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許願之例

〈民數記〉 30:2 人若向耶和華許願或起誓,要約束自己,就不可食言,必要按口中所出的一切話行。

過年時大家最喜歡許願或立志,不知道時至今日(1月19日),你所許的願或立下的志可否有實行了?我立下一個志願,今年每一天都要先寫完功課再玩遊戲,或看電影,到目前為止,己經保持了19天,希望不要破記錄。

許願或立志的實行關鍵在於「要約束自己」,才不會食言,才有可能按口中所出的一切話行。「約束自己」,不是一件容易的事。例如減肥,大家都知道只要吃得健康,加上運動就可以了。胖的原因就是熱量進得多,消耗得少,自然增磅;只要消耗的熱量比進食的熱量多,自然減肥。但是能約束自己的人不多,所以減肥成功的人也不多。自己對自己許的願都不容易做到,何況對神所許的願。

在〈士師記〉裡,以色列人屨屨向神許願,不去拜外邦人的偶像,但是每次神拯救他們之後,他們就又轉去拜偶像。他們不能約束自己,總是投降於自己的邪情私慾和引誘,因而被罪所困,痛苦不堪。

有許多人在危急時,也會向神許願求助;但是一旦神聽了人的呼求,幫助他度過困難或窘迫的時刻後,很多人都會忘記曾經許過的願。不然就說事有湊巧,不肯把榮耀歸給神。

在〈士師記〉裡有一個很出名的例子,就是耶弗他。耶弗他要出征去和亞捫人打仗前,向神許願:「你若將亞捫人交在我手中,我從亞捫人那裡平平安安回來的時候,無論什麼人,先從我家門出來迎接我,就必歸你,我也必將他獻上為燔祭。(士11:30-31)」沒想到他的獨生女因為太愛她的父親,等耶弗他一回來,就拿著鼓跳舞出來迎接他 。耶弗他雖然極度痛苦,但還是實現他對神的許願。有的人認為,是讓他的女兒終身不嫁,不是燒為燔祭,因為耶和華神不喜歡用人做為祭品;但也有人認為他真的把女兒獻為燔祭。不管怎樣,耶弗他在極大的痛苦中,依然守住自己的願,向神還願,是一個很了不起的人。

Where Saint and Sinner Meet

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 21:13-22.   Let’s go!

Joshua 21:13-22 (NIV) 
13  So to the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron (a city of refuge for one accused of murder), Libnah, 
14  Jattir, Eshtemoa, 
15  Holon, Debir, 
16  Ain, Juttah and Beth Shemesh, together with their pasturelands–nine towns from these two tribes. 
17  And from the tribe of Benjamin they gave them Gibeon, Geba, 
18  Anathoth and Almon, together with their pasturelands–four towns. 
19  All the towns for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were thirteen, together with their pasturelands. 
20  The rest of the Kohathite clans of the Levites were allotted towns from the tribe of Ephraim: 
21  In the hill country of Ephraim they were given Shechem (a city of refuge for one accused of murder) and Gezer, 
22  Kibzaim and Beth Horon, together with their pasturelands–four towns.

On verses 13-22:  These verses continue to describe the towns given to the Kohathite division of the Levites, starting with the descendants of Aaron (v13-19) and then moving onto to the rest of the Kohathites (v20-22).  Notice that these Levites are given two cities of refuge, Hebron (v13) and Shechem (v21).  As discussed in Joshua 20, cities of refuge were towns where a person accused of murder could flee to for safety until he received a fair trial. 

住棚節當獻之祭

〈民數記〉29:12-40七月十五日,你們當有聖會,什麼勞碌的工都不可做,要向耶和華守節七日。又要將公牛犢十三隻、公綿羊兩隻、一歲的公羊羔十四隻,都要沒有殘疾的,用火獻給耶和華為馨香的燔祭。同獻的素祭用調油的細麵:為那十三隻公牛每隻要獻伊法十分之三,為那兩隻公羊每隻要獻伊法十分之二,為那十四隻羊羔每隻要獻伊法十分之一。並獻一隻公山羊為贖罪祭,這是在常獻的燔祭和同獻的素祭並同獻的奠祭以外。

和贖罪日的氣氛完全相反,住棚節是一個充滿了歡樂的節期,把贖罪日的嚴肅和哀傷一掃而空。在〈利未記〉23章40節裡,神要以色列人「在耶和華你們的神面前歡樂七日」,以色列人要住在棚裡七日,以記念神帶領他們的祖先出埃及時,曾使他們住在棚裡。

