Why does God appear and speak to certain persons? Two examples in the Bible

---By CK Jen, 2020/05/01

Luke 2: 8-12 record that God appeared and spoke to some of the shepherds, and the appearance and speaking blessed them and many others. We will ask, why did God appear and speak to them? The most important thing is that, does God often appear and speak fresh words to us?

Luke 2: 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.".

These shepherds take good care of their flocks in the field at night, just like some parents take care of their children at home, and like some saints who are working or studying hard. Luke 2: 15,16 tell us that after these shepherds saw and heard the words of an angel, some of them left their flocks, went to the city of Bethlehem from the wilderness (to walk a long distance) and looked for Joseph, Mary and the baby. The first was that they believed what the angel said to them, and secondly they were willing to pay a price to seek Jesus immediately, so they found him (it is believed that there was Lord's guidance). What about us? Are we willing to leave our work, studying or children to some extent to find Jesus?

Luke 2: 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

They found Jesus. Then what blessings did they bring? Firstly, they glorified and praised God (Luke 2:20), indicating that they were not only joyful but also pleased God. Secondly, because of what they saw and heard, the testimony of the gospel was spread (Luke 2:17, 18). And thirdly, Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart, and she knew more difference between her son Jesus and other children.

Luke 2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Luke 2:17 When they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

This example tells us that if we do not have faith in the Lord and cannot pay the price to leave people, or things that are important to us in our lives, it is not easy for us to have God appear and speak to us. Not only are we not blessed, but because there is no testimony, the saints and gospel friends around us are also not blessed (this will not please the Lord).

Acts 8: 5-8 record an example which, for us, is much higher and harder to live out in church life. Brother Philip's service in the city of Samaria was full of God's presence and miracles. This is the burden and joy of a person who serves the Lord. It is believed that he laboured hard to serve the saints in that city. But in Acts 8:26, an angel appeared to him and asked him to go south walking from the city of Samaria, passing Jerusalem and to the wilderness of Gaza (~ 150 km). Acts 8:27 pointed out that Philip submitted himself to Lord's such calling and went to that place. This is indeed a tough and difficult lesson for a person who serves the Lord. Is it necessary to leave the blessed, heavenly and spiritually ministered church to an unknown wilderness place because of the believing of a fresh speaking of the Lord? Moreover, the words from the Lord to Philip were a very peculiar leading and service. Do we believe such a speaking? Do we submit ourselves to this speaking? I praise the Lord that the Bible recorded that Philip believed and obeyed. He went to the place and preached the gospel to a gentile. This was why the Lord appeared and spoke to him. The Lord also often appears and speaks such burdensome words to many saints including us. Because people do not believe, there is no such testimony as if the Lord had not appeared and spoken to them. In fact, I believe that the Lord has, because of His many timely needs, appeared and spoke to many saints for many times, however, not many had believed His calling.

Acts 8:5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. 6 And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was much joy in that city.

Acts 8: 26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.

Matt. 18: 12-13 also give us a similar example. Overall, the person (a shepherd) left the ninety-nine sheep and went to the mountain (difficult place like wilderness) to find the one lost. This seems to be inconsistent with our logic, but it is confirmed by the Lord in Matt. 18:14 (it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.), it was Lord's intention. Hallelujah! Philip lived out this Lord's teaching in Matt. 18: 12-13 and testimony in Acts 8.27.

Matthew 18:12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

In summary, the shepherds in Luke 2 paid the price to find the Lord, so that they and the people including Mary were blessed. And how can we receive the high vision and revelation that Lord revealed to Philip, and live out with an immediate obedience? The key, for me, is that during the period of shepherding these ninety-nine sheep, "a few head sheep with the relatively mature life" must be raised up (that is, Philip is in the city of Samaria, very likely, have raised up some pillars: please refer to the Chinese Bible homework "Taking Care of Many Saints and Raising up Pillars"). This has been the teaching of an apostle (to me), and it is called the principle of "upper tip and then downstream ". The more pillars, the more enriched life in the church life (upper tip: church life is very healthy and rich in Christ) and naturally downstream (spontaneously flow out: some saints with relatively matured life will be sent out). The Lord will send saints (by appearance and speaking) to raise up churches (often from a church of many saints in a city to a wilderness place where there are a few or no saints). Also, if the church does not have such a healthy situation, and a saint says that he desires to move out to develop a testimony in a wilderness location, it may violate this principle. Therefore, we need to grow and grow continuously. . . Pillars can be raised up in our church life, and we grow and serve together with them, so that the Lord will appear and speak higher and more profound revelations to us. Praise the Lord, and the Lord Himself will provide us the faith with obedience, and we and the church even churches will be blessed.

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