Lesson 8 | Sabbath, 25 February 2023
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.
“‘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.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 126.
- What did Abram lack when he went to Egypt? What did he ask Sarai, his wife, to do?
Genesis 12:11-13 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
“During his stay in Egypt, Abraham gave evidence that he was not free from human weakness and imperfection. In concealing the fact that Sarah was his wife, he betrayed a distrust of the divine care, a lack of that lofty faith and courage so often and nobly exemplified in his life. Sarah was fair to look upon, and he doubted not that the dusky Egyptians would covet the beautiful stranger, and that in order to secure her, they would not scruple to slay her husband. He reasoned that he was not guilty of falsehood in representing Sarah as his sister, for she was the daughter of his father, though not of his mother. But this concealment of the real relation between them was deception. No deviation from strict integrity can meet God’s approval. Through Abraham’s lack of faith, Sarah was placed in great peril.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 130.
- Why was Abram’s wife’s beauty an issue when their household went to Egypt? What did the ministers and pharaoh of Egypt do when they saw her?
Genesis 12:14, 15 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.
“The king of Egypt, being informed of her beauty, caused her to be taken to his palace, intending to make her his wife. But the Lord, in His great mercy, protected Sarah by sending judgments upon the royal household. By this means the monarch learned the truth in the matter, and, indignant at the deception practiced upon him, he reproved Abraham and restored to him his wife, saying, ‘What is this that thou hast done unto me?… Why saidst thou, She is my sister? So I might have taken her to me to wife. Now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.’”–Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 130.
- What did God promise Abram one starry night?
Genesis 12:2, 3; 15:5 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed…. 15:5And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
“There was given to Abraham the promise, especially dear to the people of that age, of a numerous posterity and of national greatness … 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.”–Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 125.
- How did the patriarch wait for God to fulfill His promise? What advice did he accept when the promise was not fulfilled after a very long time?
Genesis 16:1-4 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 3And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. 4And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
“Abraham had accepted without question the promise of a son, but he did not wait for God to fulfill His word in His own time and way. A delay was permitted, to test his faith in the power of God; but he failed to endure the trial. Thinking it impossible that a child should be given her in her old age, Sarah suggested, as a plan by which the divine purpose might be fulfilled, that one of her handmaidens should be taken by Abraham as a secondary wife. Polygamy had become so widespread that it had ceased to be regarded as a sin, but it was no less a violation of the law of God, and was fatal to the sacredness and peace of the family relation.
“Abraham’s marriage with Hagar resulted in evil, not only to his own household, but to future generations. Flattered with the honor of her new position as Abraham’s wife, and hoping to be the mother of the great nation to descend from him, Hagar became proud and boastful, and treated her mistress with contempt. Mutual jealousies disturbed the peace of the once happy home. Forced to listen to the complaints of both, Abraham vainly endeavored to restore harmony. Though it was at Sarah’s earnest entreaty that he had married Hagar, she now reproached him as the one at fault. She desired to banish her rival; but Abraham refused to permit this; for Hagar was to be the mother of his child, as he fondly hoped, the son of promise. She was Sarah’s servant, however, and he still left her to the control of her mistress. Hagar’s haughty spirit would not brook the harshness which her insolence had provoked. ‘When Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.’” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 145.
- What test did Abraham pass through victoriously?
Genesis 12:1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.
“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.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 126.
- Many years later, what command did God give him? How difficult can we imagine that it was for him to obey the divine voice?
Genesis 22:1, 2 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
“In a vision of the night he was directed to repair to the land of Moriah, and there offer up his son as a burnt offering upon a mountain that should be shown him.
“At the time of receiving this command, Abraham had reached the age of a hundred and twenty years. He was regarded as an old man, even in his generation. In his earlier years he had been strong to endure hardship and to brave danger, but now the ardor of his youth had passed away. One in the vigor of manhood may with courage meet difficulties and afflictions that would cause his heart to fail later in life, when his feet are faltering toward the grave. But God had reserved His last, most trying test for Abraham until the burden of years was heavy upon him, and he longed for rest from anxiety and toil.
“He went to the side of Sarah, who was also sleeping. Should he awaken her, that she might once more embrace her child? Should he tell her of God’s requirement? He longed to unburden his heart to her, and share with her this terrible responsibility; but he was restrained by the fear that she might hinder him. Isaac was her joy and pride; her life was bound up in him, and the mother’s love might refuse the sacrifice.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 147, 148.
