2 Kings 4:1-7
Sunday morning – 30 Sep 2018 10:51:43 am – Pastor Kim Young Gyo (Good News Jeojae Church, South Korea)

For humans, what is important to them? Some live their lives in despair. Some other are optimistic. They always think in a hopeful way.

If they think in a despairing way, they focus on themselves and they look at their blemishes and their capabilities – e.g. being poor, etc. They feel they lack compared to others. Their hearts are filled with themselves. They feel despaired and despondent. Yet some others think that with what they have their are ok – their looks, their finance, their life, etc. Yet these things can be shattered at any time. With such hope they look at themselves. For others, with despair they look at themselves. Taken altogether, this is how people live – people are shaken by the situation they live in.

Such people are called as people who trust in themselves as per the bible.

Such people fall in despair because they live in their own weaknesses. Some others look at themselves as superior than others and they trust in themselves.

A lot of people look at themselves. This is why poor people want to have more money. This is also why people who have not studied a lot want to study more — so they can all lean on their own knowledge. In the world, there are lots of people with money and power. Some others do not have any of these. People with money and knowledge trust in themselves and become arrogant. In the hearts of some people, as they look at themselves, they fall in despair. For those who have hope, and trust in themselves, once their hope is shattered, they also despair. This is why human’s faith is all shallow and not the truth. It is all so vulnerable.

The bible says that every man is a liar and only God is true – as per book of Romans. The Word spoken by God is the truth. Truth does not change over time.

If we believe ourselves as superior to others, we are also liars. If we have expectations and hope towards ourselves, that also is a lie. Only God is true.

Who can believe in God then? Only when we realise that we are deceitful and if we realise that our thoughts are wrong. For people who realise this truly and abandon themselves and their thoughts and receive the Word of God, then that person is truly blessed. The outstanding, the rich, the beautiful, the capable, and the self-righteous — do not necessarily receive the Word of God.

People who have discovered that their thoughts are deceitful and that they are evil, are the ones who can receive the Word of God. Such people can receive the Word of God as it is. The failures of the world have the heart to believe in God. For instance,
• the man with infirmity for 38 years (M38);
• Rahab the harlot who sold her body and alcohol to the people of Jericho (she received the spies of Israel and did as they said);
• the Samaritan woman who changed husband five times and was with the sixth husband yet their hearts were not flowing and who understood that she was a failure in the world – she clearly realised that people of the world could not satisfy her – the man with high education, or the handsome or the rich, etc. could not satisfy her heart. For this reason, she could not have hope upon humans. She was living with the sixth husband. As she reflected on her life, everything was just embarrassing and shameful. She could not boast anything about her own life. Her life was a complete failure.

Who are the people who can receive the Words of Jesus into their hearts? The people who can do so are: the ones who completely failed in their lives.

As I lived, I thought I was a smart man. I never received recognition from others but still I thought I was a good man. For instance, if someone does something that is not right in my standards of morality, then I would not accept it and stand up for my integrity. I always boasted as such – I don’t sin, I don’t tell lies, I am such a just man, etc.

Although I have bad things as well, I always pull out the good things to talk and boast about. Those who listen to my stories then think that I am a good man.

After I received salvation, I realised that I was such a shameful man before the Lord. I could see that I told many lies and that I had deceived man. I realised how much of a hypocrite I was. I realised that I was so deceived by my own heart. I was so good at telling lies. I really loved exalting myself, and concealed my own deceitful heart.

If you speak with people, they never talk about their shameful things and they always want to talk about recognition and sincerity. They don’t want to show that they are dirty or dirtier than others — I was such a person.

Yet when I reflected my own heart through the bible, I was so ashamed of myself.

Yesterday, I spoke of Rachel – who was so pretty to look at. Surely, as she looked at herself, she would think that many men loved her. Without realising, her heart was exalted. The strange thing was that God had closed the womb of Rachel. The bible said that God opened the womb of Leah when God saw that she was unloved. When one can give birth, then that moment that woman is beautiful. No matter how rich or ugly she is, if one cannot bear a child, one loses the beauty. This was the case with Rachel.

Rachel tried all humanistic ways to bear children. Then she made her maidservant Bilhah to have children with Jacob and then she conceived a child and one of them was called Dan noting that God had judged her case. Then finally in the end, when Rachel lost all hope, she could have a child as God opened her womb. The first child was called Joseph. It means that God had cleared up all the shame in her heart.

“Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭30:22‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Here it says “God listened to her”; what do you think God had listened to? Rachel confessed how deceitful she was and could acknowledged how she thought she was the prettiest and the best. Then she asked for compassion. She asked for compassion and asked to bear lives. Then God opened her womb. Then she could give birth to children. The first is Joseph.

The meaning of Joseph is: “God has taken away my reproach”.

“And she conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” So she called his name Joseph, and said, “The LORD shall add to me another son.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭30:23-24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Rachel could find out how arrogant she was. She ignored her sister Leah and had in her heart stomped on her so much. She discovered how deceitful she was and her hope had all broken down. In verse 24, she found hope in God again. It is God who has to give her children – she discovered – no matter how beautiful or ugly she was it did not matter but unless God helped, she could only fail.

I read the bible as well but my life does not go as smooth as I want. Who can actually solve the problems in my life? It is not my education, or my experience that can do so. God has the key for all our problems and He has to do it for us. Good health, joy, thankfulness and hope all come from God.

However, people think foolishly and think that they are so good and that they can form happiness, peace, etc. from themselves. Aren’t we all making this misunderstanding?

We should put all our thoughts down and our heart can return to the bible. Rachel thought she was so smart and she thought she was much better than her sister Leah, who had no beauty yet could bear children. God opened Leah’s womb. God had closed the womb of Rachel.

Later on, Rachel discovered how foolish, filthy and evil she was. Then she went before God and prayed to God – acknowledging this and asking for compassion. She then asked for compassion and then God opened her womb. They she had a son called Joseph. After she gave birth, Rachel said that God had taken away all her reproaches. This is talking about Jesus Christ.

Who is the one who can really take away our shamefulness and reproaches? This is none other than Jesus Christ.

“So she called his name Joseph, and said, “The LORD shall add to me another son.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭30:24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Now Rachel has hope towards God now.

Prior she had hope only towards herself? Isn’t that how we live? In our spiritual life, we cannot do anything for ourselves. If you realise that you cannot satisfy and do things for yourself, then you will be able to discover that you are a sinner. You will discover that you are a deceitful person and you will abandon yourself. Then you will look for God.

When you look for God, then with the things that you cannot do, God will speak His Word. E.g. Abraham had so much fear and worries. It would not leave his heart. Why was his heart filled with fear? Some people are like this and cannot fall asleep at night. They sigh and think continually about their problems. Wisdoms of humans have no power to overcome these problems.

This is why God said to Abraham:

“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭15:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

God became his shield. Likewise, God is also our shield. Let’s say for Abraham, a worry comes to him, then God breaks down those worries. God made Abraham thankful. So he had no worries at all.

If you live spiritual life, and this doesn’t mean great people can live it – it is the clumsy and the weak who can live spiritual life well. It is the people who realise they are deceitful and wrong and incompetent, and who have hopelessness.

“Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.”
‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭12:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

God gave weaknesses to Paul and Paul pleaded to God. God then said:

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Where does one receive the strength of God? When we are weak or when we are strong? Answer: When we are weak.

Consider a new born infant. When can the infant be with the mother? When the baby is strong or when the baby is weak? When weak, the baby will be with the mother all the time. In this sense, the bible says this (let’s read it again):

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The power of Christ is upon us when we are weak. Do you want to be strong or weak? Weak? Really? Truly? The truth is that we are the ones who will be protecting our own hearts to only exalt ourselves and not let others point out our weaknesses. We can never ever be weak in our hearts as we only want to be strong. Even though they tell lies, they still want to boast about themselves. They do not want to show people that they are weak.

The most blessed thing is when God protects us and when the power of God rests upon us, then we are strong.

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭12:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When we are weak, then the power of Christ can rest upon us.

Why is it that God had to close Rachel’s womb? The moment when Rachel realised that she was so deceitful, then only God opened her womb. Joseph was then born. Joseph means the Lord has taken away all her reproaches and embarrassment and shamefulness of Rachel. Until then, she was such a shameful and embarrassed and self-exalting woman. She was finally able to see herself clearly. Joseph was then able to take away all the reproaches in her life.

When we are weak, then only we can believe in Christ Jesus.

Today I spoke about 2 Kings 4. The bible is so much fun. Once you can understand the bible, it is so much fun and you only want to read more.

Then you will be so joyful and look towards God. You will then be able to not rely on yourself and place all your hope towards God.

When you can hear the Words of God in the bible and in your heart, then the power of Christ rests upon you. Your heart will then become so small and you will lean on God entirely.

