二○一九年一月五日／一月六日 Click here for English version
In Reading This, You Will Be Able to Understand
Rev Arnold Chow
In the past, our usual approach to Old Testament studies has been to start with stories of the patriarchs such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and then follow up with stories of heroes and the kings: the judges, David, the prophet Elijah, etc. This approach must sound familiar to brothers and sisters.
The year 2019 is the Bible Study Year in the church's five-year plan. In this first quarter, our sermons will explore the Old Testament from a new angle. Our quarterly theme is "In reading this, then, you will be able to understand - Selected readings on Levi and his descendants from Genesis to 2 Kings." We will start with the character Levi and then proceed to trace his offspring as they are recorded in the Old Testament. Spanning 11 Sundays and two special Sundays, our study will take us to one book each week. This approach should also tie in with, and consolidate, your Bible reading effort regarding the Old Testament as we study together.
The tribe of Levi was chosen by God to act as a mediator tribe between the Israelites and Himself while Israel is the mediator nation between God and the world. In the New Testament, the Apostle Peter told all Christians, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession" (1 Peter 2:9). All followers of Christ are to be set apart, and have been given the ministry to reconcile people to God.
From Genesis to 2 Kings (except Ruth), we will see what kind of a person Levi was, why he was chosen among all the sons of Jacob, and what role he and his offspring had in the history of salvation. In response to the grace of God, how did these people who were chosen to belong to God live and behave in the wilderness, in Canaan, in the temple and in times of turbulence? Can they really live on earth as representatives of God and reveal His holiness? What sort of challenges did the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth… generations of believers among them face in receiving and passing on their legacy of faith? And how did God guide them through?
It is hoped that brothers and sisters of the NPAC Family will, in this quarter, resolve to start a quick read of the Old Testament and finish reading it once together. I also encourage you all, in your Bible reading effort, to pay attention to Levi, the Levitical tribe, the priests and those serving in the temple. That will definitely give us fresh discoveries and insights into the Old Testament Scriptures.
Today, just like the Israelites in the Old Testament days, we are a group that experience the historic grace and redemption of God. We need to respond to grace with our lives, living as His representatives on earth and displaying His holiness. At the start of the year, let us all with humility and fervor rekindle the commitment that took us through the Fellowship Year last year. Let us watch over one another in love, and resolve to stand steadfast in the truth. I trust with all my heart that when we carefully read the Word of God, we "will understand" His will today for each and every one of us who belong to Him.