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06.30.24 "Geo - Moon - Go (Harp)" (거문고)

2 Kings 3:15-16 (NIV)


15. But now bring me a harpist.” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha


16. and he said, “This is what the Lord says: I will fill this valley with pools of water.



<Background>

The Moabites, who had been paying tribute to Northern Israel, turned their backs and stopped paying after King Ahab's death and his son Joram became king. King Joram, in response, requested an alliance with King Jehoshaphat of Judah and also merged with the army of Edom, an idol-worshipping king. Together, the three kings set out to attack Moab. However, after about a week, they ran out of drinking water, and the three nations, fearing God's wrath, were in distress. At this time, the three kings sought out the prophet Elisha for a prophecy. Elisha, before prophesying, suddenly called for a harpist. As the harp began to play, the power of the Lord came upon Elisha, and he began to prophesy.


- Let us expect the truth that God will reveal through the harpist who appears without a name or gender. The harp, a representative string instrument used during Korea's Goguryeo era, had seven strings and was similar to the Western harp. There were also string instruments in the Middle Eastern region where today's scripture is set. In the Korean Bible, today's instrument is translated as a “거문고.” The instrument itself is not the important part; it is the person playing it.


- Through the three syllables of “거문고” played by the unnamed musician who moved the heart of the prophet Elisha, I want to convey God's will. I particularly hope this message will bring hope to those who consider themselves worthless.


1. The first syllable is “거” I want to attach the meaning of the Chinese character, “클 거” meaning “Great” to this first syllable. In this story the harpist has no name, gender, or educational background. He was simply the person who played the harp. However, this harpist is not a small person in God's kingdom but a great person.


* Recently, I traveled to Japan with my family for three days. We stayed at a hotel located in a quiet neighborhood about 20 minutes from the bustling Shibuya city center. To save on taxi fare, we frequently walked from the hotel to the city. There was a moment when the ordinary streets we passed through suddenly changed 180 degrees. This transformation happened at nightfall. During the day, the small restaurants in the shabby alleyways were easily overlooked, but at night, they showed their true value. The quiet neighborhood streets appeared more Japanese than Shibuya's famous scramble crossing. While shops in Korea change every year, the small stores in Japanese alleys have been maintained for generations, making them valuable despite their size. Watching the small restaurants with a small number of people, I thought, "Small is valuable."


* I was recently invited to speak at a worship meeting held by The Worship Place in Korea. Located on the second basement floor of a shopping building in Jamsil, this worship place led by worship leader Kim Brian hosts fervent bi-weekly worship services for about 50 people. They also produce various praise-related media content and train and discover CCM artists at this venue. Additionally, they hold a One Day Conference twice a year, and I was invited to this second gathering. Along with me, several CCM artists and a well-known female rapper named Satsuki were also guests.


* This gathering held special meaning for me for several reasons. Firstly, our church had participated in fundraising for this worship place while Kim Brian was praying for financial support. Secondly, Kim Brian and I share a common background as part of the diaspora. I was born in Korea and moved to the United States, while he grew up in the United States and came to Korea for ministry. We are the same age. Thirdly, we both love praise and worship.


* During my sermon, I shared a testimony. I confessed that the person I envied the most was Kim Brian. I had always wanted to be a worship leader more than a pastor. I felt happiest while leading worship, and even though I still have lingering desires for praise, God has guided me elsewhere. I wrestled with God a lot over this, but now I am thankful for His will and plan.


* Remarkably, after I finished my sermon, Kim Brian came up to share his testimony before starting the praise. Unlike me, he had never dreamed of leading worship. His dream was to pastor the 70 youths he cared for in Dallas, Texas, but he was disappointed and struggled when God sent him to Korea. However, God made him a missionary through praise, bringing him to where he is today. God has led both our lives according to His will. Despite our similarities, He uses us differently. We are not objects of each other's envy but unique instruments of God's absolute value, and I look forward to our continued partnership.


"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)


* Like this, we are all God's handiwork, unique among 7 billion people. The unnamed harpist was a special instrument used by God. Let us remember that we are people with absolute value, incomparable to others. Believe in the truth that our value is determined within the value of Jesus' life.


