Consult God First and Be Humble Before Him

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 2 Kings 1:1-18. Let’s go!

2 Kings 1:1-4 (NIV) 
1 After Ahab’s death, Moab rebelled against Israel.
2 Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, “Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury.”
3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’
4 Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!'” So Elijah went. 

On verses 1-4: Ahaziah king of Israel falls and injures himself.  He wonders whether he will recover from this accident or die from it.  He decides to consult Baal-Zebub the god of Ekron on the question.  The Lord’s prophet Elijah brings a message to Ahaziah, stating that Ahaziah’s actions have offended the Lord.  By seeking another god for help and not consulting the Lord first, Ahaziah showed that he places his hope in other things more than he does in God.  Elijah also tells Ahaziah that Ahaziah will not recover but will certainly die.

希律殺約翰

馬太福音14: 1_13希律殺約翰

1那時,分封的王希律聽見耶穌的名聲, 2 就對臣僕說:「這是施洗的約翰從死裡復活,所以這些異能從他裡面發出來。」 3 起先,希律為他兄弟腓力的妻子希羅底的緣故,把約翰拿住鎖在監裡, 4 因為約翰曾對他說:「你娶這婦人是不合理的。」 5 希律就想要殺他,只是怕百姓,因為他們以約翰為先知。

6 到了希律的生日,希羅底的女兒在眾人面前跳舞,使希律歡喜。 7 希律就起誓,應許隨她所求的給她。 8 女兒被母親所使,就說:「請把施洗約翰的頭放在盤子裡,拿來給我。」9 王便憂愁,但因他所起的誓,又因同席的人,就吩咐給她。 10 於是打發人去,在監裡斬了約翰, 11 把頭放在盤子裡,拿來給了女子,女子拿去給她母親。 12 約翰的門徒來,把屍首領去埋葬了,就去告訴耶穌。13 耶穌聽見了,就上船從那裡獨自退到野地裡去。

這是一個義人被昏君所害的故事。分封的王希律,是指大希律的兒子希律安提帕。大希律就是在耶穌出生後,殺死伯利恒附近兩歲以下的嬰兒之暴君。當安提帕去羅馬拜訪他同父異母的哥哥腓力時,愛上了腓力的妻子希羅底,便勾引她離開腓力去當他的妻子;又與自己的原配離婚。

沒想到施洗約翰知道此事後便去責備希律安提帕犯了姦淫之罪,被他懷恨在心,伺機想殺他。與此同時,另一個人也想找機會殺約翰,那就是淫婦希羅底。就在希律的生日宴會上,希羅底讓女兒去跳有誘惑性的東方舞,藉此設下一個陷阱,趁希律意亂情迷酒醉之際,來達到她的心願。施洗約翰就這樣犠牲了。

被人厭棄

馬太福音13: 53_58被人厭棄

53 耶穌說完了這些比喻,就離開那裡, 54 來到自己的家鄉,在會堂裡教訓人,甚至他們都稀奇,說:「這人從哪裡有這等智慧和異能呢? 55 這不是木匠的兒子嗎?他母親不是叫馬利亞嗎?他弟兄們不是叫雅各、約西、西門、猶大嗎? 56 他妹妹們不是都在我們這裡嗎?這人從哪裡有這一切的事呢?」 57 他們就厭棄他。耶穌對他們說:「大凡先知,除了本地、本家之外,沒有不被人尊敬的。」 58 耶穌因為他們不信,就在那裡不多行異能了。

當耶穌回到家鄉教訓人時,家鄉的人都很稀奇耶穌的智慧和異能,這是一個很正面的反應。但是這個正面的反應為何一下子就受到衝擊呢?因為家鄉人想起了耶穌的出身。而耶穌並沒有拿出哈佛或劍橋的博士文憑給他們看,所以他們在一知半解的情況下就否定耶穌了。

所以這是人的矛盾,耳裡聽到的是神奇妙的智慧,但理智上卻又要以先入為主的看法去判斷人。就好像人期待永生,追求永生,但是當他們聽到奇妙的福音能帶給他們永遠的生命時,他們就以天下沒有白吃的午餐和其他理由去否定福音,然後回頭去拜沒有生命,也不能給他們永生的偶像。

Like Parent, Like Child

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 1 Kings 22:41-53.  Let’s go!

