Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."

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Every Man in His Place

In Judges 6-8, we learn about Gideon.  God chooses Gideon to deliver his people from the Midianites. Gideon calls the Israelites to war against the Midianites.  Thirty two thousand men respond to his call.  Twenty two thousand go home because they are afraid to fight.  God tells Gideon that there are still too many men.

God does not want the Israelites to believe that they defeated the Midianites.  He wants them to know that they defeat the Midianites only because God is on their side.

Gideon is told to have the men go to the water and drink.  Those who drink from the water by lapping water from their hand will be the ones who fight.  Only 300 men drink  water  this  way.   Gideon  takes  these  300  men  and  divides  them  into  3 companies.  The three companiess then surround the Midianite camp in the middle of the night.  Each man has a trumpet, an empty pitcher and a torch light.

At the appointed time each blows his trumpet and breaks the pitcher.  And each shouts “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.”

The Midianites are surprised and end up fighting among themselves.  Many kill each other.  The rest run for their lives. It is a huge victory for the Israelites.  They won the battle without having to use swords.

It is interesting that in chapter 7, verse 21, we read, “And they stood every man in his place round about the camp…”  Each of the 300 men had their appointed place to stand.  Each had his job to do.  Their success depended on each staying in his place.

Those in the church have a place.  Each person is needed if the church is to be successful in the community.  God expects us to all work together to evangelize our community.  God is the one who wins the battle but each of us must do our part.

There is a need for team work in preaching the gospel.  Some individuals can read the Bible out loud.  Others are good at explaining what the text says.  Others are good encouragers.  There is a need for those who plan the work of teaching and preaching.

Just like in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra.  After the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt by Nehemiah and the Israelites, the people gathered to hear the law of God read.

Nehemiah 7:66-67, tells us that the population of Israel at this time was about 50,000.

On the first day of the seventh month, the people all gathered in Jerusalem They asked Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses and instruct them in what they were to do.

Ezra stood on a pulpit of wood which had been made especially for the occasion.

He opened the book and read from it in front of all the people.  In Nehemiah 8:7, we read, “Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.”  Nehemiah had led the people in completing the wall of Jerusalem and in encouraging the people to follow God.  Ezra was able to read the law well.  He also had encouraged the people to rebuild the Temple.  The men named in our verse above were talented in explaining the text. The chief of the fathers andthe Levites and priests led the people in a desire to know more about God’s word (Neh. 8:13).

Every member of the Lord’s church is important in playing a part to encourage one another to serve the Lord and remain faithful to Him.  May you find a place of service to the Lord in His church in 2015 and resolve to serve Him diligently throughout the year. (1 Cor 12:14-27) 

Verse 14 For the body is not one member, but many.

Verse 25 That there should be no schism in the body;but that the members should have the same care one for another.

Verse 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

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Be Careful What You Choose

“They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul (Psa 106:13-15).”

Psalm 106 recounts the sad history of Israel, filled with accounts of the people’s unfaithfulness. From the time of the Exodus to the time of the judges, Israel repeatedly turned against her God.

A chilling fact was revealed in verses 13-15. God gave His wilful people their hearts’ desires, “but sent leanness into their soul.” He gave them over to the consequences of their unholy desires, to gradually destroy their souls like a disease would the physical body.

Jacob Stole His Brother’s Blessing
We read in Gen 27:18-29 of how Jacob, in his desire for the blessing which belonged to his brother, deceived his father, Isaac. Isaac was shocked that his own son had done this. He said to the distraught Esau, “Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing (v. 35).”

Jacob got what he desired but it caused the break-up of the family. He had to flee for his life from his brother who intended to kill him. There was no peace for Jacob at Haran. There he received a taste of his own medicine. His uncle Laban was also a crafty man and deceived Jacob into marrying Leah. Imagine Jacob’s shock in the morning when he discovered his wife was not the woman he wanted to marry (cf. Gen 29:25).

Over the years Jacob continued to suffer from Laban’s deception. He said to his wives: “And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me (Gen 31:7).”

Even his own sons deceived him. After they sold Joseph to slave traders, they dipped his coat in animal blood and brought it to Jacob. Believing that Joseph was dead, Jacob was inconsolable (Gen 37:33-34). Jacob had a tough life, deceiving but being deceived in return.

Israel Demanded a King
Israel looked at their neighbours with their kings and they wanted the same. They demanded a king from Samuel (1Sa 8:5-6). Their desire for an earthly king was in fact a rejection of God as their King (1Sa 8:7-8).

Despite Samuel warning them of the demands a king would place on them, the people persisted in their desire for a king. “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles (1Sa 8:19-20).”

Most of the kings they had were not godly men, and they led Israel and Judah on a downward spiral. They lived to regret their foolishness. They would have been better if they had stayed with God as their king (cf. Hosea 13:9-11)

Be Careful of Our Hearts’ Desire
Good salary.

No one complains of having a job that pays well. Some jobs pay better than others, and people commit themselves to education and training hopefully to find employment that pays well.

What happens if a well-paying job requires us to do things which we know is not right? Which requires us to compromise morally? Or to forsake the assembly of the saints? What would we choose? Paul says:

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1Ti 6:6-10).”

Approval of men.

Some people are not greedy for money, they are greedy for approval. There is a passage in the gospel account of John that reveals just such an attitude. There were among members of the Sanhedrin, believers of Jesus. These were men on the right path – they were given “power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his (Jesus) name (John 1:12).”

But what do we learn of these men? “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43).”

Be careful what you choose. You may get it, and with it, leanness of soul.