As the curtain closed on 2023 and the church prepared to welcome 2024, Pastor Kong Hee reminded the church that God has gone before His people to fight for them.
At the final weekend services of 2023 (30 and 31 Dec), Kong Hee, senior pastor of City Harvest Church, preached a powerful word on trusting God. He opened the sermon with Exodus 13:21, reminding the church that God is that pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. He would go before them to lead the way.
Deuteronomy records the final message of Moses to God’s people, reassuring them that as they moved into their Promised Land, God would go before them to fight for them. At that time, the Promised Land was occupied by seven nations stronger than Israel. While the Israelites could have retreated at the thought that they could never possess the land, God went before them to claim it for them.
“Whatever God has promised you, this is your land and your inheritance,” Pastor Kong declared. “You are meant to possess it.”
The Bible is filled with promises for God’s people, yet when faced with a lack of experience and resources, believers start to lose faith. Reading Exodus 23:28, Pastor Kong told the church that when God’s people lacked military power, God sent in hornets to help His people claim victory.
“God’s ways are not our ways. He doesn’t often do things like us. His thoughts are higher, His ways are higher,” the pastor explained. “Sometimes, God’s ways are so unexpected, so unusual, that they go against conventional norms, so we must not limit God.”
To illustrate this, he shared a testimony by a church member Nancy, who was diagnosed with a rare form of aggressive cancer that affects only about 30 patients worldwide. Due to a tumour under her pituitary gland, she started losing her vision.
After two failed surgeries, she received news that no treatment would help her and she had only six to eight months left to live. Pastor Kong, together with John Lee, the pastor at City Harvest Church Sydney, prayed with Nancy and her husband.
One day, Nancy was connected to a doctor who tried a different treatment on her. Halfway through the treatment, Nancy’s vision was fully restored, and by the end of it, she was completely cancer-free. She lives on today.
“God went ahead of her to set the stage for the right doctor with the right procedure,” he said, praising the Lord. “God often uses the unexpected to set the stage for your breakthrough, for your success.”
FULFILLING THE PROMISE LITTLE BY LITTLE
The pastor then revisited Exodus 23:29-30 (NKJV), pointing out that God drove the enemies out of the land little by little. “Sometimes, God performs instant miracles, but most of the time, God gives little miracles along the way, so you must learn to be patient. You must learn to develop the fruit of long-suffering and forbearance,” he reminded the church.
In 1995, when CHC was a church of 800 members, Pastor Kong was in a car with an Australian pastor when the visiting pastor prophesied that the church would one day own Suntec Convention Centre and it would become a place of worship. At that time, the idea seemed completely far-fetched.
In 2008, the venue was available, but the church did not have the funds. But in 2010, God gave the church co-ownership of Suntec Singapore. It was then that Pastor Kong was reminded of the prophecy and of Joshua 24:12-13.
“God gave us a beautiful convention centre that we didn’t build, and He knows exactly when the right time was to give it to us,” he said. “If things haven’t happened to you yet, don’t be anxious. When it comes to the promises of God, you must learn to be patient. At the right moment, He will make everything happen to you, things you can never achieve alone.”
In Joshua 3, the children of Israel had to cross the Jordan River before entering the Promised Land. In verse 15, the Bible says that the river was at “flood stage”. “This was the worst possible time to cross over,” Pastor Kong explained. “The difficulties were formidable.” Yet, the ark of the covenant, which represented the presence of God, went before the children of Israel (Josh 3:11), and the water miraculously stopped flowing once the priests’ feet touched the water’s edge (Josh 3:15-16).
In verse 16, the Bible emphasises that the water was piled in a town named Adam, a great distance away. To this, Pastor Kong said: “Although it was a great distance—33 km to be exact—God was already there.”
With the help of a map, Pastor Kong showed the congregation the location of Adam and the foot of the Jordan River. The river Jordan is 3.2km wide and 30 metres deep. A swollen river with that volume of water would take days, if not weeks, to dry up. Bible scholars believe that God moved the people in the town of Adam months earlier to build a dam. The result of this was that when the priests stepped onto the river, the river bed would dry up.
“God had already gone before them to the town of Adam, but the people didn’t know that,” the pastor continued. “They couldn’t see that far; they didn’t know what God was doing. Everything that God was doing in the town of Adam was invisible to them. All they needed to do was just believe.”
Referencing Isaiah 65, the pastor said, “Even before you pray, God already has an answer. When you are confronted by what seems like insurmountable challenges, all He wants you to do is just believe.”
He added, “By the time your feet touch the edge of the waters, you will realise God has already worked behind the scenes to dry out the river bed for you. God will make a way when there seems to be no way.”
TRUST IN THE LORD
The pastor shared the testimony of Peter who, for 40 years, had never been out of prison for more than a few weeks at a time. Feeling miserable behind bars, he made a prayer to God one day, asking Him to send a spiritual person to help him transform his life.
Unbeknownst to Peter, months before he uttered his request, God was already preparing to transfer Pastor Kong to Peter’s prison cell. For the next few months, Peter and Pastor Kong would run together, while Peter asked questions about God and the Bible. With renewed faith, Peter has now been out of prison for three years—the longest in 40 years that he has been free. He is also a member of CHC today.
To close his sermon, Pastor Kong quoted Deuteronomy 31:8 and John 10:4, declaring that Jesus will never leave or forsake His people; He will be with them until the end of this age.
“You can fully place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ,” said the pastor. “You can have strong confidence that when He asks you to step out in faith into the unknown waters, He has already prepared the dry grounds. While you patiently wait for Him, learn to be content and happy with His presence. The miracles may not happen yet, but His presence is always there.”
The final service of 2023 ended with a corporate prayer for renewed trust in the Lord, followed by an eruption of praise in the house of God. Finally, in the spirit of loving God and loving people, the members of the congregation stood shoulder to shoulder as they sang Auld Lang Syne to bid the year farewell.