Summary: Revelation and relationship is a result of growing in the knowledge of God. This sermon looks at Abraham as a model of intimacy with God.
THE ONGOING REVELATION OF GOD OR GROWING IN HIS KNOWLEDGE
As we look at the Presence of God, we realize that there is the Person of God. The Person of God is not something that we can know in an instant. We know God progressively. Even if we go to home to be with the Lord, we won’t know God all at once.
What we want to know is how such can we know about Him. To what extent we can receive the revelation of God while on this planet earth and if there are any conditions, what will it involve before God reveals Himself. Looking at Abraham's life as the model.
First Revelation to Abraham
Genesis 12: 1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family, and your father's house, to a land I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great. And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'
Acts 7:2-3, this is Stephen in his preaching, 'And he said, 'Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, 'and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.'
From verse 2 and 3, we gathered that this was a first time that God revealed to Abraham. He said very clearly in verse 2, before he went to Haran, while he was in Mesopotamia. As you look back it Genesis 11:31-32 And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram's wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran.'
So Genesis 12:1 was a revelation of God in Haran. Acts 7:2&3 was a revelation of God before Haran. So by the time we read the story in Genesis 12:1&2, this was the second time that God had appeared to Abraham. God had already appeared to him in Genesis I1 although it was not recorded. But Acts 7:2&3 gives us a background to tell us that God already revealed Himself to Abraham before he reached Haran. Genesis 12:1 is in Haran. Acts 7:2&3 was before Haran. But here is a peculiar thing even though this was a second appearance of God to him; it was a same level of revelation. God did not reveal more of Himself. He only revealed the same measure of His revelation to Abraham. This was just a first measure that God revealed. He was a God of Glory. He revealed Himself to Abraham as a God of Glory, telling him to leave his kin and all his idols and his homeland that he has been familiar with. And go forth into a land that he has never known.
This is a second time that He repeated to him. No fresh revelation, just a repeated revelation. Revelation is progressive. If we do not obey the first revelation, we could have the second encounter with God but it is still the first revelation. Many times people block the revelation God has upon their lives. Sometimes when you examine it very carefully, it is the same revelation but repeated three or four times. Why the repetition? They did not obey God. And God in His mercy repeated the same level of revelation. Now we are talking about knowing God and coming to this knowledge of God and intimate fellowship with God. Apparently, unless we are faithful to one level of God's revelation, we will never progress to the next. Even though a person may said, 'Oh, I have this revelation from Jesus and Jesus repeated this to me the second or the third time. It's nothing fresh! It’s just that we possibly have been not obeying fully.
Second Revelation to Abraham
However, the second repetition of the first revelation, Abraham obeyed. He obeyed God. And in the Book of Genesis, Abraham's second encounter with God, there is a progression here. Genesis 13:8-12, ' So Abram said to Lot, 'Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. And Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities.