God's Dwelling Place

Genesis 17:1  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 5
All the relationships we have with God are founded on these two names -God and Father. I can only know God in the way he has revealed Himself-and that is the way He has revealed Himself, as the God and Father of Jesus.
Hence it is said to be eternal life to know God thus, i.e., in the Son. It is never said, that they had eternal life in connection with God Almighty:-we know they had, but it is not so characterized.
There are two things we have to know in God, that are precious to us-communion and God's dwelling place. Now this latter Abraham never had. We never read of God dwelling with any until redemption is accomplished. God could visit, give promises, &c., but He could not take up a person, or body of persons, and say, There is my dwelling place, until redemption was fully accomplished. How could God dwell where He saw sin?
The more I go on, the more I see the immense importance of this, that the unqualified results of grace should have their place in the hearts of the saints. I am sure nothing can protect them against the incoming of the seductions of the latter days, but the consciousness that they are not of the world of which Satan is the prince; but that they belong to God in virtue of a redemption which has put them in connection with Himself, apart from all question of sin, flesh, or Satan.
God blessed the faultless creature, but He was not the companion of the creature. He visits Abraham, but He has no dwelling place with Abraham; but the instant I get redemption at the Red Sea, I get the song, " This is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation." In the 15th of Exodus, and in the 29th, we find this to be the settled purpose for which He has brought them out.
Singularly lovely are the visits He pays to Abraham, but Abraham was a stranger on earth, and God was a stranger; but He has a throne in Israel. The worth of redemption is that He can dwell among them. Did God dwell among them when He said, " When I see the blood," &c. No. He is passing through as a judge. The moment redemption is wrought, (i. e., the work done which takes us out of the condition we were in, and puts us into another) He dwells among them. This is an immense truth. Has God made any mistake as to the cleansing which He has accomplished by the blood of Christ? Any mistake as to the righteousness which He has made us to be in Christ, and on which He has put His seal and fiat because He likes it? Let your hearts say what the value of the redemption is on the footing of which God comes and dwells in us. Can a single unsettled question remain if God has made me His home? He does not dwell with Abraham, but on the ground of redemption He does in Israel. In Egypt God had not lost the character of a judge, but of whom was He a judge at the Red Sea? Only of their enemies. His character is changed entirely; He is in relationship with them. So at Pentecost. Grace had come and sought them, but redemption had to be wrought; and then God comes and dwells with them. They are delivered and so cleansed as that God can make His abode with them. There is not one atom that does not bear the stamp of the blood and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be all kinds of exercises in order to maintain the relationship, but we are in it. It is there to be maintained.
In Genesis the 17th, we see the difference between a soul resting on promises for the earth, and the heart resting in God so as to have communion with God. It is a different thing to get kindness, and to enjoy Him who does the kindness. The first revelation of God to Abraham. gave no communion, but calls him from " Ur of the Chaldees." But Abraham will never bring " Terah" into Canaan. You may have left the world, and yet you will never get into Canaan with Terah. Many a soul is longing to be there, but there is a 'constant grieving of their Leader. Is He going to put His sanction on that? Never. When at God's call he went to go into Canaan, " into the land of Canaan they came." In the giving up of self and of the world there is power. Abraham gave it up and Abraham had power. Lot had no power. Abraham brought Lot back, and had the spoil of the world, yet gave it all up. God was his portion. He had given up the world and not gotten Canaan. His trust is in God. He will not have a single thing in which God is not.
If I say, I am your reward (Gen. 15) where do I get the measure and character of the reward? In your heart. That is not wrong, but it went no further. It made what man could look for, the measure of what God could give. It could meet every want, but am I going to make God merely a servant for all my wants?
In the 17th chapter it is not meeting man even in respect of His own promises and man's wants. There it is, " I am the Almighty God," &c.; not a word of " thy." It is not, I am "thy" Almighty God. He was that, but He was much more. It is what He is. God reveals Himself, saying in effect to Abraham, " You have not to do with promises, you have not to do with wants; you have to do with me." " Walk before me, and be thou perfect." Let there be the full answer to what I am.
What God wants is to take us out of it all to enjoy Himself. He has given us a nature capable of enjoying Himself. He is a Father and we are children. When He says, I am holy, our hearts reply, 0 what a comfort. Not a particle of sin will be in His presence. He is love-to be sure He is, and it is shed abroad in my heart, and I am living in it and on it. God talked with Abraham. I get not merely promises, but communion.
In the 15th chapter Abraham says, What wilt thou give me? In the 18th he is interceding for others. If you are living in the sense of your own need, your prayers will turn round yourself; but when there is that kind of confidence which is found in communion, besides prayer for your wants, you will be able to intercede for others; there will be the intercessional link. In the 15th chapter Abram remains Abram; in the 17th his name is no more Abram, but Abraham.
Has He not done the same with the Church? We are associated with the full tide of His own thoughts in grace. After the struggling at Peniel, God gave no revelation of Himself; but when Jacob got back to Bethel He revealed Himself unasked.
We are not in the flesh at all; we are not in Egypt at all; and the God we have found is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and He talks with us. We are on our faces it is true, but still He talks with us on the ground of redemption. We are not in the old name by which we were known in flesh, but in Christ. " The Lord direct our hearts into his love."