GOD’S PRESENCE BEING LIFE TO ABRAHAM
Because of Babel, God was forced to give up the created race and to initiate another action—His selection of Abraham. The record in Genesis concerning Abraham does not use the words life or light. Nevertheless, in reality the matters of life and light have much to do with God’s selection of Abraham. God’s presence was with Abraham, and His presence was life to him. When Abraham was called by God, he did not know where to go. He did not have a map or any detailed directions. God’s presence was his map, his guidance, and his supply. God’s presence was life and everything to Abraham. Apart from God’s presence, Abraham had nothing. He was surely a person who enjoyed the presence of God.
According to the record in the book of Genesis, God appeared to Abraham a number of times. Of course, when God appeared to him, He spoke to him. However, God’s speaking was not as important to Abraham as God’s appearing. Acts 7:2 indicates that Abraham was called by the appearing of the God of glory.
GOD’S SPEAKING AND THE GROUND OF ONENESS
When Abraham’s descendants, the children of Israel, made their exodus from Egypt and were brought into the wilderness, they built a tabernacle. God took up residence in this tabernacle, and, as a result, it became the tent of meeting. The books of Leviticus and Numbers are filled with God’s speaking. Leviticus 1:1 indicates that the Lord spoke to Moses out of the tent of meeting. Thus, the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, became the center of God’s oracle, of God’s speaking. Almost the entire book of Leviticus is a record of the Lord’s speaking out of the tent of meeting.
If Moses and the children of Israel had departed from the tent of meeting, they could not have heard the word of God. Perhaps some of the children of Israel said, "God is everywhere. What right do you have to claim that He speaks only out of the tabernacle? You are too narrow and too exclusive. God is great, and He is not limited to a tent. You cannot say that God speaks only in one place. You simply cannot limit the unlimited God to your little tent of meeting." Yes, God is great, and He is omnipresent. But according to the Old Testament, He was happy to reside in the tabernacle built for Him in the wilderness by His people. Although heaven is spacious, God is not satisfied to remain there. Furthermore, He did not speak to His people from heaven; He spoke to them out of the tent of meeting.
Perhaps you are wondering what this has to do with the ground of the church. What does God’s speaking, you may ask, have to do with the church ground? God’s speaking is intimately related to the ground of oneness. If we are on this ground, which is the proper ground, we shall have God’s speaking day by day. But if we do not have the speaking of God, then we probably do not have the ground of oneness.
According to the book of Leviticus, God spoke from the Holy of Holies. The book of Leviticus is the result of this kind of divine speaking. Hence, God spoke from oneness. When this oneness is lost, God’s oracle is lost also.
God’s speaking brings in light, and light issues in life. When we do not have God’s speaking, we have death and darkness. Death and darkness damage the Body and cause the members to become detached. Today’s Christianity is filled with death and darkness because the genuine oneness in life is lacking.
(The Genuine Ground of Oneness, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)