On verses 41-51:  In these verses we see two kings — King Jehoshaphat of Judah and King Ahaziah of Israel.  These two kings were polar opposites. Jehoshaphat loved God, did what was right in God’s eyes and would go onto a long 25 year reign and become one of Judah’s greatest kings.  In contrast, Ahaziah worshiped idols, provoked the Lord to anger, and had only 2 years to reign as king in Israel.   However, Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah both had one thing in common: each followed in his father’s footsteps.  Notice what it says about Jehoshaphat: 

“In everything he walked in the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them” (v43) 

and about Ahaziah: “…he walked in the ways of his father and mother…He served and worshiped Baal and provoked the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger, just as his father had done. 

For better or for worse, both Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah followed in their fathers’ footsteps!

撒網的比喻

馬太福音13: 47_52撒網的比喻

47 「天國又好像網撒在海裡,聚攏各樣水族。 48 網既滿了,人就拉上岸來,坐下,揀好的收在器具裡,將不好的丟棄了。 49 世界的末了也要這樣。天使要出來,從義人中把惡人分別出來, 50 丟在火爐裡,在那裡必要哀哭切齒了。」
51 耶穌說:「這一切的話你們都明白了嗎?」他們說:「我們明白了。」 52 他說:「凡文士受教做天國的門徒,就像一個家主從他庫裡拿出新舊的東西來。」

英國著名的佈道家司布真,有一天晚上做了一個夢,夢見到了天門外,看見一群光明又榮耀的聖者,排隊高舉大旗,且走且唱,進入天門內。他們一進去,司布真就聽到裡面有歡呼讚美的聲音來歡迎他們。他問天使:『這些人是誰?以致天堂裡的人如此歡迎他們?』天使回答:『他們是古代的先知。』司布真說:『可惜!我不是先知,不配和他們一同進去』。

過了一陣子,又有一隊服飾像從前的人,也進入天門,門內照樣歡迎他們,他又查問。天使答:『他們是古代的聖徒。』司布真又自嘆:『我不是古代聖徒,不配和他們一同進去』。過不多時,又來一隊,是古代的殉道者,司布真也不敢和他們一同進入天門。

最後,有一隊比前三隊的人還多,其中有兩人司布真認得,一個是用香膏抹主的女人,一個是與主同釘的強盜。司布真以為這一隊進天門,必定沒有動靜。沒想到天門裡的歡呼聲,比前面三隊還大七倍。

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide from God

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 1 Kings 22:29-40.  Let’s go!

1 Kings 22:30 (NIV) 
30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle. 

On verses 29-40: King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah get ready to fight the King of Aram at Ramoth Gilead. Knowing that the Lord’s prophets had prophesied that he would die instead of the King of Aram (e.g. 1 Kings 20:42), King Ahab disguises himself so that people cannot readily recognize him to be the king.  Despite that, “someone” (we don’t know who — it could have been an Aramean, and it also could have been a newbie Israelite soldier) draws his bow at random and ends up hitting King Ahab, wounding him fatally.  The king dies and dogs lick up his blood, just as the prophet Elijah had predicted (1 Kings 21:19).

What can we learn from this?  You can try to run from God, but you can’t hide from Him. 

