To the envy of our enemies


Genesis 26:14 records that the Philistines envied Isaac. The Philistines were historically the enemies of the Israelites and they envied Isaac, because Isaac had become not just a great man, but a very great man with possessions of flocks, herds and servants. He had reaped a hundredfold from what he had sowed in the land of Gerar, in that same year. Why, not because of his own doing or efforts, but because the Lord blessed him.

Points to ponder:
When the hand of the Lord is upon you, then what you sow with your hand can reap a hundredfold in a period and not just become great but very great, much to the envy of your enemies. If your enemies envy you, they do so mostly because they are looking at your possessions and it is easy to lose focus for us as well to foolishly look not at our possessions, but instead we need to look at the Lord God, the possessor of all things and praise him alone, for that is an evidence of God’s hand upon you and his blessings are a hundredfold in your life. Do your enemies envy you?

Genesis 26:12-14 (KJV)
12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him.
13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:
14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.

Thanksgiving Series: God, The Leader


Psalm 136 can be touted as the “The Psalm of Thanks” or the “Thanksgiving Psalm.” It is a Psalm that is rich in content, apropos the character of God and since each verse in the Psalm is suffixed with “For his mercy endures forever”, it is a Psalm that is easy to read and memorize as well. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, giving thanks for the ultimate reason of sending us his only begotten Son, we will be looking at each verse in Psalm 136 and glean out the character of God from these verses, which would be reason enough to be grateful and give thanks to our LORD God.

Today we look at Verse 16.
To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.

In the account of the Israelites journey from their land of Egypt, where they were in physical bondage, to the land promised to them, they wandered in the wilderness for a period of forty years, because of their hardened heart, disobedience and unbelief in God’s promises, except for two – Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 14). Yet, we read from the Psalmist that while they wandered in the wilderness, they were not orphaned by God. In fact, this verse establishes that God was their leader through the wilderness – a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night – to lead and show them the way – because his mercy endures for ever.

Points to ponder:
At times, we may feel that in our life, we are wandering in the wilderness as well. The journey through what may seem desolate and deserted, with no one around in our life, may make us feel that we are all alone and that God has left us. It is likely that our own hardened hearts, disobedience and unbelief has made us reach that point in life. Yet, take solace in the fact, that God is unchanging and that through life’s wilderness, he continues to lead us. Do not be afraid; Be strong and of good courage – for the LORD God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6) . He made his promise come true when he sent his son Jesus to come into the world for us who promised and assured, I will never leave you nor forsake you and lo, I am with you always (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). Are you willing to let God be your leader?

Psalm 136:16 (KJV)
16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Thanksgiving Series: God, The Overthrower of rulers and armies


Psalm 136 can be touted as the “The Psalm of Thanks” or the “Thanksgiving Psalm.” It is a Psalm that is rich in content, apropos the character of God and since each verse in the Psalm is suffixed with “For his mercy endures forever”, it is a Psalm that is easy to read and memorize as well. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, giving thanks for the ultimate reason of sending us his only begotten Son, we will be looking at each verse in Psalm 136 and glean out the character of God from these verses, which would be reason enough to be grateful and give thanks to our LORD God.

Today we look at Verse 15.
But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.

As God guided and made the people pass through the midst of the Red sea, through the watery walls, after his people passed over safely, the Lord caused the waters to return and drowned the chosen captains of Pharaoh and Pharaoh with his hosts (armies) in the Red sea (Exodus 15:4). In other words, he overthrew the most powerful ruler of that time along with his army.

Points to ponder:
What is that powerful thing or who is the powerful person that rules and govern over our life? Remember, God is far greater and the absolute powerful one. He can overthrow the rulers and the armies, in our lives that seek to enslave us, for he is the Overthrower of rulers and armies – and that is reason enough to be thankful for. Submit to God for he is all powerful, who can overthrow the enslaving rulers and their armies in our lives.

Psalm 136:13-14 (KJV)
15  But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Thanksgiving Series: God, The Way


Psalm 136 can be touted as the “The Psalm of Thanks” or the “Thanksgiving Psalm.” It is a Psalm that is rich in content, apropos the character of God and since each verse in the Psalm is suffixed with “For his mercy endures forever”, it is a Psalm that is easy to read and memorize as well. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, giving thanks for the ultimate reason of sending us his only begotten Son, we will be looking at each verse in Psalm 136 and glean out the character of God from these verses, which would be reason enough to be grateful and give thanks to our LORD God.

Today we look at Verses 13 and 14.
To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:
And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:

Though Hollywood often gets it wrong when it comes to the depiction of Biblical accounts, for once, in the 1956 movie, The Ten Commandments, I think, that the scene where Moses calls on the mighty (strong) hand of the Lord to part the Red sea, is as accurate as movie effects can capture the event to be. The Red sea is parted with walls of water on either side as the Israelites pass through the midst of it, escaping from the hands of the Pharoah and his Egyptian army. On one side, the Red sea would have been the watery grave for the Israelites, while on the other side, they would have been killed by the Egyptian army. In other words, there was no way out. At this juncture, we see the mighty hand of God at work, wherein God not only made a way for the Israelites, but He made a way for his people, through the midst of their problems. If it was left to man’s wisdom, man would have attempted to build a boat or ark to go over the waters, but that is not always God’s plan. Now also think for a moment, as to what the Israelites would have felt when they saw walls of waters on either side of them. Had they not trusted God, they would have doubted that the watery walls may collapse and they would not have crossed over. God guided and made the people pass through the midst of the Red sea.

