Message 54 covers Genesis 19:30-38 in which we see a portrait of a most ugly thing—incest. There are six points to consider: the family, the father, the mother, the daughters, the seed, and the far-reaching and unsearchable mercy of God. At the beginning, Abraham’s family and Lot’s family were one. However, division came in.This division produced a free group which is a seed, a miniature of today’s free groups. Yes, Lot was a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7-8), but he brought his family to a place that was under God’s condemnation. This is the situation with the free groups today. Lot was the leader of his family. As the leader, he became drunk with wine which led to him slumbering and sleeping. Eventually he became befuddled, having lost the sense of life. The mother (who should have been the helper in life) became a pillar of salt because of her worldliness and lost her function as the proper wife. In this terrible situation, the daughters still wanted to bear fruit, but they took an evil way of acquiring seed. The same is true among the many free groups today that use improper means to gain an increase. The daughters broke the governing principle ordained by God. We need a governing principle in all our spiritual activity. All our spiritual activities must be the doing of the Father’s will. The seed produced by this incest was the Moabites and Ammonites. Everything relating to the Moabites and Ammonites was under God’s condemnation. However, even though Ruth was a Moabite (Ruth 1:4), she sought God absolutely and participated, through redemption, in the incarnation of Christ. This illustrates the far-reaching and unsearchable mercy of God.
Message 55 covers Genesis 20 in which we see Abraham’s weakness in telling Abimelech that Sarah was his sister and not his wife. Before encountering Abimelech, Abraham journeyed toward the south. The north signifies hardships, while the south signifies easiness. By journeying to the south, Abraham “took a vacation” at the expense of losing God’s presence. This led to Abimelech taking Sarah. If Abraham had remained by the oaks of Mamre in Hebron, he would have had no need to lie. He lost the proper standing and testimony by journeying south. Because Abraham lied to Abimelech by saying that Sarah was his sister, God had to come to Abimelech in a dream in order to preserve Sarah from becoming Abimelech’s wife. If we mean to be absolute with the Lord, we need to ask Him if we still hold on to some hidden reserve that would cause us to journey south. Perhaps there is a hidden reserve in us that one day will be exposed. Even though Abraham had this failure, God still arranged for Abraham to intercede for Abimelech. In order to intercede for him, Abraham had to overcome the memory of his failure and his consideration of his wife’s barrenness. God had shut up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech. Even though Abraham had not yet experienced the fulfilling of God’s promise concerning Isaac who came forth from Sarah, he still had to intercede for the wombs of the house of Abimelech to be opened. We should not think that we cannot pray for others if God has not yet answered our prayers for our own needs. Interceding for others depends on the need, not on our success. “When, as God’s prophet, Abraham lied to others, they became deadened. But when he forgot his failure before them and interceded for them, they received life and he himself was revived. Likewise, if we forget our failures and intercede for the needs of those before whom we have failed, we shall not only minister life to them but also to ourselves. May we all learn the lessons contained in this chapter.”
In message 56 we come to Genesis chapter 21. This chapter can be divided into two sections. The first section, from verses 1-14, covers the birth and growth of Isaac. God’s goal in calling Abraham was to produce a seed. In the same way, God’s goal with us as His called ones is the same – the bring forth Christ. Just as Abraham encountered many difficulties in bringing forth Isaac, we also have many problems in bringing forth Christ. “In order to bring Christ forth, we must be circumcised. Our natural life and strength and our self must be terminated. This termination opens the way for the very El-Shaddai, the all-sufficient One, to come into our being as the all-sufficient grace to bring forth Christ.” Our natural strength must be dealt with and terminated in order for God, in His timing, to come in as grace and bring forth Christ. Once Christ is brought forth, there is the need for the growth of Christ. Just as Isaac grew and was weaned, Christ needs to grow and be formed in us (Gal. 4:19). Furthermore, Hagar and Ishmael must be cast out, meaning that we must abandon the law and the effort of our flesh.
In the second section, verses 14-34, we have two wells, one for Ishmael and one for Isaac, which signify the source of one’s living. Ishmael’s well was located in the wilderness, signifying the soul, and close to Egypt, signifying the world. “This means that when we are in our soul, in our natural being, we are wandering in the wilderness and can easily drift into the world.” We also see that Ishmael’s source of living made him an archer, one who kills life for building up of his own kingdom. In contrast, Isaac’s well was located in Beer-sheba, a land which became the part of the Holy Land. It was here in Beer-sheba that Abraham planted a tamarisk tree. “A tamarisk…has very fine leaves, often grows near water, and gives the impression of the flowing of the riches of life. That Abraham planted a tamarisk after making the covenant for the well at Beer-sheba indicates that the water of which he drank was flowing in a rich way. The Lord Jesus said that whoever believes in Him will have rivers of living water flowing out of his innermost being. The church life today is by the well in Beer-sheba. When you drink of this well and live by it, you will be like a tamarisk flowing with the riches of life.”
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