Considering the ¡§Rooster¡¨ at Lunar New Year
This lunar year is being called the Year of the Rooster. For Christians, discussing Zodiac signs is taboo because it is a form of superstition. Therefore, many Christians emulate God¡¦s abhorrence of depravity, and will turn off or change the channel when the media start talking about birth signs and fortune-telling during Chinese New Year. This response is pleasing to the will of God. Yet the Bible often also utilizes examples of nature and animals to illustrate the Truth and Gospel. So let us employ the spiritual principle and discuss the use of the rooster in the Bible as cautionary reminders for us.
Matthew 23:37 ¡V ¡§O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.¡¨ This shows the protection and love of God for His chosen people, calling them to turn around. They had continually slaughtered the servants of God. Although the crowd shouted to the Lord, ¡§Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!¡¨ when He entered Jerusalem, yet a few days later they would kill Him and desert Him. Christ could not bear to see the imminent outcome of the Roman Legions destroying Jerusalem and the scattering of the chosen people. He despaired for the Israelites. This message reminds us not to resist God¡¦s instruction, His work and His protection. We must not shut God out behind the door. Otherwise, we will suffer the wrath of God¡¦s punishing hand. We should have a perceptive response to His words and to His protection for us.
John 13:38 ¡V ¡§Then Jesus answered, ¡¥Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!¡¦¡¨ Although Peter had recognized the Lord as ¡§the Christ, the Son of the Living God¡¨, had seen Christ walk on water and witnessed His transfiguration on the mountain, and had boasted that he would give up his life for the Lord, yet there would come the time when he thrice denied the Lord. A spiritual life is not gauged by its peaks, but by its consistency. Tribulations are the true grinding stones of a spiritual life. Christ pointed out to Peter the weaknesses and helplessness of life to remind him to be especially vigilant. This historical fact tells us we must constantly be careful and wary of our frailties, never brag but rely on God with humility.
Mark 13:35 ¡V ¡§Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back ¡V whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.¡¨ Christ will return soon. He used an allegory to tell us when that will be. Recently we have seen many catastrophes, earthquakes and violent acts occur in frequency just like a woman in labour. We must vigilantly await the return of the Lord. Psalm 130:5-6 ¡V ¡§I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning¡K¡¨ When we are in tears, when we face afflictions, don¡¦t forget to wait for and look up to God. He will return. He is the faithful Lord.
Luke 11:11-13 ¡V ¡§Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!¡¨ Here the egg symbolizes God¡¦s blessing. A father will surely love his children. In your need you will also experience the providence of God. The Holy Spirit is the proof of God¡¦s togetherness with us. God will bestow on us the peace that Man cannot give. The Holy Spirit constantly reminds, comforts, admonishes and purifies us. When we have the Holy Sprit as our warranty, how can we not spend our days in joy?
I also hope that this year, brothers and sisters and I will together learn a few things from some Chinese sayings related to the ¡§rooster¡¨ ¡V
v Don¡¦t ¡§search for bones from an egg¡¨. Don¡¦t be concerned for things that are as trivial as ¡§chicken feathers and garlic husks¡¨. Do great things and be a big person for the Kingdom of God.
v In conversation, don¡¦t go on and on like ¡§a chicken¡¦s constant pecking¡¨. Don¡¦t befuddle like ¡§a chicken talking with a duck¡¨. Be a person of honesty and integrity just like ¡§a chicken that has swallowed a glowing worm ¡V the inside is illuminated¡¨.
v Don¡¦t judge right or wrong based on personal gain. Be principled for the Truth. ¡§Rather the chicken¡¦s mouth than the ox¡¦s behind. Rather be shattered as jade than be whole as clay pottery.¡¨
v Don¡¦t be ¡§dull as a wooden chicken¡¨ when listening to sermons. You should have a sharp empathy for the word of the Lord.
v Don¡¦t ¡§flee like chickens and dogs¡¨ when asked to serve. Don¡¦t use the excuse that you ¡§don¡¦t have the strength to bind a chicken¡¨ or there¡¦s ¡§no need to use a bull¡¦s slaughter knife to kill a chicken¡¨. Don¡¦t ¡§let the chicken fly from the coop¡¨. Service is our opportunity for blessings, to experience God and to receive grace from the Lord.
v Resolve every day to ¡§rise up and dance with the crowing of the cock¡¨. Not to perform a sword dance, but to seek an audience with the Lord first thing every morning, lay out your life before Him, and let His words mold our lives.
In this year, may we all experience God¡¦s cautionary reminder and vigilantly await His imminent return.
By: Esther Hung