Beginning of the End


Abraham, a Good Neighbor in Canaan

This chapter is based on Genesis 13 to 15; 17:1-16; 18.

Abraham returned to Canaan “very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.” Lot was with him, and they came to Bethel and pitched their tents. Through hardships and trials they had lived together in harmony, but in their prosperity there was danger of conflict. There was not enough pasture for the flocks and herds of both, and it was evident that they must separate. BOE 56.1

Abraham was the first to propose plans for preserving peace. Although the whole land had been given to him by God Himself, he courteously chose not to demand this right. “Let there be no strife,” he said, “between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.” BOE 56.2

Many people under similar circumstances would cling to their individual rights and preferences. Many homes and many churches have been divided, making the cause of truth a scandal and a disgrace among the wicked. The children of God all over the world are one family, and the same spirit of love and peacemaking should govern them. “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” Romans 12:10. A willingness to do to others as we would wish them to do to us would prevent or end half the troubles of life. The heart in which the love of Christ is cherished will possess that unselfish love that “does not seek its own” (see also Philippians 2:4). BOE 56.3

Lot did not show any gratitude to his generous uncle. Instead, he selfishly tried to grasp all the advantages. He “lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere ... like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.” The most fertile region in all Palestine was the Jordan valley, reminding its viewers of the lost Paradise and equaling the beauty and productiveness of the Nile-enriched plains they had left. There were cities, wealthy and beautiful, inviting for profitable business. Dazzled with visions of worldly gain, Lot overlooked the moral evils found there. He “chose for himself all the plain of Jordan,” and “pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.” Little did he foresee the terrible results of that selfish choice! BOE 56.4

Soon after this, Abraham moved to Hebron. Leaving to Lot the perilous luxury of Sodom, Abraham settled in the free air of those upland plains with their olive groves and vineyards, their fields of grain, and the wide pasture of the encircling hills, content with his simple life. BOE 57.1

Abraham did not shut away his influence from his neighbors. In contrast to the worshipers of idols, his life and character exerted a telling influence in favor of the true faith. His loyalty to God was unswerving, and his friendliness and kindness inspired confidence and friendship. BOE 57.2

While Christ is dwelling in the heart, it is impossible to conceal the light of His presence. It will grow brighter as the mists of selfishness and sin that envelop the soul are banished by the Sun of Righteousness. BOE 57.3

The people of God are lights in the moral darkness of this world. Scattered in towns, cities, and villages, they are channels through which God will communicate to an unbelieving world the knowledge and wonders of His grace. It is His plan that all who receive salvation will be lights that shine brightly in the character, revealing the contrast with the selfish darkness of the natural heart. BOE 57.4

Abraham was wise in diplomacy and brave and skillful in war. Three royal brothers, rulers of the Amorite plains in which he lived, showed friendship by inviting him to enter an alliance with them for greater security, because the country was filled with violence and oppression. An occasion soon arose for him to call on the help of this alliance. BOE 57.5