Leviticus 2 – Jesus, Our Righteousness – preached @ Shalom Church on 25 Oct 2020

The video recording of the worship service at which this sermon was preached is found in the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQdG7CGz6vA&list=PLgETZJJFvtOCK7JEa5F55YC0Sv9PFhiN2&index=3

(The actual worship starts at the 2min44sec mark while the sermon commences at the 24th min mark.)

In July 2019, I had the privilege of bringing to you God’s word from Leviticus 1.

And we learnt from Leviticus 1 that to approach our Holy God, a life had to be laid down to atone for our sins.

An animal had to be offered as a burnt offering sacrifice.

And that offering was a foreshadow of what Jesus did on the Cross as the ultimate sacrifice for sinners.

That is why 1 Pet 2:24 says that Christ “… bore our sins in his own body on the tree, the we, having died to sins, might live…”

This is the way that God has prescribed by which He is to be approached.

It is not something that we invented or imagined.

It is recorded in the bible so that sinful man can understand how to be reconciled to a holy God.

Now, the book of Leviticus presents 5 different pictures of Jesus as our offering to God.

There is the burnt offering (presented to us in chapter 1).

There is the grain offering (in chapter 2.)

There is also the peace offering (in chapter 3).

The sin offering (in chapter 4).

And then, the trespass offering (in chapter 5).

Each of these offerings is a picture of Jesus Christ.

There are 5 different offerings because none can provide a comprehensive picture of Jesus’s work on its own.

This morning, I preach to you Jesus Christ, our righteousness – presented in Leviticus 2.

It is my desire that you will have Jesus as your righteousness before God.

Leviticus chapter 2 describes the grain offering.

Just how is this linked to Jesus, our righteousness?

We shall examine this by asking the following 3 questions:

1) How was the grain offering different from the other offerings?

2) What was the grain offering made of?

3) How was the grain offering divided?

And may God help us understand His word.

Let’s start with our first question…

  1. How was the grain offering different from the other offerings?

There are 2 ways in which the grain offering was different from the other offerings.

A) Firstly, the grain Offering is the only offering that does not involve the slaying of an animal

Most of you are using the New King James Bible which calls this the “grain offering”.

The American Standard Version translated this as “meal offering”.

And the King James Bible (American edition), translated this as “meat offering”.

And you wonder why I say it does not involve the slaying of an animal.

You see, the same English words may have different meanings at different times in history.

For example, the word “cute” did not mean adorable, the way we understand it today.

And in 1611 when the King James Bible was translated, the word “meat” simply meant food.

So in those days, a farmer may say “I need to ‘meat’ the cow”.

What he meant was that he needed to “give food” to the cow.

Most bible translations use the phrase “grain offering” because this offering is mainly made of flour.

And “grain” was the main type of food that the Jews ate in those days.

So, this “grain offering” is also known as the “meal” offering or “food” offering.

But whether it is translated as “meal”, “grain”, “food” or “meat”, the important thing to note is that this “grain offering” was never offered on its own.

It was always accompanied by the morning or evening burnt offering sacrifice.

So it remained clear to everyone that there is no approach to God, except by a life laid down. (Lev 1).

B) Secondly, this offering was different in that it was an expression of devotion & giving the best that one can give

The Hebrew word for the grain offering is “Minchah”.

This is the same word used for the offerings made by Cain & Abel in Gen 4.

It is also the same word used for the gifts that Jacob brought to Esau in Gen 32.

“Minchah” is a gift from an inferior to a superior.

It is a gift from a servant to a Lord.

And so, this gift ought to be nothing less than the best that one can offer.

And this grain offering can be made by anyone who wants to express his worship to God.

So perhaps here is an old testament believer who could afford an oven in his home.

And so, he would bake this grain offering as we read in v4.

But perhaps there is another believer who couldn’t afford an oven at home & only has a frying pan instead.

Then he prepares this grain offering using the frying pan as we read in v 5&7.

