총 게시물 404건, 최근 1 건

'Despair Brings Hope'

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2017-07-25 (화) 08:52 조회 : 76
설교일 : 2017.07.23.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Psalm 42:1-11

July 23, 2017

 

‘Despair Brings Hope’

Psalm 42:1-11

 

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

 

 

1.

Lately there was a report from a leading medical organization in U.S. that in the future after cancer and heart disease, mental depression will be the third deadly health problem threatening the mankind. Mental depression is defined as “a negative emotional state due to the change in the function of the brain”. Medical doctors and scientists have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of the mental depression up to now, but usually a person’s physical illness, the breakdown of family, or the loss of job brings on the first attack of depression and a low sense of wellbeing, high dose of stress, weak social infrastructure, political or economic turmoil are also contributing factors. In Korea, this year over 600,000 persons have been diagnosed as mentally depressed patients, and it means that one out of four persons will face the prospect of mental depression during their lifetime.

 

This phenomenon is not unique in Korea alone. I am afraid there are many people among us who suffer from depression, perhaps not yet diagnosed clinically. In close observation, they are going through a lot of misfortunes in their lives such as financial disasters, sudden illnesses or accidents.

 

On top of that, we are worn out by our everyday stresses at the workplace, and some of us are facing conflicts at work, looming layoff, or closing down of the business, and they are really stressed and in despair. I want to share the Word of God for all of us who are driven to despair and insecurity.

 

The writer of today’s passage, Psalm 42, is known as a descendant of Korah. While some scholars believe that it also was written by David and nobody is certain who the psalmist was, we know that he was very disappointed and depressed, as the same words are repeated in Psalm 42:5 and 42:11 and 43:5.

 

Psalm 42:5  “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?”

 

Obviously he was downcast and disturbed. Just before these words, he said the following.

 

Psalm 42:4  “These things I remember as I pour out my soul.”

 

Why he has become so downcast and disturbed is not clearly defined, but he is very unhappy with the present situation. Perhaps he was exiled as a captive or a prisoner, as he longs to go back to Jerusalem.

 

Psalm 42:2  “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

 

Those around him are mocking and ridiculing him.

 

Psalm 42:3  “My tears have been my food all day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’”

 

He doesn’t see any hope in the future and feels desperate. And he is disappointed in himself. Some Bible scholars point out that the psalmist has used ‘I, me, my’ 51 times in the Psalms 42 and 43, therefore, he must have been so self-absorbed that he became easily disappointed in himself.

 

This psalmist’s depression was caused partially by his constant remembrance of the past glories.

 

Psalm 42:4  “These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.”

 

By comparing the past with the present situation, the psalmist feels more miserable.

 

 

2.

Whom does the psalmist remind you of? We are instantly reminded of ourselves being as miserable as him at a certain point in our own lives and are comforted by the fact that a man of God can be so despondent and disturbed with himself.

 

Even though I am a pastor, the good shepherd, I have been downcast and disappointed in myself many times like the psalmist. Every week I am informed of the latest news in our members’ lives, and mostly they are bad news, which brings me down. “Why doesn’t God hear our prayers and help them?”

 

As a pastor, I have to pay close attention to the society in general and to the church news covered in mass media. Whenever any scandal breaks out involving the church community or pastors, I am so ashamed that I feel like finding a place to hide and be a recluse. Lately I am very sad to hear that the seminaries in U.S. and in Korea do not have enough applicants to go on, so some of them are being closed.

 

When I reflect upon myself as a person, I am often disappointed with myself for not living up to my role as a child of God, as I feel that I should have sought after the will of God more intensely and should have shared our members’ pain more willingly.

 

But according to the Bible, all the great men had their share of disappointments and fears, even with their strong faith in God. Therefore, as long as we live here on earth, we have to accept our disappointments and despair in our lives. Danish theologian Kierkegaard said that ‘Anxiety is a requirement to be human’.

 

What we can do differently is that we can desperately call upon God to relieve our anxieties and disappointments and by doing so, our faith becomes strengthened.

 

The early American philosopher and poet Emerson said, “What matters the most is not what happens to you, but how you react to it.”

 

We notice that the psalmist was so disappointed and anxious that he repeated the same words two more times (Psalm 42:11 and 43:5) after Psalm 42:5. “Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” Then, his next words were: “Put your hope in God.”

 

“My soul is so downcast and disappointed,” he said, while his other side was urging, “Yes, I know it is, but now is the time to look up to God and seek Him”, because as a child of God, he is allowed to look for Him.

 

The psalmist’s description of how desperately he had sought for God is the most memorable.

 

Psalm 42:1  “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”

 

As you know, in Palestine it doesn’t rain much during the dry season and the drought is very severe in the south. This psalmist remembers how desperately the deer searched all over for water.

 

It was either finding water or death for the deer, so his search couldn’t be stopped until he found the water. And this psalmist says that his soul pants for God like that; in other words, “Lord, I am so in despair that I am desperately yearning for you.”

 

 

3.

Now, how can we be yearning for God in our despair? I want to give you a simple instruction to strength your faith, as some of you are new believers.

 

1) First, you must desire the Word of God with passion. This means you should do more than reading 1 or 2 pages of the Bible at your leisure. You should read the Bible with hunger and passion, as the Word of God is the never-changing truth which restores your soul and gives you the wisdom. So, the first rule is to passionately hunger for the Word of God.

 

When you are utterly disappointed in you, you will look up to the Lord. Therefore, paradoxically ‘despair brings hope’to you and strengthens your faith.

