Posts Tagged 'Callings'

1 Chronicles Chapter 29

The book of 1 Chronicles records the history of the people of God from the creation through the rule of King David. As the last chapter in this book, the words of David to his successor and his people are wrapped up. David had been a great leader for the children of Israel, even with his personal flaws and transgressions. He had fought the enemies of the land valiantly. As a result, the land of Israel had finally been made ready for a permanent house of the Lord, which Solomon was to build during his reign. This final chapter begins with the following:

1 Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the Lord God.
2 Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.
3 Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house,
4 Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal:
5 The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?

David, speaking to all the Israelites, said that the work given to Solomon was a huge task for a leader who was still young. The Lord has often called those who are young, to perform great tasks for Him. David himself, who had fought Goliath in his youth, had been chosen by God at a young age to become the king of Israel. In youth, people are more humble and teachable, and less hardened by life experiences. In humility, the Lord can bless the weak to become strong, because they rely on Him and have greater faith and trust in the Lord.

David, in his own sincere desire to have the house of the Lord built, had done all that he could to prepare for it. Since he could not build it himself, he had saved all the treasures and supplies, that he could. He had a good amount of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stones, which he had gathered. He had even given a great deal of his own treasures, and dedicated them to the house of the Lord. The Lord had given instruction regarding specific materials to use for specific purposes in the construction of the temple as well as the design of all the tools and vessels. David told the people that the the things he had gathered were for their specific items within the temple, to be crafted by skilled workers. He then called for all who were willing, to consecrate their service to this great work.

6 Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly,
7 And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.
8 And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite.
9 Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.

The leaders of the tribes of Israel gave willingly to the construction of the temple. They gathered gold, silver, brass, iron, and precious stones. Jehiel, the Gershonite (possibly mentioned in 1 Chronicles 23:8 as leader of the sons of Laadan, who were Levites who served at the temple, though there were others by this name listed), worked to gather and give these treasures to house of the Lord.

The Israelites rejoiced because they willingly gave this offering to the Lord. David rejoiced also for their offerings to the Lord. God does not need men to give him their treasures in order to be able to have a House built to his name, because he could provide a way for these things to be handled without them. However, this is a sacrifice and a consecration of means and time, which God asks of men in order to show commitment to Him. This sacrifice of the Israelites, was much like the tithing that God asks of His people today. All things are His and when we contribute willingly to the building up of His kingdom on Earth, we show that we recognize that we are willing to do our part for Him. This commitment is worthy of rejoicing and having a grateful heart, as it was to the Israelites.

10 Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.
11 Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.
12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
15 For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
16 O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.
17 I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.
18 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:
19 And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.

David publicly praised the Lord as he dedicated all that had been offered to the Lord. He acknowledged that all things belonged to God, both in heaven and in the earth, and that all things were and are part of the Lord’s kingdom. He also recognized that God rules over all, just as the Savior did in what is known as the Lord’s prayer. Matthew 6:9-10 and 13 record he Savior’s words, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. …For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” These thoughts of both David and Jesus the Christ, are absolute truths related to God, the Father. They are eternal truths that should continue to be recognized today. People today can and should acknowledge God publicly and privately for His divine majesty.

Continuing, David acknowledged the power and might of God, and that God gives to men the ability to be great and strong. David thanked and praised God, adding that they were only able to give so freely of things because they belonged to the Lord and He made it possible. Again, this is an absolute truth and can and should be recognized by people today. All things, both in the earth and made by man, come of God. He has created all of it and it all belongs to Him. We are only here on earth, for a short time, with the permission granted to us to use all that He has created. When we give to the Lord in ways such as tithes and offerings, as the Israelites did, we are returning to the Lord what He has made possible for us to use. In this, we should be continually grateful, as David was.

David humbly recognized that the children of Israel were strangers and travelers as their ancestors had been. This idea again applies to all men. We are all strangers to this life. We were spiritually created first, and lived in Heaven with God. We spend our time in this earthly life, as strangers, needing the prevailing guidance of our Father. That time is ever-changing, short and never standing still, as a shadow changes each moment with the movement of the sun.