Or perhaps there is another believer who doesn’t even have any access to such resources.

In that case, he should just roast the first fruits of the grain he has harvested.

This is what we read in v14.

The point is this and here is the call of the gospel – you are invited to come and worship your God!

You can show your devotion to Him & how much He means to you regardless of your material circumstances.

And God has prescribed the way in which you should do it.

No one has any excuse for not coming to God, Regardless of whether you are rich or poor.

However, you need to be mindful of the ingredients that goes into this grain offering.

And your approach to God has to be based on what God has prescribed in His word.

Nothing more & nothing less.

So, what ingredients did God prescribe for the grain offering?

That brings us to our 2nd question for today.

  1. What was the grain offering made of?

There are 3 things that MUST BE in present the grain offering.

There are also 2 things that MUST NEVER BE in the grain offering.

Let’s start with the 2 things that MUST NEVER BE in the grain offering.

Firstly, there must be no leaven in the grain offering (v11a).

Why?

Because leaven is consistently used in the bible as a symbol of evil or corruption.

In Ex 12:15, the Israelites prepared for the Passover.

And to sanctify themselves, there were 7 days of partaking of unleavened bread.

In Mark 8:15, Jesus warned his disciples to “…beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

The Apostle Paul warned the Corinthians & Galatians in his letters to them that “..a little leaven leavens the whole lump..”

So there must be no leaven in the grain offering.

Secondly, there must also be no honey.

Why?

Because – honey can turn sour and induce the process of fermentation.

Did you know that? Are you surprised?

I was, because I always thought honey was good for my throat.

But when preparing for this sermon, I learnt something new.

If you increase the moisture content in honey to more than 19%, you trigger the process of fermentation.

I realised that when the Jews had no leaven, they could use fermenting honey to bake Old Testament bread.

They could also use it to make Old Testament wine.

Now, I am not qualified to teach you how to bake, but the point here is this:

There should be no leaven in the grain offering –

Not even the slightest hint of it!

Not even in the form of fermenting honey.

In other words, the grain offering must have no hint of evil or corruption.

Why so strict?

Because the grain offering is picture of Jesus Christ.

There is no sin in Jesus. There is no corruption. There is no impurity. There is no hypocrisy.

There is nothing unseemly in Jesus at all.

Instead, all that you will find is perfect holiness.

And so you must have ingredients in the grain offering that reflect the attributes of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, the grain offering must have these 3 things instead….

Number 1 – there must be oil.

Because oil is a consistent symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Bible.

And the worshipper is told to “…pour oil”…on the grain offering – lots of it!

You see this all throughout chapter 2 – v1, v4, v5, v7, v15 & v16.

Because Jesus is full of the Holy Spirit.

Who conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb? It was the Holy Spirit.

Who anointed him for His ministry? It was the Holy Spirit.

Did Jesus receive only a portion of the Holy Spirit by measure? No!

John 3:34 says “…He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.”

Jesus is full of the Holy Spirit.

Number 2 – there must be salt.

You see this in v13.

“…every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; …..”

You see, salt is a symbol of purity.

Salt is used to arrest the process of corruption or decay.

Jesus called believers the “…salt of the earth..” in Matt 5:13.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that our speech should “…always be with grace, seasoned with salt, …” Col 4:6

We are to be that pure ingredient to influence the world.

We are to arrest the process of corruption.

And our Lord Jesus is the example of purity that ought to be our hallmark.

Number 3 – there must be frankincense.

You see this in v 1, 2, 15 & 16.

Why frankincense?

Because frankincense is a symbol of prayer.

So what we have here is a marvellous picture of Jesus Christ portrayed in this offering.

No leaven, no honey.

In other words – no sin, no corruption, no hypocrisy, no impurity at all.

Instead, full of oil, salt & frankincense.

In other words – Full of the Holy Spirit, Purity & prayer.

So, imagine this Old Testament believer …..

He is a sinner and he can’t approach God on his own.

