STRENGTH—THE APPEARANCE OF GOD
At Moreh God reappeared to Abraham and he met God again (12:6). If you say that you have been called, I would ask you this question: What is the seal of your calling? The seal of our calling is God’s reappearance. God’s reappearance, His coming again to us, is the seal of our answer to His calling. The reappearing of God to Abraham was the strength that enabled him to live by faith.
If you read the record in Genesis, you will see that during Abraham’s time mankind lived in the way of building a strong city for their protection and erecting a high tower for making themselves a name. That was the living of the humankind at Babel. But Abraham lived in an absolutely different way. His living was an anti-testimony to the way of the humankind, to the way that had been fully developed at Babel. As we saw in message thirty-six, at Babel there was a great city built by man. This city was not built with God-created stones but with man-made bricks. Those bricks were made by killing the element in the soil that grows life. But Abraham, the called one, did not live in that way. With Abraham, there was no city and no tower. After God’s reappearing as the seal to Abraham’s answer to God’s calling, Abraham immediately built an altar, not to make a name for himself but to call upon the name of the Lord. Why did Abraham do this? Because he had the reappearing of God. How was he able to do this? Also because he had the reappearing of God. Remember that the record in Genesis concerning Abraham is a biography, not a doctrine, religion, or tradition. Abraham did not build an altar because of teaching or religious tradition. He built it because God had reappeared to him. God’s reappearing meant everything to him. It not only sealed Abraham’s answer to God’s calling; it also strengthened him to live in a way that was absolutely different from the way of all of the humankind. It caused him to live as an anti-testimony to his generation. The altar that Abraham built was an anti-testimony to the tower of Babel.
AFTER ARRIVING AT CANAAN • Now we need to find out at what time Abraham experienced God’s reappearing. Our God never does anything without a purpose and He never acts in a meaningless way. Everything He does is purposeful and meaningful. After Abraham answered God’s calling, believing in Him and obeying Him, he came to the oak of Moreh (12:6-7). When he came to that place, God reappeared to him because he had believed in God’s calling and had obeyed it. As one who believed and obeyed God’s calling, Abraham had no choice of the place where he should stay. God called Abraham a second time at Haran, and he crossed the river there, beginning a long journey. While he was on this long journey, he did not have his own choice. Hebrews 11:8 tells us that Abraham did not know where he was going. He had no road map in his hand. His road map was a living Person, the living God. While he was journeying, he had to look to God continually; he could not stop at any place he chose. As he was traveling, God’s presence was his direction, his road map. He followed God in this way until he arrived at Moreh. At Moreh, God appeared to him. That appearing of God at Moreh indicated that Abraham had come to the place where God wanted him to be. There God told Abraham that He would give that land to his descendants.
God’s first appearing to us does not depend upon us at all. It is God who initiates that calling. However, after the initial appearing, every other appearing depends upon our condition. Although God’s first appearing is initiated by Him and does not depend upon us, the subsequent appearings depend upon our condition. If Abraham had not arrived at Moreh, he would not have had God’s reappearing, the reappearing that strengthened him to go on with God. This going on with God was Abraham’s living by faith in God.
AFTER THE SEPARATION OF LOT • A second reappearing of God to Abraham is recorded in Genesis 13:14-17. In this chapter we see that Abraham had difficulty with Lot. In the flesh, Lot was Abraham’s nephew, but before God he was Abraham’s brother. Although Lot gave Abraham a difficult time, Abraham did not strive with him. Rather, he allowed Lot to have the choice. After Lot had separated from Abraham, leaving him alone, God reappeared to Abraham again. This reappearing was due to the fact that Abraham did not strive or fight for himself but left all the choices with his brother Lot. This second reappearing of God also strengthened Abraham’s life by faith.
After we have been called by God, we need to live by faith. This is our need today. If you have been called by God, you have to live by faith. In the Bible, faith is in contrast to sight. If you have been called by God, you must live by faith, not by sight. Look at today’s world: it is undoubtedly a harvest of the human living sown at Babel. A seed was sown at Babel, and the world today is a great harvest of that seed. People are building great cities for their living and are erecting high towers for their name. This is the situation everywhere on earth. But we have been called. What shall we do? We must live by faith. What does it mean to live by faith? It means to live by trusting in God for everything. Abraham did not declare that he lived by faith. Neither did he preach living by faith. He simply lived by faith. Now we need to see in what way Abraham lived by faith.
(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)