As he went on, David spoke of the ways of God to test the hearts of his people, and of His pleasure in finding uprightness in them. David had willingly given his offering out of his own uprightness of heart, or honesty and goodness, and he found joy in seeing the people give willingly as well. He prayed to the Lord, that the people would remember this and prepare their hearts for the Lord. Moreover, he prayed that the Lord would bless his son, Solomon, with a perfect heart. That Solomon would keep the commandments and statutes of God, and do all in his power to build the temple for which David had prepared greatly.

20 And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the Lord, and the king.
21 And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings unto the Lord, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel:
22 And did eat and drink before the Lord on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the Lord to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest.
23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.
24 And all the princes, and the mighty men, and all the sons likewise of king David, submitted themselves unto Solomon the king.
25 And the Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.

The gathered people were told to worship the Lord, which they did through prayer, sacrifices, and burnt offerings. Their worship continued as they feasted with great gladness. Solomon was anointed king by the people, with Zadok as the priest. Solomon took the throne and prospered. Israel became subject to him, including all the leaders who had served under David. Solomon was truly blessed by the Lord, in ways that had not been known to the Israelites before this time.

26 Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel.
27 And the time that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.
28 And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead.
29 Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,
30 With all his reign and his might, and the times that went over him, and over Israel, and over all the kingdoms of the countries.

David had been king in Hebron for 7 years and in Jerusalem for 33 years, making his total reign in Israel, 40 years. He died at a good age for his day, which was about 70 (his rule began when he was 30, according to 2 Samuel 5:4), having been blessed with wealth and honor. There are other accounts of David’s reign, which are not all had in the Bible and are lost writings, but his reign was great and established much for the nation of Israel.

David was a good example to the people of his time, as well as to all the world since that time, to praise God with gratitude. He had been a memorable leader for Israel, serving them and remembering God. He had his shortcomings and was not a perfect man, but he recognized this in himself and ended his days looking to God. As the successful king he was, he could have chosen to withhold his gratitude as many others do. However, David knew from his youth, that his successes and greatness came from the hand of the Lord. As we go through our lives today, it is important for us to remember this as well. We owe so much to God for all He does for us, and we will be blessed and become more, if we humbly look to God with a grateful heart and openly praise Him.

1 Chronicles Chapter 28

The book of 1 Chronicles continues in its record of the rule of King David. A fair amount of this information has been already recorded in the books of Kings (1 Samuel to 2 Kings). This chapter can be compared to 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Kings 2. It begins:

1 And David assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by course, and the captains over the thousands, and captains over the hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possession of the king, and of his sons, with the officers, and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men, unto Jerusalem.
2 Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building:
3 But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.
4 Howbeit the Lord God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel:
5 And of all my sons, (for the Lord hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel.
6 And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.
7 Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day.
8 Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the Lord, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.

David gathered the leaders of Israel, including the princes, captains of his men as well as the armies, stewards, his sons, and his mighty men (named in the previous chapters). They were called to Jerusalem where David told them that he had desired to build a house of the Lord, where they could place the ark of the covenant of the Lord. But when he asked the Lord, God told him he was not to build it because his duty had been as a man of war. David had been chosen and raised by the Lord to be a man of war. He battled Goliath as a boy and as he grew he was led to fight for Israel by the hand of God. The fact that he was a man of war was not a bad thing, but it had been his calling by God and raising the temple was not. Each person has an opportunity to accept the calling that God has for them and these callings are all different. For some, it is to lead, while for others it is to follow. For some, it is to become parents during this life, while for others it is to go without children for now and to be a light to children in other ways. We can learn what that calling is for us, by aligning ourselves with God and His will, through following the commandments he gives to us.

David continues to tell them that he had been chosen by the Lord, out of all of his brothers, to be king. Likewise, out of all of his many sons, the Lord had chosen Solomon to be the next king. The Lord told David that Solomon would be he one to build the temple of the Lord. He would bless Solomon, that his kingdom would be established forever, if he would remain faithful to God’s commandments. The Lord instructed Solomon and Israel, to keep and seek the commandments so that the land would remain their land from that time on, forever. This promise made to Solomon and the men gathered there, to have the inheritance of the land for keeping the commandments of God continually, is much like the promise to the family of Lehi found in 1 Nephi 2:20. It reads, “And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.” The blessing of prosperity in the land of promise continues today for those who remain faithful.

