The Struggle for Blessing
So he went to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” And he said, “Because the Lord your God brought it to me.” Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.” So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him. (Gen 27:18-23)
Our God is the Creator. When God created us human beings, He had a clear purpose. The purpose He created mankind as well as the whole universe and everything in it is the same, and it was for the Son of God to come to the earth. God’s Son became a man and came to the earth. He obeyed the Father to the point of death, destroyed the devil’s work and ascended to heaven. In order for Him to do that, God first created man who would receive Him. God planted His seed in man which finally yielded its fruit for God to harvest.
If God had created man for the sake of man, He could have made a thousand or tens of thousands. However, God did not create so many but only one. He created only one spirit. Why? Because He needed a vessel that would carry just one spirit. Other than that, there is no other reason. Therefore God created one spirit that would hold God’s seed. So the sole purpose that man existed until Jesus came was to become the way for Jesus Christ to come. There is no other purpose apart from that. There were many Nephilim who had a highly advanced state of culture and personality just like us. But God was indifferent in regard to their death. Why? Because they were not the vessels through which God’s Son would come. Instead, they were a hindrance to the vessel and thus were worthless.
Since man was to prepare the way for the Son of God to come in the Old Testament times, God was solely interested in the one lineage. So God’s blessing was given only to one person at a time. And that continued. During the time of Abraham, no other person had God’s attention except for Abraham. It was only Abraham. And when he had a son, God was interested only in Isaac. God’s promise was to continue through Isaac and nobody else. Once Isaac obtained that blessing, no other person was able to share in the blessing. After that, Isaac had Esau and Jacob, but Esau and Jacob could not divide and share the blessing between themselves. Only one of them could have it.
In a game of basketball, the players steal the ball from their opponents. When the ball is in my hand, it cannot be in another player’s hand. If it is in another player’s hand, it’s not in mine. Then I have to aggressively steal that ball. Similarly, in order for one to receive the blessing of God, he had to struggle aggressively and obtain it because nothing else is as important as that. Hence this blessing surpasses the morality, ethics, and values of the world. The blessing of God being together with man is actually the purpose for why God created mankind and His sole interest in them. Thus one will do anything he can to possess that blessing and become a channel through which God works. If it means to kill a man to have that blessing, then one would even kill a man because the important matter is not whether one killed a person or not but that he obtains this blessing. That is why he would do anything to have that blessing, even if it means becoming a murderer.
When God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, without hesitation, he was ready to kill his son. You might be able to kill all others but not your own son. Yet God said to kill even his son, let alone others. Even if God had told Abraham to kill everyone else, he would’ve killed them all. Hence when it comes to others, nothing will stop him, not even ethical values or morality. He obeyed only God’s words. Likewise, Isaac had the same faith.
Jacob wanted to receive the blessing his father would give to the firstborn and thus deceived his father. “Who are you?” “I am Esau.” How dare he lie like that? How can a liar receive God’s blessing? But there was something more significant than whether Jacob lied or not. It was about him taking possession of God’s blessing. Some people might say, “Oh no, I can never be a liar no matter what.” Then they would have nothing to do with God’s blessing. This is so critical that one might even kill another person for it. So lying is not even a problem. We cannot judge this according to man’s ideas because this is far more important than anything else in the world. If God says to us today, “Kill your child, for then you’ll be blessed,” we must do it. If He says, “Go to the streets and shoot and kill anybody you meet”, we would have to do that. If He says, “You have to lie for the rest of your life”, then that’s what we have to do.
However, since Jesus Christ came to the earth, it is no longer that way. After Jesus came, it no longer connects in one straight line but spreads out and is dispersed by Jesus. If you go to those old pit toilets made with timber, you can see light coming through from outside into the dark toilet. And you can see a streak of light coming in from outside. And in that light, you see particles of dust floating in the air. If you get a prism or a spectroscope and place it in the streak of light, the light will break up and become a rainbow.
Similarly, while the blessing continued on in one line like that ray of light, when it came through Jesus Christ, it spreads out so that the blessing is not possessed by one person only, but anybody can. There is no need to struggle and fight with one another in order to have this blessing any more. ‘Just believe and you will receive this blessing. Just believe and I will be with you.’ Hence we don’t need to kill anybody, fight with anybody or deceive anyone. We just need to believe and work in accordance with the will of Jesus. How wonderful is this grace?