So he approaches God through the burnt offering sacrifice – a life laid down. That’s Leviticus 1.

But, he also has no perfection on his own.

So he draws near to God through this picture of perfection symbolised by the grain offering. That’s Leviticus 2.

So by the end of Leviticus 2, we have a double picture of the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Now, listen to this carefully so that you don’t misunderstand me now…

When Jesus laid down His life for His people, He paid for our sins – His life for our life.

But that’s only half the story of salvation.

Because that would have made us so-called “neutral” in the sight of God.

Jesus our Saviour also had to live a perfect life when He was on earth.

He had to obey God 100% as a Man.

And that perfection is presented to & accepted by God and credited to us as righteousness.

This is so important because Heb 12 tells us that without holiness no one will see the Lord.

So when we are covered by the righteousness of Christ, when God looks at us, He does not see our sins.

He sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ covering us.

No longer will God turn away from us because of our filthiness.

No longer will His wrath be upon us because He is pleased with the righteousness of Jesus.

O, how precious it is that we have Jesus’ righteousness covering us.

And so, what we have now is not just the pardon of sin because Jesus laid down His life for us.

We are also justified before God because Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of God’s law in perfection.

So that’s what it means to draw near to God on the basis of Jesus’s blood and righteousness.

The Old Testament believer knows that he has nothing on his own with which he could approach God.

So by faith, he draws near to God through these offerings which are pictures of the wonderful Saviour to come.

And it says in Lev 2:9 that this “…offering made by fire, was a sweet aroma to the LORD.”

In other words, the LORD was pleased with this offering.

In Eph 5:2, our LORD Jesus was also said to be “…an offering & a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

That, my friends, is the wonderful gospel of grace – we can approach God through Jesus blood & righteousness!

It is prayer that each of you can see our Lord Jesus conveyed here in Leviticus 1 & 2.

May you through faith be reconciled to God – because this God’s prescribed way to approach Him.

We come now to our 3rd & final question for today.

  1. How was the grain offering divided?

We’ll answer this question by looking at the following 3 aspects:

  • Firstly, We’ll see what part of the offering was given to God.
  • And then, what was given to the priests.
  • And finally, what the offerer had at the end of it all.

A) Let’s start with the part that was given to God.

When the grain offering was brought to the priests, they would take a portion of it.

And the rest of the offering would be burnt on the “altar of burnt offering” to the LORD.

That portion given to God symbolised that the whole offering belonged to God.

This is the same principle as tithing.

When 10% is given to God, it does not mean that only 10% belonged to God.

Instead, it is a recognition that 100% actually belonged to God.

And giving that 10% was simply to acknowledge that 100% actually belonged to God.

I hope you realise that.

But here’s the wonderful lesson for us…..

As long as the offering had the ingredients that God required,…

And as long as the offering did not have the ingredients that were forbidden,…

God was pleased accept it.

This was regardless of whether the offerer was rich or poor, male or female, young or old.

Sometimes, when it comes to giving & serving, we may think that others have so much more to offer & we get discouraged.

That sister is so gifted; This brother has a more stable job; That family has so much more financial resources.

Remember what Jesus said regarding the poor widow who put 2 mites into the treasury (Luke 21:3)?

“…this poor widow has put in more than all…”, Jesus says…

“for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”…

The point is this – as long as your offering to God contains what God has prescribed…..

As Long as your offering to God does not have what God has forbidden….

And you offer it to Him with a pure & sincere heart…

God receives it.

May that be an encouragement for all of us to give and to serve Him selflessly.

B) Let’s now examine the part that was given to the priests.

When the offering was brought to the tabernacle, the priests would take a portion of it.

Now, what did the priests do with their portion of the grain offering?

Well, They fed on the grain offering; in other words, they took it as their food.

There are 2 applications that I want to point out here:

Firstly, observe that the world contributed nothing for the sustenance of the priesthood.

The priests who served in the temple were supported totally by the people’s offerings.