9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
10 Take heed now; for the Lord hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.

Solomon, who knew the things of God, was instructed to serve him with all his heart and with a willing mind. Because God knows the hearts of men, and understands all thoughts, He is there for those who seek him. If instead, He is forsaken, He casts men off forever. Solomon was counseled to be careful, because he had been chosen to build the temple and he needed to have the strength needed to do it. This task was one of a very sacred responsibility, which required God’s continued guidance at every step if it was to be accepted by Him for his holy purposes.

11 Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat,
12 And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the Lord, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:
13 Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the Lord.
14 He gave of gold by weight for things of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; silver also for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service:
15 Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, both for the candlestick, and also for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick.
16 And by weight he gave gold for the tables of shewbread, for every table; and likewise silver for the tables of silver:
17 Also pure gold for the fleshhooks, and the bowls, and the cups: and for the golden basins he gave gold by weight for every basin; and likewise silver by weight for every basin of silver:
18 And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the Lord.
19 All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.
20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.
21 And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all the service of the house of God: and there shall be with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skilful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment.

Then, David instructed Solomon in the construction for the temple. He told him what the pattern of the temple was to be according to the spirit, or according to what he had been told by the spirit. He also instructed him in the work of the priests and Levites and their service in the temple. He told him of the use of all the vessels or instruments and how all these things were to be created by their weight in gold and silver. Additionally, he taught him how the tables and altars were to be made by weight in gold and silver. And instructions were given on the seat for the ark of the covenant, with its cherubim. These instructions were as those given by God to Moses when the tabernacle was first made. David told Solomon that he had come to know these things by the hand of the Lord. As the king, David had access to the records of Moses, which gave instruction as to the making of all things for the tabernacle. With the Lord’s spirit for understanding, all these things were made known to him and he could counsel Solomon in them as well.

David also gave Solomon counsel to be strong and courage. Solomon was instructed to fear not, because the Lord would be with him and God would not fail or forsake him. With the help of the Lord, Solomon could finish this sacred charge that he had been given with the temple. David left him with somewhat of a blessing, that all the help he would need from priests, Levites, skilled workmen, leaders of the tribes, and the host of Israel, would be given to him at his command.

The building of this temple, must have been somewhat of an overwhelming charge given to Solomon, let alone being called by God to be the next king of Israel. However, the Lord had all the plans laid out for him, as they had been laid for Moses and the children of Israel many years before this. Having direction from the Lord and the promise of his help to accomplish the task, must have been a great comfort for Solomon. David’s words of counsel to his son, remind me of the words of Nephi found in 1 Nephi 3:7, which reads, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” There is absolute truth in this verse, that can be a source of comfort and strength to the faithful. The Lord will not give any person a commandment, that He is not willing to help them accomplish. We simply need to have the faith to rely on Him. It is His work and He wants it to be done because that is how we will all be able to return to Him. David knew this because his life experiences had taught him this was true. Like David, we can learn to rely on the Lord, as we are faithful to the commandments he gives us, and we will be greatly blessed as we do.

1 Chronicles Chapter 26

The Levites were give specific duties within the tribes of Israel, most of which pertained to service in the temple. Some were set apart as musicians. Some were the sons of Aaron and were set apart as priests who served with the sacred priesthood responsibilities of the temple. This chapter begins with those who were set apart as porters and goes on to explain those in charge of the treasures and other business in Israel.

1 Concerning the divisions of the porters: Of the Korhites was Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph.
2 And the sons of Meshelemiah were, Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth,
3 Elam the fifth, Jehohanan the sixth, Elioenai the seventh.
4 Moreover the sons of Obed-edom were, Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, and Sacar the fourth, and Nethaneel the fifth,
5 Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peulthai the eighth: for God blessed him.
6 Also unto Shemaiah his son were sons born, that ruled throughout the house of their father: for they were mighty men of valour.
7 The sons of Shemaiah; Othni, and Rephael, and Obed, Elzabad, whose brethren were strong men, Elihu, and Semachiah.
8 All these of the sons of Obed-edom: they and their sons and their brethren, able men for strength for the service, were threescore and two of Obed-edom.
9 And Meshelemiah had sons and brethren, strong men, eighteen.
10 Also Hosah, of the children of Merari, had sons; Simri the chief, (for though he was not the firstborn, yet his father made him the chief;)
11 Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth: all the sons and brethren of Hosah were thirteen.
12 Among these were the divisions of the porters, even among the chief men, having wards one against another, to minister in the house of the Lord.

