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埃及新王朝

出埃及记一章17节    但是收生婆敬畏神,不照埃及王的吩咐行,竟存留男孩的性命。

以色列人在埃及享福的30年,随着约瑟的过世而走下坡了。「有不认识约瑟的新王起来,治理埃及」,这里的「新王」指的是新的王朝。这个新王朝的法老对他的百姓说:「看哪,这以色列民比我们还多,又比我们强盛。来吧,我们不如用巧计待他们,恐怕他们多起来,日后若遇什么争战的事,就联合我们的仇敌攻击我们,离开这地去了。」他的想法和别人不一样,一般应该是担心外族起来「统治埃及」,他却担心外族「离开埃及」?不过假如我们看过埃及的大型建筑,就不难理解劳动力对法老的重要性。

在约瑟的时代,由于荒年,约瑟先是以粮易畜,用粮食换走了百姓的牲畜;再来又用粮食买他们和他们的地,百姓和他们的地就都属于法老了,人和地都要给法老效力。百姓又求约瑟给他们种子去种地,使他们得以存活。后来约瑟立下规矩,百姓打粮食的时候,要把五分之一纳给法老,四分可以归百姓做地里的种子,也做百姓和他们家口孩童的食物。惟有祭司因有从法老得的常俸,所以不用卖身也不用卖地(创47)。这种规矩流传下去,强迫劳役,也就是每年要无偿为政府做一段时期的工作,变成税收的一种形式。

Don’t Be So Future-Focused That You Miss God’s Will For Today

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Luke 17:20-30. Let’s go!

Luke 17:20-21 (NIV) 
20  Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, 
21  nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

On verses 20-21: When the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come (v20), what they were referring to was the end times when God would judge the world. In response, Jesus warns the Pharisees against thinking that the kingdom of God was just some future event, when in fact the kingdom of God is already here and is working. As Jesus says, “the kingdom of God is within you” (v21). 

Faith Unlocks God’s Power in Your Life

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Luke 17:11-19.  Let’s go!

Luke 17:11-14 (NIV) 
11  Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 
12  As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 
13  and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 
14  When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

On verses 11-14: Notice that Jesus doesn’t touch the lepers or command their healing out loud. Instead, Jesus simply tells them to go show themselves to the priests. Why? It’s because when a leper was cleansed of his leprosy, he would show himself to a priest who would examine him and if satisfied that the leprosy was gone, would announce that the leper was now reinstated back into society. So when Jesus tells the ten lepers here to go and show themselves to the priests without having touched them or prayed for them, Jesus was expecting these ten lepers to go in faith and rely simply on Jesus’ word alone to heal them. And as they went, they were healed. 

什么是「上帝的旨意」?

当一个人什么都说:「这是上帝的旨意」,就证明这个人不大懂上帝的旨意。上帝的旨意是除了上帝之外,最大的事。上帝的旨意是永恒的、不变的,连《圣经》里的使徒及先知们都不敢随便用这个词。「上帝的旨意」这几个字在《圣经》用的数量很少,因为十分严谨,我相信一个真正敬畏上帝的人,不会随便开口闭口讲「上帝的旨意」。

「上帝的旨意」与「上帝的引导」

「上帝的旨意」与「上帝的引导」有不同的地方。「上帝的引导」是上帝特别赐给祂的儿女,借着引导把上帝的儿女带到上帝的计画里,这就是上帝的旨意。上帝的旨意要我们遵行祂的话,上帝的旨意是透过圣灵引导我们,引我们进入上帝的计画里。凡被圣灵引导的,都是上帝的儿女(罗8:14-16)。

「永恒的谕令」与「动性的过程」

这样,「上帝的引导」因人而异,每个时代不同,「上帝的旨意」是每个时代相同的。旨意是在永恒里面定的,而引导则在时代中执行。我个人把这两个归人这两个名称:「永恒的谕令」(eternal decree)及「(上帝的旨意)在历史过程中有效能的运行」(dynamic process)。

