Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to another seed of the divine revelation sown in the book of Genesisthe seed of intercession. In the first seventeen chapters of Genesis, there is no record of any intercession. Although we may suppose that Melchisedec was interceding behind the scene for Abraham, there is no record of this. The first clear mention of intercession in the Bible is in Genesis 18, where we see that Abraham was the first intercessor. This record of intercession is not simply a seed, for it contains a certain amount of development. In Genesis 18 we not only have a story of intercession but a clear revelation of the basic principles of intercession. Intercession is a great thing in the Bible. Without it God's economy cannot be accomplished. The excellent ministry of Christ today as our kingly and divine High Priest is a ministry of intercession. Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25 both tell us that Christ is interceding for us. Since this matter of intercession is so important, we must devote an entire message to it, mainly considering the basic principles of intercession.
The first basic principle of intercession is that it must be according to God's revelation (18:17, 20-21). The only intercession that counts in the eyes of God is that which is according to His revelation. This means that proper intercession is not initiated by us but by God in His revelation. This is clearly portrayed in Genesis 18. Abraham did not wake up one morning concerned for Lot and then kneel down to pray to the One on the throne in heaven regarding him. No, while Abraham was sitting at his tent door to cool himself in the heat of the day, God came to him in the form of a mortal man. Since God did not come to Abraham in His glory with His majesty, Abraham did not recognize at first that it was Jehovah God who was visiting him. Eventually, Abraham realized that this One was the very God. Nevertheless, Abraham was not terrified; he was very restful, conversing with God as with an intimate friend. This conversation must have lasted for several hours, for it took time to prepare the meal and to eat it. When God and the two angels were about to leave, Abraham did not bid them good-bye but conducted them on their way, probably walking with them for a good distance. Here we see that our God is not only a loving God but also a testing God. Although He loves us and knows everything, He often tests us. He knows our heart, the innermost part of our being, but He often says nothing. By testing He draws out what is within us.
What was God's purpose in coming to Abraham in Genesis 18? He surely did not come for a meal; neither did He come to confirm His promise regarding Sarah's giving birth to a son. God came to Abraham because He was seeking an intercessor. On His throne in heaven, God had decided to execute His judgment on the wicked city of Sodom. But God would never forget that one of His people, Lot, was in that city. Lot did not even realize that he had to be rescued from Sodom. What could God do? He had to find someone to intercede for Lot. God knew that there was no one on earth who was as concerned for Lot and who was so much with God as Abraham was. Hence, God came to Abraham for the purpose of finding an intercessor. Without an intercessor to intercede for His people, God cannot do anything. God has His divine principles. One of them is that without intercession He cannot save anyone. The salvation of every Christian has been accomplished through intercession. God did not stay on His throne in heaven waiting for such intercession to occur. Rather, He came down to visit Abraham in the form of a mortal man so that Abraham might easily talk with Him and intercede for Lot. In Genesis 18 Abraham did not pray to God or call on the name of God; he talked to God as with an intimate friend. Thus, the purpose of God's visit to Abraham in this chapter was that Abraham might take up the burden to intercede for Lot according to God's desire.
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