Porters were doorkeepers in charge of the gates, or the entrances of the temple. There were divided in their duties of the temple. There were porters of the Korhites and children of Merari. In the family of Korhites, and the line of Asaph and Kore, there was Meshelemiah. He was the father of Zechariah, Jediael, Zebadiah, Jathniel, Elam, Jehohanan, and Elioenai. Of their family, there were 18 men for service. There was also Obed-edom, the father of Shemaiah, Jehozabad, Joah, Sacar, Nethaneel, Ammiel, Issachar, and Peulthai. (Obed-edom had been the man who housed the ark before it was returned to its proper place in Israel.) Shemaiah was the father of men of valour, including Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad, along with Elihu and Semachiah. The sons of Obed-edom were 62 in total and were capable men for the service they were given. Of the children of Merari, there was Hosah, the father of Simri, Hilkiah, Tebaliah, an Zechariah. The sons of Hosah were thirteen in number, with Simri as the leader. Simri was not the firstborn, but he was given the role as their leader.

13 And they cast lots, as well the small as the great, according to the house of their fathers, for every gate.
14 And the lot eastward fell to Shelemiah. Then for Zechariah his son, a wise counsellor, they cast lots; and his lot came out northward.
15 To Obed-edom southward; and to his sons the house of Asuppim.
16 To Shuppim and Hosah the lot came forth westward, with the gate Shallecheth, by the causeway of the going up, ward against ward.
17 Eastward were six Levites, northward four a day, southward four a day, and toward Asuppim two and two.
18 At Parbar westward, four at the causeway, and two at Parbar.
19 These are the divisions of the porters among the sons of Kore, and among the sons of Merari.

Lots were cast among the sons of Kore and Merari, to determine the gate responsibility each group would have. If this is understood correctly, the east gate was assigned to Shelemiah, and there was to be six men serving there at a time. The north gate was assigned to Zechariah, the wise cousellor and son of Shelemiah, and there was to be four men serving there each day. The south gate was assigned to Obed-edom and the house of Asuppim, and there were to be four men serving there each day as well. The west gate was assigned to Shuppim and Hosah, along with the gate Shallecheth, by the causeway (a separate raised path), and there were to be four serving there each day. Two served at Parbar, which may have been a suburb of the temple.

20 And of the Levites, Ahijah was over the treasures of the house of God, and over the treasures of the dedicated things.
21 As concerning the sons of Laadan; the sons of the Gershonite Laadan, chief fathers, even of Laadan the Gershonite, were Jehieli.
22 The sons of Jehieli; Zetham, and Joel his brother, which were over the treasures of the house of the Lord.
23 Of the Amramites, and the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites:
24 And Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was ruler of the treasures.
25 And his brethren by Eliezer; Rehabiah his son, and Jeshaiah his son, and Joram his son, and Zichri his son, and Shelomith his son.
26 Which Shelomith and his brethren were over all the treasures of the dedicated things, which David the king, and the chief fathers, the captains over thousands and hundreds, and the captains of the host, had dedicated.
27 Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the Lord.
28 And all that Samuel the seer, and Saul the son of Kish, and Abner the son of Ner, and Joab the son of Zeruiah, had dedicated; and whosoever had dedicated any thing, it was under the hand of Shelomith, and of his brethren.

Ahijah was assigned to be over the treasures of the temple, as well as those treasures that had been dedicated. Those serving with him included Zetham and Joel, who were sons of Jehieli of the sons of the Gershonite Laadan. Also over treasures was Shebuel, the son of Gershom, who was the son of Moses. The sons of Eliezer, including Rehabiah, Jeshaiah, Joram, Zichri, and Shelomith, were responsible for the dedicated treasures. These treasures were dedicated from the spoils of battles by King David, the chief fathers, and the captains of the host. They were also dedicated by Samuel the seer, King Saul, Abner the captain of Saul’s armies, and Joab, among others.

