The Narrow Way Bible Study Lessons
Country Living - A Call to the Simple Life
Does it matter to God where we live? Yes, it definitely does. As in all other areas of our life, God has a beautiful plan that will help us to grow strong spiritually, mentally, and physically. Would you like to know what that plan is? Let’s study it together.
1) Where did God place the first man and woman? _______________________________
“And the LORD God planted a ____________ eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed…. And the LORD God took the man, and ________________ ____________________________ of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Genesis 2:8, 15
“In the beginning He placed our first parents amidst the beautiful sights and sounds He desires us to rejoice in today. The more nearly we come into harmony with God's original plan, the more favorable will be our position to secure health of body, and mind, and soul.” CL 6
2) What example did Enoch, the man who walked with God, give us?
“And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch _______________________________: and he [was] not; for God ________ him.” Genesis 5:22-24
“By faith Enoch was ____________________ that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he ______________________.” Hebrews 11:5
“He [Enoch] did not make his abode with the wicked. He did not locate in Sodom, thinking to save Sodom. He placed himself and his family where the atmosphere would be as pure as possible. Then at times he went forth to the inhabitants of the world with his God-given message. Every visit he made to the world was painful to him. He saw and understood something of the leprosy of sin. After proclaiming his message, he always took back with him to his place of retirement some who had received the warning. Some of these became overcomers, and died before the Flood came. But some had lived so long in the corrupting influence of sin that they could not endure righteousness.” 1BC 1087
“Enoch, separating himself from the world, and spending much of his time in prayer and in communion with God, represents God's loyal people in the last days, who will be separate from the world.” SR 60
Enoch’s life gives us the “outpost model”. we are to live out in the secluded places, away from the populated areas, and spend much time in communion with God; and from this wilderness haven we are to go out at times to work with the people and try to save some for the kingdom of heaven. This is the only way we will have power in our own personal lives and in saving souls.
3) What lessons can we learn from the story of Abraham and Lot about where we should live?
“By faith Abraham, when he was ____________ to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, ____________; and he ________________, not knowing ______________ he went.” Hebrews 11:8
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, ________________________ of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, ______________________ that I will show thee:… So Abram ________________, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him:” Genesis 12:1, 4
“Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. __________ dwelled in the _____________________ ____________, and ______ dwelled in the ____________________________________, and pitched [his] tent ________________________. But the men of Sodom [were] ____________ and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” Genesis 13:11-13
“And there came two angels to Sodom at even;… And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring [them] ______ of this place: For we will ______________ this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that ____________ unto his sons in law. And when the morning arose, then the angels ________________ Lot, saying, __________, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; ________ thou be _______________ in the _______________ of the city. And while he ________________, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, ____________ for thy ________; look not ____________ thee, neither ________ thou in all the plain; ____________ to the ________________, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, ________
____, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and _________
____________ escape to the ________________, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this ________ [is] near to flee unto, and it [is] a ____________________: Oh, let me escape thither, ([is] it not a ____________________?) and my soul shall live. And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah __________________ and ________ from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife __________ ________ from behind him, and she became a ____________ of ________. And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. And Lot ________ up ______ of ________, and __________ in the ________________, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.” Genesis 19:1, 12-30
It took great faith for Abraham to leave his home country and go out into an unknown land, following God’s leading; and such is the faith we will need as we follow God’s leading to get our families into the country.
When Abraham and Lot reached their destination, they parted ways. Abraham set up camp in the country farmland, but Lot “pitched his tent toward” the wicked city of Sodom.
Later in the story, we find that Lot is now dwelling in Sodom. What a lesson this is to us! Do you locate your family outside the towns and cities, but “close enough for convenience”? Do you go there often to run errands and shop? Beware lest you, like Lot, find yourself and your family slowly but surely drifting toward the city (in your attitudes, your interests, or even your physical location). As we behold the wickedness the cities offer, we will gradually find it less and less repulsive and offensive, and more and more pleasing and enticing. Our only safe course is to follow the example of Abraham.
The story of Lot ends tragically, when only he and his two daughters escape with their lives, and his wife and other children are destroyed with the city. The hearts of his children that remained had become so entwined with that sinful city that they wouldn’t even listen to their Father’s warning. And as for Lot’s wife, she loved the things of this world so much that even while she fled, her heart was still back in Sodom. Even Lot begged to be allowed to flee to another city with the plea, “Is it not a little one?” Oh, what a pity, what a shame! How beautifully the story of Lot could have turned out if he had chosen to locate his family far from Sodom, and shield them from the influences of that doomed city.
4) What is God saying to you personally through the story of Abraham and Lot?
