Thursday, April 18, 2013

An incubation and a meal

I am onto the last portion of the book of Genesis as I read R. Kent Hughes book on it. It felt like I was moving into the excitement that you get when you come to the closing of a historical saga. I did say that I can only take a chapter of Hughes' book a day, since every chapter is like a sermon with insights into the given passage and life application points. But today, I read six chapters at one go! It was like, "What next? What next?" And Hughes certainly has many great insights in this most favourite historical account of mine.

There is no doubt that I have learnt so many lessons today, but two of them have left a stronger imprint in my mind.

First is a statement that he quoted from John Walton's Genesis, NIV Application Commentary. It refers to the time when Jacob and his entire household was to move into Egypt in order to survive the great famine, and I quote, "the time in Egypt is not an interruption of the covenant but an incubation of the covenant people."

I love the word "incubation". It reminds of certain periods of my life when all is quiet and peaceful only to have problems and troubles piling in one after another. God gives us times and periods of incubation. I am reminded that I must use these times to enjoy the presence and the holiness of God, and then I can stand strong beneath his wings when trials come, which will definitely come in this broken world. I can even say that life here on earth is like an incubator for us to grow in God and be fed by his goodness and his Word before we are reunited with him in his full presence in the day to come.

Moreover, Hughes highlighted that "astonishingly, Israel would not become a great nation in the land of promise but on the pagan Nile!" Even so for the Christians in this broken world of ours, where hatred, revenge, murders, lies and slanders thrive.

The second truth that I am now holding close to my heart refers to when Joseph invites his brothers into his home for a meal, when his brothers have not yet realised who Joseph really was. Hughes was quoting Westermann, "the meal was not just an expression of communion (Gemeinschaft), but engenders and preserves this commonality. The acceptance of a guest into the fellowship of the meal is therefore simultaneously the granting of participation in one's own existence" (Claus Westermann, Joseph: Eleven Bible Studies on Genesis, 1996).

I shall remember this the next time I attend the Lord's Supper and with that I look forward with hope to be eating with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ in the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Rev 19:9)


Thursday, April 11, 2013

I am an Esau too?

I am getting along pretty well with Kent Hughes' Genesis, Beginning and Blessing and finally met Esau for all that he was. Just like Lot, I never identified with Esau until now.

Here is what Hughes said: Esau despised his birthright. He was no villain, but he was young, attractive with an unbridled nature. He was spontaneous, extroverted, impulsive outdoorsman - a good guy, as we say. A prince of men, prime favourite both with men, and women, and children, with a good word and a good gift from the field for them all. But the tragedy was, that was just about the sum total of who the man was. He was a man of the present and cared not at all about the covenant's future promises of Canaan and a multitude of descendants. What good were they in the present? Even the firstborn entitlement to a double portion of the inheritance meant nothing now. But he did become a good man after a 20-year hiatus and received Jacob with much grace.

So how are we like Esau? Do Christian things mean little or much to us? Is heaven faraway and disconnected to real life? Do we despised our heritage, both the biblical heritage and our own Christian heritage?

I just found our that King Herod was an Edomite, a descendant of Esau and Hughes said this well, that the "ultimate sons of Esau and Jacob (Herod the King and Christ the King) testified to the significance of the path we take up...For every generation, the challenge is the same - to see that there is more to life than a meal, or a video game, or baseball, or a party, or a movie, or an indulgence of some kind - to see, as Paul puts it, that the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

Are we selling what God has given us through his Word, our churches, and our families for a cheap pleasure?


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

DA Carson's ebooks at 75% off! just had a March Madness tournament of your favourite author and this was how it fared, with DA Carson emerging the "winner". As such, a selection of his books are with a 75% discount, which is really a very good deal.

Check it out here as well as the discounts available for the other authors.