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Their Cities Are Large and Fortified, But!

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2014-07-15 (화) 23:08 조회 : 1288
Rev._Jang\'s_Sermon_07-13-2014.pdf (165.2K), Down : 3, 2014-07-15 23:08:48
설교일 : 2014.07.13.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Joshua 14:6~12

July 13, 2014

 

“Their Cities Are Large and Fortified, But!”

Joshua 14:6-12

 

Rev. Chan Young Jang’s Sermon at KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

 

1.

For the past several years South Korea has not been immune from the global economic recession. Last week there was a news report about the rise in unemployment for the young people in Korea, and that more people in their 20s work for manual labor job to receive daily wages, contrary to the government’s recent report of unemployment rate dropping. This news reported that some college graduates and even graduate school graduates cannot find regular jobs and have to flock to the labor market for daily wage of $70 a day. We can certainly sympathize with their frustration at present situation and anxiety for the uncertain future.

 

In 2010 Gallup Poll Company asked 1,000 unmarried workers in Korea this question, “What would you like to do right now, if possible?” Over 60% of the answers were: Want to quit the work for more education, want to move to a new job, want to have plastic surgery, want to leave Korea to start a new life. We admit these are the usual complaints of young people, but still we can guess that life is not all that rosy in Korea. Then life is not rosy anywhere. Sometimes it looks like endless dark tunnel and we have to go over obstacles one after another all through our lives.

 

In the Bible this life of struggles is called life in the ‘desert’. This ‘desert’ is the place where the Israelites wandered on their way from Egypt to the promised land of Canaan. Some of you may feel at this moment you are struggling in the ‘desert’, and some of you may have just gotten out of this ‘desert’.

 

During the past week, I know all of you struggled. When we examine our lives, there are enormous pressures, like house payment, car payment, utilities bills, children’s tuitions, insurance payment, business expenses, and these are only financial stresses. We have relationship issues between husbands and wives, with children, with parents, with friends, with employers and employees, and then with church members and with the pastors. In our old country as native speakers life was very hard for us. Now we live in U.S. speaking English as a second language, life is much more difficult, but we still manage with our heads held high. English is very difficult language to learn for older people, and when I was at the home of an elderly lady, she answered the phone with “No English!” “I cannot speak England.” When I tried to correct her, she said, “Pastor, they always get it. If they don’t, it’s their problem, not mine.”

 

Meditating on our lives in the ‘desert’, I am reminded of a person in the Bible. He is none other than ‘Caleb’. The Hebrew meaning of the name is ‘whole heart’, a ‘faithful person’. He is not as well known as his contemporary Joshua, but today’s passage tells us how full of faith and filled with the Holy Spirit he was, all through his life.

 

 

2.

The Israelites were released from 400 years of slavery by God’s special miracles, now they reached Kadesh Barnea after passing through the ‘desert’ of Paran. From this place they could see God’s promised land of Canaan where milk and honey should flow. Moses sent 12 spies to scout the southern Canaan for 40 days. The Israelites anxiously waited for their return and their favorable information.

 

At last the 12 spies returned after exploring the land and brought to Moses and the community a very negative report. Their cities were fortified and very large, and the descendants of giant Anak were there also. The Israeli spies thought that they seemed like grasshoppers in their own eyes. At this report, all the people cried and grumbled against Moses and some wanted to stone him.

 

But 2 people, Joshua and Caleb, gave ‘different report’. Caleb silenced the people and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land even though their cities are well fortified and the walls are high. God promised to give it to us, so we can certainly do it.”

 

What was the response of the people? They cried all night and didn’t listen to Joshua’s pleadings. God became angry at the people’s mistrust of God’s promise and struck them down with punishment. After having witnessed God’s workings in Egypt, at the Red Sea and in the desert, they still refused to believe in Him. If only they had believed in His power, they shouldn’t have been afraid or grumbling. But they didn’t believe in Him and only saw themselves as grasshoppers. So, God punished their faithlessness. All the first generation of the people who had started the exodus didn’t make it to the promised land, except Joshua and Caleb.

