Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome back to our “Homeheading” series. You have already observed that we are seeking to find in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy the blueprint for all that we are doing or trying to do. The ideas concerning training homes are not inventions of the 21st century. They are the application of principles that are as old as this world. And I think we’re already seeing that in the references.
When Entertaining Visitors…
We were studying last time about Abraham, about the hospitality. You know that matter of being ready when somebody calls and says, “I’m bringing home somebody.” I say, when somebody calls, when the proper person calls. Just anybody shouldn’t feel free to call up and say, “I’m bringing home this one and that one and the other.” And we should train our students and our workers in our homes that while there’s hospitality, the decision to exercise that hospitality has to be with the homehead.
I have a well-set table on all occasions [The prophet says] I make no change for visitors, whether believers or unbelievers. I intend never to be surprised by an unreadiness to entertain at my table from one to half a dozen extra who may chance to come in. I have enough simple, healthful food ready to satisfy hunger and nourish the system. If any want more than this, they are at liberty to find it elsewhere… [But she says] our table is always well patronized, and all who partake of the food do well, and improve upon it. All sit down with no epicurean appetite, and eat with a relish the bounties supplied by our Creator. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, pg. 487
Well, that’s an interesting glimpse into the home life and habits of Sister White. I suppose she was about as busy as any of us, and yet she was entertaining all the while. We will study her life and work on homeheading, in future lessons. But I just wanted to get this one in on hospitality.
Then another interesting statement in Vol. 6, page 344, on hospitality. In fact, it’s in a chapter on hospitality:
Some of our workers occupy positions where it is necessary for them often to entertain visitors, either their own brethren or strangers. It is urged by some that the conference should make an account of this [And you know give them extra for it]… But the Lord has given the work of entertaining to all His people. It is not in God’s order for one or two to do the entertaining for a conference or a church, or for workers to be paid for entertaining their brethren. This is an invention born of selfishness, and angels of God make account of these things…Christ keeps an account of every expense incurred in entertaining for His sake. He supplies all that is necessary for this work. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, pg. 344
Now, if He’ll keep His word, I’ll be all right, won’t I? If He doesn’t, I’ll be in the hole, won’t I? Will He? Well, if I do it in His Spirit, for His sake. I’ve watched it, folks, for many, many years.
Christ keeps an account of every expense incurred in entertaining for His sake. He supplies all that is necessary for this work. Those who for Christ’s sake entertain their brethren, doing their best to make the visit profitable both to their guests and to themselves, are recorded in heaven as worthy of special blessings. – Ibid
The School of the Prophets
We’re going to leave Abraham, and we’re going on to another example in this training program. We’ll go to the schools of the prophets. If God’s people had fully carried out the patriarchal plan, the schools of the prophets would not have been necessary.
We’ve seen then in Eden, and in the days of the patriarchs, the home was the school. Adam and Eve found in the garden their place of learning, their place of labor, their place of worship, their place of enjoyment, all there in the Garden of Eden. And in the days of the patriarchs, as we’ve seen, God continued that program with various adaptations as was necessary. But now notice:
Wherever in Israel God’s plan of education was carried into effect, its results testified of its Author. But in very many households the training appointed by Heaven, and the characters thus developed, were alike rare. – Education, pg. 45
What does rare mean? — Hard to find, yes. So the plan was beautiful, but the people that carried it out were few and far between. So as the result, Israel again and again went into apostasy. No plan, however good, will work unless it’s carried out. So, the patriarchal plan, the family plan of training, didn’t succeed in Israel in the days of the judges, because it wasn’t carried out, except in a few instances. So finally, God started the schools of the prophets.
To meet this growing evil [This apostasy] God provided other agencies as an aid to parents in the work of education. From the earliest times, prophets had been recognized as teachers divinely appointed. In the highest sense the prophet was one who spoke by direct inspiration, communicating to the people the messages he had received from God. But the name was given also to those who, though not so directly inspired, were divinely called to instruct the people in the works and ways of God. – Ibid., pg. 46
So, the word “prophets” as used there in the Bible, includes not only those who had visions, but those who were divinely called as teachers, using what the inspired prophets had spoken and written.
For the training of such a class of teachers, Samuel, by the Lord’s direction, established the schools of the prophets. – Ibid
Who established the schools of the prophets? Samuel. Where did he get the idea? The Lord gave it to him. It was by divine direction. And what was the purpose of these schools of the prophets? What does this say? — The training of teachers. All teachers? Any kind of teacher? Such a class. What class of teachers? — Teachers who were called to teaching and where worthy of the name prophets, not prophets in the sense that they had visions, but prophets in the sense that they were divinely called to teach divine things. Now this is both a broad and a narrow purpose.
The schools of the prophets, let me state it very simply, did not attempt to give an education in anything and everything that was going on in the world. They made no attempt to do that. They made no attempt to prepare the young people of Israel for all sorts of vocations and avocations. They were schools divinely established to prepare the students to be teachers, to prepare their students to understand and follow the ways of God. They were in every sense religious schools, and they were training their students for religious activities. We’ll not take time to study this whole chapter, but if you’re not already familiar with it, I suggest that you look through it.
