From the Good News Monthly Magazine (October 2019)
4th from the left: a friend of the uncle to the king
Pastor Ki-Sung Kim | Good News Bucheon Church
And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to Bethmaachah, and all the Berites... Then cried a wise woman out of the city... I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel... Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy. The matter is not so: but a man of mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, hath lifted up his hand against the king, even against David: deliver him only, and I will depart from the city... ” (2 Samuel 20:14-22)
Two years ago, on the last day of the Seoul Bible Conference, Pastor Ock Soo Park spoke to the ministers: “Everyone, you may listen to other voices, but there is a voice you should never listen to, which is ‘God is not working.’ Never listen to this voice. God certainly works through us.” That was when God erased the thought, "God is not working" off of my heart. And as I lived this way, I was very joyful. Whoever erases the thought, “God is not working,” a joyful chapter will unfold before them that will seem like a dream.
UNTIL WE MEET THE KING OF LESOTHO
Last year I visited Lesotho and Mozambique, and I discussed with the missionary the projects he wanted to work on, and we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Corrections and agreed to have the opening ceremony of the theology school. Before my departure, I told the Lesotho missionary that the Ministry of Justice work could be done in a few days and that I wanted to pursue other things.
“While I’m traveling there, please find out the king’s schedule.” A moment later I received a call saying the king was going to attend a national event.
“Is that right? That’s good. Then we can go there with the short-term missionaries and if we perform for them, they will be very pleased. Who knows, we may meet the king.” A moment later I received another call.
“Pastor, the national event has been canceled. It will not work.”
“Ok, I guess not.” The very same thought arose in my heart. But then another heart arose, “No, I may listen to all other voices, but I will never listen to the voice that says God is not working.” I did not want to back down.
“Then, did they say what the king will be doing at that time?”
“Last year they spent too much money on national events, so this time they changed it to a tree planting event.”
“Is that right? That’s good. I think it will be so great if we go there with the short-term missionaries with shovels and picks.” I received a call again. “Pastor, I’m sorry. I’m told that the tree planting event has been canceled. It is not going to work. We’ll have to seek the next opportunity.”
“No. We should not listen to the voice that God is not working. He will surely work. Please find out what the king will be doing at that time.” A moment later I received news that the king will be visiting his hometown.
“Is that right? That’s good. There will be relatives of the king living in his hometown so let me meet one of his relatives.” A bit later, I heard the news that the missionary met with a friend of the king’s uncle. Meeting the king is difficult, but meeting the king’s uncle is a bit easier–meeting the uncle is still a bit hard too, but meeting the uncle’s friend is easier. It is like meeting a guy in the neighborhood.
When I went to Lesotho, the friend of the king's uncle brought the uncle to the hotel. When I explained Mind Education to him, he took interest in it. I said to him, “We would like to meet with the king. When I meet with the king, I would like to present Mind Education to him.” He really liked the idea. After finishing our meal at the hotel, I preached the gospel to him. And after listening to the gospel, he said “Pastor, I have a favor to ask. I live just 15 minutes from the king's home. I don't know if you can or not, but after you meet the king, can you please stop by and preach the same word you preached to me today?”
“Sure, that won’t be a problem.” That evening I received a telephone call. I was told that there was a meeting scheduled with the king in the morning. This became the turning point and opened the way to meet with the prime minister and present a mind lecture at the National Assembly in front of ministers and members of the National Assembly. TWO KINDS OF HEARTS
Whether you live spiritual life well or not, or whether you are happy or miserable in life, the difference is just a turn of a page. We can have two kinds of hearts. One is a heart “God is surely working,” and the other is “God is not working.” One of these two is within our hearts. If we erase the sound, “He is not working,” then whatever difficulty or disaster may enter our lives, we can turn that crisis into an opportunity. We can see God helping us every day. The heart that God is not working makes spiritual life difficult, exhausting, and just not fun. It is not because we lack commitment or determination. It is because we do not erase the thought that God is not working off of our hearts. I thought about myself in the past. When the smallest hardship or burden came to me, I lived powerlessly and in difficulty because I was instinctively ruled by this thought, “No. I hate it. I’m sick of it. I can’t do it because it’s too hard. I won’t do it.” I lived a truly evil life. If we erase the thought, “God is not working” from our hearts then no matter how many difficulties come, they will not be a problem. When I think back on how oppressed I felt because I considered difficulties problems, I regret it because I now realize God would have worked every day to create opportunities to witness the Gospel.”
THE CITY OF ABEL THAT RECEIVED SHEBA WHO RAISED HIS HAND AGAINST DAVID
“And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.” (2 Samuel 20:15) One day a calamity fell upon the once peaceful and joyful city of Abel. Joab brought the army and built a rampart in order to conquer the city. The people inside the city could not understand why David's soldiers were trying to overtake the city. A wise woman contended with Joab.
“Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.” (2 Samuel 20:18) There can be no more objections–the debate comes to an end–when someone speaks with 100% accuracy and precision.
The City of Abel was just like this. Israel was the most peaceful and exemplary city like a mother in Israel that served David faithfully and was selfless. But the people in the city could not understand what they did wrong that Joab wanted to throw down the city and destroy the inhabitants. The same often goes for us. “I am saved, I witnessed, I sacrificed, I volunteered, but why does God give me difficulties? Is God really there? What did I do wrong? I was faithful and served God as an example to others, but why is he giving me difficulties?” 2 Samuel chapter 20 addresses people who think this way.
A wise woman asks Joab, “Why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the Lord? Joab answered, “Far be it from me. I am not trying to swallow up or destroy. I am seeking to destroy a man of mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, that lifted his hand against King David, who entered the City of Abel. Sheba entered the city and you received him.”
Although we may have faithfully served the Lord and lived giving our all to him, we still feel deep down in our hearts that He will not work. If we have accepted this heart, then it has to be driven out. If we do not drive out the thought that God is not working, the calamities will not end. Spiritual life is about casting out the thought that God is not working from our hearts.
THE WISEST PERSON
“Then the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king.” (2 Samuel 20:22)
Those who throw away the thought, "What if God doesn't work?" are the wisest people in the world. The calamities will not end as long as you hold onto Sheba. “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” (Matthew 12:31)
The blood of the cross has washed away all our sins and has made us perfect for us to go to heaven, but to say “What if my sins are not washed? What if I go to hell?” is the sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.
“Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29)
Who goes to hell? Does a person who has committed many sins go to hell? Not so. If people go to hell because they committed a lot of sins, then everyone on earth would end up in hell. The blood of Jesus has made us clean, holy, and righteous, but the person destined for hell is the one who defiles the blood of the covenant by saying he or she has sin and that God does not work. Our sin has already been washed and those who believe this will surely go to heaven. Satan is the one who prevents our assurance of salvation. Satan achieves this by making us think that we still have sin – we have to get rid of this wrong thought. “What if God does not work?” A person with this wisdom, no matter what disaster or crisis may come, will not draw back but fight and turn them into opportunities. Only then, God will work through us daily.