記念耶和華的恩惠,使人對生命有盼望。有一首歌的副歌歌詞這樣說:“It is no secret what God can do, What He has done for others, He’ll do for you.”意思是說,神若為別人行了大事,祂也會為你行大事。所以記念神為以色列先祖行的神蹟,便可以明白神也會為現在的以色列人行神蹟。神為以前的聖徒行神蹟,也會為現在信靠祂的人行神蹟。

在《每日研經叢書》裡對住棚節有極美的詮釋:「住棚節一共有八天。要獻的公牛犢從第一天的十三隻遞減,每天減一隻。到了第八天用一隻公牛即可。」根據拉比的解釋,猶太人傳統上在頭七日共獻上70隻公牛,代表全世界的70個民族(基於創十章),藉著為他們獻祭,期望他們轉向以色列的神。而頭七日每天獻14隻羊羔,共98隻,是為了避免〈申命記〉28章15至68節中記載的98個咒詛。在第八日的獻祭只為以色列自己。在〈利未記〉23章39至43節的經文中,這個節期的名稱得到了解釋。我們在那裏讀到:『你們要住在棚裏七日;凡以色列家的人都要住在棚裏。』它現在變成一個回想和認明上帝在曠野無微不至的照顧和訓練祂的百姓的時間──這與〈民數記〉中的事件相關的時間,這就不同於這個節期原來在農業上的目的。

Your Share in the Inheritance

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 21:1-12.   Let’s go!

Joshua 21:1-12 (NIV) 
1  Now the family heads of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the other tribal families of Israel
2  at Shiloh in Canaan and said to them, “The LORD commanded through Moses that you give us towns to live in, with pasturelands for our livestock.”
3  So, as the LORD had commanded, the Israelites gave the Levites the following towns and pasturelands out of their own inheritance:

On verses 1-12:  When Moses was still alive and leading the Israelites, God had commanded that upon taking possession of the promised land, the Israelites were to give the tribe of Levi towns to live in and to possess.  God even commanded that these towns and pasturelands for the Levites be taken from the Israelites’ own inheritance (see Numbers 35:1-5).  This was quite an act of grace and mercy toward Levi and his descendants.  That’s because when Levi was alive, he was notorious for a vengeful series of killings that he and his brother Simeon committed in Genesis 34.  Levi and Simeon’s sins had the effect of disqualifying their descendants from owning large areas of land for themselves (see Genesis 49:5-7).  By commanding the rest of the Israelite tribes to give towns and pasturelands to the Levites, God was showing great grace and mercy to Levi and his descendants.

更豐盛的生命(之2)

如同福杯滿溢的人生

  第二,一個有豐盛生命的人,是一個流露生命、分享生命的人,因為他的生命豐盛,他便流露出這豐盛,正像一個杯,你盛水、奶在裡面,當這杯充滿以後,就流出來了,這是很自然的,一點不勉強的,好像《聖經》所講的「福杯滿溢」。今天為什麼有一些人一面事奉上帝,一面很痛苦呢?如果我們的事奉加上憂鬱、痛苦,我們的事奉就不正常。一個正常的事奉應當是歡歡喜喜、充滿喜樂的事奉,雖然有很多身體上的辛苦勞累,但我們心裡的滿足、快樂讓我們忘記曾經付出的代價。請問,你的事奉是充滿喜樂,或是充滿不滿的痛苦呢?你說:「我怎麼可能一面事奉,一面充滿喜樂呢?」因為你明白耶穌所講一句很重要的話:「施比受更為有福」。

為什麼世界容納不下耶穌一切所行的?

  這句話是耶穌所講的,但在〈馬太福音〉沒有,在〈馬可福音〉沒有,在〈路加福音〉沒有,在〈約翰福音〉也沒有。耶穌的話不是記載在四福音嗎?這句話是從哪裡的呢?這句話是在〈使徒行傳〉裡告訴我們的。換句話說,四福音沒有把耶穌講過的話、做過的事的一切都記下來,這也是為什麼〈約翰福音〉最後一章最後一節說:「耶穌所行的事還有許多,若是一一的都寫出來,我想,所寫的書就是世界也容不下了」(約21:25)。我從小就思想為什麼這節經文說如果將耶穌所行的事都記載下來,就連世界都容不下。我想了十多年,最後才想清楚。我想很多基督徒也曾想過卻不得其解。

