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「另一個心志」講道系列

葡萄還是巨人?(Grapes or Giants?)

「要有另一個心志,就要跟別人看見不一樣的事。我們要看見葡萄,而不是巨人。」

「另一個心志」系列共有五篇,來到第二週,我們再一次回到民數記十三至十四章,以色列人與應許之地的故事。這群重獲自由的希伯來奴僕,如今在約旦河邊、迦南地外紮營,而這正是四百年前雅各因著饑荒而帶著全家離開的地方。神應許他的後裔將有一天可以回到這裡──神原本應許將這地賜給亞伯拉罕和撒拉──要萬國也因他們得福。這地也正是多個世紀之後,耶穌將好信息傳給眾人的地方。

由埃及到迦南,由作奴僕被奴役到得享平安,由一百人到幾萬人⋯⋯但如今他們要面臨最嚴峻的考驗。他們能戰勝迦南嗎?

摩西是一個有智慧的領袖。他知道百姓的需要──他們沒有見過這應許之地,所以想要知道真實且確切的資訊。他揀選了十二個人,包括迦勒和約書亞,去打探迦南地的情況(民十三17-20)。四十天之後,這十二探子帶著一大掛葡萄回來,葡萄大得要兩個人用槓枱著,並向以色列人回報。十二探子對兩件事情口徑一致:一、這地與神所應許的一樣,「果然是流奶與蜜之地;這就是那地的果子。」(民十三27)二、他們對那地的人的描述也一致:「那地的民強壯,城邑也堅固寬大。……我們在那裡所看見的人民都身量高大。」(民十三28-32)他們回報了關於「葡萄」和「巨人」的事。「葡萄」反映出神的應許──這地果然正如神所說的那樣土地肥沃。「巨人」則指進入那地的困難──在他們承受這地之前,要先面對一些難關。

迦勒和約書亞回來,專注在葡萄上:「我們立刻上去得那地吧!我們足能得勝。」(民十三30)但大多數的探子──其中十位──卻專注在巨人上:「我們不能上去攻擊那民,因為他們比我們強壯。」(民十三31)他們的恐懼驅使他們在民中散播令人懼怕的謠言。「我們所窺探、經過之地是吞吃居民之地,我們在那裡所看見的人民都身量高大。」(民十三32)

試想像一下,以色列人當時會怎樣理解「葡萄」和「巨人」?葡萄很細小,每一粒都毫不起眼;但一掛葡萄,卻令人印象深刻。一掛葡萄成為活生生的、可見的證據,證明神沒有向以色列人說謊,那應許之地確實是流奶與蜜之地,而葡萄則代表了這件事的可信性。這就是神要賜給我們的。

巨人卻是葡萄的相反。我們也不難想像,他們高大、令人畏懼,單是他們巨大的身型已經全然阻擋我們的視線。當以色列人想像到遠處的巨人,就把眼前的葡萄忘得一乾二淨。

這是我們必須牢記的:在神的應許之地,永遠都會有巨人。巨人會阻擋我們,使我們看不見、接收不到神的恩典。巨人遮擋著神的應許,歪曲我們所看到的現實。巨人就是會妨礙我們看見那美地的應許,而令我們想放棄承繼那地。

「對我們而言,香港就是神為我們所預備的地方,要我們在這裡承繼祂的禮物,活出福音。」但現實是,在香港這裡,甚至全個世界的人,其實都在面對時代的巨人。這些巨人是個人的,也是公共的;是神聖的,也是世俗的;全球的疫症、政權的轉換、少數族群的邊緣化、經濟的不穩定等。事實上,我們常常在社交媒體上都會看見「巨人的技倆」:我們以為能引起巨大迴響的事情就是正確。當我們看見數千、甚至數百萬人「讚好」某個選項,我們便以為那必然是正確的選擇。這就是社交媒體的危險之處,Facebook、Instagram、YouTube、抖音上的演算法均是如此。最大聲的、最多人讚好的,就為之勝出。在講求聲量和出現次數的社交媒體,往往會淹沒一些微小的聲音,有時也淹沒了真理的聲音。

擁有另一個心志的人會明白,神的真理來到我們當中,大小就像顆葡萄,而不是像個巨人。就如耶穌所說:「天國好像一粒芥菜種⋯⋯天國好像麵酵,藏在三斗麵裡⋯⋯像匠人所棄的石頭⋯⋯」擁有另一個心志的人,無論如何都會捉緊葡萄,即使它比起巨人顯得多麼細小。我們要持續竭力用心聆聽神真理的聲音,在世界嘈雜紛亂的意見中,祂的聲音是平靜、細小的。我們總會遇見那些盛勢咆吼的巨人,叫我們要快點逃跑,快點躲起來。但我們看得見葡萄嗎?

