutor: Mr Quek Tze-Ming (PhD candidate, Uni of Cambridge);
Spiritual Retreat Experience: Nature, Purpose & Dynamics (ECF504, 3cr)
Oct 12, 19, 26; Nov 2, 9; (Tue 7.15-9.45pm)
Venue: Bethesda Chapel (27 Lor Melayu)
Lecturer: Mr John Chong Ser Choon;
#Residential Retreat Nov 11-14 (Additional Cost, Compulsory for all students)
Introduction to Church History: From Jerusalem to Chang’an (CH101, 3cr);
Oct 14, 21, 28; Nov 4, 11, 18, 25; Dec 2; 7.15-10.15pm
Venue: Union Industrial Building
Lecturer: Dr Lai Pak Wah
[Required for MDiv]
Spiritual Mentoring: Theological Perspectives & Contemporary Applications (AT372, 1.5cr);
Oct 20, 27; Nov 3, 10, 24; 7.15-9.45pm
Venue: Prinsep St Presbyterian Church (77 Prinsep Street)
Lecturer: Dr Tan Soo-Inn
Personal Ministry Skills (Tent Module)
Oct 26; Nov 2, 9; (Tue 7.20 - 10.00pm)
Venue: Union Industrial Building
Facilitator: Mr Toh Kai Hua
For more information on courses for 2011 visit our website: http://bgst.edu.sg/courses-and-events