And said unto him - How long this was said before he went is not recorded. Moses simply says that God had commanded him to go, Genesis 12:1.
Thy kindred - Thy relatives, or family connections. It seems that “Terah” went with him as far as to Haran; but Abraham was apprised that he was to leave his family and to go almost alone.
Into the land - The country was yet unknown. The place was to be shown him. This is presented in the New Testament as a strong instance of faith, Hebrews 11:8-9. It was an act of “simple confidence” in God. And to leave his country and home; to go into a land of strangers, not knowing whither he went, required strong confidence in God. It is a simple illustration of what man is always required to do at the command of God. Thus, the gospel requires him to commit all to God; to yield body and soul to his disposal; to be ready at his command to forsake father, and mother, and friends, and houses, and lands, for the sake of the Lord Jesus, Luke 14:33; Matthew 19:27, Matthew 19:29. The trials which Abraham might have anticipated may be readily conceived. He was going, in a rude and barbarous age of the world, into a land of strangers. He was without arms or armies, and almost alone. He did not even know the nature or situation of the land, or the character of its inhabitants.
He had no title to it; no claim to urge; and he went depending on the simple promise of God that he would give it to him. He went, therefore, trusting simply to the promise of God. Thus, his conduct illustrated precisely what we are to do in reference to all our coming life, and to the eternity before us: We are to trust simply to the promise of God, and do what he requires. This is faith. In Abraham it was as simple and intelligible an operation of mind as ever occurs in any instance. Nor is faith in the Scriptures regarded as more mysterious than any other mental operation. If Abraham had seen all that was to result from his going into that land, it would have been a sufficient reason to induce him to do as he did. But God saw it; and Abraham was required to act just as if he had seen it all, and all the reasons why he was called. Upon the strength of God‘s promises, Abraham was called to act. This was faith. It did not require him to act where there was “no reason” for his so acting, but where he did not see the reason. So in all cases of faith. If man could see all that God sees, he would perceive reasons for acting as God requires. But the reasons of things are often concealed, and man is required to act on the belief that God sees reasons why he should so act. To act under the proper impression of that truth which God presents is faith; as simple and intelligible as any other act or operation of the mind. See the notes on Mark 16:16.
There will be need not only of faith but of a trust in God. This is the true faith of Abraham, a faith which produced fruits. “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness” (James 2:23). When God told him to offer his son as a sacrifice it was the same voice that had spoken telling him to leave his country and go into a land which God would show him. Abraham was saved by faith in Christ as verily as the sinner is saved by faith in Christ today. 3SM 195.1Read in context »
In how wide contrast to the life of Abraham was that of Lot! Once they had been companions, worshiping at one altar, dwelling side by side in their pilgrim tents; but how widely separated now! Lot had chosen Sodom for its pleasure and profit. Leaving Abraham's altar and its daily sacrifice to the living God, he had permitted his children to mingle with a corrupt and idolatrous people; yet he had retained in his heart the fear of God, for he is declared in the Scriptures to have been a “just” man; his righteous soul was vexed with the vile conversation that greeted his ears daily and the violence and crime he was powerless to prevent. He was saved at last as “a brand plucked out of the fire” (Zechariah 3:2), yet stripped of his possessions, bereaved of his wife and children, dwelling in caves, like the wild beasts, covered with infamy in his old age; and he gave to the world, not a race of righteous men, but two idolatrous nations, at enmity with God and warring upon His people, until, their cup of iniquity being full, they were appointed to destruction. How terrible were the results that followed one unwise step! PP 168.1
Says the wise man, “Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.” “He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.” Proverbs 23:4; 15:27. And the apostle Paul declares, “They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” 1 Timothy 6:9. PP 168.2
When Lot entered Sodom he fully intended to keep himself free from iniquity and to command his household after him. But he signally failed. The corrupting influences about him had an effect upon his own faith, and his children's connection with the inhabitants of Sodom bound up his interest in a measure with theirs. The result is before us. PP 168.3Read in context »
This chapter is based on Acts 17:1-10.
After leaving Philippi, Paul and Silas made their way to Thessalonica. Here they were given the privilege of addressing large congregations in the Jewish synagogue. Their appearance bore evidence of the shameful treatment they had recently received, and necessitated an explanation of what had taken place. This they made without exalting themselves, but magnified the One who had wrought their deliverance. AA 221.1Read in context »
As Stephen stood face to face with his judges to answer to the charge of blasphemy, a holy radiance shone upon his countenance, and “all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” Many who beheld this light trembled and veiled their faces, but the stubborn unbelief and prejudice of the rulers did not waver. AA 99.1
When Stephen was questioned as to the truth of the charges against him, he began his defense in a clear, thrilling voice, which rang through the council hall. In words that held the assembly spellbound, he proceeded to rehearse the history of the chosen people of God. He showed a thorough knowledge of the Jewish economy and the spiritual interpretation of it now made manifest through Christ. He repeated the words of Moses that foretold of the Messiah: “A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear.” He made plain his own loyalty to God and to the Jewish faith, while he showed that the law in which the Jews trusted for salvation had not been able to save Israel from idolatry. He connected Jesus Christ with all the Jewish history. He referred to the building of the temple by Solomon, and to the words of both Solomon and Isaiah: “Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool: what house will ye build Me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of My rest? Hath not My hand made all these things?” AA 99.2
When Stephen reached this point, there was a tumult among the people. When he connected Christ with the prophecies and spoke as he did of the temple, the priest, pretending to be horror-stricken, rent his robe. To Stephen this act was a signal that his voice would soon be silenced forever. He saw the resistance that met his words and knew that he was giving his last testimony. Although in the midst of his sermon, he abruptly concluded it. AA 100.1Read in context »