Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1, ESV)
As I told you yesterday, our God, when He appeared to Abraham and spoke to him, He did not do so with the touching of the heart, but He actually appeared in front of him and led him. The Word first given to him was this: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” He said it this way. But Abraham was unaware of where to go, up to the very moment he left his country, he did not know where he was going. Why? He was leading him in front of him, so he just went as he was told, unaware of where to go. There is nothing so absurd and fearful as this. How would you leave when you don’t know where you are going to? However, our God regarded that, as faith, as righteousness.
This leaving from one’s country and one’s kindred and one’s father’s house, this tells us what kind of god our God is. When a god suddenly appears before me and tells me, “follow me,” how would I know who that is and follow? There are many gods in the world, and how would I know who this one is and follow? Just following him doesn’t always mean you have made a good choice.
However, there’s a difference between this God and the other gods of the world. The gods of the world bind people to one place. So that they cannot go to other regions freely, for they each have their region in which they are reigning. These demons have their fields in which they work. Only in their fields can they do what they do, so they don’t let people out of their region. So, they make them feel in fear, they set their objects of faith to something visible and something immobile. So, things like a rock, a giant stone, or an old tree, they put their faith into something like that and make them depend on that. So how could they leave their town when a god who protects them indwells something like a tree or a big stone? They cannot leave their town for the rest of their lives; they just live there. They can’t go far, and they can’t leave because of fear.
Why do they do that? Why do they not let them leave? What would happen if their descendants all went to outer lands? That was a time when they didn’t have any cars like now, and they didn’t have any planes, so once they left their region, they couldn’t come back often like, “oh, it’s New Year’s Day, so we’ve just come home” or “it’s Thanksgiving, so we came home to see you,” and who would feed them? Who would perform rites for them? So, these demons, for themselves to be served, won’t let their descendants be scattered; they make them live in one specific region. Their descendants, they live there for the rest of their lives, living in the very state they are living in for the rest of their lives, in fear, and serving their ancestors for generations. In doing so, they have very strong regional characteristics in these times. So, in a country dominated by idols, it’s difficult for transportation and culture to be developed. Because their own traditions and customs are so strong. Furthermore, in each village, I’ve heard countries like India have over 100 million gods. In each village and in each region, people have their own gods. So, after all, no matter how large the country is, those people are unable to leave their town. They live like slaves until they die. That’s because those gods are not omnipresent. They are clearly bounded by space.
There was a demon in South Korea that entered into someone’s body, who was on a plane going to the US, and it came to the US and “uh-oh,” demons also experience that and it wasn’t like “Oh America is great!” but there were plenty of big, American demons, demons whose words were ferocious, and frightening demons, and how hard would it be for this demon, suffering racism there? They’re really territorial. It couldn’t go inside anybody. When it tried to go inside those white people, it was like, “who are you?” and it couldn’t go inside. So, after going to that place and wandering, it was painful for a demon, it’s painful. It can’t be fed, and its appetite doesn’t get satisfied. It wants to eat Kimchi, but it can’t eat Kimchi in America. Demons also eat Kimchi. They enter into someone who eats Kimchi, and they taste Kimchi through that person.
A while ago, a woman lost a lot of weight, so I asked her how she did it. She had lost a lot of weight in 6 months, and she said it was after she cast out a demon from herself. When she was casting out the demon, she discovered it was an American demon who liked hamburgers that was inside her. She frequently visited the US troops, and a demon who liked hamburgers came in. And after she cast the demon out, hamburgers didn’t draw her much, and she lost a lot of weight. So, it is like this, demons who enter into people, even try to eat what they like. Demons who like to drink enter into people who like to drink, and demons who want to smoke enter into people who smoke and work upon them; this is what they do. So, what can Korean demons do when they go to Africa? It is only when they stay in their region and are served by their descendants that it’s good for them. So now is a difficult time for demons to live.
So, these demons are under the limits of regions, but this God, our God, is very strange. “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house.” He tells him to leave and go “to the land that I will show you.” Abraham already knew that this God is a god who can exert His abilities and work transcending space. He already presumed about this omnipresent God. So, he was able to leave his country because he believed this God was with him.