上帝永恒的谕令展现了上帝永恒不变的旨意,上帝在历史之中展开祂的行动,在历史的程序里成就祂永恒的旨意。上帝在永恒里预定在历史中借着福音彰显出谁是祂的儿女,上帝差遣基督进入历史成全这个计画,上帝在永恒中要从我们身上得着完全的荣耀,因而在这世界雕塑管教我们,使我们可以成为荣耀祂的器皿。

神的意思原是好的

创世记50章19-21节     约瑟对他们说:「不要害怕,我岂能代替神呢?从前你们的意思是要害我,但神的意思原是好的,要保全许多人的性命,成就今日的光景。现在你们不要害怕,我必养活你们和你们的妇人孩子。」于是,约瑟用亲爱的话安慰他们。

我相信很少有人看到这个故事的结尾而不动容的。在七个荒年未到以前,安城的祭司波提非拉的女儿亚西纳给约瑟生了两个儿子。约瑟给长子起名叫玛拿西,因为他说:「神使我忘了一切的困苦和我父的全家。」他给次子起名叫以法莲,因为他说:「神使我在受苦的地方昌盛。」(创41:50-52)

当约瑟看到可爱的婴儿时,他终于可以忘记一切的困苦和他的父家。神用这个儿子安慰了约瑟,使曾经笼罩他的黑暗和痛苦都像翻过了一页,给他有力量去面对光明的前景。这就是玛拿西的意义。翻页了,人生翻页了,约瑟的生命里再度有了欢笑。第二个儿子的来临,使约瑟深深感受到神的祝福,神让他在埃及昌盛。他曾在埃及受苦,但是也在此昌盛。这两个名字都使他想到「神使我…」,他深深体会到神是他生命的主宰,每一步,每一个环境都是出于神的美意。

Serve with an Attitude of Gratitude and a Heart of Humility

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Luke 17:1-10.  Let’s go!

Luke 17:1-3a (NIV) 
1  Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. 
2  It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. 
3  So watch yourselves…

On verses 1-3: From Jesus’ words here we can know that God watches the way we influence others, especially the generation coming after us. Do we encourage others to obey God or to sin against Him? God will hold us accountable for the way we affect the next generation, so let’s be careful to set the best example we can and to offer the best leadership we can by God’s grace.

圭必不离犹大

创世记49章8-12节     犹大啊,你弟兄们必赞美你,你手必掐住仇敌的颈项,你父亲的儿子们必向你下拜。犹大是个小狮子。我儿啊,你抓了食便上去。你屈下身去,卧如公狮,蹲如母狮,谁敢惹你? 圭必不离犹大,杖必不离他两脚之间,直等细罗来到,万民都必归顺。犹大把小驴拴在葡萄树上,把驴驹拴在美好的葡萄树上。他在葡萄酒中洗了衣服,在葡萄汁中洗了袍褂。他的眼睛必因酒红润,他的牙齿必因奶白亮。

在〈创世记〉38章里说了一个有关犹大的故事。犹大是利亚生的第四个儿子。利亚怀孕生流便(鲁本)时说:「耶和华看见我的苦情,如今我的丈夫必爱我。」 她又怀孕生西缅,就说:「耶和华因为听见我失宠,所以又赐给我这个儿子。」她第三子叫利未,因为:「我给丈夫生了三个儿子,他必与我联合。」 第四次怀孕生子时,她说:「这回我要赞美耶和华。」因此给他起名叫犹大。所以犹大本来是最好的一个名字,意思是「赞美」;可惜被卖耶稣的犹大把这个名字给污染,没人再敢用此名。

但是当我们看到雅各在最后的祝福里,他把将来出弥赛亚的支派福份给了犹大。就像神给亚伯拉罕的祝福,亚伯拉罕把祝福传给以撒,以撒又把祝福传给雅各,雅各又把祝福传给了犹大。这条线在旧约里一直主导下去,直到主耶稣的降生,所以我们来看看犹大的家庭。