5) When Moses spent forty years in the wilderness herding sheep in preparation for his work as a leader of Israel, was it a waste of time? YES / NO
“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the ________________ of ______, [even] to Horeb…. And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the ____________________ to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God.” Exodus 3:1, 4:27
“Man would have dispensed with that long period of toil and obscurity, deeming it a great loss of time.” PP 247; BUT, “ Before God could talk with Moses, he educated him in the mountains, among the sheepfolds. Exiled from the courts of Egypt and from the temptations of city life, Moses held communion with God…. For forty years Moses dwelt in the wilderness, receiving from God an education that made him a wise, tender, humble man. When this time was ended, his self-confidence was gone; he was meek and lowly, so divested of self that God could communicate to him his will in regard to the people he had chosen.” YI, December 13, 1900
Likewise, do not consider it a waste of time when God asks you and your family to move to a country or wilderness place where you can learn to commune with Him and walk with Him. He is wanting to help you form a character like His, and to prepare you for eternity with Him. Nothing is a waste of time when you’re working toward a goal like that!
6) List ten conditions God chose for the early life of His Son, Jesus:
“An expensive dwelling, elaborate furnishings, display, luxury, and ease, do not furnish the conditions essential to a happy, useful life. Jesus came to this earth to accomplish the greatest work ever accomplished among men. He came as God's ambassador, to show us how to live so as to secure life's best results. What were the conditions chosen by the infinite Father for His Son? A secluded home in the Galilean hills; a household sustained by honest, self-respecting labor; a life of simplicity; daily conflict with difficulty and hardship; self-sacrifice, economy, and patient, gladsome service; the hour of study at His mother's side, with the open scroll of Scripture; the quiet of dawn or twilight in the green valley; the holy ministries of nature; the study of creation and providence; and the soul's communion with God,--these were the conditions and opportunities of the early life of Jesus.” CL 14, 15
7) What example did Jesus give us in His adult life? _____________________________
“But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. And he ________________ ______________ into the ____________________, and ____________.” Luke 5:15-16
“And in the ______________, rising up a _____________________________________
_______, he went out, and ________________ into a ____________________________, and there ____________.” Mark 1:35
“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a ________________ to ________, and continued __________________ in prayer to God.” Luke 6:12
“And after six days Jesus taketh [with him] Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an _____________________________________ by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.” Mark 9:2
“And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a _____________________ __________ to ________: and when the evening was come, he was there __________.” Matthew 14:23
If Jesus needed regular times of communion with His Father out in the solitude of the mountains, how much more do we!
We have looked at the lives of several great Bible characters who spent time out in solitude or who lived in the country, and there are many more besides - Abel, children of Seth, Noah, Joseph, Samuel, David, Elijah, Elisha, John the Baptist, John the Revelator, and others.
8) Has God given the wilderness to His people before as a refuge in times of persecution, and will He do it again in the last days? YES / NO
“And the woman ________ into the ____________________, where she hath a place ________________ of ______, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days…. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might ______ into the ____________________, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”
Revelation 12:6, 14
“(Of whom the world was not ____________:) they wandered in ______________, and [in] __________________, and [in] ________ and __________ of the earth.”
“Feed thy ____________ with thy rod, the __________ of thine ________________, which dwell ____________________ [in] the ________,” Micah 7:14
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea ______________________________ _________________: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” Matthew 24:14-18
“He shall dwell on high: his place of ______________ [shall be] the ________________ of __________: bread shall be __________ him; his waters [shall be] ________. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.”
“Behind the lofty bulwarks of the mountains--in all ages the refuge of the persecuted and oppressed--the Waldenses found a hiding place.” GC 65
“It is no time now for God's people to be fixing their affections or laying up their treasure in the world. The time is not far distant, when, like the early disciples, we shall be forced to seek a refuge in desolate and solitary places.” 5T 464
9) Where will God place the redeemed in the New Earth, and what occupation will they be given? ________________________________________________
“For, behold, I create ______________________ and a __________________: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind…. And they shall __________ houses, and ______________ [them]; and they shall __________ vineyards, and ______ the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree [are] the days of my people, and mine __________ shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” Isaiah 65:17, 21-22
10) Are cities and urban areas a spiritually safe place to live and raise our families?
YES / NO
“______ unto them that ________ house to __________, [that] ______ field to __________, till [there be] ________________, that they may be placed __________ in the midst of the earth!” Isaiah 5:8
“There is not one family in a hundred who will be improved physically, mentally, or spiritually, by residing in the city. Faith, hope, love, happiness, can far better be gained in retired places, where there are fields and hills and trees.” CL 13
“If we place ourselves under objectionable influences, can we expect God to work a miracle to undo the results of our wrong course? --No, indeed. Get out of the cities as soon as possible…” CL 17
It is not God’s will that people live so close to one another that they are continually distracted by the things going on around them, and have no place for quiet contemplation and communion with Him.