And this was God’s appointed way for the upkeep of the temple.

And the people gave generously.

Those who give their lives to the work of God ought to be supported by the people of God.

This is the consistent principle that we read in the bible.

Because at the end of the day, this is God’s work and it is God who will sustain it through His people.

Now, when it comes to giving to God’s work, there are 3 things that I want to highlight: –

1) The generous soul will be made rich

Proverbs 11:24-25 – “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.”

2) We are exhorted to give out of a loving & cheerful heart

In the new testament, we are not confined to the 10% as a tithe.

Instead, 2 Cor 9:7 says “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

We are to give because we are motivated by love and we are to give cheerfully.

3) We are exhorted to work so that we can give to those in need

Eph 4:28 – “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need”.

This verse tells us that there are 3 ways in which you can manage material wealth:

a. You can steal to gain material wealth – which obviously is sin, and we must never be associated with such practices.

b. You can labour to get material wealth – which most of us do, so that we can maintain a certain lifestyle.

This is what most of the people in the world do.

To the extent that sometimes, we think we are entitled to enjoy what we have earned with our hands and we refuse to give it up.

And if Christians behave this way, we are actually no different from the people of the world.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not against you enjoying the labour of your hands, which is God’s blessing.

But the Apostle Paul gives us a different reason for working hard.

“…let him labour, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”

We are gifted with the ability to work not just to provide for ourselves and our families but also, very importantly, to give to those who have needs.

So if your purpose of working hard is so that you can live a luxurious life, may I suggest to you that this is exactly what the people in the world are doing.

When it comes to matters regarding wealth, we need to remember that God’s economics is not the same as that of this world.

These verses remind us that the One who gave us something to give back to Him is the Owner of the universe.

When we are generous with Him, He is generous with us.

That is why the Psalmist can testify in Psalm 37:35

“I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.” ….if I may add, no matter how much of their wealth they give to those in need.

Let us remember this when it comes to Christian giving.

Secondly, the priests fed on the grain offering.

The Bible teaches us that every believer can approach God on his own through Jesus Christ.

This is what we call the individual priesthood of the believer – 1 Pet 2:9.

We don’t need earthly priests to act as the intermediary between God and us.

We can approach God directly on our own through Jesus Christ.

Now here’s the spiritual lesson – the grain offering was food for the priests.

And Jesus is the fulfilment of the grain offering.

The priests in the temple were kept physically alive by feeding on their portion of the grain offering.

We who are made priests by Jesus Christ are kept spiritually alive when we feed on Him spiritually.

That is why Jesus said in John 6:57b “… he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.”

So, what does it mean to feed on Jesus?

When we feed on Jesus, we are acknowledging the following:

1) We are spiritually bankrupt.

We are sinful & condemned.

We need Jesus to abide in us so that we have all His benefits – His death, His resurrection, His righteousness – all of which we need in order to approach God.

2) Secondly, we need Him to fill us so that our souls can be continuously nourished.

We are totally dependent on Him to keep us spiritually healthy as we feed on Him.

3) Thirdly, when we feed on Him and Christ is our portion, we will lack nothing because Jesus says “..he who comes to me shall never hunger nor thirst”.

4) Fourthly, when we feed on Jesus, we are acknowledging that we are united with Christ.

Our sins are forgiven.

We are reconciled to God.

And by our union with Christ, we are also one with our Triune God through Jesus’ blood & righteousness.

5) Ultimately, we live because Christ fulfilled all the requirements of God’s law.

And when the righteousness of Christ covers us, we are the beneficiaries as if we have fulfilled those laws.

Oh how precious Christ is!

Feed on Jesus, our righteousness before God.

C) We come now to my final point for today – what did the offerer get?

When the temple was at Jerusalem, worshippers all over would travel a long way to come to Jerusalem.

Those of you who have been to Jerusalem, you know that it is high up on a plateau.

And the journey up to Jerusalem takes a lot of effort and time, especially in those days.

