AFTER ABRAHAM’S CIRCUMCISION
Abraham’s fellowship with God began after he was circumcised and had been terminated (17:24-27). He had not only been called and learned to live by faith in God for his existence, but he had learned to reject and deny his natural strength and to trust in God for everything for the fulfillment of His purpose. After becoming such a person, he began to live in fellowship with God. In his circumcised state, God came to visit him, and as a circumcised person Abraham had an intimate communion with the visiting God. He did not need to go to God; God came to visit him. Religion always charges people to go to God, but Genesis 18 reveals that God came to visit His circumcised one. The circumcised one did not need to go to a temple or cathedral; his tent became God’s tabernacle, the place where God enjoyed His circumcised one’s ministry of water and food. It is after our flesh has been circumcised and our natural man has been terminated that God comes to visit us and we minister water and food to Him for His refreshment and satisfaction in our intimate fellowship with Him.
AS A FRIEND OF GOD
As Abraham lived in fellowship with God, God considered him to be his friend (James 2:23; Isa. 41:8; 2 Chron. 20:7). The conversation between Abraham and God in this chapter resembles that between two friends. This happened by the oaks of Mamre in Hebron, where Abraham lived according to God’s pleasure (13:18). The name Hebron in Hebrew means fellowship, communion, and friendship. It was at this place of fellowship and friendship that God came to visit Abraham as a friend, and Abraham welcomed God as a friend, preparing water for God to wash His feet for His refreshment and feeding God with a rich meal for His satisfaction. Abraham did all this in the intimate fellowship with his Friend at his tent door under the shadow of the oak trees, not in the religious worship of “God” in a cathedral or sanctuary under the service of a “priest” or “minister.”
When Abraham was sitting in the tent door to cool himself in the heat of the day, God appeared to him with the two angels. When he saw them approaching, he ran to welcome them and asked them to stay with him. He prepared water for them to wash their feet and served them a rich meal of three cakes of fine wheat flour baked on embers, a tender and good calf, and butter and milk (vv. 4-8). In ancient times, three measures, or three seahs, were the equivalent of an ephah. According to 1 Samuel 1:24 and Judges 6:19, the normal portion for a meal was an ephah of fine flour. Why then does 18:6, like Matthew 13:33, mention three measures, not one ephah? Because in both Genesis 18 and Matthew 13 three measures of fine flour signify the resurrected Christ in His humanity. Such a Christ is the fine flour baked into cakes to be food for both God and man. Abraham also prepared a tender calf. This calf, like the fatted calf used to feed the prodigal son in Luke 15:23, was also a figure of Christ. Abraham also served God and the angels butter and milk. God drank the milk of the good land much earlier than the children of Israel did. The cakes, the calf, and the butter and milk all signify the riches of the all-inclusive Christ for the satisfaction of both God and man.
Although the Bible does not say that Abraham presented this meal to God as an offering, in actuality he did so. Years later, when the children of Israel went to their yearly feasts, they offered God the produce of the good land, offering Him the produce of either the vegetable or animal life. In principle, Abraham did the same thing in Genesis 18. Whenever we enjoy a good time with God, having intimate fellowship with Him, at that time Christ not only is supplied to us, but we offer Christ to God, offering Him the riches of Christ for His enjoyment. In other words, we offer Christ to God as three measures of fine flour, as a tender and good calf, and as butter and milk. Thank the Lord that we have had at least some experience of this. While we were enjoying intimate fellowship with God, we not only received Christ from God but also offered Christ to God as God’s food. We offered Christ in His resurrected humanity as three measures of fine flour, we offered Christ as the tender and good calf, and we presented all the riches of Christ to God for His enjoyment. A good number of times at the Lord’s table I have not enjoyed the Lord as much as when I have offered Christ to God for God’s enjoyment. When guests come to visit you in your house, you do not expect them to feed you. Rather, you enjoy feeding them. The sisters especially enjoy serving a meal and watching the guests eat it. The more the guests eat, the happier the sisters are. We all need to be in such an intimate fellowship with God that we not only enjoy Christ but also offer Christ to God for His enjoyment. The highest fellowship is not when we enjoy Christ so much before God but when God enjoys Him in us more than we do. The highest and richest meeting in the church is the meeting in which we offer Christ to God for His satisfaction.
(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)