上週我在第一篇文章裡說到,我們的福音正站在香港歷史的轉捩點上。這是一個關鍵時刻,教會要麼帶著福音的盼望前進,要麼在恐懼與自我保護之中畏縮。神想我們看見面前的土地,但也不要對巨人全然無知。十二個探子都看得見巨人,包括約書亞和迦勒也看得見。神要我們看得見巨人,但同樣也想我們選擇專注在葡萄之上。神邀請我們一起思考,這城所經歷的社會和文化事件,到底有何屬靈意義?我們用這另一個心志,就能建立一種屬靈眼光,幫助我們從神的角度理解世界所發生的事,理解文化的影響,以及理解很關鍵的社會公義問題。當我們真的看見這地,我們就能兌現神的應許,作個勇敢的天國子民。

這就是為甚麼我們作為神的子民、作為天國公民,要聚在一起,成為教會。當我們聚集,我們便一同嘗到主恩的滋味。我們在過去的一週,可能打仗也打得累了,我們經歷了很多;然而,我們作為神的子民,就能同嘗葡萄。我們一同品嘗救恩的甘甜,經歷關係的轉化。我們可以與別人一起,經歷我們跟耶穌那豐碩的關係,也能彼此鼓勵,互相提醒弟兄姊妹要在家裡、工作場所和學校裡作天國子民。我們帶著心裡湧流著的甘甜離開教會,這些就成為動力,讓我們可以帶著另一個心志進到我們日常的影響範圍。葡萄的滋味,成為我們爭戰的動力,不只是在星期日,而在全個星期的每一刻。我們希望身邊的人也能嘗到耶穌寬恕和恩典的甘甜,我們看到了,也嘗過了神的工作,我們帶著驚奇與喜樂,希望其他人能看見、能嘗。

作為香港教會,我們不要讓巨人──不論是個人還是公共的巨人──決定我們的未來。憑藉神的恩典,我們有另一個心志。我們要睜開雙眼,再次看清神對這地的應許,就是祂早透過耶穌的生死復活所賜給我們的。葡萄跟巨人比起來,看似細小又微不足道,但我們是祂的新娘,是祂所揀選的,是祂的寶血所救贖的。我們是祂國裡的子民和大使。

願葡萄的甘甜成為我們的動力,使我們有力面對未來的巨人。如今我們要換上另一個心志,要看到巨人身後的美地,捉緊葡萄的應許。我們要衝破障礙,擁抱應許。讓我們竭力傳揚福音,與神一起在我們所愛的這城裡創造未來。

正如摩西問那十二探子,讓我也謙卑地問:你在這應許之地,看到了甚麼?

「另一個心志」講道系列文章。)


英文原文:

Grapes or Giants?


“In order to hold a different spirit, we need to see something different to everyone else. We need to see grapes instead of giants.”

In part 2 of our 5-week series on having ‘A Different Spirit’, we once again visit the story of Israel and the Promised land from Numbers 13-14. The liberated Hebrew slaves are camped across the Jordan River, just outside Canaan, a land Jacob and his family left during a famine 400 years before. God promised that their grandchildren would one day return to this land—the land God originally promised to Abraham & Sarah—so that through them all nations would be blessed. This is the land where the story of Jesus will many centuries later become Good News for all people everywhere.

From Egypt to Canaan. From slavery to shalom. From a hundred people to many thousands. But now comes their supreme test. Can they conquer the land?

Moses is a wise leader. He knows the people need real, concrete information about this land that none of them has ever seen. He chooses twelve men, including Caleb and Joshua, to spy out the land (Numbers 13:17-20). The 12 spies return after 40 days with a massive cluster of grapes, so large it took two men to carry it, and a report of the land to all of Israel. All 12 spies report the same two things – first, the land is exactly as God promised. “It does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.” Second, they agree about the people of the land: “They are very powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw giants.” Their report was of ‘grapes’ and ‘giants’. The ‘grapes’ speak of the promises of God - that the land is indeed as fertile as He had told them. The ‘giants’ speak of the problems in the land - that there are obstacles before them in their waiting inheritance.