“A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.””
‭‭II Kings‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The sons of the prophets are like students who are learning about God. One student married and was learning under Elijah. The wife’s and the husband’s name is not known. The husband is a son of the prophet. The bible introduces as just the woman. The woman is truly fleshful and did not know about God.

One day the husband testifies how he saw himself as so evil and hopeless. So he decided to learn God through Elijah. He is so thankful to be saved that he wants to commit himself to the school. He probably asked the wife to also preach the gospel together and learn from Elijah to get her. But the wife was so fleshful. She likes the world. “No! I won’t go! Why don’t you go? Can we even get rice and food from there? No! You go!” Yet the disciple learns to train under Elijah. The disciple has hope in the Lord and draws power from God. He has heart that God would also bless his family and that God would change her heart one day.

With the fleshful wife, they both decided to learn the Word from Elijah. The husband is listening carefully, but the wife is sitting at the back, chewing gum and complaining about mission school. She believes her husband is so gullible. She has no interest in the Words at all. The husband however is listening to the Word with thankfulness.

On the other hand, husband is enjoying and obtains the heart of God. Perhaps he had to do a special offering, but the woman stops him. She thinks that he is too gullible. She complains a lot. She persecuted and opposed the husband. The husband on the other hand continued to pray to God to change his wife. He knows how weak he is. He prays about the problem of the wife – that there is seemingly no chance of her changing.

Perhaps one day the husband does a special offering in secret. Later on, the wife finds out and is so upset with him. Like this, constant fight emerges. The woman regrets that she is living with such a husband. She has hatred heart towards the church and wants to rid of her husband. She wants to throw away everything. She does not want to go to church anymore and most likely tried to pay off her debt.

One day the husband dies. But their household are in debt. Later on the creditors came and she got so upset. She rages and goes to complain to the man of God – Elijah. She threatens him and complains about all the problems that came about because her husband followed him.

“A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.””
‭‭II Kings‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

However, Elijah had only hope and peace. He was not worried about the situation at all. He testified that her husband was a man of God who really believed in the Words of God. He asked her why she did not believe. So he had fellowship and rebuked her and asked her to humble her heart.

As she came to terms with how arrogant she was, she saw that she was unable to pay off her debt. For the first time in her life, she was able to bring down her heart. Then Elijah speaks:

“So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.””
‭‭II Kings‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

She knows that she has nothing but a jar of oil. This is a problem it seems. To Elijah however, this was not a problem at all. The jar of oil represents Jesus. This also represents the Holy Spirit. But why was it that God could not work? The woman was so fleshful, that’s why. For the first time, she realised that she was deceitful and realised how incompetent she was.

Then she saw how the jar of oil is Jesus. Then for the first time in her life, she was able to step forward by faith.

“Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.” So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “ There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased.”
‭‭II Kings‬ ‭4:3-6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

She was able to see how wrong she was.

The empty vessels represent the heart of the people.

Now everytime she preached the gospel, the hearts of people (empty vessels) were filled with Jesus (the oil). She was so thankful. People around her could rise up and pay her debt for her. God began to work in the family. Why was it that God could not work in the family before? Because she thought that she was so great, smart, beautiful, and so on. With the beauty of humans, she was standing against God. For the first time in her life, she realised that she was wrong that her righteousness was wrong. So she was able to deny her humanistic things.Then the Word of Elijah could be contained in her heart.

The work of the gospel arose, the sons were happy, she was happy, and there was great peace and joy.

Within the family, hope and thankfulness arose.

“Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “ There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.””
‭‭II Kings‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The woman could finally see how wrong she was. Then she was able to think about her dead husband. She was so remorseful. She confessed how she complained so much about his work. She was then able to see how he believed in the true God. She could discover how she did not discover God earlier. She could see how arrogant and self-righteous and good she was. She thought he was the bad person. But now, she could see the bad person is her. She could see that her husband was such a great husband and a great Christian.

Then she decides to go to the church and from then on lie spiritual life.

We may be fleshful but the Words of God can change us. We may be arrogant. We may complain about the church and have uncomfortable heart. We may not know about God. We may not want to offer to God. But one day, God will change everyone of us.

One day, we will see how Joseph enters our life – how God takes away our reproaches and we can see how God helps us.

God speaks His Word through His servant through the church. The heart of God flows down from his servant pastor Ock Soo Park for instance, and that heart shatters our self-righteousness. Then God works in our hearts amazingly.