Saturday, 26 September 2020.
Baker or Milkman?
By: Ong Hwee Soo (翁辉赐)

Psalm 68: 4-6 (ESV) 4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD; exult him! 5 Father of the fatherless and protector of the widows is God in his holy habitation. 6 God settles the solitary in a home; He leads out the prisoners to prosperity.

On 30 August 2020, arising from my devotion on Psalm 146:6-10, entitled “Quartet of the Vulnerable”, I received two immediate responses that Sunday itself. One was from a couple leading a Care Group (CG) and the other were from two sisters. Both requested for more information on vulnerable people who they could consider helping.

I immediately furnish them a list of nine needy individuals or families. It’s really amazing how these two groups responded separately and promptly, and, unbeknown to each other, decided to support three single-mother families named in the list.

Since both groups shared the same burden for single-mothers, I connected them for discussion. Arising from their discussion both the CG and the sisters decided to pool their resources together to ‘adopt’ the three single-mother families for a year.

As these ‘first responders’ have a heart for the fatherless, it prompted me to write a second devotion that reflects our Heavenly Father’s heart as “Father of the fatherless”.

Psalm 68 is one of the most magnificent songs of triumph in the whole Old Testament, which makes it an outstanding portion of the Psalm. It is possible that King David composed and sang it when he triumphantly brought the Ark of God into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6). Thereafter, it was used to celebrate the annual commemoration of this great procession wherein God’s kingship would be portrayed and praised.

At the outset of this exuberant Psalm (which includes prayer, praise, thanksgiving and historical narration), the psalmist points us to the compassionate heart of God. Verse 4 exhorts us to “Sing to God, sing praises to his name” and immediately pinpoints “his name is the LORD”.

’LORD’ rendered in capital letters in the Bible refers to the original Hebrew word ‘Jehovah’ (Eternal, Self-existing God). This Psalm also parades other names of God to portray His attributes. Verse 1 begins with ’God’ – ‘Elohim’ (Sovereign, Creator). Verse 11 and 20 point to ’Lord God’ – ‘Adonai’ (Master-Ruler-Owner). Verse 14 names ‘the Almighty’-‘El Shaddai’ (All powerful), and Verse 18 directs us to ’Yahweh God’.

In exhibiting His names and concomitant characteristics, the Psalmist expresses a pride in Jehovah God for His care over His people and His majesty over the nations. In exhorting the faithful to sing praises to God, the Psalmist hastens to show in the next two verses the reason for the praises, that is, God has shown Himself kind and compassionate, especially to the helpless: orphans, widows, the lonely and prisoners.

This is exactly what we have seen in Psalm 146:6-10, where the reason to “Praise the LORD” is that the Almighty Creator uses His power to “execute justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, sets the prisoner free” (v7), and “upholds the widow and the fatherless” (v9).

Another Psalm which highlights this heart of God is Psalm 10: “the helper of the fatherless” (v14) who “hear the desire of the afflicted” (v17), to “do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed” (v18).

I reckon most have read about George Mueller (1805–1898), the Christian Evangelist/Missionary who founded the Ashley Down Orphanage in Bristol, England. He cared for 10,024 orphans in his lifetime. Many times, he received unsolicited food donations only hours before they were needed to feed the children. One well-documented story is as follows:

“Three hundred hungry children were dressed and seated for breakfast and a prayer offered for the food. But there was no food on the table. Situations like this was not unusual for the orphanage founder/director. Here was another opportunity to see how God would provide.

Within minutes of Mueller’s prayer, a baker who couldn’t sleep the night before showed up at the door with sufficient bread to feed everyone. Shortly afterwards, the town milkman appeared. His cart had broken down right in front of the orphanage. Not wanting to let the milk go spoilt he offered it to the orphanage.”

The Bible has many direct injunctions (both in the Old Testament and New Testament) for us to take care of this marginalised, underprivileged group. To quote just two: Isaiah 1:27, “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” and James 1:27: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows…”

Not everyone would have the Georg Mueller vision to start an orphanage ministry, but each one of us could the ‘baker’ or ‘milkman’ and be an answer to the prayer of the needy.

