Abraham—Called by God, by Witness Lee

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In the matter of the capture of Lot, God was sovereign. Genesis 14:13 says, “And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew.” The four kings had captured Sodom and all of its food supply, but one person who escaped told Abraham that Lot had been captured. Do you believe that this happened by accident? While so many others were captured, this one escaped. That person was preserved by God’s sovereignty. As we shall see, it must have happened because of the intercession behind the scene. The one who escaped did not run away but came purposely to Abraham and told him that Lot had been captured.

Unlike us, Abraham did not count the weak point of his brother and did not take pleasure in Lot’s suffering and calamity. Abraham did not say, “Lot should never have separated himself from me. I knew this was going to happen. He got what he deserved. I believe that God is sovereign and that Lot’s suffering comes from God. Be at peace and go home. God will preserve Lot.” I believe that many of us would have responded in this way. But Abraham was different. When he received this information, he made a strong decision to fight for Lot (14:14). As we shall see, Abraham prayed. In verse 22 he told the king of Sodom that before he went out to war he lifted up his hand to God. How could Abraham have prayed and made such a decision? It must have been due to the fact that someone behind the scene was interceding for him. I believe that the intercessor knew of the fighting that was going on and of the capture of Lot. As a result of this intercession, Abraham made a brief and bold decision.

Abraham decided to take his three hundred eighteen men and fight against the four kings and their armies. The four kings must have had several armies, the number of men in which must have been much greater than the number of Abraham’s men. How could Abraham have fought against them with such a small number? Moreover, they were kings and generals who had fought many battles, and Abraham was a layman. How could he fight against those who were experts in war? How could he defeat them with such a small number? Nevertheless, Abraham was bold, having confidence in God.

As far as Abraham was concerned, it was a shame for him to see that his brother had been captured. It is the same in the church today. It is a shame for us to see that any brother or sister has been captured. If a brother in the brothers’ house is captured and you see it, that is a shame. You should not tolerate it but should say, “I cannot bear with this. I must rise up and do something about it!” This is what Abraham did.

Abraham’s bold decision must have been due to the fact that behind the scene someone was interceding for him. Perhaps you are thinking that there is no record of this in the Bible. Neither is there a record of Melchisedec’s parents or genealogy. But do you believe that he had no parents or genealogy? Certainly he did, yet the Bible does not mention them. Many things behind the scene in this chapter are not recorded. I do believe that behind the scene there was some intercession. Someone concerned for God’s interest on earth was interceding for Lot, Abraham, and Abraham’s fighting.

We have seen that Lot’s defeat did not begin at Sodom. In the same principle, Abraham’s victory did not start with the slaughter of the kings. Abraham’s victory began when Lot departed from him. Abraham had been called by God, and he answered that calling by coming forward to the very land that God intended to give him. At that time, however, Abraham had nearly no experience. All he had was a little experience in answering God’s calling and coming forward to the place where God intended him to be. As we saw in the last message, a famine arose as a test to Abraham, and he was not able to withstand that test. Abraham failed God, trying by himself to make a living at the sacrifice of his wife. Under God’s sovereign teaching, Abraham learned a great deal by that failure. Abraham learned that God is sovereign over everything and that He knows everything concerning His people. Everything related to God’s called ones is in His hand. Abraham saw that, experienced it, and came fully into it.

Afterward, when the problem arose between Abraham and Lot, Abraham was victorious. His victory began at that time because he had learned the basic lesson in his going down to Egypt. We all must learn such a basic lesson. After you have been called and have answered God’s calling by coming to the place where He intends you to be, the first basic lesson that God will teach you is that, as a called one of God, everything concerning you is under God’s hand. God is sovereign over you. This was the basic lesson that Abraham learned by going down to Egypt. After learning that lesson, he gained the victory with Lot. When the problem arose with Lot, Abraham didn’t take his own choice; he knew that his choice was in the hands of God. That was the beginning of Abraham’s victory.

Then the time came when Abraham could show the whole universe that he was on God’s side. When Melchisedec appeared, two special titles of God are revealed: the Most High God and the Possessor of heaven and earth (v. 19). Both Melchisedec and Abraham spoke of God in this way. Abraham said, “I have lifted up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth” (14:22). Abraham could say, “By going down to Egypt I have learned the lesson that my God, the One who called me, is the Possessor of both heaven and earth. I don’t need to have any choice. My choice is just He. I cannot bear seeing that my brother has been captured. This is a shame to me. I must take him back. I don’t care for the number of soldiers and I don’t care for the kings and armies. I don’t care that I have less than they do. My burden is to get my brother back. If I don’t do this, it is a shame to me.”

In fighting for his brother, Abraham risked his life. It was not a small thing for him to risk his life in order to rescue his captured brother. But he did it. The fight went smoothly, and Abraham pursued the enemy from the south all the way to Dan in the north. His victory must have been the result of the intercession behind the scene.

Abraham gained the victory by trusting in God. He had confidence in God because he had learned to know Him. Likewise, we all must learn to know God. We must learn that, even today, the earth is God’s. God is the landlord. He is not only the landlord but also the heavenlord. Both the heaven and the earth belong to our Father, the One who has called us. We need to have such confidence in Him. If we lack this confidence, we are already defeated and shall become a Lot.

Why was Lot defeated? Because, unlike Abraham, he did not learn the lesson that God is the Possessor of heaven and earth. Even after he had been rescued, there is no record that he thanked Abraham or said a word to the Lord. Lot was absolutely out of function. According to the following chapters, he went back to Sodom. Although his capture was a warning to him not to return to Sodom, he still went back, even after his capture and rescue. We see from this that once you have been defeated it is very difficult to keep yourself away from that defeat.

Although Lot had been defeated, Abraham was victorious. This victory was the peak of his outward experience. Later on, God came in to give him some inward experiences.

(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)