藏寶於田與尋珠的比喻

馬太福音13: 44_46藏寶於田與尋珠的比喻

44 「天國好像寶貝藏在地裡,人遇見了就把它藏起來,歡歡喜喜地去變賣一切所有的,買這塊地。

45 「天國又好像買賣人尋找好珠子, 46 遇見一顆重價的珠子,就去變賣他一切所有的,買了這顆珠子。

昨天4月21日是世界各地基督徒慶祝復活節的主日,但是在Sri Lanka斯里蘭卡有三間教堂被攻擊。據「敞開的門」(Open Door)在當地的同工表示,對這個國家的基督徒而言,原本歡欣快樂的復活節變成一個令人心碎的時刻。斯里蘭卡基督徒遭受迫害多是來自於社區,基督教會經常成為鄰居的目標,反覆有暴力、抗議和教堂遭襲擊事件,特別是在農村地區。據斯里蘭卡國家基督教福音派聯盟(National Christian Evangelical Alliance)表示,基督徒被攻擊的事件急速增加,包括經常有暴徒的暴力襲擊。然而,在生命受到威脅的情況下,當地基督徒仍然勇敢一同敬拜主。此時,還沒有人聲稱對這些攻擊負責。當地同工呼籲,請為當地所有受害者、受傷者禱告,同時為那些因此而心碎的家庭禱告。

從耶穌被釘十字架以來,基督徒就不斷地受逼迫。經過了兩千多年,各地逼迫依然不斷擴展,但是“在生命受到威脅的情況下,基督徒仍然勇敢一同敬拜主”的情況也依然持續發生。

Does God Put Deceiving Spirits in People?

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 1 Kings 22:13-28.  Let’s go!

1 Kings 22:13-14 (NIV) 
13 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, as one man the other prophets are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.”
14 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the LORD lives, I can tell him only what the LORD tells me.” 

On verses 13-14:  Despite pressure to just say what the king wants to hear, Micaiah the prophet refuses to give any “prophecy” unless Micaiah truly believes it is from God.  Micaiah had integrity.  He understood his role as God’s prophet was not to please people and to speak whatever they want to hear, but to please God and to communicate God’s heart and mind to the people.  Like Micaiah, may you be a man/woman of integrity and a lover of truth, seeking to please God over and above people.

When You Need to Make an Important Decision

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 1 Kings 22:1-12.  Let’s go!

1 Kings 22:1-3 (NIV) 
1 For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel. 
2 But in the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah went down to see the king of Israel. 
3 The king of Israel had said to his officials, “Don’t you know that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us and yet we are doing nothing to retake it from the king of Aram?” 

On verses 1-3:  For years Israel and Aram had been at war with one another.  Then God gave Israel an amazing victory over Aram.  However, in the heat of victory, instead of executing Ben-Hadad King of Aram and disabling the Arameans as a future threat, King Ahab signed an economic treaty with the Arameans and let their king go free (1 Kings 20:30-34).   

麵酵的比喻

馬太福音13: 33_35麵酵的比喻

33 他又對他們講個比喻說:「天國好像麵酵,有婦人拿來藏在三斗麵裡,直等全團都發起來。」 34 這都是耶穌用比喻對眾人說的話,若不用比喻,就不對他們說什麼。 35 這是要應驗先知的話說:「我要開口用比喻,把創世以來所隱藏的事發明出來。」

這個比喻只有一節經文,但是卻至少有四種不同的解釋,可見人與人之間的看法真的很不一樣。所以當我們在一起查經時,有了不同的見解要怎樣處理呢?我個人認為最好就是大家都安靜下來,先把爭論放到一邊,繼續看主怎麼說。因為沒有人是完全的,只有主知道祂講這個比喻的意思。有一天我們都會明白,恍然大悟,所以何必爭在此時,反而破壞了在主裡那種和平學習的情緒。

第一種解釋認為耶穌在這章裡所講的比喻主題是一致的,都是講到天國的發展,所以拿麵酵來比喻天國在世上的隱藏滲透力。至於酵在聖經裡並不一定是負面的用法,在〈利未記〉裡有酵的餅也可以獻給神作為初熟的供物,例如:為感謝而獻上平安祭,可以用有酵的餅,與供物一同獻上,供祭司與獻祭者一同享用(利7:13-14;何4:5)。又如在五旬節時,將新素祭獻給神,要拿細麵加酵,烤成兩個搖祭的餅,當作初熟之物獻給神(利23:17)。天國的發展過程,就像發酵的過程,開始時規模很小,過了一段時間,漸漸擴展開來,直到全團發起;就像從主耶穌在地上的工作開始,漸漸擴張,隨着歷史的發展,直到末世,才完全成就。