The people in the past had to kill, fight and suffer throughout their lives in order to possess this, but we don’t have to. What if we had to compete against Pastor Ki Dong Kim? Then how could we receive the blessing? With so many people around us with great faith, how can we possibly receive the blessing? How will it ever come to me? But now, whether or not he is blessed, whatever he has nothing to do with me. He goes before God in his own way and I am with God in my way too. There’s no need for competition. If I am obeying the word, God’s promise to be with me will surely be fulfilled.
Unlike the past when people had to deceive and fight, now God tells us to instead give to others. If they ask for something, give it to them. If anyone takes your tunic, give him your cloak also, even your underwear. If one asks you to go one mile, go with him two. It appears as though we are suffering loss, but we are actually winning, not losing. Just like the people in the Old Testament longed to receive the blessing even if it meant deceiving others or even killing them, we have to have the same longing heart. Yet we need not deceive or kill others; instead God tells us to give to those who ask, and turn our other cheek when they slap us.
So the people of the Old Testament times fought with their flesh. They fought against people in the flesh, physical enemies, physically killed people and physically destroy their enemies. But for us, we are told to accept it when someone beats our flesh, and if they take something from us, let them have it and give even more to them. Yet when it comes to spiritual things, we must aggressively fight and struggle to take possession. We need to open our spiritual eyes. We have to become spiritual men and never yield in our spiritual battle. We might look like fools when it comes to physical matters because we give when they want to take from us. But we have a more powerful weapon, which is a spiritual weapon.
It may appear as though we are always losing, but we are always gaining. We may look like we have nothing, but we have an abundance always. We seem like we are always receiving, but we are constantly giving. We seem to be under constant threat, but we are sustained. Thus we know these secrets of the spiritual life and enjoy the benefits. And from now on, we have to work according to the teaching of the sermon on the Mount. Otherwise, even thou we might have built a house, it will become like the house built on sand which fell when the rain came down. Jesus said that in the early parts of Matthew 7. Everything He said in His sermon on the Mount is what He is telling us to do. If we do not do that for the spiritual work, then no matter how many houses we might build, they could all crash in the end.
That is why when others ask us for something, we simply give it to them. We are not in a rush. Just because things are not going the way we want, if we impatiently try to get it done through man’s way and the ways of our flesh, we are going back to our old ways. We no longer do that. We don’t go after people. We don’t fight against men with flesh and blood. If they want something of ours, we let them have it. But we pray in private. “Lord, that person has taken from my hand. But may that be returned to me”. Then it will be returned to us. We have that incredible authority. The other person may think that what he took from me is his because it is in his hand, but I pray to the Lord saying, “Lord, may that be returned to me, and more abundantly”. Later on, amazingly it will be returned to me.
This is the way we were told to pray. The Lord revealed this to us. However, if you do not follow this way and try to do the work according to the flesh of man, there will be disputes, divisions and fights. And since you worked by your flesh only, what can you expect to receive from God? I did everything and so there is nothing to testify about. God didn’t do anything; it was I that did everything. It is by my merits, not God. And there will be no testimony. Without testimony, there is no experience which means there is no faith. Where does faith come from? When I obey God’s word, what was impossible for me will come true. When I rely on God, it can happen. That means I didn’t achieve it but God has truly done it, and you will testify about that.
However, many people work hard. They fight and work hard. Yet they haven’t any testimonies. Why? Because they did it all by themselves. Such people don’t have much to do with God. If you ask them if they are close to God, they can’t give an answer. They worked hard, but they were not really close to God. Why? They didn’t leave any room for God to work but tried to do everything by themselves. They struggled against people and fought to achieve everything. However, if you follow the Lord’s command and therefore concede, cease from fighting and depend only on the Lord, you will see how wonderfully the Lord will work. And you will truly confess and testify that it was only possible by God. Hence we need to always leave room for God to work so that we have such testimonies.
Just as the Lord taught us in His sermon on the mount, if others slap our right cheek, we must be able to turn the other cheek also. Instead, if we fight with others so that we might have something more, if in the church, different departments fight and quarrel with each other, then unbelievers would say that Christians are more bitter and awful. We should not let that happen. Though it seems like we are always composed and ready to concede, everything returns back to us. So we can work more shrewdly and wisely whilst not hurting other people’s feelings. We truly need to let God work. We have to always leave room for Him. It is really joyful to work like that.
