Friday, 17 April 2020
The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
so quit before the quarrel breaks out. (ESV)
The beginning of strife is as when water first trickles [from a crack in a dam]; therefore, stop contention before it becomes worse and quarrelling breaks out. (AMPC)
Two days ago, Rosie and I give thanks to God for His mercies and grace that enable us to celebrate our 48th Wedding Anniversary. As we reflect on what kept us going all these years. There are countless things we can give thanks to God. Unless the Lord build our marriage, we labour in vain. We too have to do our part in the building up of our marriage. There are many but I just touch on one.
This brings me to the text of the day. “The start of an argument is like the first break in a dam; stop it before it goes any further.” (GNT) It is easier to put off a match stick fire than to put out a forest fire. Stop it before it goes out of hand. Better still don’t even start it – Strive, contention, arguing, disputes, discord or quarrel!!!
The word “strife” or “contention”, occurs some 15 times in Proverbs to describe the kind of person who is apt to cause an argument or a conflict, one who is predisposed to quarrelling or dispute. Strive is like driving a wedge between two persons or two parties.
We are painfully aware that arguments DO occur. We have all been engaged in them repeatedly. We are sinners. It’s a given that all of us will sometime be involved in strife and conflict with different degree and in different settings. Disputes happen in our home, in our church, among our friends, in the school, in the workplace, in politics.
Solomon observes that all disputes and strive has a beginning. There is a point in time when the strife begins. The funny or sad thing is that in a family fight there is a starting point but no finishing line. While reading this, some of our fights is still raging on with no sight of the end.
Solomon is a master teacher. He uses an analogy to help us see every argument or dispute can be traced back to its beginning. It is like a tiny hole in the wall of a dam. It started with a trickle of water but it gets bigger and bigger. It is like “letting out water.” It is like the emptying of one’s bladder. The point is once it begins to flow, it can be impossible to stop. Watch out for the little crack in your relationship, if you are careless and allow anger, envy, hatred and unforgiveness to flow, before long it will collapse the wall of your marriage. Water is very powerful and destructive. Arguments and strife can ruin a home, a business, friendship and even the local church. Stop the leak!!!
“Therefore” is the beginning of the second part of this verse. Solomon gives us additional advice. Continuing the analogy, water starts to flow and strife, contention, argument continue to rage, he admonishes, “Don’t let it start!”
Where is the little crack in our dam? It is easier to do something about it. We can mend it back with love and forgiveness. By doing so you will prevent the bursting of the dam and causing untold pain and destruction. If you don’t stop it right away, it will get bigger and bigger and more and more powerful. Finally, there will be no stopping it.
“Stop” in the original context it means to leave; forsake; cast off; reject, abandon or quit. In our “kiasu” culture, to be a man is to show that we are strong and powerful. We don’t want to be a loser. We will stand our ground. We demand our way or no way. We become hard and obstinate. Don’t let that first trickle of a fight to begin. Drop the issue before the contention begins. Regardless as to who is to be blamed for starting the first spark of contention, let’s be quick to forgive or to say, “I’m sorry” before irreparable harm is done.
Prayer for the day
Lord, I thank you for preserving our marriage for these last 48 years. Lord, you are our God for all seasons of our lives. You have seen us through it all. We are ever grateful for your unfailing love, your forgiveness, your gracious leading, your unending supply for all our needs, you have given us a purpose to live for.
Lord, our hearts are still burdened for little Adriel. You have given us Adriel to love and to cherish him. We know you have your wonderful plan for him and his parents, Jun Yung and Siew Hup. We know you will do all things so that your name be glorified. Grant us faith to trust when we don’t see the way ahead. For we know you never make a mistake. We want to thank and praise you because you are a trustworthy God. We cast all our burdens and cares upon you for you care for us.
Oh, God, we pray for each of our relationship with you. Teach us to be totally dependent on you. The pressure and stress of this prolong Coronavirus is getting on to us. With all these immense stress on us, it often wears us out. We feel we are no more in control and we are frightened of tomorrow. O Lord, we need you daily to stand by us and give us the courage to shoulder on.
Lord, protect our relationship at home, in the church, in the workplace and in the world. Often time under great stress, we lose control of ourselves. We let strife and argument flare-up. Lord, give us the wisdom to put out the match fire and not allow it to be a forest fire. Help us deflect anger with gentle words. May our words be a tree of life. May our words bring healing. May we practice the words of Jesus, “Do for others what you would like them to do for you.” Matt. 7.12
Lord, have mercy on us. We bring this pandemic of the Coronavirus to you. This fire has gone out of control. Lord, create a holy fear in mankind, cause us to come with humility and a contrite heart to seek your forgiveness for we have rebelled against you. We have turned our back on you. We have just been disobedient to you. Lord, forgive us and bring us back to you. Only in you, there is forgiveness and hope. There is no other name that we can call on and be saved, besides the Name of Jesus. As you children may we be your ambassadors of your love, joy, peace and hope in these trouble times.
Lord, we submit to you. We surrender our all to you. Lord, come and lead and guide us through this day as we wait upon you. We praise and thank you in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Pastor Isaac Yim
这把我带到了今天的经文。 “纷争的起头如水放开，所以在争闹之先，必当止息争竞。”要扑灭火柴的火比要扑灭森林的大火来的更加容易。在它失控之前就要将它停止。最好甚至不要开始- 冲突，争论，争执，不和或争吵！！！
主啊，我们的心仍担忧Adriel。你给了我们Adriel来爱护和珍惜他。我们知道你对他和他的父母Jun Yung和Siew Hup有一个美丽的计划。我们知道你所做的都是为要荣耀你的名。当我们看不到前进的道路时，请赐给我们信心。因为我们知道你永远不会犯错。我们要感谢和赞美你，因为你是一位信实的上帝。我们将所有的负担都交拖给你，因为你爱我们。