The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 11: The Call of Abraham
< Prev T. of C.
... Next >
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. Abraham had grown up in the midst of superstition
and heathenism. Even his father's household, by whom the
knowledge of God had been preserved, were yielding to the
seductive influences surrounding them, and they "served other
gods" than Jehovah. But the true faith was not to become extinct.
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
son of Terah became the inheritor of this holy trust. Idolatry
invited him on every side, but in vain. Faithful among the faithless,
uncorrupted by the prevailing apostasy, he steadfastly adhered to
the worship of the one true God. "The Lord is nigh unto all them
that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth." Psalm
145:18. He 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.
There was given to Abraham the promise, especially dear to
the people of that age, of a numerous posterity and of national
greatness: "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless
thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing." And
to this was added the assurance, precious above every other to
the inheritor of faith, that of his line the Redeemer of the world
should come: "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
Yet, as the first condition of fulfillment, there was to be a test
of faith; a sacrifice was demanded. [p. 126]
The message of God came to Abraham, "Get thee out of thy
country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house,
unto a land that I will show thee." In order that God might
qualify him for his great work as the keeper of the sacred oracles,
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. Now that
Abraham was, in a special sense, connected with heaven, he must
dwell among strangers. His character must be peculiar, differing
from all the world. He could not even explain his course of
action so as to be understood by his friends. Spiritual things are
spiritually discerned, and his motives and actions were not
comprehended by his idolatrous kindred.
"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place
which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he
went out, not knowing whither he went." Hebrews 11:8. Abraham's
unquestioning obedience is one of the most striking
evidences of faith to be found in all the Bible. To him, faith was
"the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not
seen." Verse 1. Relying upon the divine promise, without the
least outward assurance of its fulfillment, he abandoned home
and kindred and native land, and went forth, he knew not
whither, to follow where God should lead. "By faith he became
a sojourner in the land of promise, as in a land not his own,
dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the
same promise." Hebrews 11:9, R.V.
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—whether the soil was fertile and the
climate healthful; whether the country afforded agreeable
surroundings and would afford opportunities for amassing wealth.
God has spoken, and His servant must obey; the happiest place
on earth for him was the place where God would have him to be.
Many are still tested as was Abraham. They do not hear the
voice of God speaking directly from the heavens, but He calls
them by the teachings of His word and the events of His providence.
They may be required to abandon a career that promises
wealth and honor, to leave congenial and profitable associations [p. 127] and separate from kindred, to enter upon what appears to be
only a path of self-denial, hardship, and sacrifice. God has a work
for them to do; but a life of ease and the influence of friends and
kindred would hinder the development of the very traits essential
for its accomplishment. He calls them away from human
influences and aid, and leads them to feel the need of His help, and
to depend upon Him alone, that He may reveal Himself to them.
Who is ready at the call of Providence to renounce cherished
plans and familiar associations? Who will accept new duties and
enter untried fields, doing God's work with firm and willing
heart, for Christ's sake counting his losses gain? He who will do
this has the faith of Abraham, and will share with him that "far
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," with which "the
sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared."
2 Corinthians 4:17; Romans 8:18.
< Prev T. of C.
... Next >