2. The second syllable of “거문고” is “문.” The “문” in Chinese is “Door”. The harpist was not merely someone who came and went at people's calls, nor just a DJ playing background music. To God, he was the keeper of the door of worship. Elisha could have prophesied without the harp, but as the harp played, the power of the Lord came upon him, and he began to prophesy.


"When the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha and he said,…" 2 Kings 3:15-16 (NIV)


* Our church defines praise as "the response of worshipers who perceive, are moved by, and thank the triune God for His deity, personality, past works, and future deeds, in various forms."


* Is praise merely a handmaiden to the sermon? Pastor Rick Warren said, "There is no Christian music and secular music in the world. It is determined by what the lyrics are." Praise is the door to worship. Praise is more than a song; it is the word with melody. Preaching is one method of communicating the truth, not the truth itself. The Bible is precious because it contains the truth, not because the book itself is the truth.


* Imagine this. At the fateful moment when Elisha was to decide the fate of the three nations, a harpist appeared and played the harp. In that performance, Elisha received the prophecy on how to win the war. The harpist worked with Elisha. The word and praise worked together. Praise is the door that opens worship. Praise is not something dispensable but an essential tool of God.


* Praise should not be done with emotions alone. Faith is believing in the truth, not relying on one's emotional state. However, God still uses the emotions He has given us. When the truth is contained in the vessel of emotion, the temperature of our hearts rises.


"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;" Psalm 98:4 (NIV)


"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord," Ephesians 5:19 (NIV)


* The psalmist who wrote Psalm 84 confesses,


"Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked." Psalm 84:10 (NIV)


* Remember, David appeared before King Saul as a harpist before he emerged as a warrior to defeat Goliath. When David played, Saul's evil spirit left him. Praise has the power of healing. Do not think of praise as merely background music playing in your car. Wherever you are, sing the lyrics contained in the praise and commune with God.


3. The third syllable of “거문고” is “고”, meaning “GO” in English.


"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," Matthew 28:19 (NIV)


* The dictionary meaning of "Diaspora" is to "sow seeds in between." It refers to all immigrants living scattered away from their homeland, whether by choice or compulsion.


* The biblical history of the diaspora refers to the Jews who were exiled to Babylon in three phases and returned after 70 years in three phases (led by Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah).


* Spiritually, diaspora signifies spiritual pilgrims who live in the world temporarily and journey towards eternal heaven.


* Our family had many moments of confusion upon our first arrival in Japan. The language barrier and cultural differences were challenging. After getting off at Shibuya station, it was very difficult to catch a taxi. In the taxi, communication with the driver was difficult to the point of being amusing. Thinking of spending three days like this made us regret coming. At the hotel lobby, checking in seemed daunting. However, a woman at the front desk named Hwang Ye-ji recognized we were Korean and asked if we preferred to speak Korean. At that moment, we exclaimed, "Hallelujah." She welcomed us kindly and explained things we didn't know about Japan. The next day, it rained all day. Catching a taxi in the rain in Japan is even harder. Later, we found out that she had arranged for a taxi for us via email, knowing we didn't have a phone.


* This experience taught me the value of a single person in an unfamiliar place. We must be guides for those starting new lives in strange lands, and the church must be such a guide. Thus, the kingdom of God is a story of immigrants. The Bible begins God's story in an unfamiliar place where He sends us away from our familiar surroundings.


* The harpist was not summoned by Elisha but was already sent there by God. He was the door of worship prepared by God at that time and place. Think of Rahab the prostitute. She was a person despised even in Jericho. However, when Joshua's spies met her, she opened the door of Jericho through her help. God had already set Rahab in His grand plan of salvation to be the door of salvation for her life.


* We do not live here by coincidence. We are doors of worship sent by God to the right place at the right time. When we open our eyes of faith, we begin to see God's plan unfolding beyond our problems and difficulties. We must stay and take root until God tells us to go. God's will works beyond our thoughts. We should be conduits of blessings for others, and like the door of Narnia's wardrobe, the people who enter our lives should see beyond us to the world of God.

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