The other side of the flood - Better “On the other side of the river,” i. e. the Euphrates. See the marginal reference.
They served other gods - Possibly the “images,” or teraphim, which we find their ancestor Laban calling “his gods” (see the marginal reference); and of which it would seem that there were, as Joshua spoke, some secret devotees among the people Joshua 24:14, Joshua 24:25. It is not stated that Abraham himself was an idolater, though his fathers were. Jewish tradition asserts that Abraham while in Ur of the Chaldees was persecuted for his abhorrence of idolatry, and hence, was called away by God from his native land. The reference in the text to the original state of those who were the forefathers of the nation, is made to show that they were no better than others: God chose them not for their excellences but of His own mere motion.
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. PP 125.1
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. PP 125.2Read in context »
3-7. Confederacy Born of Rebellion—This confederacy was born of rebellion against God. The dwellers on the plain of Shinar established their kingdom for self-exaltation, not for the glory of God. Had they succeeded, a mighty power would have borne sway, banishing righteousness, and inaugurating a new religion. The world would have been demoralized. The mixture of religious ideas with erroneous theories would have resulted in closing the door to peace, happiness, and security. These suppositions, erroneous theories, carried out and perfected, would have directed minds from allegiance to the divine statutes, and the law of Jehovah would have been ignored and forgotten. Determined men, inspired and urged on by the first great rebel, would have resisted any interference with their plans or their evil course. In the place of the divine precepts they would have substituted laws framed in accordance with the desires of their selfish hearts, in order that they might carry out their purposes (The Review and Herald, December 10, 1903). 1BC 1092.1Read in context »
Abraham's unquestioning obedience was one of the most striking instances of faith and reliance upon God to be found in the Sacred Record. With only the naked promise that his descendants should possess Canaan, without the least outward evidence, he followed on where God should lead, fully and sincerely complying with the conditions on his part, and confident that the Lord would faithfully perform His word. The patriarch went wherever God indicated his duty; he passed through wildernesses without terror; he went among idolatrous nations, with the one thought: “God has spoken; I am obeying His voice; He will guide, He will protect me.” 4T 524.1
Just such faith and confidence as Abraham had the messengers of God need today. But many whom the Lord could use will not move onward, hearing and obeying the one Voice above all others. The connection with kindred and friends, the former habits and associations, too often have so great an influence upon God's servants that He can give them but little instruction, can communicate to them but little knowledge of His purposes; and often after a time He sets them aside and calls others in their place, whom He proves and tests in the same manner. The Lord would do much more for His servants if they were wholly consecrated to Him, esteeming His service above the ties of kindred and all other earthly associations. 4T 524.2
Ministers of the gospel have a sacred work. They have a solemn message of warning to bear to the world—a message which will be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. They are God's messengers to man, and they should never lose sight of their mission or of their responsibilities. They are not like worldlings; they cannot be like them. If they would be true to God they must maintain their separate, holy character. If they cease to connect with heaven they are in greater danger than others and can exert a stronger influence in the wrong direction, for Satan has his eye constantly upon them, waiting for some weakness to be developed whereby he may make a successful attack. And how he triumphs when he succeeds; for when one who is an ambassador for Christ is off his watch, through him the great adversary may secure many souls to himself. 4T 524.3Read in context »
God intended to show the Israelites that the conquest of Canaan was not to be ascribed to them. The Captain of the Lord's host overcame Jericho. He and His angels were engaged in the conquest. Christ commanded the armies of heaven to throw down the walls of Jericho and prepare an entrance for Joshua and the armies of Israel. God, in this wonderful miracle, not only strengthened the faith of His people in His power to subdue their enemies, but rebuked their former unbelief. SR 181.1
Jericho had defied the armies of Israel and the God of heaven. And as they beheld the host of Israel marching around their city once each day, they were alarmed; but they looked at their strong defenses, their firm and high walls, and felt sure that they could resist any attack. But when their firm walls suddenly tottered and fell with a stunning crash, like peals of loudest thunder, they were paralyzed with terror and could offer no resistance. SR 181.2Read in context »