REMOVED BY GOD INTO THE LAND OF CANAAN
Regardless of how long Abraham delayed in answering God’s calling, he could not delay God very long. According to God’s feeling, a thousand years are the same as a day. Can you delay God a thousand years? No one can do this. At the most, we might delay him for fifty years, which in God’s eyes are a little more than an hour. God is sovereign and patient. God could say to Haran and Terah, “All that you are doing is in vain. After you die, I will bring My called one to My land.” God is God. No one can frustrate Him. Once He has chosen and called you, He will not be stopped by anything. Sooner or later He will get through. He will come to you again and again. If one death is not sufficient to accomplish His aim, there will be another one. He has a way. He is much greater than you are. According to Acts 7:4, it was not Abraham who entered into the good land but God who removed him into the land. Although Hebrews 11:8 says that Abraham went out by faith, Acts 7:4 says that God removed him from Haran into Canaan. At most, we can delay the Lord for just a short time. Eventually we shall be gained by Him. If we delay, we shall only waste our time. God told Abraham to get out of his country. Since he did not do it in a rapid and clean-cut way, God removed him into His land.
PASSING THROUGH THE LAND TO THE PLACE WHICH GOD CONFIRMS
At Haran, Abraham crossed the river. After crossing the river, he sojourned through the land, traveling southward until he reached a place called Shechem (12:6). The word Shechem means a shoulder which affords strength. At Shechem was Moreh where there was an oak. The name Moreh means a teacher who affords knowledge. Abraham journeyed to a place where he could get both strength and knowledge. Was that the place where God intended for Abraham to be? Yes. We know this because God did not reappear to Abraham until he had arrived at the oak of Moreh. There God reappeared to him (12:7).
God’s reappearing to you confirms that you have arrived at the right place. Perhaps you experienced an appearing of God many years ago. After that time you wandered, journeyed, and traveled from place to place without having another appearing of God. One day, after arriving at the oak of Moreh, the church, the Lord appeared to you again. This appearing confirmed that you had arrived at the right place. Many of us can testify that after we were saved we traveled through Christianity without having God’s reappearing. It was not until we came to today’s Shechem with the oak of Moreh, that is, the church life, that the inner appearing rose up once again. Many of us can testify that after we came to the church, we had the feeling that God had appeared to us again, telling us, “This is the place.”
The oak, a strong, hardy tree, signifies strength. An oak tree also affords shade from the heat of the sun. This is very meaningful. I believe that in symbol this signifies the church life which affords us the strength and shade. The church life strengthens us and shades us from the heat of the sun.
When God appeared to Abraham at Moreh, He said to him, “Unto thy seed will I give this land” (12:7). This was the first time that the promise of the land was clearly given. In 12:1 God only said to Abraham, “unto a land that I will shew thee”; God did not tell him where the land was or that He would give the land to him. But here God told him definitely where the land was and He promised to give this land to his seed. When we get to the place which God confirms by His reappearing, we also shall receive the promise of today’s good land—Christ, the church, and the kingdom.
At the place where the Lord reappeared to him, Abraham built an altar. This altar was an anti-testimony to the building of the tower of Babel. At Babel, men built a tower to make a name for themselves. At Shechem, Abraham did not build anything to make himself a name; he built an altar for calling on the name of the Lord (12:8). This signifies that when we arrive at the place that God has chosen, God appears to us, and we have a deeper, fuller, richer, and more intimate fellowship with Him by calling on His name. We all can testify that we never called on the name of the Lord as much as we have since coming into the church life. Calling on the name of the Lord follows the building up of an altar to the very God who has appeared to us. In the church life, under the oak of Moreh, we have the intimate appearing of the Lord. What shall we do in response to this? We should build an altar to Him and put everything we are and have on the altar. We need to tell the Lord that everything we are and have is for Him, and then we need to call on the name of the Lord to maintain a deeper, richer, and more intimate fellowship with Him.
Now we have seen the experience of the first Hebrew, the first river crosser. Abraham was the first one to cross the river and to reach the place where God could reappear to him and where he could build an altar and call on the name of the Lord. This place is the right place. It is not at Ur, Haran, or any place other than at the oak of Moreh. Here we have God’s appearing and God’s presence. Here we receive the promise of the good land. Here we can build an altar to the Lord, call on His name, and have intimate fellowship with Him.
(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)