  為什麼說世界都容不下呢?很容易明白的,因為不但地球是祂造的,宇宙千千萬萬億的星球也是祂造的,所以如果把祂在宇宙中所做的事都記下來,這世界一定記不下。古代人憑著他們有限的天文知識,以為天上的星是很少的。我們能數的有限,我們知道的有限,我們看見的有限,所以當上帝對亞伯拉罕說:「我要賜福,使你的子孫像天上的星、海邊的沙那樣多 (創22:17) 」的時候,這兩個很不平衡的比喻到底在講什麼呢?你的子孫像天上的星,這有多少呢?你的子孫像地上的沙,這算得出來嗎?我們感覺上面的很少,下面的太多,我們就沒有辦法明白這其間的比例到底是什麼。但當人類的天文學知識越來越多的時候,人類發明望遠鏡,透過望遠鏡看天上的星的時候,才知道天上的星是千千萬萬,怎樣數都數不清,我們才醒悟過來,「原來上帝的話是沒有錯的」。

Jesus > Cities of Refuge

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 20:1-9.  Let’s go!

Joshua 20:1-9 (NIV) 
1  Then the LORD said to Joshua:
2  “Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses,
3  so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood.
4  “When he flees to one of these cities, he is to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state his case before the elders of that city. Then they are to admit him into their city and give him a place to live with them…….

On verses 1-9:  When Moses was still leading the Israelites, long before Joshua and the Israelites stepped foot onto the promised land, God gave instructions to the Israelites to set up six towns as “cities of refuge” (v2, see also Numbers 35).  What was the purpose of “cities of refuge”?   Keep in mind that the Jewish law was based on the principle of “an eye for an eye”. Thus, according to the Jewish law, if one person killed another, the killer himself would need to be killed.   The “avenger of blood” (v5) was the individual officially appointed to kill the killer.  However, if the killer killed his victim unintentionally, the killer could run to a city of refuge for safety.  As long as the killer was within the boundaries of the city of refuge, the avenger of blood could not touch him, until such time as he was put on trial and declared guilty of murder.

吹角節和贖罪日

〈民數記〉29:1 七月初一日,你們當有聖會,什麼勞碌的工都不可做,是你們當守為吹角的日子。

以色列人的吹角日,是個很特別的日子。在這日要用彎曲的羊角吹號,不可用牛角或其他角代替。現在的猶太人以吹角日(七月1日)為新年,但是神在〈出埃及記〉12章2節說:「你們要以本月為正月,為一年之首。」又是怎麼一回事呢?以色列的新年為何從1月1日變成7月1 日?假如希伯來曆的正月一日是新年,那麼就會在逾越節(正月十四日)之前,也就是每年陽曆的三、四月期間。

根據猶太拉比的解釋,因為巴比倫的新年是提斯利月的初一,和希伯來曆的吹角日是同一天。被擄的猶太人從巴比倫回歸後,在重建聖殿時期,開始以巴比倫的提斯利月為希伯來曆的第七月。因為拉比們不想公然接納阿基圖(巴比倫新年節慶的名字),所以他們把異教的節日猶太化,把吹角節改為猶太人的新年。在《聖經》裡並沒有為吹角節定一個特別的名稱,所以拉比比較容易把七月一日定為新年。話雖如此,拉比們無法否定希伯來曆的正月初一是新年,而且訂七月一日為新年是有點古怪,但是因為巴比倫人一年慶祝兩次阿基圖,使猶太人的吹角節可以名正言順地成為猶太人在七月的第二個新年。(以下簡稱猶太民曆為民曆,希伯來曆為神曆)

自猶太人淪為巴比倫的俘虜後,他們接受了巴比倫人的一個觀念:新年伊始是神在上天審判世人的日子。《密西拿Mishnah》(猶太教口傳律法書)中說:「在新年,世人都要在神面前被審判」,以決定他在新的一年中的命運是好是壞。《密西拿》中講了三種情況:在新年這一日,完全的好人、義人立即被判以生;完全的壞人、惡人立即被判以死;有好有壞中間狀態的人,他的判決懸著直至贖罪日(民曆1月10日/神曆7月10日)才作出最後的判定:無罪者生,有罪者死。這樣,新年就成了審判日(YOM DIN)。虔誠的猶太教徒從年底就開始做懺悔祈禱(SELIHOTH)了。人非聖賢,孰能無過。他們刻苦己心,深刻反思一年中所犯的過失和罪孽,論罪悔改,決志更新。祈求上帝原諒他們的過失,赦免他們的罪孽。因而民曆1月1日到10日/神曆7月1日到10日,又稱為「敬畏神的日子Days Of Awe」。

When Making Big Decisions

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 19:40-51.  Let’s go! 

