Last weekend, Pastor Bobby Chaw unpacked Psalm 121 in his message about God’s goodness in every situation.
“Dear beloved brothers and sisters, today we are in the midst of various difficulties, but since God is sovereign over history, we must have firm faith in Him in all circumstances. Do not despair in troubles but ask for His help, then even today, the Lord will give you miracles, do not compromise with the world in your faith, but serve God with all your hearts.”
This quote from the final sermon (19 July 2020) by the late Dr Yonggi Cho appeared on an exhibit in his Memorial Hall in Korea. It stands as a reminder to always turn to God in every situation.
Bobby Chaw, executive pastor of City Harvest Church preached on the Father’s Day weekend on 17 and 18 June. “No matter what circumstances you are in, God is still reigning in your life,” the pastor declared. “Do not despair, firmly trust in the Lord and ask Him for help.”
H went on to read Psalm 121, which is also known as the Song of Ascent. Pastor Bobby explained that the Israelites would likely have been singing this song on the way to Jerusalem, where they would worship God. While some people today may sing on road trips for entertainment, the Israelites were singing Psalm 121 as a proclamation unto God.
Pastor Bobby list three declarations they made:
1. GOD IS OUR HELPER AND MAKER
Reading Psalm 121:1-2, Pastor Bobby painted a picture for the church: the Israelites were travelling on mountainous roads knowing that there were bandits waiting to ambush them. They would proclaim that their help came from God.
“Help” in Hebrew is the word ezer, which refers to God’s divine ability to save and deliver. It was repeated 21 times in the Old Testament. The Greek equivalent of this word is used in the New Testament to describe the divine help that Jesus would render to those who call upon Him.
He reminded the church of two occurrences in the New Testament: one where a mother called upon Jesus to save her demon-possessed daughter and another where a father brought his epileptic son to Jesus. Jesus healed them both.
Like the Israelites, Christians are pilgrims on Earth. The pastor encouraged the church to keep proclaiming God’s salvation through their personal trials and tribulations.
Pastor Bobby shared a personal testimony. When he was young, he suffered from poor health. His grandma was worried that he would die before he reached his teens and brought him to consult idols and spiritists. Those visits did little for him. However, when he met Jesus at 16, it was the name of Jesus that healed him, and he became healthier and healthier as time passed. This month, he celebrated his 50th birthday, healthy and alive.
Pastor Bobby went on to share a recent incident that took place during his holiday in Korea this January. He shared that he would pray every morning and entrust his travel itinerary to the Lord each day. One Sunday, he planned a trip to Dr Cho’s memorial hall after the service at Yoido Full Gospel Church. The journey took them one and an hour hours but to his surprise, the memorial hall was closed when he arrived. He had forgotten it was 1 January, a public holiday.
Disappointed, he and his family decided to find a prayer grotto to pray. But when he approached the reception, he found himself asking to enter the memorial hall instead. Eventually, a man came and opened the hall for them to enjoy a private tour. God reminded him, “In your planning, I will direct you, what you cannot plan, I will help you and guide you because I am your Helper.”
2. GOD IS OUR GUARDIAN AND PROTECTOR
Reading Psalm 121:3-4, Pastor Bobby shared an interesting fact, “In ancient traditions, pagan gods were often depicted as sleeping and if humans disturbed their sleep, these gods would be provoked to anger and would punish all these humans.”
In v3-4, God tells His believers that He is not like that. He is always happy to hear his children’s voices. His people can call on Him anytime because He does not sleep. The pastor further confirmed this with 1 Peter 3:12 which reads, “for the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.”
God is frequently referred to as a shield (v5-6). Pastor Bobby explained that in the days of the Old Testament, a soldier would hold his shield with his arm hand leaving his right side. When engaging in warfare, a soldier would need a friend to stand on his right for protection. The pastor told the church that God is that divine friend who will protect them when they are unable to protect themselves.
Pastor Bobby reminisced about the protection of God a few years back during a mission trip he took. The plane that he was on met with a technical error midair. The plane turned back to the airport, but instead of changing planes, the aircrew assured the passengers that they would fix the issue and be back in the air soon. That seemed risky and most of the passengers left the plane, but Pastor Bobby had a preaching engagement the following day, and he could see no other way to get to his destination on time.
He prayed for God’s protection and promptly went back to sleep. The next day, he landed safely and made it to his preaching location on schedule.
“Why am I trying to tell you this? God is closer to you than you realise,” encouraged Pastor Bobby. He’s your Guardian, your Protector. He is the Shade at your right hand.”
3. GOD IS IN EVERY DETAIL OF OUR LIVES
Reading Psalm 121:7, Pastor Bobby assured the church that God will turn every evil into a divine purpose for them. When Satan tried to shipwrecked Peter’s faith the night Jesus was betrayed, Jesus watched over Peter and prayed for him. The pastor said that Jesus is still doing the same thing for Christians today and encouraged the church to keep proclaiming His promises.
He went on to explain that in v8, the phrase “coming and going” referred to the “nitty-gritty details of life”. “God cares for every detail of your life,” Pastor Bobby told the church. In Matthew 10:30, Jesus said that “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid.” This show how much God cares for His people and is concerned about even the smallest detail about them.
Pastor Bobby then recalled how God took care of him when he was preparing for his wedding. He and his wife, Cindy Ng, had limited finances before their wedding and did not manage to raise enough money for some furniture they had ordered for their new home. However, they gave their offering to God at church as they always did. After that service, Cindy’s uncle gave her a wedding red packet in advance, and it contained the exact amount that they needed for the furniture.
He gave another testimony of God’s interest in the small things in a believer’s life. One morning, he was craving a six-inch Subway tuna sandwich on his way to teach at the School of Theology. It was a passing thought, but God granted his desire. After teaching, he found the exact sandwich sitting at his desk waiting for him. He received a revelation then that God cares about His children’s tiniest desires, even when they are just a passing thought (Rom 8:38-39).
He ended the service encouraging the church to proclaim Psalm 121 over their lives and to trust that God would watch over them constantly.
Earlier in the service, the church celebrated the fathers in the congregation as it was the Father’s Day weekend. Each father received a prayer of blessing and a Yakun gift voucher.