犹大年轻时跟一个迦南人的女儿结婚,所以我们可以想见,神若没有让雅各把全家人带到埃及,他们的后代一定都是和迦南人混交的混血儿了。犹大和妻子生了三个儿子,珥,俄南和示拉。犹大为珥娶妻她玛,但是珥行耶和华眼中看为恶的事,他就死了。在犹太人中有个习俗,哥哥死了若没留后,弟弟要为了哥哥留后,与嫂子结婚。

Don’t Try to Justify Yourself

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Luke 16:15-31. Let’s go!

Luke 16:15 (NIV) 
15  He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.

On verse 15: What does it mean to “justify yourselves in the eyes of men”? To justify yourself means to do things or say things with the goal of showing God or others how good, righteous and godly you are. 

The Pharisees were famous for justifying themselves. They would boast about the things they had done as a way to show how spiritual they were. They would even point to their wealth as evidence that they were righteous in God’s sight. That is why just prior to this verse Jesus speaks against the Pharisees’ love of money.

Today people try to justify themselves also, whether they realize it or not. For example, when I ask people whether they think they will go to heaven when they die, the conversation will often go like this:

雅各家欢聚一堂

创世记46章3-4节     神说:「我是神,就是你父亲的神。你下埃及去不要害怕,因为我必使你在那里成为大族。我要和你同下埃及去,也必定带你上来。约瑟必给你送终。」

自从约瑟的哥哥们把那件染血的彩衣送到雅各手上,雅各的悲哀就一发不可收拾,因为他失去了和拉结的爱情结晶,那个美好的孩子约瑟。约瑟的哥哥们看到老父苍然隐泣多年,他们的心里也不好受。一个隐瞒了十四年的秘密,谁也不敢说。若是被雅各知道他们卖了约瑟去做奴隶,雅各会不会就这样一路下埃及去找他?雅各怎么舍得让约瑟去受做奴隶之苦?

十四年,自从约瑟被卖,没有一个人过得舒畅,被罪辖制的日子实在苦不堪言。幸好,接着有七年谷物的丰收;但是七年的干旱也接踵而至。丰收时,谁也不知道苦日子在前面;正好像我们在2019年开心的计划时,没有人晓得全球的人在下一年会被一只病毒禁足。丰收时日容易过,饥荒的时候度日如年。埃及的情形代表了她附近地区也都有类似的气候。雅各家在迦南也开始担心粮食的不足,因为迦南地也有饥荒。

听到埃及有粮,雅各便叫儿子们下埃及买粮。但是雅各留下了便雅悯,拉结产难时生的儿子,怕他和约瑟一样遭到不幸。

约瑟的哥哥们到了埃及,见到约瑟,他们脸伏于地,向约瑟下拜。约瑟认得他哥哥们,他们却不认得他。约瑟想起从前所做的那两个梦,这梦真的应验了。他抑制满心的激动,预备试试他们,便说他们是奸细,来窥探埃及的虚实。这是很可怕的指控,于是他们招出了家里还有一个弟弟。约瑟原是要知道便雅悯如何。接着约瑟把他们全部下到监里,又偷听他们的对话。

The Taming of the Shrewd

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Luke 16:1-14. Let’s go!

Luke 16:1-8 (NIV) 
1  Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 
2  So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ 
3  “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg– 
4  I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ 
5  “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 
6  “‘Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.’ …..

On verses 1-8:  Is Jesus telling this story to encourage us to lie and be dishonest? Not at all. Rather Jesus is highlighting the importance of being shrewd – that is, street smart, wise, strategic, and proactive – when dealing with problems. Often times I find that the reason why an individual, a team, a ministry or an organization is not as effective as they could be is not for a lack of heart, but a lack of wisdom, a lack of what Jesus calls “shrewdness”.