And after the offering has been made, part of it would be given to God.

And part of it goes to the priest.

So What does the offerer get when he goes home?

Well, He would go home empty handed.

Not only will he go home empty-handed, he would have spent a lot of time at the temple.

And he would also be materially poorer after he had made his offering.

But, what he would have was joy & peace in his heart because God was pleased to accept his offering.

And it is wonderful to have peace with God.

I am sure you have experienced situations where someone is angry with you because you have offended him or her.

And you have no peace in your heart because you know you need to seek reconciliation.

I want to tell you that God is angry with us because of our sins.

And there is no peace or reconciliation until we repent and approach Him through Jesus’ blood & righteousness.

May I ask you this morning – Do you have peace with God today?

Are you reconciled to this holy God through Jesus Christ?

Are you ready to meet your Creator if your world would come to an sudden end?

A few weeks ago, I went for a colonoscopy & an endoscopy.

Basically, it is a medical procedure where a camera is inserted into you to determine if you have any internal infections.

I don’t know about you, when I reach a certain age, I fear medical check-ups.

And it’s not so much the fear of the procedure; it’s more the fear that I may discover something I do not want to know.

I thank God for modern medicine so that there is such a thing as GA – where you are made unconscious of the entire process.

As I was wheeled to the procedure room, I saw all the lights passing above me.

And I know I will soon become unconsciousness.

Everyone tells me this procedure has been done thousands of time – so it should be safe.

But, what if I was that 1% where something unfortunate happens to me and I stay unconscious forever?

Was I ready to meet my God if that really happened?

I thank God for giving me a safe procedure.

I thank God that something was discovered and medication was given to me.

I now have peace that I am well physically.

Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, why am I telling you this story?

Because I believe some of us may have procrastinated in answering the question of our true spiritual state for a long time.

May be, like me who feared knowing the truth of my physical health, you do not want to know the truth about your spiritual state – for whatever reason.

So, I urge you to do a “spiritual endoscopy” using the light of God’s word and let it shine into the deep recesses of your heart.

And let the blood of Jesus Christ cleanse every sin that can be found & lift that burden of sin & uncertainty from you.

So that you may leave this place empty handed, but full of joy & the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.

My wish for you this morning is that you will be ready to meet God if He would suddenly call you home.

And you can only be ready to meet Him through Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

May the Holy Spirit will impress this upon us today.

The bible says that the angels rejoice in heaven when a sinner repents and returns to God.

Oh, please don’t just walk away after service today; I know there are regulations that forbid physical communication.

But do connect with someone if God is nudging you to come home to His embrace.

Resolve your relationship with Him – because this is what really matters in eternity.

May this day be a day of salvation for many of us. Amen!

God’s sovereignty

The sermon preached in my Church this morning concerned the sovereignty of God. The exposition was from Job 1:1 to Job 2:10. The following is a video recording of the online broadcast. (The sermon is from the 30min onwards)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dfol0EmBfNE&list=PLgETZJJFvtOCK7JEa5F55YC0Sv9PFhiN2&index=4&t=4s

I had a discussion with some young people after this sermon. One of them asked: if God already knew and decided what the end would be, why let Job go through all that? That is a legitimate question and shows that one is seriously thinking about the subject. I think there could be 2 ways in which we respond to the truth concerning God’s sovereignty.

The first response is that we can be unhappy with this truth because we feel that God already knows the “end-state” – why make us go through all these? The fact is there are some Christians who resist the truth of God’s sovereignty vehemently and they go through life very unhappy.

One such unhappy person in the bible was Jonah. He was not happy that God saved the Ninevites. He sulked under a bean stalk. He was initially happy about with the beanstalk because it provided him with shade. But when a worm destroyed the beanstalk (which Jonah was not aware of), he was angry and cursed the bean stalk. God’s responded to him very gently:

  1. God told Jonah that Jonah contributed nothing to bring about the beanstalk which gave him shade. Yet, Jonah complained when it was removed. (The fact is that God could have just destroyed Jonah for protesting, but God was patient with Jonah).
  2. God told Jonah that there were 42,000 people in Nineveh (probably children who did not understand right from wrong which God had compassion on) and so He had mercy on that city.