About leaving his country, this Mesopotamian region, at that time, it was the most developed region of civilization with good security, and it was also an agricultural society. But when he crosses this river and goes to this Palestine region, then there were various ethnic groups and tribes living there, and could he speak their language? Or were the customs the same? He had lived in a brick house, and from then on, he had to live in a tent. How uncomfortable. Is there a well? So now, the hard road has begun. It’s hard for the whole family without knowing where to go. We know it’s very burdensome for us to just go to Mongsanpo. We have to sleep outside for a few nights. And they did it without knowing from when or for how long, or where the final destination was, and the whole family now has to live in that hot area, and this is something he couldn’t do without the faith that God guides him. So, from this point on, this person becomes a wanderer. Wanderer. So, from the moment he crossed the river, after crossing a river that could not be returned from again, he became a wanderer. So, the word “Hebrew” means a person who crossed the river, and a traveler, a wanderer. From then on, he now began a completely different way of life. From that point on, the life of relying on God day by day began. It’s very tense. He couldn’t know how every day would go. So those who are led by God are like these. They are those who need the Lord’s guidance every day. Those who can go wherever the Lord leads each day. So, when it says, “Who are those who can participate in the first resurrection?” it says, “It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” So these people can’t follow if they’re already living a fixed life, because they have their own life, but people who are always strangers, wanderers, can do that, they can go anywhere.
So, in fact, for my whole life, until I went to China, I was far from living such a life. I was like everybody else. Because in my case, my father was a teacher, and I grew up in a very peaceful family. After graduating from elementary school, I didn’t have to worry about what to do or where to go. I just went to middle school. After graduating from middle school, I did not have to worry about whether I should go to a public high school or a commercial high school. Of course, I went to academic high school. Then “what do I do after I graduate from high school?” I never thought about it. Of course, I had to go to college. It was also necessary to go to a university in Seoul. So, I went. “What should I do next after graduation?” There was no need to worry. In line with my major, I got a job at a welfare center. “What should I do next after I get a job?” There was no need to consider anything. After taking a reasonable time, you could study for graduate school. It was obvious because everyone above us was doing it then. After doing that, you’d get your doctorate, then you’re a leader, and then you’re a manager, and if you do well, you’re also the director. That’s the way it is. After that, you die, you don’t have to worry about anything because it’s the obvious path.
But one day, I suddenly participated in a retreat, and this person from China said, “I need a worker, Come!” Suddenly, my heart started to flutter, and I couldn’t hold anything in my hand as my heart was being shaken by the Words of God like they were being poured out on me, I couldn’t do anything about it. “Is this really the Word God gave to me?” I was thinking, but when I received a lesson telling me, “Don’t worry about that, these are all Words that you must go to and respond to,” there was nothing else to consider. But what I was most worried about then, what I was afraid of, was this. “Then, if I go to China right now, what do I do next? What’s my life going to be like? What’s my life going to be like after a month? I went to China but wondered what happens next?” This was my thinking; Let’s say I study for two years. After that, there is no money, and nobody pays me, so what do I do? So, when Pastor Jameson came, I visited him at night after the lecture on the first day; I was interested in what he said. And my questions were all like, “If I go there, who pays for my living?” and there was no answer. I didn’t have any clear answer. And, “If I go, how long? I mean, I can’t just keep travelling, can I? I can’t just keep evangelizing and wander without a home. How long do I have to live like that?” There was no answer. And, “can I be with my wife all the time?” he said that we might have to be apart, so “How long should I have to be apart from my wife then?” So, my thoughts were something like this: I just can’t get a sense of what’s going on in my life. And, “To give birth to a baby, I have to have a house, and I have to live there later. What should I do? Will I have my house later?” Anyway, I only asked this kind of question when I went on the first day. I didn’t get any answers, so I was so shocked. “Oh, the world in which they live and the world I have lived in are so different, the dimension is different, I can’t adapt. Maybe I should adapt to this. They seem to be the kind of people who don’t care about these worldly questions.” It was just too hard to adjust to it. It was hard, and I couldn’t ask. I couldn’t ask anymore because they didn’t answer, but there were still such questions inside. “How, how, how.” That I needed to know, to go. After that, what will it be like, what will happen 10 years later, what will I do then, then what do I do after going to China? I didn’t know that either, because he didn’t tell me about it. It’s not like I preach right away. So, in a situation where I don’t know where to go, “Then, if I go to China and learn the language, then which school, which area should I go to learn?” Without even knowing that it was so cramping.