 

Now 45 years later, after the land was taken and it was time for dividing the land among the Israelites, Caleb came to Joshua and said the following.

 

Joshua 14:10b-12  “So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I am just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as He said.”

 

Now, what is the meaning of ‘this hill country’ that Caleb is talking about?

 

 

3.

I want all of us to meditate on Caleb’s confession and request of “give me this hill country”. I want to discuss this in 2 dimensions.

 

1) First, we can see this as the ‘humble confession’of a leader with spiritual responsibility. At first glance, this looks like a very brave and combative request, but on closer examination, we can see the trepidation also. How scared the scouts must have been when they sneaked into Canaan for the first time? Caleb may have asked, “LORD, are you sure this is the land you promised? If it is, please give us this land and this hill country!” After returning to the community, he had urged the people to go up and take possession of the land, with much trepidation. Now in the twilight of his life at 85 years old, he is requesting, “LORD, give me this hill country”.

 

45 years ago, Caleb was the leader of the tribe of Judah when he was sent to scout the land of Canaan, and he was entrusted to lead the Judah tribe spiritually also. When someone has to lead others, the leader will soon learn to be stronger than before, just like when a woman becomes a ‘mother’.

 

Once in an elementary school science class, the teacher gave a quiz to the students, “What is the name for 6-letter word starting with M that has strong power of pulling in?” He was expecting their answers to be Magnet, but the majority of answers were Mother. To the children, the mother is the most powerful person on earth to pull them in. A woman may have been weak, but once she becomes a ‘wife’ and a ‘mother’, she becomes stronger. Victor Hugo described this phenomenon perfectly, “a woman is weak, but a mother is strong”.

 

For the past week I had gone into a spiritual retreat to take a look at the past year and plan for the next year, and confronted God to give me more insight, just like Moses had done at Mt. Sinai, but God had some other ideas, “Why don’t you take some rest, Pastor Jang. Remember it isn’t your church, it is my church.” So I took a deep breath and was able to take a rest finally. With the composure in my heart and my tension disappeared, I was able to take a look at myself. God didn’t want me to come to him as a pastor this time, and then gave me this passage from Jeremiah.

 

Jeremiah 1:4-5  The word of the LORD came to see, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before your were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

 

Then, here is Jeremiah’s response.

 

Jeremiah 1:6  “Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.”

 

God assures him and puts His words in his mouth, and then appoints him over nations. I am so touched by Jeremiah’s testimony to God, “LORD, I am only a child, so I do not know how to speak”. Really, when did I become an adult in the eyes of God, when did I become a fluent orator in the eyes of God?

 

Yesterday at early morning service we studied the book of Job, and shared our findings about how to have an intimate relationship with God. Basically we have to approach Him as a child, and cry out to Him, “Holy Spirit, please help me, I am only a child”.

 

 

4.

2) Second,Caleb’s request for this hill country is really asking God to give him a “further challenge and a mission”.

 

Now after the land had rest from war, the Israelites went into Canaan with the help of God’s grace. It was all due to God’s help they were able to go in, but the war really didn’t end. Even now, all the air raid and missiles landing do not end the war until the infantry corps go in with their tanks, take hold of the land and raise their own flags.

 

Caleb knows the situation and wants to finish his mission even at 85 years of age. He wants to die while on a mission. We are given the free gift of salvation because of our belief in Jesus. But there is a part we have to do, and that is to do our duty and work on our mission for God throughout our lives.

 

My congregation, you are all aware of the characteristics of childhood. The children cry easily and are moved easily by emotions. On the other hand, the adults don’t cry and are not easily moved by anything. They measure, observe, compare and analyze everything. The adults scold the children because they are so easily moved, but there are many adults who have never felt burning passion for anything in their lives. Even when on a trip, the adults are too busy calculating the expenses to enjoy the trip, but the children just enjoy the trip no matter what. I am reminded of the poem by Sang-Byung Chun, “When my picnic on this beautiful land is finished, I will go to the other side and tell that it was beautiful.”