Like Jonah, we can go through life unhappy with God and all that we experience regarding His sovereignty. Yet, God will bring us to heaven because we are Christians.

The 2nd possible response is that we worship and take comfort in the sovereignty of God. We accept that we are mortals and God is divine. We accept Job 42:3 “You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”

We acknowledge that even if God were to reveal some deep truths for us, we may not even understand because we are sinful and mortal creatures. Perhaps one day we may, when we are in heaven with God. But we take comfort that there is a divine and sovereign God who cares for us and urged us to seek Him. And for everything in our lives, we seek to see His hand working things out for us. And in that way, praise and give God all glory even as He brings us through these experiences to appreciate His eternal wisdom.

Domain Change on 16 May 2020…

Dear Friends,

In 7 days, the domain gospelofgrace.blog will no longer be associated with this site. Instead, it will return to its native blog address ithirstforgod.wordpress.com.

All the content in this site will continue to be available. You can still search for the various devotions & sermons hosted here. The only change is the domain address.

Thank you for your support. Hope you have been blessed by the content here.

Thank you.

Mount Nebo – where Moses viewed the promised land…1 minute video

“Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the TOP of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan,..” Deuteronomy‬ ‭34:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Where is this Mount Nebo where Moses viewed Jericho and the promised land? I had a chance to visit this site in Jordan in Dec 2018. There were artefacts and relics from the Byzantine empire which seem to indicate that this could be the place where Moses viewed the promised land.

From this 1 minute video, you can see the northern edge of the Dead Sea and the River Jordan supplying water into it. Jericho looks dim in the background due to the cloudy skies. Check it out!

God is sovereign!

Genesis 15:12-21 – delivered at Shalom Church on 31 Dec 2019

These are the last few hours of 2019 and I was given 10min to speak.

I was wondering what would be a helpful exhortation to give in such a short time?

Yes, we should always think about Christ & how his love for us should “…compel or constrain us” in how we should live – 2 Cor 5:14

But today, I want us to be energised by thoughts about the absolute sovereignty of God.

Because when your eyes are opened to this truth, it will affect how you live in 2020 & beyond….

How you raise your children, manage your money, deal with conflict, spend your time & make decisions everyday.

Here in Gen 15, God gave Abraham a glimpse of the future.

God told Abraham that his descendants will not inherit Canaan immediately.

Instead, they will be in a foreign land for 400 years – v13.

Now, why is this the case?

V16 – Because “..the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

God sovereignly decided to let the Amorites continue their wickedness in Canaan.

And, it is His prerogative whether to reveal His reasons for this to us.

But note this – God has also appointed a time when He will bring judgement to these Amorites.

And we are told that this appointed time is after 4 generations of Abraham’s descendants.

And you know what?

We saw history unfolding in exactly the manner that God had decreed & reviewed.

That is the history recorded for us from Genesis to Joshua in the old testament.

My dear friends, this is our sovereign God.

He decreed history.

He brought every event to come pass according to His will, for His purposes and for His glory.

Some of you may now be wondering.

If all that God decreed will come to pass, aren’t we all like puppets?

If all that God decreed will come to pass, why should we even bother to pray?

Wouldn’t God’s sovereign will & decrees come to pass regardless of whether we prayed?

I caution you against taking a fatalistic view on this matter.

The truth is that God is not dependent on our prayers to bring His will to come to pass.

And I thank God that this is the case.

Because I have a poor prayer life.

And if my future is dependent on whether I prayed, I am doomed!

And the beauty of the gospel of grace is that we are dependent on Christ and not our merits to get to heaven.

But let me put it to you this way – it is precisely because God is sovereign that we ought to seek Him in prayer.

Because prayer is not about pleading for our will to be done.