Joshua 19:40-48 (NIV) 
40  The seventh lot came out for the tribe of Dan, clan by clan. 
41  The territory of their inheritance included: Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir Shemesh, 
42  Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 
43  Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 
44  Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 
45  Jehud, Bene Berak, Gath Rimmon, 
46  Me Jarkon and Rakkon, with the area facing Joppa. 
47  (But the Danites had difficulty taking possession of their territory, so they went up and attacked Leshem, took it, put it to the sword and occupied it. They settled in Leshem and named it Dan after their forefather.) 
48  These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the tribe of Dan, clan by clan.

On verses 40-48:  The final tribe to receive its land allotment was the tribe of Dan.  Originally the Danites were assigned a fairly sizable area, located right by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, next to the tribe of Judah (v41-46).  However, the Danites had difficulty taking possession of their assigned land.  So they gave up and instead travel to the northernmost part of the promised land where they attack a city called Leshem and settle there, renaming the city Dan.  The land that was originally supposed to be for the Danites would be occupied by the Philistines, long time enemies of the Israelites.

當獻之祭

〈民數記〉28:25 第七日當有聖會,什麼勞碌的工都不可做。

祭祀對猶太人而言是很重要而嚴肅的事情,因為它代表了與神的溝通和交流。所以從〈出埃及記〉開始,我們就看到摩西不停地在重覆神的交代。這些祭典,也成了以色列人生活中不可分割的禮儀。

這章講到的當獻之祭,包括了每天早晚的燔祭,安息日,月朔,逾越節,初熟節,等等的祭祀。

祭禮是每天進行的,每天早晨和黃昏各一次,這表示神是真的像祂所說的,要和以色列人同在。若沒有這些祭禮,以色列人怎樣明白神與他們同在呢?所以我們也要如此到主面前,我們的靈修便是每天到神面前所獻的馨香之祭。

燔祭,是先獻上自己;然後,神接納,並賜下能力和恩典。靈修,也是如此,每天先獻上自己,完全交託,然後領受神賜下的能力和恩典,才能過得勝的生活。每天的開始都要從敬拜神開始。

安息日要加獻兩隻一歲無殘疾的羊羔。現在一週七天的由來,是神在創世時所訂的。那時神把第七天作為祂的安息日,歇了創造之工;又把這安息日賜給以色列人。現在世界上也都沿用這一週七天的生活方式。猶太人守安息日,基督徒是否一定也要守安息日敬拜?

保羅對猶太人說:「你們謹守日子、月份、節期、年份,我為你們害怕,惟恐我在你們身上是枉費了工夫。(加4:11-12)」又說:「有人看這日比那日強,有人看日日都是一樣,只是各人心裡要意見堅定。守日的人是為主守的;吃的人是為主吃的,因他感謝神;不吃的人是為主不吃的,也感謝神。(羅14:5-6)」新約後,使徒們守主復活之日行敬拜之儀,也有主所賜的安息之實。每個星期的第一天都是從敬拜神開始。

Honoured By His Presence

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 19:24-39.  Let’s go!

Joshua 19:24-39 (NIV) 
24  The fifth lot came out for the tribe of Asher, clan by clan.
25  Their territory included: Helkath, Hali, Beten, Acshaph,
26  Allammelech, Amad and Mishal. On the west the boundary touched Carmel and Shihor Libnath.
27  It then turned east toward Beth Dagon, touched Zebulun and the Valley of Iphtah El, and went north to Beth Emek and Neiel, passing Cabul on the left.
28  It went to Abdon, Rehob, Hammon and Kanah, as far as Greater Sidon.
29  The boundary then turned back toward Ramah and went to the fortified city of Tyre, turned toward Hosah and came out at the sea in the region of Aczib,
30  Ummah, Aphek and Rehob. There were twenty-two towns and their villages.
31  These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the tribe of Asher, clan by clan.

On verses 24-31:  These verses describe the territory given to the tribe of Asher.  Asher’s long territory ran along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.