총 게시물 492건, 최근 0 건

'When there is no way out, the heaven opens'

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2018-03-20 (화) 09:55 조회 : 277
설교일 : 2018.03.18
설교자 : Rev. Bae
본문말씀 : Ezekiel 1:1-3

March 18, 2018

 

‘When there is no way out, the heaven opens’

Ezekiel 1:1-3

 

Rev. Se Jin Bae’s Sermon at the KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

 

I want to share a funny fable before starting today’s sermon.

 

There was a rule at a certain bathhouse; anyone with smaller mouth has to scrub the back of the one with bigger mouth.

A frog with a small mouth happened to visit this bathhouse and ran into a hippopotamus. He had to scrub this hippo’s back until he was utterly worn out. Still very upset at the unfair treatment, he went back to the bathhouse the next day and ran into an alligator this time. Again he had to scrub this alligator’s back until he was completely exhausted.

The next day he went to see a plastic surgeon and requested, “Doctor, make my mouth as big as possible, from ear to ear!” “It is not difficult for me to do it, but afterwards, you can live only for one day.” The frog went through the surgery, because of his burning desire for a revenge.

Now, having a big mouth and in excitement, the frog went back to the bathhouse.

But as soon as he saw the sign in front of the bathhouse, with bubbles foaming out of his mouth, he dropped dead. The big sign said; “CLOSED TODAY!” Imagine the frustration and disappointment this frog must have felt!

 

Today’s passage from Ezekiel was written 5 years after the Israelites had been taken as captives in 597 B.C. for the second time, therefore, it must have been around 592 B.C. Let us read Ezekiel 1:2 together.

 

On the fifth of the month – it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin –

 

Prophet Ezekiel makes it very clear about the time of today’s passage; it was 5 years and 5 days since King Jehoiachin of Judah had been taken captive to Babylon after reigning only 3 months in Jerusalem. So, this prophecy of Ezekiel was written more than 5 years after the second wave of Israeli exiles and he specified the place where he was. Let us read the verse 3 together.

 

The word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the LORD was upon him.

 

Prophet Ezekiel informs us the location where he and other captives were and it was near the Kebar River in the land of Chaldea. This place is not any place near the Palestine where the Israelites used to live, but at a distance of about 1,000 miles away and near Ur of Chaldea, which was the birthplace of Abraham. It may not be very easy for us to imagine the distance of 1,000 miles, but in U.S.A., it is almost the same distance from Detroit to Orlando, Florida.

 

The people of Judah had been taken as captives to a distant place, 1,000 miles away, by force.

Nowadays, we can reach our destination of 1,000 miles away within a few hours by air and within 20 hours by car.

 

But, we understand how difficult and painful it must have for the Israelites at that time to be forced to reach the distance of 1,000 miles, only by walking.

 

Now we know where Ezekiel was. But what about his social standing? He made it very clear in Ezekiel 1:1. Let us read it together.

 

In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.

 

He describes his social status as an exile, which really means a prisoner and in reality a slave.

 

My dear congregation, have you ever lived as a slave? I am quite certain none of you have the experience of having been a slave. But, can you imagine what it was like to be a slave, especially in the ancient times?

 

Perhaps, being a slave was a worse fate than being an animal, in the ancient times. In Korea there also was a strict class system, and being a slave was an extremely cruel fate. I remember watching a historical TV drama called ‘Mah-Eui’, which was set during the reign of King Hyun-Jong of Yi Dynasty in Chosun (Korea). The story was about a low caste veterinarian in charge of horses becoming the personal physician of King Hyun-Jong.

 

In this drama, Korean society under King Hyun-Jong was already becoming enlightened, but still the cruelty toward people in lower class in the drama made it very hard for me to watch. Now, imagine being a slave in much earlier, more ancient times.

 

On top of being slaves, the Israelites were taken as captives to a faraway country, with no hope of ever returning. Do you think they harbored any hopes for their future?

 

If you and I were taken as prisoners and slaves to a foreign land where the language and culture were completely different from ours, it would have been very unlikely for us to have any hope or to cherish a wish. And here, the prophet Ezekiel was put in that situation.

 

And as a prophet, he had been expected to know God and the will of God, and respected by the people in the Israeli society through his job of delivering the Word of God and exalting the Almighty God.

 

He used to be a leader in their society to command the people of God to depend on God only and to have trust in the deliverance of God. But, now he must have felt utterly lost and didn’t know what to think.

 

Why did the Almighty God allow this miserable fate for His chosen people? And what is to be the future for these people? He didn’t have any hope or idea for their future.

 

Having lost all communications with God, he couldn’t really believe in God’s deliverance of the people of Judah. They used to be proud of being the chosen people of God, but now they found themselves to be slaves whom no one cared about and no one has come to help. Judging from His silence, they began to think that God no longer cared about them.

 

In our lives, we face calamities like suddenly losing our job or our business, being stricken with a serious illness, or our children being in accidents. How would you feel in these situations? You may feel that there is no hope for you and no one is going to help you, and that you have reached the dead end and it is all over for you. Physically and psychologically you just couldn’t take it anymore. Have you ever experienced this kind of desperation?

 

Now, let us go back to the first verse of today’s passage.

 

In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.

 

Prophet Ezekiel was exasperated and utterly disappointed at the present situation, but the heavens were opened up now.

 

When we are planning defenses, we generally think of four sides; north, south, east and west. But there is one more side to think about, and that is the heaven, making it the fifth side.