Caleb and Joshua return focused on the grapes: “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” But the overwhelming majority of the spies—ten of them—come back focused on the giants: “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are” (v 30-31). Their fear causes them to spread scary rumours among the people. “We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge” (v 32 MSG).

Imagine what it would have been like for Israel to learn of these ‘grapes’ and ‘giants’. Grapes are small, each one insignificant. But as a cluster, as a collective, they are quite impressive. They are the living, tangible proof that God has not been lying to the Israelites. The land they have been promised is indeed a fruitful land. The grapes represent the true reality of the situation. This is what God is giving us.

The giants are the towering, overwhelming opposite of the grapes. These Giants are not hard to imagine. They are massive and intimidating. By their sheer size they block out everything else. When the people imagine the giants far away they quickly forget about the grapes hanging right in front of their eyes.

Here is what we all need to know: there will always be giants in the land of God’s promises. Giants are the obstacles that keep us from seeing and receiving God’s grace. Giants obscure God’s promises and give us a flawed perception of reality. Giants are designed to overshadow the promised reality of the land so we give up on our inheritance altogether.

“For us, Hong Kong is the place God has chosen for us in which to inherit his gift and live out the gospel.” But the reality is that right here in Hong Kong, and throughout the world, we are facing massive giants in this time we are in. These giants are personal and public, sacred and secular. A global pandemic, shifting political power, marginalization of ethnic minority groups, economic uncertainty. In fact we see ‘giant tactics’ all the time on our social media feeds. We have come to believe that volume and size equal truth. When we see that thousands or even millions of people ‘like’ a particular opinion, we find ourselves beginning to believe that it must indeed be true. This is the danger of social media, of algorithms on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and the like. The loudest and most liked voices win. Volume and frequency drown out smaller voices, sometimes the voices of truth.

Those with a different spirit understand that God’s truth often comes to us in the size of a grape, not in the size of a giant. As Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is like a tiny mustard seed…like a small bit of yeast in a large amount of dough…like a stone the builders rejected…” Those with a different spirit seize the grapes no matter how small they might appear against the giants. We constantly strain to hear the still, small voice of God’s truth amidst the howling wind of worldly opinion. There will always be loud, blustering giants, telling us to run and hide. But do we see the grapes?

In my first article last week I said we are at an inflection point for the gospel in the history of Hong Kong. This is a critical time where the church will either move forward with the hope of the gospel, or shrink back in fear and self-protection. God wants us to see the land around and ahead of us, and not be ignorant about the giants. All 12 spies saw the giants together, including Joshua and Caleb. God wants us to see the giants, but together to decide to focus on the grapes. God invites us to ponder the spiritual significance of the social and cultural issues in our city. With a different spirit we can develop the spiritual discipline that helps us see world affairs, cultural influences, and the critical social justice issues in God’s perspective. As we truly see the land, we are able to claim God’s promises and to live boldly as Kingdom citizens.

This is why we gather as church, as God’s people, as Kingdom citizens. When we meet we taste the goodness of the Lord together. We may be battle-weary from the past week, tired from all we have gone through and experienced. Together with God’s people we taste the grapes. We savour the sweetness of salvation as relationships are being transformed. With others we encounter the fruitfulness of our relationship with Jesus, and we encourage each other to be Kingdom citizens in our homes, workplaces and schools. We leave our gatherings with the sweetness dripping on our lips and flowing in our hearts. And that is the fuel that gives us a different spirit in our spheres of influence. The taste of the grapes becomes the fuel for our battles, not just on Sunday, but every moment of the week. We want others around us to also taste the sweet grapes of Jesus’ forgiveness and grace. We taste and see what God is doing – and in our amazement and joy, we want others to taste and see as well.

As the church of Hong Kong, we must not allow the giants, personal or public, to determine our future. By God’s grace we have a different spirit in us. We must open our eyes again to see God’s promises in this land, given to us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The grapes can seem small and insignificant against the size of the giants, but we are his bride, chosen by him, redeemed by his blood. We are a citizens and ambassadors for his Kingdom.

May the sweetness of the grapes gives us fuel to battle whatever giants may come. Now is the time for a different spirit, to see beyond the giants to seize the grapes. To move past the problems and embrace the promises. To share Good News as we collaborate with God in creating a new future for this city we love.

So like Moses asked the 12 spies, let me humbly ask you - what do you see in this land of promise?

 

作者為The Vine主任牧師。


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