The other day, I was at the table with my kids. It had been a while since we ate together, so I asked them, “Do you enjoy school?” But my younger son wouldn’t answer but just smiled. So I asked, “Do you get along well with the other students? How is your teacher?” Then he told me that his teacher doesn’t like him. Apparently, the teacher hates him and would get cross with him only. He says he is doing everything well, but the teacher would get angry with him but be nice to the other students who are not doing as well as him, especially be nice to the girls. And as he was talking, his eyes turned red, and in the end, he burst into tears. The teacher would scold him for doing something he didn’t do and won’t even bother to find out what happened.
So, on the one hand, I wanted to tell him, “Why are you crying over such a matter? Don’t you know how tough it is to survive in this world?” But I learned back in the day when I studied social work that it is important to first sympathize with other person. So I said to him, “Oh, that would have been hard. It must have been distressful for you. Did you feel aggrieved?” And I hugged him, and he wept in my arms. After some time, I told him, “I went through many occasions when I felt wronged. Did you have any incidents when you felt like that?” And then he went on to tell me about everything that happened. And he was glad to talk to me. So I then told him about what I went through, how I was wrongfully treated and couldn’t sleep for a whole month because of it. Even now, when I think about it, I feel like my heart is burning. And my son listened with sympathy saying that what he went through was nothing compared to what I went through. I went on to tell him, “Do you know what I did at that time to overcome it? I prayed. Does it seem like people are trying to snatch away from you what is yours? I prayed when that happened to me. And later on, they all came back to me. So let’s pray. Let’s pray that there will be a change in your teacher.” So we sat together and earnestly prayed. I told him to pray first and he prayed, “God, help my teacher to become nicer”. And then we sincerely blessed the teacher. It wasn’t even a long prayer.
The next day I went home and noticed my son’s face was noticeably brighter. My wife asked me, “Did you call the teacher?” So I said I didn’t. She said to my son, “See? Your dad didn’t call.” “Oh, what happened? Did something change about your teacher?” I asked. And apparently, his teacher was completely different. Suddenly the teacher said to him, “Was I being too harsh on you?” and spoke gently to him, unlike before. So even my son was so happy to tell me about it. I said to him, “How incredible is this answer to your prayer? So keep praying continuously in every circumstance”. But to be honest, until then, I was actually thinking to myself, “Should I call the teacher or visit the school? What is the problem with teachers today?”
There were a lot of females in his school. Mums can get cranky a lot at home while looking after children. They say, “Hey! Stop it! I told you to stop!” But if there are dozens of students in one class, the teachers can get really irritated at times. So they would do exactly what they do at home, “Hey, stop that!” But for boys, when they are told like that, their hearts shrivel. Even at home, when my wife gets cross and says something, it can feel very uncomfortable, although for her, it’s just her usual way of dealing with it. It can cause a lot of stress for guys. So how would the kids feel? Especially if the teacher frets, then their hearts shrivel. It’s really stressful. You feel like you want to run out of the room. You haven’t experienced that? So ladies, please try not to do that. You might not think it is significant, but men feel like running out of the house.
Since my son was facing that, I even thought of visiting the teacher to have a word. But we prayed, and everything was resolved. In this way, we left room for God to do His work. If it was in the Old Testament, we would have to fight according to man’s way, and get what we want ourselves. Even today, some people seem to be living in the Old Testament times. A lot of Korean Christians think that this is the life of a Christian. With the power of God, I have to fight and take possession. But in the eyes of non-Christians Christians look like selfish and spiteful people, who take everything they want by the power of the God they believe in. And they think Christians are their competitors.
But we don’t compete against them. We are trying to obtain heavenly things and therefore pose no threat to them. But today’s Christians are becoming a threat to the world snatching from the unbelievers. But we shouldn’t do that. Instead, we should give way and then God will fill us when we are in need. Therefore, we must always leave room for God to work. We should not work according to the flesh but struggle spiritually and be victorious. Let us pray that unlike how Jacob fought for the blessing he so longed for, we will not struggle in the flesh but be filled with a spiritual yearning and hope so that we will obtain it through prayer.
God our Father, help us to have a yearning for this blessing and fight a spiritual battle rather than the flesh. And by letting God work, may we have many testimonies of what God has done and through those testimonies, our faith increase. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center