Monday, 20 April 2020
3 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel. (NIV)
3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;
only fools insist on quarrelling. (NLT)
Abraham avoided a quarrel with his nephew, Lot, when they reached the Negeb. According to Genesis 13, it was Abraham who reached the land between Bethel and Ai first, with his vast herds of cattle plus his accompanying herdsmen. Abraham built an altar to the Lord and worshipped. Thereafter, Lot and his herds arrived. Presumably, he set up a tent nearby. But there was a problem: The land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. Moreover, at that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land, adding to the congestion of land use.
Abraham, being the uncle of Lot, could have exercised his seniority and ordered Lot to move away and settle elsewhere. Moreover, Abraham had arrived at that location first.
Yet, Abraham did the unthinkable – Citing the fact that they were close relatives, he allowed Lot to choose the grazing pastures where he would like to settle and he offered to take his herds and resettle his entourage away from Lot’s.
Such behaviour is rare today, where a party that is clearly in the right does not insist on his rights, but instead, to avoid conflict or an unnecessary argument remains composed and chooses to settle matters amicably. The KJV put it even more broadly “It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.” Here, we are advised to NOT ONLY NOT QUARREL, but TO NOT MEDDLE! lest it leads to misunderstanding and thence a quarrel.
See the warning in Proverbs 17:14
“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” (NIV)
Brother, sister, can you envisage a situation where you would behave in a similar way as Abraham? Would you do it to preserve the peace?
5 The purpose in a man’s mind is like deep water,
but a man of understanding will draw it out. (RSV)
5 A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water,
But a man of understanding draws it out. (NASB)
This verse is profound indeed, but very real. Sometimes, for various reasons, a person who has a purpose or plan may deliberately throw up a smokescreen and avoid revealing the full truth. On the other hand, the person himself may not be aware of what his real plans and motives are. This is because this lies in his subconscious or he has some baggage which he has been dragging around with him for years. He himself is not aware this needs to be dealt with or needs healing. Those who care for him are in the dark how best to help him.
So, the picture is of a well whose waters are far beneath the surface of the ground so that one must use a bucket with a long rope to draw water to the surface. Thus, the person’s real motives/plans are ‘deep’ in that they are difficult to extract. BUT, “a person of understanding” and insight will draw it out.
Would you consider yourself a person of understanding? Many are trained and certified and qualified and knowledgeable, but the increasing need today is for those who possess spiritual discernment coupled with a genuine deep love for those who need help. May God give us the gift of discernment and a shepherd’s heart to help those with particular needs. It is a noble ambition to want to render help which heals the most hurting wounds.
27 The LORD’s light penetrates the human spirit,
exposing every hidden motive. (NLT)
27 The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD,
Searching all the inner depths of his heart.
Finally, here is an encouragement to know God’s Word, so that it will work within our lives and the lives of those we want to touch using God’s Word. There are truths of the inner man (the spirit of a man) that only the lamp of the LORD can expose. For God’s Word is living and active, a lamp and a light, exposing the depths of a man’s heart.
May every deceitful and selfish thought in our hearts be laid bare by the searching light of his lamp into the darkness of our souls, so that our intentions be made pure. If the Lord reveals impure motives, let confess our sin. May the truth set us free so that the evil one no longer has a hold on us!
Prayer for Today
Father, we want to start by praying for Adriel Yim, Ps Isaac’s grandnephew. We praise you for your love for Adriel. Father, you are the Everlasting God, Who gives life. You have given new hope through bringing medical expertise together. Even the gifting of that expertise comes from You. We pray now for Doctors Sivakumar and Masni as they lead the team to operate on Adriel tomorrow.
Father, in You we have hope and Adriel has Hope. His parents, Jung Yung and Siew Hup have hope. We pray and commit them to you too. May they experience your peace. We thank you and commit Adriel’s healing to You, as You will. All glory, Lord, we give you with grateful hearts.
Father, thank you for your Word to us today. Remove all strife, contentiousness and a quarrelsome spirit from us. May we seek always to live in peace with those around us and with whom we have dealings regularly.
Our loving Heavenly Father, give us a gentle spirit of discernment in addition to spiritual insight enabled by the Holy Spirit so that we are able to minister to brothers and sisters amongst us.
Most of all, as You have commanded us, let us love one another as You have loved us first. Give us the love of the Heavenly Father for brothers and sisters. May the truth that we are but forgiven sinners, saved by grace, be embedded in our minds always, as we go forth to serve one another.
Finally, we pray the Lord’s searching light shine into the inmost recesses of our souls. May the lamp of God expose hypocrisy and selfish intention so that we may confess and deal with these sins regularly.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Ps Cheng Cheung
箴言 20: 27
父啊，首先我们要为严牧师侄儿的儿子Adriel 祷告。我们因你对Adriel的爱赞美你。父，你是永在的父，你赐生命。通过结合一群专业的医护人员，你带来了新希望。这些专业知识的才能也是你所赐的。我们现在为明天将为Adriel 动手术的Sivakumar和Masni两位医生及他们所领导的团队祷告。
父啊，在你里面我们有盼望，Adriel 也一样。他的父母JungYung和Siew Hup有盼望。我们祷告并将他们交托在你手里。愿他们经历你的平安。我们感谢你，并按你的旨意医治Adriel 。我们以感恩的心将荣耀归给主。