Text: Psalm 34:10

Psalm 34:10 is often quoted by the late Rev. Timothy Tow to encourage students on the Opening Day of Prayer in the Far Eastern Bible College. “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” (Psalm 34:10)
Lions are often called the king of the beasts due to their prowess as predators, and the majestic appearance of their mane. The “young lions” (kephirim) would refer to those who are just old enough to start hunting. These lions would be at the peak of their physical powers. If any animal would find food easily, it would be the young lions! Who would dare stand before such a majestic creature?

Nevertheless, their prowess is useless in periods of famine and droughts. There is simply no prey available for them to hunt. They will suffer from hunger and thirst if the famine persists, and they may die from impoverishment.

However, in the second half of the verse, David contrasts the young lions with one who is better. This person is the man who keeps seeking after the LORD. He does not seek God only on the Sabbath or in times of peace. Even in the most desperate of situations, he will first inquire after His good LORD, who is the high tower and refuge (2 Samuel 22:3). He is a man who relies fully upon the Heavenly Father and prays without ceasing. Such a man who abides constantly in the LORD will find full satisfaction in Him. All His physical and spiritual needs shall be taken care of by his wonderful Shepherd.

The fullness of the psalm is best appreciated when we consider its context. David wrote the psalm after he feigned madness to escape from the clutches of Achish, the Philistine king. The full narrative of the events is found in 1 Samuel 21:1-22:5. As David was fleeing from King Saul, he used deception to convince Ahimelech the priest to give him the hallowed bread on the table of shewbread to eat. In his panic, David fled to the territory of the Philistines thinking that it would be a safe refuge from Saul. However, he was wrong. Psalm 56 describes to us David’s imprisonment and tribulation in the land of the Philistines. David took his eyes off the LORD and relied in his arm of flesh for deliverance. How wrong he was!

By the mercies of God, David was delivered from the hands of the Philistines. Nevertheless, he departed to Mizpeh in Moab, the land of his great grandmother Ruth. Benjamin-Judah and Mizpeh are approximately 1000 m above sea-level and they are separated by the great Central Mountain Ridge that plunges to about 400 m below sea-level near the Dead Sea. That is a height difference of approximately 1500 m, forming a natural barrier between the two territories. David might have felt that the barrier might make it difficult for Saul to reach him. Moreover, Mizpeh is described in the Bible as a seemingly impregnable fortress (mezudāh, literally stronghold).

However, it was not God’s will for David to remain in Moab. He had to re-turn to the land of Judah to be in the forefront of the wrath of King Saul. Da-vid must learn to lean fully upon God and seek Him at all times. As long as David has not accomplished God’s task for him, God will sustain David and provide all that is necessary to fulfil His will. David will never be in want! Is that not better than the young lions, who despite their famed prowess and majesty, will still suffer hunger and thirst?

The life of a Christian is not one that is void of difficulties and challenges. These adversities are placed in our way so that we can mature in our faith. All we need to do is to trust God and obey His Word. Seek Him by reading His Word and through prayers, God will grant us grace to handle the vicissitudes of life.

Are you a student fraught with the burden of studies? Are you a parent struggling to bring up your children in the fear and admonition of the LORD? Are you an employee who is desperate to fulfil the demands of the workplace? The way to overcome these challenges is to simply seek the Lord. Will you?

The same principle applies to the life of the church. Every church will have to face adversities and challenges as she strives to bear a faithful witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. The way for the church to overcome such difficulties is not to compromise, but to obey the Word of God. Members should also pray for the church. Do you?
Dearly beloved, the Lord Jesus Christ declares that we ought to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and He will look after all our needs (Matthew 6:33). Psalm 34 restates this poetically as being better than the young lions. Trust in Jesus amidst the changing scenes of life and you will indeed taste and see how sweet it is to abide in Him.

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew


(Message delivered by Rev. Timothy Tow at True Life Bible-Presbyterian Church on 23 November 2013)
Text: Matthew 20:17-28

The desire to dominate over others, to be great, is the way of the sinful world. It gives one more pay, power and prestige. This desire invades the Church, for though we are saved we still have the old sinful nature. We see this in Mrs. Zebedee the mother of James and John. The mother of James and John asked of Jesus that her two sons might sit one on the right and the other on the left in His Kingdom. When the rest of the apostles heard it they were filled with indignation.

This rivalry for leadership went on unabated. In Luke 22:24-27, it is recorded, “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be ac-counted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.”

Returning to our main text where the apostles were angry with James and John seeking dominance over them, Jesus answered them saying, Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with, i.e. to die with me?” They rashly said “Yes.”

Jesus replied, “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup and be baptized with the baptism.” This prediction is first fulfilled by James and is recorded in Acts 12:1,2, “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.” This was the first martyrdom. The martyrdom of Peter and Paul are also predicted, and according to tradition the rest of the Apostles suffered the same death. The last happened to John after his imprisonment on the Isle of Patmos. To sit one on the right and the other on the left for James and John was not for Christ to give, but to die for His sake was God’s appointment. And not only for the apostles, but also for us!

For in Matthew 16:24-25 Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” This statement does not apply to the apostles only but everyone, including me and you. To take up his cross, as Jesus carried the cross to Golgotha, means death. We must be prepared to die with Jesus and suffer martyrdom like the twelve apostles, “and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” It was appointed unto the apostles in their generation to die for Christ and if it is also appointed for you and me in our present day, are you willing?
In the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, 188 missionaries including 53 children were beheaded by the Manchu authorities. The Chinese Christians had 50,000 executed. Clergy and laymen suffered the same fate.

Do not forget there is a price to pay for our salvation. The everlasting life God gives has been achieved for us at a much higher price. Jesus our Saviour could not do less than dying on the cross to pay for the penalty for our sins. He requires no less from any who wants to be delivered from hell in order to go to heaven.

In actual fact God does not put us through death but only in our willingness or not to pay the price. In Matthew 19:27 Peter said to Jesus, “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” Jesus replied, “Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”

Whether ordinary believer or Apostle, we will have more than sufficient for this life and inherit everlasting life! That is great gain for me. I am so happy I am secure in this life and the next. Observe members who come to church every Lord’s Day how different they are from people of the world. The people of the world are miserable looking, though they own big houses and cars but life’s problems not God’s peace, have overtaken them. Be they financial, marital, family, children, and every secret ambition and desire. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Not Greatness, but Lowliness.