Points to ponder:

When the walls of despair and death surround us, let us believe in God, who with his mighty hand, makes a way for us and makes us pass through the midst of the problems of life that threaten to drown us.  God made the way out for the Israelites when death surrounded them. On Christmas, he has made a way out for all of us, when spiritual death surrounds us. Jesus say, I AM The Way (and the truth and the life) and no one can come to God the Father, except through him. Trust in God and in Jesus Christ, the Way and you will be led by God to safe haven in heaven. Now, that is reason enough to be thankful to God for. His mercy truly endures for ever – for he is The Way.

Psalm 136:13-14 (KJV)
13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:
14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:

The movie clip of the parting of the Red sea from the 1956 movie “The Ten Commandments” can be seen by clicking on the picture below.

Parting of the Red sea

Parting of the Red sea from the movie “The Ten Commandments”.
Copyright © American Broadcasting Company / Paramount Pictures / Paramount Home Video

Thanksgiving Series: God, the Strong Armed One


Hand of God

The Creation of Adam

Psalm 136 can be touted as the “The Psalm of Thanks” or the “Thanksgiving Psalm.” It is a Psalm that is rich in content, apropos the character of God and since each verse in the Psalm is suffixed with “For his mercy endures forever”, it is a Psalm that is easy to read and memorize as well. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, giving thanks for the ultimate reason of sending us his only begotten Son, we will be looking at each verse in Psalm 136 and glean out the character of God from these verses, which would be reason enough to be grateful and give thanks to our LORD God.
Today we look at Verse 12.
With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.

When visiting the Vatican City, we were blessed to see the wondrous work of Italian Renaissance artist, Michelangelo Buonarroti on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Between 1508 and 1512, Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with a series of frescoes, portraying several biblical stories. One central painting which is commonly misnamed as the Hand of God, but which is correctly named The Creation of Adam, depicts God giving life to the first of his creation, Adam (man). In this painting, Michelangelo puts the viewer’s attention on the two outstretched arms – one that is of Adam, limp with drooping fingers as if without any energy, resting upon one bent knee as if it is too heavy for him to hold it up without support, and the other, the assertive strong powerful hand of God himself, reaching out and ready to discharge the vital spark of life.

God does not just have an outstretched arm, but a strong outstretched (reaching) arm.

Points to ponder:
Just as God rescued the Israelites with his outstretched arms from their enemies, he continues to reach out to us today. Like Adam, by ourselves, we cannot hold ourselves up. Without God’s Spirit in our lives, we are languid and limp. When Jesus came into this world, it was God’s strong outstretched arm, reaching out to all of mankind, to give our limp lives, the vital spark of eternal life. We thank God for the outstretched strong Hand of God – yes, his mercy truly endures for ever.

God is reaching out to you! Accept Jesus by acknowledging him to be your Lord and Savior and get life – eternal life – by become a living soul (Genesis 4:7).

Psalm 136:12 (KJV)
12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.

The Crux of Jabez’s prayer


One of the books that became an international bestseller, topping the New York Times best seller list in 2001, selling over nine million copies, is “The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking through to the Blessed Life” by author Bruce Wilkinson. The book is based on the Scripture text recorded in 1 Chronicles 4:10. The words of Jabez’s prayer is “Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!” And God granted him that which he requested.

Most Christians are not unfamiliar with this prayer, and many use this as a model to pray for the PROVISIONS of God (blessings and enlarging of one’s territory) or for God’s PROTECTION (keep me from evil that it may cause me harm). But as I pondered over the crux of this prayer, I believe by divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, I realized that the crux of this prayer is centrally positioned in the prayer itself. The crux is not about the provisions or the protection of God, but it is about the PRESENCE of God (Oh that the hand of God might BE WITH ME). The provisions and protection of God are byproducts of God’s presence. For example, when a parent is with a child, not only does the parent PROVIDE for the child, but also PROTECTS the child from any and all harm to the child. As long as the parent is with the child (PRESENT with the child), the child has nothing to worry about. In the same manner, Jabez prayed for God’s presence and received in full measure, not only God’s presence, but God’s provisions and protection as well.

Points to ponder:
When was the last time, you/I prayed, just for God to be with us; for his hand to be with us?
Next time we pray, instead of focusing on asking God for his provisions (blessings) and his protection, let us ask for God’s PRESENCE to be with us, since the rest will follow.  |
My prayer today, for today and the coming days, is “Oh Lord God, I pray that thine hand be with me!

1 Chronicles 4:10 (KJV)
10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.