11) What are we as a people called to do? Read the verse and the quotes below, then write your answer on the lines given. __________________________________________
“Wherefore ________________________________________________, and ____________________________, saith the Lord, and ___________________________
_____________________________; and I will ______________ you, And will be a ____________ unto you, and ye shall be my ________ and __________________, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18
“Who will be warned? We say again, Out of the cities. Do not consider it a great deprivation, that you must go into the hills and mountains, but seek for that retirement where you can be alone with God, to learn His will and way. . . . I urge our people to make it their lifework to seek for spirituality. Christ is at the door. This is why I say to our people, Do not consider it a privation when you are called to leave the cities and move out into the country places. Here there await rich blessings for those who will grasp them. By beholding the scenes of nature, the works of the Creator, by studying God's handiwork, imperceptibly you will be changed into the same image.” CL 14
12) If we have our eyes on heaven, our true home, will we miss the city we’ve chosen to leave behind? YES / NO
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were __________________ and ________________ on the __________. For they that say such things declare plainly that they ________ a ______________. And truly, if they had been ______________ of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had ______________________ to have ________________. But now they ____________ a _____________________________, that is, an ________________: wherefore God is not ______________ to be called their God: for he hath ________________ for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13-16
13) What promise does God give us of His protection and guidance when we move out to the country?
“And I will make with them a ________________ of __________, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall ________________________ in the ____________________, and __________ in the __________.” Ezekiel 34:25
14) To Whom alone do we look for salvation? ________________________
“Truly in ________ [is salvation hoped for] from the __________, [and from] the multitude of __________________: truly in the ________ our ______ [is] the __________________ of Israel.” Jeremiah 3:23
Our salvation is in God alone, not in a place in the country or a wilderness property; but it is our God Who is calling us to the country, that we may be better enabled to walk with Him and develop a character fit for heaven. If we go to the country for any motive other than these (such as to hide or run away from life, etc.), we will be easily discouraged and want to go back to our easy life in the city.
15) How can we afford to move to the country, and then afford to live once we’re there?
This is a practical question, but one that is often asked, and needs to be addressed. Read the following answers, and think about how your family would deal with these financial aspects of moving to the country.
Affording to move: Moving to the country does take commitment and willingness to sacrifice, but it can be done. God will open up doors as you trust in Him, if you are committed to do whatever it takes to follow. It may mean you have to sell all but one vehicle, or have a yard sale and sell all those elegant furnishings and excess toys, but it will be worth it. If you have nothing, not even a home, to sell, look into other options such as caretaking a place in the country for someone else, or working for an older couple who can’t maintain their farm any more in exchange for a corner of land to build on.
Affording to live: Perhaps you should first ask yourself what standard of living you hope to maintain. Are you willing to live a lot more simply in your country home than you did on your large city income, because most likely you will have to? Are you willing to rough it a bit, especially as you’re starting out? Learn to be content now with less, and lay aside the money you save to help you out in your first year or two in the country. Remember also that when you can grow a garden, you will save a lot on food bills; and the more off-the-grid you can live, the fewer bills you’ll have as well, so cost of living should be far less in the country than it is in your present urban or suburban home.
16) Are we called to be an agrarian people, to grow gardens, and farm the land?
YES / NO
“Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one. We should now
(written in 1904; how much more today!) begin to heed the instruction given us over and over again: Get out of the cities into rural districts, where the houses are not crowded closely together, and where you will be free from the interference of enemies.” CL 9, 10
“Many are unwilling to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, and they refuse to till the soil. But the earth has blessings hidden in her depths for those who have courage and will and perseverance to gather her treasures. Fathers and mothers who possess a piece of land and a comfortable home are kings and queens.” CL 18
“I see the necessity of the people of God moving out of the cities into retired country [places,] where they may cultivate the land and raise their own produce…. I see the necessity of making haste to get all things ready for the crisis.” (written in 1897, how much more so today!) CL 21
Along with the call to country living comes the call to be an agrarian people. We are missing out on some of the greatest character-building opportunities God has provided for us if we are not growing a garden and raising our own food; and the time is coming soon when we will be dependant on this means for survival.
17) Does the call to move to the country also involve a call to a more simple life?
