A Beautiful Choice
14 August 2016

2 Samuel 9:1-10

I want to begin my sermon with a story of beautiful choice. Rev. Yangwon Sohn ministered to a congregation in Yosu City in S. Korea. On October 19, 1948, a revolt happened in the city and the whole city was under the control of some communists. Five youth communists captured pastor yangwon's two sons and killed them. Three days after that revolt, the South Korean army entered the city and recaptured it. All the communists including those five young men were arrested. At the court, the judges wanted to give a death sentence to the five young men. However pastor Yangwon chose to show God's grace to those young men. He chose God's grace not the punishment they deserved. He said that he had already forgiven those young men and asked the judges to forgive them as well. While they were in prison, the pastor adopted one of those five men. Later, the young man became a good son and helped his father's ministry. The only way we can change people is through the love that we constantly show God's grace to them. We need to choose to show God's grace to others.

Life is a string of choices. Our current life is the outcome of our choices in the past. One choice would impact our whole life. What you choose today will impact your future.

In today's passage, we find a man who made a beautiful choice. He was David. What kind of choice did he make today? In today's passage, we find that after king Saul died at a war against the Philistines, his whole family fell. David became the king of Israel. All situations that had been bothering him ended. Now most of the people of Israel praised and welcomed him as their king. He can live a peaceful life from now on. He gained all power and authority in Israel.

Even though the family of Saul fell, no one suggested that David needed to take care of Saul's family because they though that David hated Saul. However, in contrast to people's thoughts, David never hated Saul. When Saul chased after him, he had two opportunities to kill Saul. But he didn't kill him. He chose to show God's grace to Saul.

When David became the king of Israel, he called a man named Ziba. Ziba was a man who was taking care of all the financial affairs of Saul's family. David asked in verse 3 that if there was anyone of Saul's family who was alive. Ziba answered that "there is still a son of Jonathan." If he was a son of Jonathan, he must have been a prince. He was prince Mephiboseth. Ziba didn't call him prince but a son. In the past, whenever Ziba called him, he called prince Mephiboseth. Here we come to know that Ziba was an opportunist. Since David became a king of Israel, Ziba seemed to be David's side.

Ziba also said that "the son was lame in both feet." Ziba thought that David hated the lame. In 2 Samuel chapter 5, we find a story that when David's army tried to attack Jerusalem, the people who were on Saul's side mocked David and said, "You will not get in here. Even the blind and the lame will ward you off." When David heard these words, he was upset. He said that when he entered Jerusalem, he would kick the blind and the lame out of Jerusalem and not allow them to come in Jerusalem again. David said these words because he was upset at that moment. Ziba remembered these words. However Ziba didn't know David's true heart. Ziba thought that David really hated the lame and so he said the son was lame. Ziba was an opportunist.

David ordered people to bring Mephibosheth to him. When Mephibosheth came to David, he was afraid of David with the thought that David hated his grandfather Saul and that David would eventually kill him. I think that he was shaking like a leaf in front of David. David said to him in 7, ""Don't be afraid, for I will surely show you God's kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table." David chose to show God's kindness to Mephiboseth.

Here we come to know that David didn't give any conditions to Mephibosheth. David didn't say that he would watch Mephibosheth for three months and decide whether to accept him or not after 3 months passed. David accepted him without any condition.

Mephibosheth said that he was like a dead dog. Mephibosheth also asked why David accepted him who was like a dead dog. Then David answered that he chose to show God's kindness for the sake of his father Jonathan. Since David had received God's kindness from Jonathan, he chose to show God's kindness to Mephiboseth.

God's kindness is HESED (חסדי)' in Hebrew. It means unconditional grace. David said that he wanted to show Hesed to Mephibosheth.

We all received God's HESED. God first showed us his HESED through Jesus. He gave us his son Jesus. This is God's HESED. We don't deserve this grace. But we all have received this grace from him.

There was a funeral service for a two-year-old baby girl at a church in Chicago. At this funeral, there was a mid-aged man in rags. His eyes were red because he was drunk. When the people prayed, he took off the dead baby's shocks and put them in his pocket. After the funeral, he sold those shocks for alcohol. He was the father of that dead baby. He was an alcoholic and didn't take care of his wife and his children at home. He lived on the street. He joined a gang and bothered and hit people for money. He drank and gambled every single day.

One day, he went to visit the Pacific Garden Mission. At that moment, he was drunk and shoeless. When he listened to God's word at a worship service there, he shed tears and repented his sins to God. He thought that he was the worst sinner but God showed his grace to him and accepted and still loved him. He was thankful for God's grace and constantly shedding tears for a couple of days. He decided to stay in that mission center. He quit drinking and began to serve the poor. When he stayed there, he studied. Later, he was ordained and became a pastor. He became a representative of the mission. He was pastor Mel Trotter. The mission center allowed people to sleep and wash. It also provided food and clothing to the poor every day. Pastor Mel showed God's grace to people until he died. People called him a man of God's grace.

Apostle Paul talked about God's grace in Ephesians chapter 2. He says in verse 10, "We have to do all things through God's grace." He gives these words to us today. We should do all things through God's grace. What is important is that we should show God's grace to others. He needs to choose to forgive others and to reconcile them. But why don't we forgive others and reconcile them? It is because we often forget God's grace that we have received from him.

About 20 years ago, when Mary and I attended a seminary in S. Korea, one day, there was a guest speaker at a chapel in the seminary. The guest speaker was a Korean woman missionary who served the Brazilians in a jungle in Brazil. She shared her mission work there. About 40 years ago, her husband was kidnapped by some people in that jungle and bitten a lot. A couple of days later, he was rescued from the police men. However, the pastor suffered a lotbecause he was beaten from the people while he had been captured. A couple of days later, he passed away. The pastor's wife was very young at that time. She didn't come back to Korea but chose to constantly serve the people in that jungle with her little daughter. It was a beautiful choice. With her sacrifice and efforts, most people in that jungle accepted the gospel and became Christians. After she shared the story with the students, she and her daughter sang a special song. Even though they were not professional singers, all students in that place were moved. I shed tears.

The only way we can change people is by constantly showing God's kindness to others. We have received Hesed from God and now we need to show this Hesed to others. We need to choose forgiveness and reconciliation and this is what God wants from us. When you choose to show God's grace to others, your life will be filled with much blessings of my God. You will also experience God's amazing work in your life. I bless you in the name of Jesus so that your life will be filled with God's grace and blessings as you always choose to show God's grace to others in your life.

Rev. Dr. David Choi
Wahiawa UMC

 

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