 

Recently I came across a story about Ms. Biyah Han who wrote the popular book “Travel to the outside of your map”. She is 57 years old, and when she took on the responsibility of emergency aid chief of World Vision in Korea, a young man asked her why she took on the touch job. Her response was, “This work makes my heart racing and my blood boiling”. This was a quotation of a Kenyan eye doctor’s response to her question why he was serving the people in a remote and dangerous area in Kenya. He had answered to her, “Sure I can make more money in Nairobi where I have a comfortable home, but it would be sad to waste God-given talents and education just to make money. When I am with the children, my heart becomes burning hot.” His words touched her heart and when this opportunity to work for emergency relief team of World Vision came to her, she took the job.

 

I want to share this poem by Doh-Hyun Ahn, “Don’t ever kick the ashes of coal briquette, have you even been that hot to anyone in your life?”

 

The purpose of Caleb’s request was not to live comfortably in the ‘hill country’, but to complete his mission to secure the ‘hill country’. We all have our missions as Christians, and what kind of mission assignment do you have?

 

Isaiah 43:7  “Bring everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

 

While we live on this ‘desert’ on earth, God wants us to have some dreams other than getting out of ‘desert’ for Canaan. Even if you are in ‘desert’, you can still dream about God and His missions planned for you.

 

Caleb had this passion for God’s missions and because of that, he and Joshua were able to reach Canaan.

 

Last week I read a book called “The Wisdom of the Desert” by Thomas Merton, and I want to share with you a paragraph from the book.

 

“Mountains, deserts, uninhabited islands, cities, all the places can be the deserts for you. Jobs or no jobs, good job or bad job, old or young, rich or poor, healthy or sick, you are in desert. Within a limited space and time, we meditate in our ‘desert’. Our meditations will help us face the chaos around us and bring us to do God’s work. Soon the chaos will diminish from the desert of our hearts, and gradually Jesus will become our master. Only then there will be an order among the chaos and blossoms in the desert, you will be able to participate and witness the redemption of the dead.”

 

I want to share this episode I heard from an elderly pastor. He was driving to attend a conference, but as he was so exhausted and burned out, he kept losing sight of the roads. Time was running out and he was becoming impatient. Then his wife sitting next to him said this very quietly. “Don’t get impatient with the roads, dear Pastor. The roads do not move and will wait for you. Let’s stop here and start over again.”

 

My beloved congregation, by any chance, are you lost in the desert right now? Is your life too hard for you? Is nothing working in your life? You might be angry and stumped, you might think the cities in the desert are too large and too fortified, but I urge you to start meditating on your spot in the desert right now, and worship God there and then. Confess that you are only a child, and do not put on air as mature adult or a know-it-all. After that, seek for your mission in the desert of your life. You will be led to live a life of beautiful blossoms in the desert. Pray hard to God with all your heart to seek this mission in your life.

 

Now I invite all of you to the communion table. I hope and pray that God will help you to find the rest and relief, the inheritance as God’s child, and the mission of your life.

 

We will sing this hymn “One more step toward God’s promised land” after our communion.

 

 

 

Please discuss the following topics at the cell group meetings.

 

1) What are the strong obstacles, like the large and fortified cities in the Bible, in your life and for your family?

 

2)  Even in the toughest circumstances, you can find the room for “but!” How can you apply Caleb’s request for the ‘hill country’ in your life? [이 게시물은 관리자님에 의해 2014-07-15 23:19:17 읽는말씀에서 이동 됨]

   

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처음  이전  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  다음  맨끝

제목 : 'Divine Yes'
설교일 : 2019.10.13
본문말씀 : Genesis 13:1-13
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim
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