Prayer is about learning to ask for things in accordance to God’s will.

1 John 5:14 “…if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

Jesus taught us to pray “…Your kingdom come. Your will (not mine) be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Prayer is about seeking God.

And when you have found Him, you will understand His will.

Let me illustrate this with an example. (Some of you may have heard it from me before, but I will say it again).

In 2 Cor 12, the apostle Paul told us that he had a thorn in his flesh.

And We are not told what it was, but we are told he prayed 3 times that this thorn will be removed from him.

Very often, we pray in the same manner don’t we?

We ask & sometimes we “expect” God to do exactly as we dictate in our prayers.

The fact is that God answered the Apostle Paul’s prayer.

But He did not answer it in the manner that Paul asked.

God did not remove his “thorn in his flesh”.

Instead, God changed his perspective of this ‘thorn in his flesh’.

God made the Apostle Paul realize that this thorn was placed there by His sovereign will.

And because God placed it there, He had full control of it.

And because God had full control of it, He will be glorified through how He helped Paul handle it.

And the Apostle Paul finally understood this after much wrestling in prayer – That’s what wrestling in prayer does to you!

He was then able to say ‘when I am weak, then I am strong’.

‘I will boast of my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’

The Apostle Paul learned to align his desires to the will of God.

And he learnt to pray in accordance to God’s will.

And God’s power was made perfect in his weakness.

Now, as 2020 dawns upon us, let us remember that God had already decreed all that will come to pass.

The future will unfold itself day by day.

But you know what?

The bible has already given us a glimpse of what God had decreed will happen.

Jesus will come again to judge the world – Heb 9v28.

And He will bring His people to heaven.

He will come when you least expect it – 2 Pet 3v10.

The event will happen like “a thief in the night”.

The world will come to a sudden end – this will be worst than any disaster that has ever struck us!

And many people will regret because they are not ready for the judgment day.

They will be thrown into hell where there is eternal suffering.

Remember, whatever God revealed to Abraham in Gen 15 unfolded in exactly as it is was revealed.

Therefore, I have not doubt that the future for us will unfold in exactly the way God had already revealed.

If you are His child, you will find comfort because the bible says that “God works all things for our good” – Rom 8:28.

And God says to His people in Jer 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love”.

And in Eph 1:4 “..He chose us before the foundation of the world..”

So, if this sovereign God who controls the future is for you, then who can stand against you?

What is there to fear?

What is there to worry about how the future will unfold?

Whether it is 2020, 2021 or beyond?

The fact that this Sovereign God is on your side should bring you the greatest comfort & assurance you ever need.

And the fact that you did nothing to deserve this would also keep you very humble when handling all the situations in your life.

And your response to everything in your life will based on whether it pleases Him and not yourself.

But all these will be so different if God does not know you.

Because this effectively means He is against you.

And if that is the case, then all that you will have is a fearful expectation of the future.

If this is your situation, repent and seek help now while you still have life.

Come to Him through the way He has prescribed – which is through His Son Jesus Christ.

The Amorites were given 400 years to repent, but they didn’t.

They squandered away all the opportunities given to them.

On the other hand, God sent Jonah to preach to Nineveh, and the city repented.

So are you going to be like the Amorites or the Ninevites?

Would you say like Joshua did – As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

I want to tell you that the greatest pleasure you can have on earth is the experience of God’s presence with you.

That was the experience of Enoch when he walked with God in Gen 5.

And he was taken to be with God without even experiencing death.

So, my wish for you in 2020 if you are not a Christian is that God will grant you repentance & faith in Jesus Christ.

And if you are a Christian, may you be so conscious of the presence of God with you with every step that you take.

Then you will live your life “energised” by the love of Christ.

Then you will be energised by the truth that this sovereign God is with you and for you.

And you will find great joy, strength & purpose in all that you do.

Have a blessed 2020 ahead! To God be all glory!

By Grace through Faith…..Eph 2:8-9