- What was the outcome of this great test? How was it possible for Abraham to be so victorious?
Genesis 22:7-14 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. 9And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. 13And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.
James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
“God gave His Son to a death of agony and shame. The angels who witnessed the humiliation and soul anguish of the Son of God were not permitted to interpose, as in the case of Isaac. There was no voice to cry, ‘It is enough.’ To save the fallen race, the King of glory yielded up His life. What stronger proof can be given of the infinite compassion and love of God? ‘He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ Romans 8:32…. “Both Abraham and Sarah distrusted the power of God, and it was this error that led to the marriage with Hagar. God had called Abraham to be the father of the faithful, and his life was to stand as an example of faith to succeeding generations. But his faith had not been perfect. He had shown distrust of God in concealing the fact that Sarah was his wife, and again in his marriage with Hagar. That he might reach the highest standard, God subjected him to another test, the closest which man was ever called to endure.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. pp. 154, 147.
from SANATORIO CARLOS KOZEL in Peru
To be read on Sabbath, February 25, 2023
The Special Sabbath School Offering will be collected on Sabbath, March 4, 2023
“Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.” Jeremiah 33:6.
Dear brothers, sisters, and friends of the truth,
The ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ was carried out not only by teaching and living the example of a holy life, but also through the health message. The Saviour went about healing those who were suffering from sickness, showing them the way to a healthier, better life. Therefore, part of our mission today is to establish institutions such as clinics and health centers where the powerful message of health reform is demonstrated in practice and where the sick and needy may be restored to health through prayer and healing therapies, as well as by learning to carry out the divine principles of healthful living.
Ever since the Elim sanitarium in Germany was closed in 2017, the General Conference has been looking for an opportunity to establish a clinic in a good location. Our dream has always been to conduct the health ministry by having a facility where diseases and infirmities may be treated through the use of natural medicine, according to the light that the Lord has provided. An excellent opportunity arose in Peru, where the Union had purchased land and was already planning to establish a small health center next to the missionary school in Huaral, a coastal district called the “Capital of Agriculture,” which has a warm, pleasant climate. Peru is blessed with many medicinal plants, vegetables, and fruits that may be obtained at affordable prices. Besides, the Peruvian Union has more than 6,000 members as well as many professionals who are willing to contribute to the ministry of healing. The missionary school students may also serve as helpers and interns in this facility.
The General Conference Full Board has decided to enter into a partnership with the Peruvian Union and help it to complete the construction of the hydrotherapy module, as well as build dormitories, kitchen, and dining hall seating about 150. A complete business plan was drawn up for the establishment of this clinic, called the Sanatorio Carlos Kozel. After that, with the help of the General Architect, Brother Edinson Smit Guerrero Martinez, and Civil Engineer Brother Wicleff Miller Calderon Rios, the plans were completed and construction began in February 2022. The President of the Peruvian Union and a committee appointed for this purpose are supervising each step of the project. The General Conference is investing funds from the Building Fund; and, if everything works well, it is hoped that the General Conference delegates’ meetings may be convened at the completed clinic.
Even though the General Conference has already dedicated a certain funds for the construction of this health facility, your offerings are needed to complete the construction and furnish both the dormitory and the therapy module. The plan is for more than ten different types of therapy to be offered by medical professionals, so furnishings, medical equipment, and digital devices need to be obtained. Such equipment is expensive. Your donations, both large and small, are very important for this project. A blessing is promised in God’s word to all who lay up treasure in heaven by investing their earthly means in such endeavors.
It is interesting to note that Peru is respected around the world as a country that has outstanding knowledge of and practices natural therapies and alternative medicine. We hope that this health clinic will offer even more therapies than did the previous sanitarium in Germany for the treatment of cancer, diabetes, and other serious diseases and health problems. The Peruvian society is very interested in natural medicine, so our prayer is that the Lord will work so that this clinic will be able to serve many people. The town of Huaral is located about two hours from Lima, the capital city. The clinic is will be a blessing to church members and visitors alike–not only those from Peru but also those who visit from other parts of the world. Our desire is that everyone will find strength and health at this facility.
When you give for the Special Sabbath School Offering next week for the development of the health center Sanatorio Carlos Kozel in Peru, your support will be a great blessing for the medical missionary work that God has ordained for His people. You may thus participate directly in establishing this historical monument for God’s church. May it be a beacon of light to many. God bless every cheerful giver.
For the General Conference Executive Board,
–Elder Tzvetan Petkov
General Conference President