1. GOD CALLS ABRAHAM
a. What did God call Abraham to do, and who went with him? Genesis 12:1–4; Acts 7:4.
“After the dispersion from Babel idolatry again became well-nigh universal, and the Lord finally left the hardened transgressors to follow their evil ways, while He chose Abraham, of the line of Shem, and made him the keeper of His law for future generations.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 125.
b. Why didn’t God immediately tell Abraham the place where He was calling him to go? Hebrews 11:8. What decision did Abraham have to make in obeying God’s call? Genesis 12:1; Matthew 10:34–38.
“Abraham’s unquestioning obedience is one of the most striking evidences of faith to be found in all the Bible. . . . It was no light test that was thus brought upon Abraham, no small sacrifice that was required of him. There were strong ties to bind him to his country, his kindred, and his home. But he did not hesitate to obey the call. He had no question to ask concerning the land of promise. . . . God had spoken, and His servant must obey; the happiest place on earth for him was the place where God would have him to be.”—Ibid., p. 126.
2. THE PROMISES
a. What initial promises did God make to Abraham? Genesis 12:2, 3.
“It was for the purpose of bringing the best gifts of Heaven to all the peoples of earth that God called Abraham out from his idolatrous kindred and bade him dwell in the land of Canaan. ‘I will make of thee a great nation,’ He said, ‘and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing’ (Genesis 12:2). It was a high honor to which Abraham was called—that of being the father of the people who for centuries were to be the guardians and preservers of the truth of God to the world, the people through whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed in the advent of the promised Messiah.
“Men had well-nigh lost the knowledge of the true God. Their minds were darkened by idolatry. For the divine statutes, which are ‘holy, and just, and good’ (Romans 7:12), men were endeavoring to substitute laws in harmony with the purposes of their own cruel, selfish hearts. Yet God in His mercy did not blot them out of existence. He purposed to give them opportunity for becoming acquainted with Him through His church. He designed that the principles revealed through His people should be the means of restoring the moral image of God in man.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 15, 16.
b. Which land did God promise to Abraham and his seed? Genesis 12:5–7; 13:14–18.
c. What is significant about Abraham and his children living in tents? Hebrews 11:9, 10, 13–16. What similar attitude are we called to adopt? 2 Peter 3:11–14.
“Let us strive to be Christians (Christ-like) in every sense of the word, and let our dress, conversation and actions preach that Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, and that we are looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of Jesus. Let us show to those around us that this world is not our home, that we are pilgrims and strangers here.”—The Review and Herald, June 10, 1852.
3. LOT’S GREAT MISTAKE
a. What temptation did Lot fall into as he journeyed to the Promised Land with Abraham? Genesis 13:5–11; 1 John 2:16, 17.
“The most fertile region in all Palestine was the Jordan Valley, reminding the beholders of the lost Paradise and equaling the beauty and productiveness of the Nile-enriched plains they had so lately left.
. . . Dazzled with visions of worldly gain, Lot overlooked the moral and spiritual evils that would be encountered [in the crowded marts of the wealthy and beautiful cities]. The inhabitants of the plain were ‘sinners before the Lord exceedingly;’ but of this he was ignorant, or, knowing, gave it but little weight. He ‘chose him all the plain of Jordan,’ and ‘pitched his tent toward Sodom’ (Genesis 13:11, 12). How little did he foresee the terrible results of that selfish choice!”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 133.
b. What is the devil seeking to achieve through the lust of the eyes? Mark 4:18, 19; Matthew 4:8–10.
“If the claims and cares of the world are allowed to engross all our time and attention, our spiritual powers weaken and die because they are not exercised.”—This Day With God, p. 87.
c. How can the place where we choose to pitch our tent potentially destroy our spiritual life and that of our families? Genesis 13:12, 13; 19:1, 12–16.
“Many . . . in selecting a home . . . look more to the temporal advantages they may gain than to the moral and social influences that will surround themselves and their families. They choose a beautiful and fertile country, or remove to some flourishing city, in the hope of securing greater prosperity; but their children are surrounded by temptation, and too often they form associations that are unfavorable to the development of piety and the formation of a right character. The atmosphere of lax morality, of unbelief, of indifference to religious things, has a tendency to counteract the influence of the parents. . . . Many form attachments for infidels and unbelievers, and cast in their lot with the enemies of God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 168, 169.
4. SINFUL SURROUNDINGS
a. What should we learn from the experience of Lot’s wife? Genesis 19:26; Luke 17:28–33.
“[Lot’s wife] rebelled against God because His judgments involved her possessions and her children in the ruin. . . .
“The invitations of mercy are addressed to all; and because our friends reject the Saviour’s pleading love, shall we also turn away? The redemption of the soul is precious. Christ has paid an infinite price for our salvation, and no one who appreciates the value of this great sacrifice or the worth of the soul will despise God’s offered mercy because others choose to do so.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 161, 162.
b. Even though the daughters of Lot escaped Sodom, how had their morals become corrupted? Genesis 19:30–38; Leviticus 18:6, 7.
“Lot made his way to the mountains and abode in a cave, stripped of all for which he had dared to subject his family to the influences of a wicked city. But the curse of Sodom followed him even here. The sinful conduct of his daughters was the result of the evil associations of that vile place. Its moral corruption had become so interwoven with their character that they could not distinguish between good and evil. Lot’s only posterity, the Moabites and Ammonites, were vile, idolatrous tribes, rebels against God.”—Ibid., pp. 167, 168.
c. In these last days, where is the safest place to pitch our tents as we journey to the Promised Land, and why? Genesis 2:7, 8; Jude 5–7.
“So long as God gives me power to speak to our people, I shall continue to call upon parents to leave the cities and get homes in the country, where they can cultivate the soil and learn from the book of nature the lessons of purity and simplicity. The things of nature are the Lord’s silent ministers, given to us to teach us spiritual truths. They speak to us of the love of God and declare the wisdom of the great Master Artist.”—The Adventist Home, pp. 146, 147.
5. MAKING OUR CALLING SURE
a. As we have been called to the Promised Land as Abraham was called, of what should we be mindful? 2 Peter 1:10, 11; Matthew 22:14.
“None need lose eternal life. Everyone who chooses daily to learn of the heavenly Teacher will make his calling and election sure. Let us humble our hearts before God and follow on to know Him whom to know aright is life eternal. . . .
“We cannot afford to allow anything to separate us from God and heaven. In this life we must be partakers of the divine nature. Brethren and sisters, you have only one life to live. O let it be a life of virtue, a life hid with Christ in God!”—In Heavenly Places, p. 29.
b. Who only will make it to the Promised Land? Revelation 17:14; Hebrews 3:12–14.
“The work of conquering evil is to be done through faith. Those who go into the battlefield will find that they must put on the whole armor of God. The shield of faith will be their defense and will enable them to be more than conquerors. Nothing else will avail but this—faith in the Lord of hosts, and obedience to His orders. Vast armies furnished with every other facility will avail nothing in the last great conflict. Without faith, an angel host could not help. Living faith alone will make them invincible and enable them to stand in the evil day, steadfast, unmovable, holding the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, pp. 182, 183.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What does it mean to love our families more than we love Christ?
2. How can we tell if we are pilgrims and strangers today?
3. Explain how the place where we choose to live can affect our destiny.
4. What are the dangers of living in close quarters to sinful cities?
5. Why not everyone called is also chosen?