YES / NO
“Lay not up for yourselves __________________ upon ___________, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves __________________ in ____________, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For ______________________________
______________, there will your __________________________.” Matthew 6:19-21
“And the __________ of this __________, and the __________________________ of ____________, and the lusts of other things entering in, __________ the ________, and it becometh ____________________.” Mark 4:19
“And he said unto them, Take ________, and ___________ of ____________________: for a man's life ____________________ not in the __________________ of the ____________ which he ____________________.” Luke 12:15
“But __________________ with _______________________ is great ________. For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can ________________________
________. And having food and raiment let us be therewith ______________. But they that will be ________ fall into ____________________ and a __________, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in ______________________ and __________________. For the __________________________ is the root of ________
________: which while some ______________ after, they have __________ from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many ______________. But thou, O man of God, __________________________________; and ________________________ righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” 1 Timothy 6:6-11
“Puritan plainness and simplicity should mark the dwellings and apparel of all who believe the solemn truths for this time. All means needlessly expended in dress or in the adorning of our houses is a waste of our Lord's money.” 5T 189
“Should we dress in plain, modest apparel without reference to the fashions; should our tables at all times be set with simple, healthful food, avoiding all luxuries, all extravagance; should our houses be built with becoming plainness, and furnished in the same manner, it would show the sanctifying power of the truth, and would have a telling influence upon unbelievers. But while we conform to the world in these matters, in some cases apparently seeking to excel worldlings in fanciful arrangement, the preaching of the truth will have but little or no effect. Who will believe the solemn truth for this time, when those who already profess to believe it contradict their faith by their works?”
The simple life is one of blessing, contentment, and fulfillment, not of misery or deprivation. It is a life of being thankful for the many blessings God has strewn in our pathway, rather than fretting over all the things we wish we could have. True, there are hardships to endure and sacrifices to make in living the simple life, but they are well worth it when compared to the blessings received. God gave Ellen White a vision of the Christian’s journey to heaven. In it she saw this: “We then thought of those who had not accustomed themselves to privations and hardships. Where were such now? They were not in the company. At every change some were left behind, and those only remained who had accustomed themselves to endure hardships. The privations of the way only made these more eager to press on to the end.” 2T 595.
The call to the country is also a call to a simple life. Now is no time for us to be buying up for ourselves treasures on earth - a large home, elegant furnishings, a wardrobe full of expensive clothes, a fancy car, etc. Soon all our earthly possessions will be burnt up. The only things that will last are the treasures we have laid up in heaven - ourselves, our family, and others we have led to Christ, saved eternally.
You may say, “But I like all my comforts and conveniences here in my urban home and lifestyle. I don’t want to give them up.” Ask yourself which is more important to you: getting ready for heaven and helping your children get ready for heaven, or enjoying the pleasures of this life for a short time, only to lose all and eternal life too when Jesus returns? The choice is yours!
18) What is the ultimate purpose of moving to the country, growing your own garden, and living a simple life? _______________________________________________________
“________________, and ________ that I [am] ______: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10
“For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In __________________ and ________ shall ye be saved; in __________________ and in ____________________ shall be your strength: and ye would not.” Isaiah 30:15
The following was written about children, but applies equally to all of us: “The more quiet and simple the life of the child--the more free from artificial excitement and the more in harmony with nature--the more favorable it is to physical and mental vigor and to spiritual strength.” CG 139
The purpose for quiet, simple, country living is to come to know God as it is our privilege to know Him, to surrender our lives fully to Him, to learn to walk with Him, and thus, to form characters for heaven; And as we come into this experience ourselves, we will be able to lead our families into the same experience.
19) What is the danger of a “loitering spirit”? ___________________________________
“And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And _________________________________, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.” Genesis 19:15-16
Remember the story of Lot, and how on the morning just before the city was destroyed, he was still lingering there. Yet the real problem began years before when he lingered near the city too long until it began to seem attractive. Next, he moved into the city and continued to linger there. As a result of his lingering, loitering spirit, he lost nearly his whole family. We are told that if Lot had hastened away from that doomed city, even that morning, as he was bidden to do, and had not had such a lingering spirit, his wife would not have become a pillar of salt. Oh, what a fatal mistake! But my friends, are you lingering? Are you taking your merry time to obey the counsel because you don’t want to give up your nice home or comfortable, easy lifestyle? Ellen White spoke of “pleading with some families to avail themselves of God's appointed means, and get away from the cities to save their children. Some were loitering, making no determined efforts.” CL 6
20) So, this brings us to the closing appeal. You may be thinking, “Yes, yes, I know we should move to the country. Maybe in a few years…, maybe when the children finish school…, maybe when I retire…, maybe when the housing market is better…, maybe when I find the perfect property….” But we ask you, why procrastinate? Remember the serious warning we read in the Spirit of Prophecy about a loitering spirit? Whatever the excuse, putting off obedience is never a safe course to follow. It is better to obey now while we can, for the time will soon come when we will not be able to leave the cities and towns no matter how much we may want to. Then too, if your children are still at home, will you wait until they are totally lost to you, entangled in the net of the world, or will you start your rescue mission now, while yet there is hope of saving the whole family? If you have been convicted that the Lord would have you move your family into the country, you need to step forward; make an effort to begin to do what God is calling you to do. Please don’t linger, as Lot did, until it is too late.
On the lines below, write down what God has impressed upon your heart as you have studied this lesson on the call to country living. If you are already in the country, how did God lead you there? If not, how do you feel He is leading you toward that goal practically now? ________________________________________________________________________