Helping one person or family might not change the world, but it could change the world for that one person or family.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we praise you with the Psalmist today for You are the Father of the fatherless and protector of the widow. Lord, as we look around us, helps us discern the needs of the disadvantaged and help us realise how You have uniquely prepared each of us to help and care for others. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

每日灵粮
星期六,2020年9月26日
题目:面包师或送牛奶的人
作者:翁辉赐弟兄
翻译:林良億姐妹

诗篇68:4-6
你们当向神唱诗,歌颂他的名,为那坐车行过旷野的修平大路——他的名是耶和华,要在他面前欢乐!神在他的圣所做孤儿的父,做寡妇的申冤者。神叫孤独的有家,使被囚的出来享福,唯有悖逆的住在干燥之地。

从分享每日灵粮于8月3日,题为“脆弱者的四重奏”,经文取自诗篇146:6-1,那个周日即收到了两个答复。一个来自一对夫妇,关怀小组的组长,另一个来自两个姐妹。两者都要求提供更多信息来帮助与提供脆弱人群。

我立即提供了他们九个有需要的个人或家庭的清单。令人惊讶的是这两个小组如何迅速分别做出回应,而且同时决定支持名单中的三个单亲家庭。

由于这两个群体对单身母亲都有相同的负担,因此我联系他们一起来讨论。经过讨论,关怀小组的组长和姐妹们决定将集中他们的资源,来“收养”这三个单亲家庭一年。

由于这些“第一响应者”对无父之子怀有一颗诚挚的心,这促使我写出第二份每日灵粮,反映出我们天父的心是“孤儿之父”。

诗篇68是整个旧约中一个最宏伟的凯旋歌曲,也是诗篇中很杰出的一部分。大卫王很有可能在他胜利地将上帝的约柜带入耶路撒冷(撒母耳记下6),创作并歌颂这凯旋歌曲。此后,在一年一度的纪念庆祝大游行中,它就被用来描绘和赞扬上帝的王权。

在这个充满活力的诗篇(包括祈祷、赞美、感恩和历史叙述),诗篇作者指向上帝的慈悲心。第4节还劝说:“歌颂上帝,歌颂赞美祂的名”,并立即指出“祂的名是耶和华”。

圣经中以大写字母表示的“主”是指希伯来语的原始词“耶和华”(永恒存在的上帝)。这首诗篇还列出其他神的名字来描绘祂的神性。第一节以“上帝”—“神”(君主,造物主)开头。第11节和第20节指“主上帝”-“ Adonai”(统治者主人)。第14节将“全能的”命名为“全能者”(El Shaddai),第18节则将我们引向“永恒主”。

诗人列出神的名字和伴随的特征,以表现出耶和华上帝的关心和对各国的威严为荣。在劝诫信徒向上帝歌颂时,诗人在接下来的两节中表明赞美的理由,也就是说,上帝是富有仁爱仁慈的心,特别是对无助的人:孤儿、寡妇、孤独和囚徒。

这正是我们在诗篇146:6-10中看到的,“赞美耶和华”的原因是,全能的创造者利用祂的能力“他为受屈的申冤,赐食物于饥饿的。耶和华释放被囚的”(第7节),“扶持孤儿和寡妇”(第9节)。

另一个彰显上帝心意的诗篇是诗篇第10篇:“帮助孤儿的”(第14节),“侧耳听他们的祈 求”(第17节),“给孤儿和受欺压的人伸冤”(第18节)。

我认为大多数人都读过有关一个传道者/传教士George Mueller(1805-1898)的故事,他在Bristol, England成立了Ashley Down孤儿院。他一生中照顾了10,024名孤儿。很多时候,他在需要喂孩子的几个小时前就收到了匿名寄来的食品捐赠。一个有据可查的故事如下:

“三百个饥饿的孩子穿好衣服,坐在那里吃早餐,并为食物祈祷。但是桌上没有食物。对于孤儿院的创始人/董事来说,这种情况是惯例。这是另一个机会,看看上帝会如何提供。

在Mueller祈祷的几分钟内,一位无法入睡的面包师出现在门前,有足够的面包来喂养所有人。此后不久,镇上的送牛奶者出现了。他的手推车在孤儿院前抛锚了。他不想让牛奶变质,就给了孤儿院。”

圣经有许多直接的禁令(在旧约和新约中都有),让我们来照顾这些弱势群体。仅举两个例子:以赛亚书1:17,“学习行善,寻求公平,解救受欺压的,给孤儿申冤,为寡妇辨屈。” 雅各书1:27:“在神我们的父面前,那清洁没有玷污的虔诚就是看顾在患难中的孤儿寡妇……”

并不是每个人都有Georg Mueller的异象来创办孤儿院,但是我们每个人都可以成为“面包师”或“送牛奶工人”,并成为有需要者祈祷的答案。

帮助一个人或家人不会改变这个世界,但它可能会改变一个人或一个家庭的世界。

祷告:
亲爱的天父,我们今天用诗篇赞美你,因为你是孤儿之父,寡妇的保护者。 主啊,当我们看着四周围时,帮助我们辨别弱势群体的需求,并帮助我们认识到你如何独特地装备了我们每个人来帮助和关心他人。 我们奉主耶稣的名祷告,阿们。

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