Now, at the end of the next line, we read: — Barrier. What’s a barrier? — A wall, an obstacle. Now these schools were intended to serve as a what? — A barrier; a barrier against what? — Against the wide spreading corruption. Is there wide spreading corruption today? Yes, in state and church, in government, in society in general. And God wants schools of the prophets established today, to serve as a barrier against this, to prepare the youth to be qualified to act as the leaders and counselors.
To this end, Samuel gathered companies of young men who were pious, intelligent, and studious. – Ibid
What kind of students did Samuel gather? — Pious, and intelligent and studious. What does pious mean? — Devout, religious, holy. They were spiritually minded. They weren’t a bunch of unconverted rebels. I have often said that schools of reform are not to be confused with reform schools. Some people think that if they have a youngster that can’t get along in the conventional schools, that maybe they can get him in a school like this and he will get some help.
Well, sometimes people do get some help. It’s amazing all the methods the Lord uses. But my point is this; the type of student that Samuel was looking for was the type that was what? — Pious. Well, are young people pious? A few are, and those are the few that Samuel got. What are we going to do with all the others? We’re going to try to evangelize them if they will allow us to.
But let us face it, friends, Daniel and Esther’s don’t grow on every tree. No, they don’t. Samuel was looking for young people who he could train as leaders and counselors, and the first prerequisite was that they be what? — Pious.
What next? — Intelligent. That’s another interesting thing. Once in a while, I’m glad it’s not very often, I get a long distance call and somebody on the other end of the line says, “We have a young person here, they just don’t seem to be able to make it in the ordinary school. They don’t seem to have the IQ. And we thought maybe you might be able to do something.”
I don’t know whether to think that is a compliment or what. The thing I think is, they’ve got a problem and they are looking to see if we can do something about it. God certainly wants every one of us to reach out and try to help everybody we can, doesn’t He? But listen, God is looking for young people to be trained today as Samuel trained people back there, and Samuel picked out young people who were what? — Pious, and intelligent and what else? — Studious.
What does that mean, studious? They got down to business and studied. And I don’t think they had to be on the dean’s list in order to study. I don’t think they had to have a gold seal or blue ribbon. Neither do I think that Samuel had to have a monitor to stand over them to see that they put in their time at the study period. Do you?
Well, thank the Lord we do not have to use our energies in that kind of police work. Samuel gathered companies of young men who were what? — Pious, intelligent and studious. These were called what? — The sons of the prophets.
What does the word “son” suggest? — That there’s a father. That’s right. Well, these students were called the sons of the prophets. Who were the fathers? — The teachers, the prophets. Now, let’s go over to 2 Kings and get some glimpses:
And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha… – 2 Kings 6:1
This is down later, after Samuel, several hundred years. Elijah has reestablished the schools of the prophets and he has gone to heaven and Elisha has taken his place. He has these schools of the prophets going, and here we find the students:
…the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell… – 2 Kings 6:1-2
Let’s look at this a minute. The students said to Elisha, “Things are too” what? — “Strait.” What does that mean? — Too strict? — Too small. Well, what would make a place too small? — More students coming in. Do you know anything about anything like that? All right, then it was a growing activity.
But now, let’s look at these words a little closer. Incidentally, one of my great purposes in this class is to stimulate your minds to look at what the text says, because there’s a lot in these texts. This verse is a good sample of it. You can read that over and go on to the next, but let’s stop a minute:
And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. – 2 Kings 6:1
What does dwell mean? Live. The place where we live is too small. Is that what they’re saying? But now what are those two little words following dwell? “With thee” Do you begin to get a picture? Where did Elisha live? — With the students. He wasn’t just some official that happened to breeze in and look things over, and go on to other activities and places. He lived where the students lived. They lived where he lived. Is that what it says?
The sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us [Too crowded] Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. – 2 Kings 6:1-2
They were going to swarm. There are several things about this that impress me. Where did this idea on this occasion originate? It originated with the students. Is that a bad thing or a good thing? In this case it was a good thing. Now the next thing is what the students did about it. What did they do? They counseled. Who did they counsel with? — The prophet, with Elisha, with the leader, with the teacher. Is that a good place for counsel? Yes.
The third point that I want you to notice: What attitude did the leader, the prophet, the teacher, the homehead, have? — Agreeable. Was he hard to get along with? — Apparently not. Now, if it hadn’t been a good plan, he probably would have pointed out the defects and they would have accepted it. But as it happened, God had moved on their hearts.
And my dear friends, God wants us to develop young people on whose hearts the Holy Spirit is moving, and they will come up with plans for expansion, for extending the work in our local area, in missionary lines, and out to the ends of the earth.
Join us next week, as we study more about the school of the prophets, and its significance in God’s work, today. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.