The second factor of the motive and strength was God’s calling (Acts 7:3-4; Gen. 12:1). God did not appear to Abraham without speaking to him. When He came to Abraham, He called him. God spoke to Abraham. Calling means speaking. It is not a small thing to hear God’s speaking. At the time we were saved, we all experienced the appearing of Jesus. At the same time that He appeared to us, He spoke to us. There was a divine speaking, a kind of speaking in the spirit.
Many of us can testify that at the time we were saved, deep within us we had the consciousness that Jesus was speaking to us. Perhaps the Lord Jesus came to you when you were a student and said, “What are you doing here?” You answered, “I am studying to get my degree.” Then the Lord asked, “For what?” You replied, “To make a good living in the future.” After this, the Lord asked, “Then what? What about your future?” With others, the Lord Jesus has spoken in a different way, saying, “Look at how sinful you are, at how bad and poor you are!” In response to this, some have said to the Lord, “Don’t bother me.” Then the Lord said, “I love you. I want to save you. Don’t you know that I’m Jesus. I want to rescue you from your poor situation. Aren’t you willing to take Me?” To others of us the Lord Jesus said, “Don’t you know that I am the living One. I am the only One who can give you eternal life.” Many of us have heard words such as these, not out of the mouth of a preacher but out of the mouth of the living Jesus. Do you recall the kind of speaking you heard from the living Jesus when He appeared to you at the time you were called and saved? The non-Christians, including the professing Christians, have not had this kind of experience and they consider it as superstition. But it is not superstition! The God of glory has come to us and spoken to us. Abraham could say, “Don’t tell me that this is a superstition. I heard Him speak. He said, ‘Get thee out of thy country!’ This word did not come from my father or from my wife. It was spoken by the God of glory.” Tell me honestly, have you not heard the speaking of Jesus? I do not believe that any saved person will ever be lost again. Although a saved one may backslide, he can never forget the appearing and the speaking of Jesus. He might even say, “I don’t believe in Jesus anymore,” but deep within the Lord says, “How can you say that you don’t believe in Me anymore?” You can never forget His appearing and His speaking to you.
A good number of young people have asked me what is the difference between a true Christian and a false Christian. All of them profess to believe in Jesus. The best answer that I can give is this: a true Christian has had the speaking of Jesus, but the professing Christian only has the preaching of a doctrine. A genuine Christian has, at least once, heard the speaking of Jesus by the living Spirit directly in the depths of his being. That speaking was the strength that enabled all of us to accept God’s calling.
The third aspect of the motive and strength to accept God’s calling is God’s promise (12:2-3). Most of God’s speaking to us is His promise. If God says, “I don’t want to bother you; I want to save you,” that is a promise. If He says, “I love you,” that also is a promise. Most of what He speaks to us is a promise.
What did the God of glory say to Abraham? Firstly, the God of glory said, “Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred” (12:1). You may think that this was not a promise. But it implied a promise. When God told Abraham to get out of his country, it implied that God was promising Abraham a place. Otherwise, Abraham would have said, “If I get out of my country, where should I go?” God had a place for Abraham. Even the command to get out of the country implied a promise, the promise of the good land. Abraham could say, “Since God commands me to get out of my country, this must surely mean that He has a place for me.” God told Abraham to get out of his country, from his kindred, and from his father’s house, unto a land that He would show him. That certainly was a promise. God’s promise was an incentive for him to leave his country.
(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)