Christian Character (4)
November 26 – December 2, 2023
“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9
Study Help: Christian Service, 191–193
“The Bible lays much stress upon the practice of hospitality. Not only does it enjoin hospitality as a duty, but it presents many beautiful pictures of the exercise of this grace and the blessings which it brings.” Testimonies, Vol. 6, 341
1 ENTERTAINING STRANGERS
1.a. What blessing does Paul mention regarding hospitality? Hebrews 13:2
Note: “ ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels.’ Hebrews 13:2. These words have lost none of their force through the lapse of time. Our heavenly Father still continues to place in the pathway of His children opportunities that are blessings in disguise; and those who improve these opportunities find great joy. ‘If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.’ Isaiah 58:10, 11.” Prophets and Kings, 132
1.b. How else does Scripture promote hospitality? Matthew 7:12; Romans 13:9
Note: “All acts of injustice that tend to shorten life; the spirit of hatred and revenge, or the indulgence of any passion that leads to injurious acts toward others, or causes us even to wish them harm (for ‘whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer’); a selfish neglect of caring for the needy or suffering; all self-indulgence or unnecessary deprivation or excessive labor that tends to injure health—all these are, to a greater or less degree, violations of the sixth commandment.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 308
2 ABRAHAM AND LOT
2.a. At his home, how did Abraham receive “three men” who were strangers? Genesis 18:2–8. Who was among them? Genesis 18:1
Note: “It was Christ who spoke with Abraham under the oaks at Mamre.” The Desire of Ages, 290, 291
“Angels have appeared in human form to men of God. They have rested, as if weary, under the oaks at noon. They have accepted the hospitalities of human homes.” The Great Controversy, 631
2.b. What unique experience did Lot have with “two men”? Genesis 19:2–11. Who were those “men”? Genesis 19:1
Note: “In the twilight two strangers drew near to the city gate. They were apparently travelers coming in to tarry for the night. None could discern in those humble wayfarers the mighty heralds of divine judgment, and little dreamed the gay, careless multitude that in their treatment of these heavenly messengers that very night they would reach the climax of the guilt which doomed their proud city. But there was one man who manifested kindly attention toward the strangers and invited them to his home. Lot did not know their true character, but politeness and hospitality were habitual with him; they were a part of his religion—lessons that he had learned from the example of Abraham. Had he not cultivated a spirit of courtesy, he might have been left to perish with the rest of Sodom. Many a household, in closing its doors against a stranger, has shut out God’s messenger, who would have brought blessing and hope and peace.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 158
2.c. How does the experience of these patriarchs apply to us today?
Note: “The privilege granted Abraham and Lot is not denied to us. By showing hospitality to God’s children we, too, may receive His angels into our dwellings. Even in our day, angels in human form enter the homes of men and are entertained by them. And Christians who live in the light of God’s countenance are always accompanied by unseen angels, and these holy beings leave behind them a blessing in our homes.” Testimonies, Vol. 6, 342
3 JOSEPH AND PHARAOH
3.a. How did Joseph receive his brothers in spite of their past cruelty toward him? Genesis 45:1–5
Note: “He [Joseph] had seen in his brothers the fruits of true repentance. Upon hearing Judah’s noble offer he gave orders that all but these men should withdraw; then, weeping aloud, he cried, ‘I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?’
“His brothers stood motionless, dumb with fear and amazement. The ruler of Egypt their brother Joseph, whom they had envied and would have murdered, and finally sold as a slave! All their ill treatment of him passed before them. They remembered how they had despised his dreams and had labored to prevent their fulfillment. Yet they had acted their part in fulfilling these dreams; and now that they were completely in his power he would, no doubt, avenge the wrong that he had suffered.
