In message 48 of the Life-Study of Genesis we come to the unveiling of the divine title and the changing of human names for the fulfillment of God’s purpose. To properly understand this portion in Genesis 17, we must see that God’s purpose is to have a collective people be His expression and representation on earth. And the way God fulfills His purpose is by working Himself into man. “God’s way is extraordinary. Although God wants us to do things for Him, His desire is not that we do anything but that He come into us to do everything through us for Himself.” Praise the Lord! As the One who works Himself into us to do everything through us, God unveiled Himself in Genesis 17:1 as “El-Shaddai.” This divine title means the all-sufficient Mighty One with an udder and “denotes that God is the rich source of supply as grace to His people for them to fulfill His purpose.” Apart from God, it is impossible to fulfill His purpose. Therefore, we need to eat Him, drink Him, and take Him into us. “As we take into our being some element of His divine being, partaking of His divine nature, this divine element will work in and through us to fulfill His purpose.” Immediately after God revealed Himself as El-Shaddai, God told Abraham that his name needed to be changed. Abraham’s original name, Abram, means exalted father while Abraham means father of a great multitude. While we may desire to be exalted, what God needs to fulfill His purpose is a multitude. “God needs the church, the multitude. If you remain by yourself, God has no way of fulfilling His purpose through you.” Sarah’s name also needed to be changed from Sarai, meaning my princess, to Sarah, meaning princess. “When our name is Sarai we say, ‘My husband, my home, my day, my children, my position, my function in the meetings, my everything.’” But God wants the sisters to be change from my princess to princess, to be general and not particular. “When the brothers no longer want to be exalted but multiplied and the sisters no longer want to be particular but general, then we shall be able to live together and have the proper church life and the multitude for the fulfilling of God’s purpose.”
In message 49, we come to the matter of circumcision for the fulfillment of God’s purpose. It is crucial for us to realize that for the fulfillment of God’s purpose, God needs man but God does not want anything of man. That is why there is the need for circumcision, which is to deal with the self, the flesh, the natural strength, and the natural ability. In Genesis 17 after Abraham had been robbed of all the places he had been and people he had acquired, and after God had revealed Himself as El-Shaddai, God told Abraham that he needed to be circumcised. “The greatest frustration to the Lord’s move in His recovery of the church life is our natural ability. What frustrates the Lord’s move is not what we cannot do; it is what we can do. Abraham’s exercise of his natural strength kept God away from him for thirteen years. What a frustration that was!” We’ve seen that on the negative side, circumcision signifies the putting off of the flesh, including our natural strength, ability, power, talents, and the natural man, the ego, the “I.” On the positive side, circumcision was always performed on the eighth day, signifying that circumcision brings us into resurrection. Furthermore, circumcision in the Old Testament is equivalent to baptism in the New Testament. Both are for terminating our natural being and bringing us into resurrection. And lastly, circumcision corresponds with the changing of human names (covered in message 48). “Colossians 3:9-10 tells us that we have put off the old man and have put on the new man. This is the real changing of names, the true significance of circumcision, and the genuine experience of baptism.” The real changing of names and the experience of baptism are also seen in Galatians 2:20 where Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” “To circumcise the flesh is to put off the old man and to put on the new man. Then as the new man, we shall have the seed for the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Moreover, when we are in the new man, we are in the land, the church. This is altogether a matter of the experience of Christ. When we see that we have already been terminated with Christ and ushered into His resurrection, the indwelling Spirit will honor this by operating within us so that we can put off the old man and put on the new man. In this way, God has the seed and the land for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose.”
Message 50 is on living in fellowship with God – communion with God on the human level. From Genesis chapters 11 – 24 we can see that Abraham’s experience with God is in four main sections. In the first section, Abraham was called by God while living in the demonic land of Chaldea. In this section, Abraham experienced the God of glory. In the second section, from chapters 12-14, Abraham lived by faith for his existence and experienced the Most High God. The third section, from chapters 15-17, Abraham was trained to know grace for the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Abraham learned to do everything by and with God, and came to know God as El-Shaddai. At this point, Abraham was ushered into the fourth section of living in fellowship with God (chapters 18-24). In this section, Abraham came to know God as a mortal man. Our experience of God should be the same as Abraham’s. “At the beginning of our experience, we sense Him as the God of glory. But the more we experience Him, the more we realize that He comes in a human form, the same as we are…Many sisters have the experience that while they are cooking in their kitchens or doing laundry, the Lord comes to them in a very intimate, human way, and they have a pleasant time of sweet fellowship with the Lord, conversing with him as with a friend…This is the experience of the Lord coming to visit us on our human level so that we can commune with him as with an intimate friend.” As Abraham was fellowshipping with God, he received the revelation concerning the birth of Isaac and the destruction of Sodom. The birth of Isaac is related to the bringing forth of Christ and the destruction of Sodom is related to God’s judgment upon sin. In all of our experiences, God will always deal with us concerning these two matters because what God is concerned with are the bringing forth of Christ through us and the elimination of all the sinful things in our personal life, Christian life, and even church life. In summary, we see that in Genesis 18 Abraham was a man who had been called by God, who lived a life of faith, who knew grace for the fulfillment of God’s purpose, and whose flesh, natural man, and self had been cut off. As a result, Abraham lived in fellowship with God. “In this chapter we see that the sweetest and most intimate experience of God is like what we have with our most intimate friend.”
There are many precious points brought forth in these messages. Please use the comments section to share your enjoyment of them.
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