1. THE CALL OF ABRAHAM
a. After Shem, whom did God call as His special messenger, and how did he respond? Genesis 12:1–4; Hebrews 11:8, 9.
“God has ever preserved a remnant to serve Him. Adam, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Shem, in unbroken line, had preserved from age to age the precious revealings of His will. . . . [The Lord] communicated His will to Abraham, and gave him a distinct knowledge of the requirements of His law and of the salvation that would be accomplished through Christ.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 125.
b. Why did Abraham have to leave his relatives and friends? Matthew 10:37, 38; Acts 7:2–4; Amos 3:3.
“Abraham must be separated from the associations of his early life. The influence of kindred and friends would interfere with the training which the Lord purposed to give His servant. . . . Many are still tested as was Abraham.”—Ibid., p. 126.
2. ABRAHAM, A FRIEND OF GOD
a. What worthy example did Abraham leave for us? Genesis 12:7, 8; 13:4, 18.
“Wherever [Abraham] pitched his tent, close beside it was set up his altar, calling all within his encampment to the morning and evening sacrifice. When his tent was removed, the altar remained. In following years, there were those among the roving Canaanites who received instruction from Abraham; and whenever one of these came to that altar, he knew who had been there before him; and when he had pitched his tent, he repaired the altar, and there worshiped the living God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 128.
b. What does God desire His people to be? Matthew 5:14–16. Give examples of Abraham’s life as an effective Christian witness. Genesis 14:21–24; 18:19.
“While Christ is dwelling in the heart it is impossible to conceal the light of His presence, or for that light to grow dim. On the contrary, it will grow brighter and brighter as day by day the mists of selfishness and sin that envelop the soul are dispelled by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
“The people of God are His representatives upon the earth, and He intends that they shall be lights in the moral darkness of this world.”—Ibid., p. 134.
c. Why was Abraham called the friend of God? James 2:21–23; Genesis 26:5. How may we be regarded as friends of Christ? John 15:14; Philippians 2:15.
“The character and course of the Christian is in marked contrast to that of worldlings. The Christian cannot find pleasure in the amusements and in the varied scenes of gaiety of the world. Higher and holier attractions engage the affections. Christians will show that they are the friends of God by their obedience.”—Our High Calling, p. 149.
3. A HOSPITABLE HOUSEHOLD
a. What practice was an essential trait of Abraham’s character? Genesis 18:1–8.
“In the hot summer noontide the patriarch was sitting in his tent door, looking out over the quiet landscape, when he saw in the distance three travelers approaching. Before reaching his tent, the strangers halted, as if consulting as to their course. Without waiting for them to solicit favors, Abraham rose quickly, and as they were apparently turning in another direction, he hastened after them, and with the utmost courtesy urged them to honor him by tarrying for refreshment. With his own hands he brought water that they might wash the dust of travel from their feet. He himself selected their food, and while they were at rest under the cooling shade, an entertainment was made ready, and he stood respectfully beside them while they partook of his hospitality.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 138.
b. What lesson did the apostle Paul draw from Abraham’s experience? Hebrews 13:2.
c. In what ways can we follow Abraham’s example today? Isaiah 58:7; Matthew 25:35; Luke 14:12–14.
“Our social entertainments should not be governed by the dictates of worldly custom, but by the Spirit of Christ and the teaching of His word. The Israelites, in all their festivities, included the poor, the stranger, and the Levite, who was both the assistant of the priest in the sanctuary and a religious teacher and missionary. These were regarded as the guests of the people, to share their hospitality on all occasions of social and religious rejoicing, and to be tenderly cared for in sickness or in need. It is such as these whom we should make welcome to our homes. How much such a welcome might do to cheer and encourage the missionary nurse or the teacher, the care-burdened, hard-working mother, or the feeble and aged, so often without a home and struggling with poverty and many discouragements.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 352, 353.
4. ABRAHAM, A DETERMINED INTERCESSOR
a. Who revealed personally to Abraham the wickedness of Sodom and its planned destruction? Genesis 18:16, 17, 20–22.
“Two of the heavenly messengers departed, leaving Abraham alone with Him whom he now knew to be the Son of God. And the man of faith pleaded for the inhabitants of Sodom. Once he had saved them by his sword, now he endeavored to save them by prayer.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 139.
b. How did Abraham plead for God’s mercy? Genesis 18:23–33. What spirit inspired his prayer? John 15:12, 13, 17.
“With deep reverence and humility he urged his plea: ‘I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes’ (Genesis 18:27). There was no self-confidence, no boasting of his own righteousness. He did not claim favor on the ground of his obedience, or of the sacrifices he had made in doing God’s will. Himself a sinner, he pleaded in the sinner’s behalf. Such a spirit all who approach God should possess.”—Ibid. p. 139.
“Love for perishing souls inspired Abraham’s prayer. While he loathed the sins of that corrupt city, he desired that the sinners might be saved. His deep interest for Sodom shows the anxiety that we should feel for the impenitent. We should cherish hatred of sin, but pity and love for the sinner.”—Ibid., p. 140.
c. What aim should be paramount in the life of every Christian today as we seek to reach out to the world around us? 1 Corinthians 9:19–23; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15.
“We need far less controversy, and far more presentation of Christ. Our Redeemer is the center of all our faith and hope. Those who can present His matchless love, and inspire hearts to give Him their best and holiest affections, are doing work that is great and holy.”—Colporteur Ministry, p. 42.
5. LOT, A MISSIONARY AT THE GATE OF SODOM
a. Through what practice did Lot seek to fulfill his missionary responsibilities? Genesis 19:1–3.
“Seeing the abuse to which strangers were exposed in Sodom, Lot made it one of his duties to guard them at their entrance, by offering them entertainment at his own house. He was sitting at the gate as the travelers approached, and upon observing them, he rose from his place to meet them.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 158.
b. What condition robbed Lot of his peace of mind while he was living in Sodom? 2 Peter 2:7, 8. How did the people of Sodom treat the religion of Abraham and Lot? Luke 17:28–30; Jude 17, 18.
“Abraham was not a stranger to the people of Sodom, and his worship of the unseen God had been a matter of ridicule among them.”—Ibid., p. 157.
c. Despite Lot’s best intentions to be a faithful missionary in Sodom, what stands as an example of the dangers of city living for Christians today? Genesis 19:14–17, 26.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How was Abraham able to preach the gospel to his contemporaries even in his absence?
2. How do we know that Abraham was a determined intercessor?
3. How important was hospitality in Abraham’s life?
4. What should be our first aim as Christians?
5. How could Lot’s witness have been more effective as a missionary to the inhabitants of Sodom?