RECEIVING REVELATION FROM GOD
As Abraham was enjoying such sweet fellowship with God, he received revelation from Him regarding the birth of Isaac and the destruction of Sodom. These are the two basic things concerning which God will always deal with us. The birth of Isaac is related to Christ, and the destruction of Sodom is related to God’s judgment upon sin. Isaac must come and Sodom must go. This means that Christ must come in and sin must go out. Today God is not only accomplishing His plan to fulfill His purpose, but as the Lord over all men He is also judging sin. The principle is the same in every aspect of our lives: in our married life, home life, personal life, Christian life, and church life. God’s concern is to bring Christ forth through us and to eliminate all the sinful things. He intends to produce Christ and to destroy the “Sodom” in our home life, work life, and even in our Christian and church life. All the revelation that we have received and shall receive from God mostly concerns these two items. If you consider your own experience, you will find that this is so. Whenever you have received revelation from God during the course of your fellowship with Him, it has always concerned Christ on the positive side and sin on the negative side. Positively we see more of Christ and say, “I have seen something new of Christ. How I hate that I have not lived more by Him.” This is the revelation regarding the birth of Isaac, the revelation that Christ will be brought forth in your life. But negatively we see our sins and say, “O Lord, forgive me. There is still so much selfishness, hatred, and jealousy in me. I have so many failures, shortcomings, and even sinful things. Lord, I judge these things and want them destroyed.” This, in principle, is God’s judgment upon and destruction of sin. In our Christian life, Christ must be brought in and “Sodom” must be destroyed. Likewise, in the church life, Christ must increase and sin must be abolished.
CONCERNING THE BIRTH OF ISAAC THROUGH SARAH • The promise confirmedFHow can Christ be brought forth? Firstly, there is the promise. The promise made to Abraham regarding the birth of Isaac in 17:19 and 21 was confirmed in 18:10. Not only did God promise Abraham that he would give birth to Isaac through Sarah, but in the whole Bible, especially in the New Testament, there is the rich promise concerning Christ. We have the promise that Christ will be our life, our supply, and our everything. How much the New Testament promises concerning Christ! All these promises can be fulfilled by the gracious visitation of God.
At the time of life, the appointed time • The birth of Isaac was at the time of life, at the appointed time (17:21; 18:10, 14). Christ always has been and always will be increased in us and brought forth through us at the time of life. We need to have many such times of life. I would like to have one every day. The time of life is always the appointed time, the time appointed by God. God made the appointment, not Abraham. It is the same with us today, for it is God who makes the appointments, not you and I. Our past experiences will help us to understand this. Whenever God comes to visit us to bring forth Christ, that time is the appointed time, the time of life.
Abraham becoming old as dead and Sarah becoming out of function • The time of life for Abraham and Sarah was the time when they had become nothing. Isaac was born when Abraham had become as old as dead and Sarah had become out of function (vv. 11-13). Likewise, whenever we become nothing, that is a good time, a divinely appointed time, for us to participate in more life.
A wonderful and marvelous doing of the LordFIn verse 14 the Lord said, “Is anything too marvelous [or wonderful] for the Lord?” (Heb.). Every experience of Christ is marvelous in our eyes; it is a wonderful doing of the Lord. How could Sarah have brought forth Isaac? It was humanly impossible. If that had happened to us, it would have been a wonderful and marvelous thing in our eyes. Christian experiences are always like this because the Christian life is a life of impossibilities. How marvelous it is that all the impossibilities become possibilities with Christ! We can do what other people cannot do and we can be what others cannot be because Christ is marvelous and wonderful in our experience of Him.
(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)