So, I usually crossed the stone bridge the route I knew, but it was really awkward to go down the road that I didn’t even know about. But then, that word just caught my eye. “Abraham,” in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 9, “left without knowing where to go when he left.” Why? Because he had faith. “Oh, that’s right,” so I said, “Oh, that was such a Word.” After that, I just entrusted my life to God. “God is with me,” I only relied on this. From then, I couldn’t stop praying every day. I couldn’t help but rely on the Lord every day. So, my life was completely changed. Before that, I felt so relieved. I was relieved to just stay still. I, who used to live with my mother and my father at that time, was relieved in fact, even when I was sick. Because I have parents, so I didn’t have any worries. But after I became a parent, it was different when the baby just started to get sick. When I was young, even when I was sick, I was relieved. I didn’t even think I was dying, and I was just relieved because my parents took care of everything. But, when I became a parent when my child is sick, there’s actually no way for me. So, it’s not that I’m relieved, but I’m too anxious. So, from that time on, we had no choice but to rely on our God, who is my father. So even if the baby just hurts, it’s not the same as before, and my heart just tightens, so I just pray, I depend only on God, and this is what it’s like, this is what changes. So, I was relieved even though I didn’t know the future until then, but that’s not the case after that. The life of hoping day by day for the guidance of the Lord has begun.
When we went to China and just went on a ministry, we didn’t know where to go, and when we went somewhere, and after we did our ministry there, we didn’t know where to go next or what would happen, but we kept going. As I followed step by step, there were tremendous works of God; I opened a blind’s eyes which I didn’t even think about, and other people who saw it asked me to come next to another area, and I went there. Another lame walks there, and after hearing the rumor, they come and take us. We didn’t even plan, but works of God were just shown wherever we went. So, it became training for us, step by step, every day. So, before that, for example, we unpacked in an area. Then we go to the next town. Then, when we went to the next town, we left the luggage here, because it was uncomfortable. But now that we’ve gone through trial and error a few times, we never do that, and we don’t let our bodies fall apart from this. Why? There was no guarantee that we would go to the next town and come back. God’s violent blowing and works made us not know where we are going. But in our thoughts, we would come back, so we left our luggage here, but in the end, we have to go somewhere else and have someone bring this luggage. It kept happening.
So, wherever I went for a moment, I took everything with me. I was just carrying that heavy load and going there. Not surprisingly, if I go there, something else happens, and I leave again. So, I can’t really be responsible for what happens tomorrow. So, when I had something delicious before this, I ate it later. My personality was like that. I ate everything that was not tasty and then ate the delicious ones slowly. But I knew that. “Oh, there’s no guarantee that I can eat this when I can. Let’s eat it when I can.” So now, if there is something delicious, I eat it first. And about something that’s not delicious, I don’t know if I’ll eat them later or not, but if I suddenly have to go somewhere, I can leave these tasteless things. So, my habits have changed. I eat everything good first, so tomorrow is uncertain. But what is always certain is that the Lord is with me, so he leads me in the best way. So even though I came to Korea later, I am now in Korea, but I have a completely different heart from when I lived in Korea in the past. Back in the day, when I lived in Korea, I was living a fixed life, but I am not living a fixed life now. Even though I am in Korea, I keep wandering, but I only stay here for a long while now. So, the length of my stay here is long… maybe I could work here until I die, but this is not that I have settled in Korea. It’s only that this journey here is for a long time. I just live with that kind of heart.
So, in the past, while working at work, I took insurance, did something, did anything, and did everything I would do, but now I’m trying to lighten it. Not doing such things, like insurance or something; the only one I depend on is the Lord. I live like a traveler like this. So, I’m often mistaken because I’m living like this, I think I’ve settled down, so I keep buying one more thing, buy a desk and buy glass, and buy a piece of cloth that fits between the glass and the desk, even a chair that fits here, my luggage keeps increasing. But actually, once we know we’re wandering travelers, wanderers, we don’t do that anymore; we’re ready to move anytime. That doesn’t mean that we always prepare to go somewhere abroad, but really, it means we always prepare to go from this earth to heaven, putting our minds in heaven, not that we are putting our minds in a foreign country. It means we don’t think of here as our home, with our mind in heaven. He said that these people could participate in the first resurrection. So, we will be guided by the Lord. So, “Lord, please, please let me receive your guidance every day, and let me don’t make this land my settlement.” Let us pray like this.
God our Father, please let us have hope in heaven and live with the joy that we will go to your promised Father’s house. Please help us so that we do not really become the ones who put their hope on this earth and follow the customs of the world. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center