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Thinking Points by Mickey Chiang

 

 

  

David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). But what was the heart of David like? Where may we catch a glimpse or two into David’s heart? The best place to look into are the many psalms that David wrote – his songs to God – for there he laid bare his heart for God and the world to see.

Many books have been written about the psalms, including David’s psalms. You will find some of these gems in the BGST library. But one of the numerous things that pop out of David’s psalms is that many of them were composed in his times of trouble. 

In Psalm 3, David cries out “Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked” (v.7). Mercifully, he does not ask that they be killed. The next Psalm opens with the plea, “Give me relief from my distress, be merciful to me and hear my prayer.” And in Psalm 5 David sings, probably softly, to God: “…consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God.” We can only sigh with poor David, for who would think that the anointed one chosen by God to be King of Israel would be in so much trouble after he was anointed? Doesn’t conventional wisdom say that if you were a holy one chosen by God your life would be plain sailing and a bed of roses?

The first book of Psalms contains 41 psalms by David, and at least ten of them arise from his times of trouble. The proportion in the second book is 15 out of 21 psalms. Isn’t it absolutely amazing how David found the time, the energy, and the words to compose such immortal songs to God, amid the hardships and deadly threats to his life? If you were desperately running in the desert from thousands of troops sent out to kill you, would you spare a moment to think about composing poems to God? Well, David evidently did. His psalms show that God was very much on his mind, in his heart, and on his lips even when he was in danger. Could that be one of the things God loved about David?

David’s Psalm 23 is familiar to most Christians.  When we go through dark places and fear gets a hold on us, we automatically remember David’s reassuring words: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”. However, how many of us are familiar with David’s Psalm 63?  According to the introductory remarks, this psalm came out of a time when he was in the Desert of Judah. In the silence of the desert one’s thoughts tend to turn towards God, and David’s thoughts were certainly on God:

“Oh God, you are my God, 
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, 
my body longs for you, 
in a dry and weary land,
where there is no water.” (v.1)

In the harshness of the dry desert, David thirsted not only for water, but more so for God. What an example he is for us. In the stressful conditions of our workplaces, do our thoughts turn to God in the same way?

Two verses down, David says to God:
“Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

Why did David say “better than life”? Wasn’t it because his life was in danger?  Why else was he in the harsh Desert of Judah? 

And when David says “as long as I live”, doesn’t that signify that his life was in danger of being snuffed out at any time?

Would we be like David, talking to God in poetry and song, in such a loving way, when we ourselves face hardship and danger?

Even on his hard desert bed, David remembered God. Put yourself on David’s coarse blanket and you will see overhead the millions of stars that reminded David of God.

“On my bed I remember you.
I think of you through the watches of the night.”

The stars told of the presence and the awesome power of God, and reassured David.  For in the psalm he says:

“Because you are my help
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.  

But what about the enemies at his heels?  Knowing that God was upholding him, David was confident that:

“Those who seek my life will be destroyed,
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.”

Would David rejoice in the destruction of his enemies?  The last verse of the psalm reveals what David would rejoice in:

“But the king would rejoice in God;
all who swear by God’s name will praise him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.”

David was conscious that he was the anointed king of Israel.  But far be it from him to kill the incumbent King Saul, whom God had anointed earlier.  Instead, David chose to flee for his life, hiding in the desert, yet secure in the knowledge that just as God had anointed him as king, God would protect him through all the many hardships and dangers he faced, and in His time would place him on the throne of Israel. 

When we look into David’s heart, we see how much faith David had in God and how tranquil he was in times of trouble and lack of water.  We find his heart full of the presence of God, full of praise and words for God.  Would that our hearts become like David’s. In good times as well as times of hardship and trouble, may we too turn to God and sing to Him from the bottom of our hearts.

CHAPEL NOTES

Chapel today (July 19) was taken by none other than the Dean himself, fresh from his return from India where, in his capacity as General Secretary of the ICCC, he oversaw the inauguration of the Indian National Council of Christian Churches.

Dr Quek spoke from Psalm 133 on the theme of Christian unity.  He saw the psalm as offering two snapshots of unity, one drawn from allusion to the Temple, and the other from the geography of the Holy Land.  Fragrance had always been associated with the person of the high priest, and this was necessary for countering the odour emanating from the blood of the sacrificial animals.  Mount Hermon, proverbial for its dew, became a figure of speech for the sustenance it offers to an arid land heavily dependent upon adequate irrigation.

In summary then, the psalm offers a picture of life imbued with fragrance and vitality, emblematic of the potential that Christian unity presents.  The Dean then ended his address with a brief report on his trip to India, drawing attention to the fact that many leaders of different denominations actually met and spoke to one another for the first time at the conference of the Indian CCC, and what this might bode for the future as Christians work together in unity.

(Summary by Ng Seng Chuan)

Geng Fu will be sharing at Chapel on August 2.  

NEWS BITS

Computers Needed for Admin & Faculty Office

We need to upgrade/replace five computers which are currently Pentium 2 & 3 with 4GB hard disk space. If you are upgrading your own computer/notebook, do consider donating your existing set to BGST if it meets the specifications below. Please call Kok Weng at Tel: 62276815. Thank you!

Specifications:

  • Pentium 4

  • RAM: 512 RAM

  • HDD: 80GB

  • Floppy DrivE

  • CD-RW Drive

  • Network Card

  • Sound Card  

COURSE OFFERING

New courses in August. We invite you to consider taking the following courses which will be held at 31 Tanjong Pagar Rd:

  • Religions of Asia (TENT module), starting Aug 1, 7.30-10pm. Lecturer: Dr Jeanette Hui.

  • New Testament Foundations II (NT102, 3 credits), Orientation on Aug 14, 8pm. Lecturer: Dr Oh Boon Leong. Facilitator: Mr David Leong.

  • Tentmakers & Ethical Issues (TENT module), starting Aug 22, 7.30-10pm.

Visit our website for the course descriptions.  

A BLESSED BIRTHDAY TO ...

Mr Mathews Abraham  31/7
Mr William Chew  31/7
Mr Ding Yew Soong  1/8
Mrs Christine Leow  2/8
Mr Lam Yuen Foong  2/8
Mr Joshua Koh  2/8
Ms Tong Shir-Leen  2/8
Dr Kenny Tan  3/8
Mr Peter Goh  3/8
Ms Cecilia Perh  3/8
S
Mr Chia Eng Chuan  4/8
Ms Naette Vistar  6/8  

BGST GENERAL FUND UPDATE

Operating expenses for July 2006

$64,635

Balance in General Fund as at 1st July 2006

$     378

Funds received to-date (21st July)

$65,945

Balance brought forward to Aug 2006

$1,688

Total Budgetted Operating Expenses for August to December 2006

$300,000

Balance to raise for the rest of 2006

$298,312

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