 

Are you feeling hopeless with a sense of urgency today? Are you here in the worship service panting for the grace of God as the deer pants for streams of water?

 

2) Second, we put our trust in the Lord who takes care of us and ‘we need to continue to walk toward Him’ by our prayers. Believing that the Lord has the answer for all of our troubles, we continue to go before Him ceaselessly with our prayers.

 

Remember Hannah, the mother of Prophet Samuel, who had been insulted and mistreated because of her infertility. How desperately she had prayed to God, hours after hours, until Eli the priest thought she was drunk.

 

Lord Jesus prayed desperately before His death on the cross. At the Gethsemane Garden, he prayed in anguish so earnestly that his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

 

In the Old Testament, in the Lamentations of Jeremiah, who was a man of God, we have noticed how much in despair he was.

 

Lamentations 3:18  “So I say, ‘My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.”

 

Still, he kept on praying and was rewarded later.

 

Lamentations 3:23  “They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

 

Even though he remembered his affliction and wandering, the bitterness and the gall of his past, and they were new to him every morning, he didn’t care, because the faithfulness of God is greater than them.

 

3) Third, you need to entrust yourself to the community of faith. When Christians get together, they form a community of faith. The most important community of faith is those attending the Sunday worship together. At our church, we have many Cell Groups and each Cell Group consists of a few families and the maximum is 8 families. Having Lord Jesus at the center of this community, the Cell Group gets together and shares meals and shares the Word of God. And there are also Bible Study groups and ‘One to One Discipleship’ groups and ‘Intercessory Prayer’ groups at church.

 

Why do we need to belong to the community of faith? As you have learned from your previous experiences, it is not easy to pick yourself up alone after heart-breaking disappointments and to continue to go forward before the Lord

 

By entrusting yourself to the community of faith, you will be provided with help and hope. While worshipping together in the community, you may get the answers to your prayers and get yourself healed by the power of the intercessory prayers.  

 

I want to share the story of a member who moved to another state two years ago. She had been physically sick when she arrived here with her two children after the divorce and the closing of her store. While juggling several cleaning jobs, her body just gave up. So, the pastoral staff asked one Cell Group to help her. The Cell Group members prayed for her every time they got together, and all the members began to help her with food and groceries, with the pickup of her children from their school, and by sitting next to her at Sunday worship service, having coffee and sharing ‘One to One Discipleship’ course with her, and helping her attend the 3 day Emmaus Camp by paying for the fee and babysitting her children while she was at camp. Soon, she was restored and got on her feet, thanks to the Cell Group community.

 

It is our usual nature to avoid people when we are having a difficult time, but the Holy Spirit helps us overcome our reluctance and share our problems with the others in the community of faith.

 

 

4.

Last week I introduced someone who had learned the heart of God the best and his name is Oswald Chambers. He was an evangelist during early 20th century and lived only for 43 years. Among his books, the most well-known is ‘My Utmost for His Highest’, but in his book ‘Studies in the Sermon on the Mount’, he said the following.

 

“The Sermon on the Mount must produce despair in the natural man; and that is the very thing Jesus means it to do, because immediately we get to despair, we are willing to come to Jesus as paupers and to receive from Him.”

 

“The bedrock in Jesus Christ’s kingdom is poverty, not possession; not decisions for Jesus Christ, but a sense of absolute futility. That is the beginning of faith.”

 

Now let us go to the conclusion of today’s passage. The psalmist is restored of his hope after his despair.

 

Psalm 42:11  “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

 

We have been meditating daily upon the book of Jeremiah this month and I want to share the following passage again.

 

Jeremiah 29:11-13  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

 

Let us sing the closing hymn; “God is the creator of you, so He knows the best about you.”


   

총 게시물 404건, 최근 1 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
404 2017.09.17.  'Blessed are the pure in heart' Matthew 5:8 Rev. Jang
403 2017.09.17.  행복하여라: 마음이 청결한 자여 마태복음 5:8 장찬영 목사
402 2017.09.10.  'Blessings to those who are merciful' Matthew 5:7 Rev. Jang
401 2017.09.10.  행복하여라: 긍휼이 여기는 자여 마태복음 5:7 장찬영 목사
400 2017.09.03.  'Blessings to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness' Matthew 5:6 Rev. Jang
399 2017.09.03.  행복하여라: 의에 주리고 목 마른자여 마태복음 5:6 장찬영 목사
398 2017.08.27.  'Blessings to those who are meek' Matthew 5:5 Rev. Jang
397 2017.08.27.  행복하여라: 온유한 자여 마태복음 5:5 장찬영 목사
396 2017.08.20.  'Blessings to those who mourn' Matthew 5:1-12 Rev. Jang
395 2017.08.13.  행복하여라: 애통하는 자여 마태복음 5:3~4 장찬영 목사
394 2017.08.06.  'Blessings to all who are poor in spirit' Matthew 5:1-12 Rev. Jang
393 2017.08.06.  행복하여라: 심령이 가난 한 자여 마태복음 5:1~12 장찬영 목사
392 2017.07.30.  'What causes my happiness?' Matthew 5:1-12 Rev. Jang
391 2017.07.30.  나는 왜, 무엇 때문에 행복한가? 마태복음 5:1~12 장찬영 목사
390 2017.07.23.  'Despair Brings Hope' Psalm 42:1-11 Rev. Jang
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : 'Blessed are the pure in heart'
설교일 : 2017.09.17.
본문말씀 : Matthew 5:8
설교자 : Rev. Jang

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