“Seeing their confusion, he said kindly, ‘Come near to me, I pray you;’ and as they came near, he continued, ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.’ Feeling that they had already suffered enough for their cruelty toward him, he nobly sought to banish their fears and lessen the bitterness of their self-reproach. …
“The news of what had taken place was quickly carried to the king, who, eager to manifest his gratitude to Joseph, confirmed the governor’s invitation to his family, saying, ‘The good of all the land of Egypt is yours.’ The brothers were sent away abundantly supplied with provision and carriages and everything necessary for the removal of all their families and attendants to Egypt.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 230, 231
3.b. How did Pharaoh deal with Jacob and his family at their arrival in Egypt? Genesis 45:16–20; 47:5–7 How was Pharaoh rewarded?
Note: “Joseph brought his father also to be presented to the king. The patriarch was a stranger in royal courts; but amid the sublime scenes of nature he had communed with a mightier Monarch; and now, in conscious superiority, he raised his hands and blessed Pharaoh.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 233
4.a. Who was Rahab, and what kindness did she show to the Israelite spies? Joshua 2:1–7
Note: “A few miles beyond the river, just opposite the place where the Israelites were encamped, was the large and strongly fortified city of Jericho. This city was virtually the key to the whole country, and it would present a formidable obstacle to the success of Israel. Joshua therefore sent two young men as spies to visit this city and ascertain something as to its population, its resources, and the strength of its fortifications. The inhabitants of the city, terrified and suspicious, were constantly on the alert, and the messengers were in great danger. They were, however, preserved by Rahab, a woman of Jericho, at the peril of her own life. In return for her kindness they gave her a promise of protection when the city should be taken.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 482, 483
4.b. How was Rahab’s faith rewarded? Joshua 2:8–13; 6:25; Hebrews 11:31
Note: “God’s judgments were awakened against Jericho. It was a stronghold. But the Captain of the Lord’s host Himself came from heaven to lead the armies of heaven in an attack upon the city. Angels of God laid hold of the massive walls and brought them to the ground. God had said that the city of Jericho should be accursed and that all should perish except Rahab and her household. These should be saved because of the favor that Rahab showed the messengers of the Lord.” Testimonies, Vol. 3, 264
“All the inhabitants of the city, with every living thing that it contained, ‘both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass,’ were put to the sword. Only faithful Rahab, with her household, was spared, in fulfillment of the promise of the spies. The city itself was burned … .” Patriarchs and Prophets, 491
“Through the teaching of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto Him should live. All who, like Rahab the Canaanite and Ruth the Moabitess, turned from idolatry to the worship of the true God were to unite themselves with His chosen people.” Prophets and Kings, 19
5 JOB—AND US
5.a. How did Job treat the poor and the strangers, and how was his faith rewarded? Job 29:12–16; 31:32; 42:10–17
5.b. Why is hospitality required even of those who are not especially rich in this world’s goods? Deuteronomy 26:12, 13
Note: “ ‘Thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of thy corn, or thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.’ Deuteronomy 14:23, 29; 16:11–14. …
“Every third year, however, this second tithe was to be used at home, in entertaining the Levite and the poor, as Moses said, ‘That they may eat within thy gates, and be filled.’ Deuteronomy 26:12. This tithe would provide a fund for the uses of charity and hospitality.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 530
“ ‘A lover of hospitality’ is among the specifications given by the Holy Spirit as marking one who is to bear responsibility in the church. And to the whole church is given the injunction: ‘Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.’ 1 Peter 4:9, 10
“These admonitions have been strangely neglected. Even among those who profess to be Christians, true hospitality is little exercised. Among our own people the opportunity of showing hospitality is not regarded as it should be, as a privilege and blessing. There is altogether too little sociability, too little of a disposition to make room for two or three more at the family board, without embarrassment or parade. Some plead that ‘it is too much trouble.’ It would not be if you would say: ‘We have made no special preparation, but you are welcome to what we have.’ By the unexpected guest a welcome is appreciated far more than is the most elaborate preparation.” Testimonies, Vol. 6, 342, 343
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How would you define hospitality?
2 List two examples of hospitality in the Old Testament.
3 Explain the experience of Joseph with his brothers.
4 Who were the only survivors of Jericho, and why?
5 Summarize Job’s experience in the welfare work, and explain how many more can imitate his example.
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