On the morning of 10 July 2010, while taking the train I had a choice of reading the Holy Bible or “Winning the Heart of God” by Pastor Robb Thompson. The distinct prompting from the Holy Spirit was to read the Holy Bible.
So, I commenced reading the next chapter from the book of Numbers, picking-up from my previous daily reading. My reading was from Numbers 12 with the following notable verses of God’s handling of Aaron’s and Miriam’s rebellion against Moses’ leadership:
6 And the LORD said to them, “Now listen to what I say:
“If there were prophets among you,
I, the LORD, would reveal myself in visions.
I would speak to them in dreams.
7 But not with my servant Moses.
Of all my house, he is the one I trust.
8 I speak to him face to face,
clearly, and not in riddles!
He sees the LORD as he is.
So why were you not afraid
to criticize my servant Moses?” (Numbers 12:6-8; NLT)
That evening on my way home I picked Pastor Robb Thompson’s “Winning the Heart of God” as I had already completed my Bible reading for the day and continued reading from where I had last left off. So, I read Chapter 3 on God’s Way of Relating to Authority. Again, I read of Numbers 12:6-9 which Pastor Robb Thompson further expounded in the following excerpt:
“God will always speak to the person in authority. That’s why He wanted to know why Aaron and Miriam weren’t afraid of talking against the anointed of the LORD. Why didn’t fear grip them when they brought up His name in an unholy manner? Why did they not let what and who Moses was before God make a difference in their lives?
The answer is simple: rebellion challenges but submission changes.”
Thus, there is much for me to sit up and take note deeply of what God had reiterated in the same day so that I would be minded to remove every seed of rebellion that attempts to take root in my heart, and to give honour to whom honour is due for it is God who installs and removes those who are in authority according to His fullness of time.
With hindsight, this was not all that God was showing me as I found out on the following day, which was a Sunday. Pastor Mike Connell was speaking (he speaks at our church services about one weekend in a year) and had I attended my usual Saturday service slot it would have been a different message. At the urging of my Cell Group Leader, Ms Goh Eeh Ling, I went although I had thought of resting at home with my family, who had gone for the Saturday service but I was unable to do so.
Pastor Mike Connell spoke of “Winning in the Wilderness” where wilderness is likened to be ‘a season of testing (over 40 days for Jesus)’ and testing means to ‘examine something with a view of approving it’ -- APPROVED (to go up to the next level). He touched on Exodus 15 regarding how God can heal us of our bitter experiences in the wilderness as with the children of Jacob (Israel).
Lo and behold, Pastor Mike Connell then touched on the 10th and last test for the children of Israel in Numbers 13 and 14. He spoke of Caleb, whom God addressed as “My Servant”, who was yielded to God, had a different spirit than other men and fully followed God.
To digress, I note with interest in Numbers 13:25 that the twelves spies explored the promised land of Canaan for forty days and in Numbers 14:34 that they must wander in the wilderness forty years – a year for each day that they flunked their wilderness test by their unbelief and complaining attitude. We have good reasons to pass our wilderness test! God has our best interest at heart so that we can go up to the next level (of faith and purity).
Pastor Mike Connell said, “You choose your attitude. It’s your choice.” He then highlighted Caleb’s attitude from Numbers 13:30 (NKJV), “Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” He hushed and stilled negative thoughts; He was determined to go up to the next level; and He believed that God has the power to deliver them (from their giants).
As you would have gathered by now, I was in super-rapt attention when Pastor Mike Connell wrapped up his sermon with Numbers 13 and 14. Numbers 13 was my next chapter for the day! Numbers 12 was what I had read yesterday. And, as I hadn’t read the Holy Bible for the day, I had a man of God to give me, as it were, personal Bible study in a hall of some 8,000 worshippers.
Through this experience, God showed me that He is able to reach out to us personally even through His written word where at the kairos moment, logos will transform into rhema. Like what my Senior Pastor the Rev. Dr. Kong Hee would usually say, albeit in the context of an altar call, “If you would take one step towards God, He will take 10,000 steps towards you.” Very interesting as I would note with hindsight as Pastor Mike Connell hails from New Zealand and God had certainly come by proxy through him and taken more than 10,000 steps to reach the shores of Singapore. Also, when masculine Pastor Mike Connell ministers it would usually be in the areas of healing and deliverance. That day, he was, to me, out of character(!) as a Bible teacher.
I am so thrilled to come to that service at City Harvest Church on 11 July 2010. When I sent a sms to Ms Goh Eeh Ling that the service was ‘awesome with tears’, she instinctively responded that I had had an encounter with God. That was an enlightening moment for me. God is awesome!