TWO CATEGORIES OF GOD’S DOINGS FOR THE CALLED
FOR HIM TO EXIST • Prior to chapter fifteen, Abraham had experienced God as the One who protected him and provided many material things (12:16). Abraham had given all the choices to Lot and had gained the victory over the four kings. None of these things, however, had anything to do with the fulfillment of God’s purpose but were only related to Abraham’s existence (12:10; 14:24). He experienced all these outwardly in his environment, not inwardly in his life.
FOR HIM TO FULFILL GOD’S PURPOSE • Do you know what God’s purpose is? God’s purpose is to have a people to express Him with His image, represent Him with His dominion, and take the earth for His kingdom. Beginning with Genesis 1:26, we see that God’s eternal purpose is to have a people expressing Him in His image, representing Him with His dominion, and taking over the earth for His kingdom. When God came in to call Abraham He promised Abraham that he would have the blessing to express God and become a great nation so that through him God might have His kingdom on earth. This is God’s eternal purpose today. But everything that had happened to Abraham prior to Genesis 15 had nothing to do with the fulfillment of God’s purpose. It is from chapter fifteen through chapter twenty-four that we have a record showing us how God had worked something into Abraham so that he was able to fulfill God’s purpose. It was no longer merely outward experiences in environment but inward experiences in life.
Most Christians today only care for their existence, not for God’s eternal purpose. Even many among us still have not been deeply impressed with God’s eternal purpose. Many are still hoping that the Lord will give them a better job, a good husband or wife, a good education, or an excellent promotion. While all of these things may enable you to exist, they have nothing to do directly with the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Everything prior to chapter fifteen was good, helpful, and profitable for Abraham’s existence, enabling him to live as a human being, but none of those things had anything to do directly with the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Look into Abraham’s situation. Could the cattle that Abraham gained in Egypt express God? Could the maidservants represent God? Although God had given Abraham a great deal, nothing that he had was useful for the fulfillment of God’s purpose. To exist is one thing, and to fulfill God’s purpose is another. The principle is the same with us today. Our education, jobs, and houses are all good for our existence, but none of them are good for the fulfilling of God’s purpose.
TWO THINGS NEEDED FOR THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD’S PURPOSE
THE SEED • Now we need to see the two things that were necessary for the fulfillment of God’s purpose in Abraham’s day. The first item was the seed (15:1-6; see 13:16; 22:17-18; 12:2). God called Abraham with the intention of fulfilling His purpose. As we have seen, His purpose is to have a people in His image to express Himself and with His dominion to represent Himself. But Abraham did not have a seed. How could Abraham fulfill God’s purpose without having a seed? God needs the seed. He needs to have a people through the seed.
Not what Abraham had • Abraham was the same as we are, and we are the same as he was. When Abraham understood that he needed a seed, he counted on Eliezer (15:2-4). Abraham seemed to say, “Now I realize that I must have a seed for God to have a people. Since I am old and my wife is nearly out of function, the seed must be what I already have.” But God will never use for the fulfillment of His purpose the things that we already have. Whatever we have is altogether no good for this. Do not think that what you have is good for the fulfillment of God’s purpose. What you have is just an Eliezer. Nothing that you have is counted. Nothing that we have is useful for the fulfilling of God’s purpose. At best, whatever we have is not of God but is something of Damascus.
But what God promised to work out • The seed that was needed for the fulfillment of God’s purpose had to be what God promised to work out through Abraham. It had to be something that God worked into him so that he might bring it forth (15:4-5). What then is the seed? If you pray and read Genesis 15 and Galatians 3, you will see that the seed is Christ Himself. Nothing that we have could ever bring forth Christ. Our education, attainments, skills, etc. mean nothing. All of these things are just Eliezers, things which are not what the Lord has wrought into us to bring forth Christ, the seed. None of them are subjective but altogether objective in our environment. Your Eliezer might be your college education. Perhaps even in the church life you might still be trusting in this Eliezer, meaning that you still trust in your college education. All of us have passed through some Damascus, picking up at least one Eliezer. That could never be the seed that God wants. The seed must be something that God works into us, not something that we have picked up. Whatever we picked up from our Damascus can never bring forth Christ. Only that which God works into our being can bring forth Christ as the seed.
In order to fulfill God’s purpose we must have Christ wrought into us. This is why Paul told us that Christ was revealed into him (Gal. 1:15-16), that Christ lived in him (Gal. 2:20), that Christ was formed in him (Gal. 4:19), and that for him to live was Christ (Phil. 1:21). Paul lived Christ. When he was Saul of Tarsus, he passed through a Jewish Damascus, gaining many things. All that he acquired during that time was just an Eliezer. The Lord told Paul that he had to forget all of those things—they were dung, garbage, dog food—and to cast them aside. None of the things that Paul had could bring forth Christ. Only that which God worked into his being could bring forth Christ. The Lord seemed to tell Paul, “The things that you had from your religious background can never bring forth Christ. Only what I am working into you will bring forth Christ. What I am working into you is My grace.” Eventually, Paul could say, “By the grace of God I am what I am; and His grace unto me was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me” (1 Cor. 15:10).
(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)