 

Even when we are shut out of all four sides, the heaven is still open to us. When Ezekiel was ready to give up under an extremely desperate situation, the heaven opened up for him.

 

Dear congregation, remember the time when Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt during the Exodus, they were shut out of all four sides and had no place to go when they reached Red Sea. There were about 2 million Israelites who couldn’t go any further with Red Sea in the front and the Egyptian army in the back. No one could figure out how to cross the Red Sea, but God divided the Red Sea so that the Israelites could go through the sea on dry ground.

 

When does the reversal of fortune happen in our lives? It does not happen when we believe we can find a way out, but miracles only happen when we cannot do anything about the situation. God leads us to the edge of cliff, and when we surrender everything and only depend on Him, He will grant miracles to happen.

 

We have found two amazing facts from Ezekiel 1:1. One is when we are shut out of all four sides, the heaven opens up for us. The other is that God is with us always no matter where we are.

 

Those Israelites must have thought that God was not with them anymore. If God were with them, how could He allow them to be taken as prisoners? When they thought they were as helpless as abandoned orphans, the heaven opened and visions of God were shown.

 

We have heard that the Native American children were required to go through a special test before having the adulthood ceremony, and the test was spending a night in deep forest with lots of wild animals, as a training for them to survive in the wild and to overcome fear.

 

But unbeknown to the children, their parents hover around and watch out for them outside of the deep forest all night long, without any sleep throughout the night.

 

And a mother eagle is known to shake her nest violently to train her grown babies, so that they will learn to fly. When a baby eagle is dropped, it is forced to use its own wings to fly, and the mother eagle is ready to catch her baby at the bottom of the cliff just in case, and then they will soar together.

 

Likewise, when we are going through tough situations, feeling we are shut out of all four sides, God has not abandoned us and is still with us. Ezekiel realized this in today’s passage of Ezekiel 1:1.

 

In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.

 

God is with you and with me. Under any circumstances, He will not leave us and He will stay with us. Those who believe this, say ‘Amen’!

 

And God bestows power upon those who do not seem to be capable of doing anything. Let us read Ezekiel 1:3.

 

The word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the LORD was upon him.

 

Ezekiel’s status had been changed from a priest to a slave, and he could not lead his people. He may have given up on everything already, as he must have felt the disdain and contempt of his fellow Israelites.

 

Now, an unexpected miracle happened. The hand of the LORD was upon him. God does not scold us for our mistakes and failures. Lord Jesus did not scold heart-broken Peter who was full of guilty conscience, but bestowed His visions and wishes upon Peter.

 

My dear congregation! Are you in despair now, believing you cannot do anything? Are you ready to give up? No! God bestows power upon the powerless and incompetent, so that we can go out and accomplish His will. Please be strong and courageous! Even when we feel there is no way out, there is still one way out, and that is through the heaven’s door. Look up to heaven and be reminded that God is always watching us from heaven, full of His concern for us.

 

He is the creator of all things in the universe. There is no problem that He cannot handle, and no obstacle will keep us from the Lord. Lord Jesus conquered even the power of death. Therefore, we should believe that as His children, we will be bestowed with the grace and power and that we will overcome everything and be victorious until the end!

 

(The closing hymn: My Lord, My Almighty God)

 

 

 

 

 

 


   

총 게시물 492건, 최근 0 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
492 2018.09.09  'In the midst of our sufferings' John 9:1-7 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
491 2018.09.09  고통 가운데에서 요한 복음 9:1-7 신경림 목사
490 2018.09.02  'The Living Hope' Psalms 39:1-7 Rev. Tae Hong Kwon
489 2018.08.26  Enlarge Our Territories! Luke 10:25-37 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
488 2018.08.26  우리의 지경을 넓혀 주소서 누가복음 10장 25~37절 신경림 목사
487 2018.08.19  'The Peacemakers' Matthew 5:9, Galatians 5:22-23 Rev. Hoon Kyoung Lee
486 2018.08.19  화평케 하는 자 마태복음 5:9,갈라디아서 5:22-23 이훈경 목사
485 2018.08.12  'Having faith of half the strength' Matthew 14:22-33 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
484 2018.08.12  절반의 믿음 마태복음 14:22-33 신경림 목사
483 2018.07.29  The fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:16-26 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
482 2018.07.29  성령의 열매 갈라디아서 5장 16~26절 신경림 목사
481 2018.07.22  Go forward together as one body Ephesians 4:1-16 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
480 2018.07.22  앞으로 나란히 에베소서 4장 1~16절 신경림 목사
479 2018.07.15  The Grace of Restoration Acts 4:5-12 Rev. Sei Hwan Kim
478 2018.07.08  The Lord's Supper 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : 'In the midst of our sufferings'
설교일 : 2018.09.09
본문말씀 : John 9:1-7
설교자 : Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
하이게이밍
클럽골드카지노
top카지노
탑카지노
안전놀이터주소
온라인카지노
우리카지노

HOME

교회소개

환영의글
담임목사 소개
비전과 사명
섬기는 사람들
예배시간&오시는 길

말씀

주일예배설교
수요예배설교
새벽예배설교
목양칼럼
읽는말씀(English&Korean)
Bible Time
성경필사

양육

유초등부
중등부
고등부
한국학교
하람 청년부
소망대학
Troy Hope
KKCA

선교

선교통신
케냐선교
중국 · 연변 · 북한선교
몽골선교
방글라데시선교
태국선교
페루선교
아이티선교
북미(미국)
우크라이나선교
기타선교권

나눔터

공지사항
찬양영상
사진 게시판
새가족 사진게시판
새땅지