29 Of the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons were for the outward business over Israel, for officers and judges.
30 And of the Hebronites, Hashabiah and his brethren, men of valour, a thousand and seven hundred, were officers among them of Israel on this side Jordan westward in all the business of the Lord, and in the service of the king.
31 Among the Hebronites was Jerijah the chief, even among the Hebronites, according to the generations of his fathers. In the fortieth year of the reign of David they were sought for, and there were found among them mighty men of valour at Jazer of Gilead.
32 And his brethren, men of valour, were two thousand and seven hundred chief fathers, whom king David made rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king.

The outward business of the Israelites, of officers and judges, was the responsibility of the Izharites, the family of Chenaniah. Hashabiah and his family of the Hebronites, 1,700 men of valour, became officers in the business of the Lord and in service of the king, on the west side of the Jordan. Jerijah was their chief leader. During the fortieth year of David’s reign, there was a search for mighty men of valor, and they were found at Jazer and Gilead. 2,700 of his brethren were assigned to take care of the business of the Lord and service of the king, on the east side of the Jordan, among the Reubenites, Gadites and half of the tribe of Manasseh.

The responsibility of porters was important, though it may seem a bit strange. It can sound like they were a type of ancient-day bouncer, guarding the doors of the temple, but its not quite that. The holy house of the Lord should have been kept holy by allowing only those who were worthy to enter there. In modern temples, there are priesthood holders who are called and set apart to welcome patrons to the temple, as well as to verify that they are indeed worthy to enter the house of the Lord. Worthiness to worship in the temple is important for both the maintaining of a sacred edifice for the Lord, and for the patrons, who are to be held to a standard of worthiness for the covenants made there. I am grateful for the expectations of worthiness on my part as well as others who enter the temple, because it means that I can depend on the blessings of the spirit of the Lord in that space, when the world is becoming increasingly confusing and dark around me.

1 Chronicles Chapter 25

In the days of David, the duties of the host of Israel were assigned and recorded. Specifically, the tribe of Levi was given sacred responsibilities in the priesthood. Among those duties and responsibilities, was that of musicians and singers. This chapter recounts the details of those extended this calling for the Lord.

1 Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals: and the number of the workmen according to their service was:
2 Of the sons of Asaph; Zaccur, and Joseph, and Nethaniah, and Asarelah, the sons of Asaph under the hands of Asaph, which prophesied according to the order of the king.
3 Of Jeduthun: the sons of Jeduthun; Gedaliah, and Zeri, and Jeshaiah, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the hands of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp, to give thanks and to praise the Lord.
4 Of Heman: the sons of Heman; Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamti-ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth:
5 All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters.
6 All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the Lord, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God, according to the king’s order to Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman.
7 So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the Lord, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight.

The singers and musicians were from the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun. They were set apart in the service to use harps, psalteries and cymbals; to prophesy or to play the hymns of their day. Those who would play for the king, were the family of Asaph, including Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asarelah. Asaph was a cymbal player who, according to the Bible Dictionary, founded a family of singers. They are mentioned later in Psalms, because they served David as his personal musicians. Those who would sing and play the hymns of praise to the Lord on the harp, were the family of Jeduthun including Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Hashabiah and Mattithiah. Those who were to play the horn, were the family of Heman, including Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathan, Giddalti, Romamti-ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth. The musicians would play in the tabernacle or temple, when called upon by the king. There were 288 included in this group, and they were taught and skilled at playing the hymns.

8 And they cast lots, ward against ward, as well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar.
9 Now the first lot came forth for Asaph to Joseph: the second to Gedaliah, who with his brethren and sons were twelve:
10 The third to Zaccur, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
11 The fourth to Izri, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
12 The fifth to Nethaniah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
13 The sixth to Bukkiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
14 The seventh to Jesharelah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
15 The eighth to Jeshaiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
16 The ninth to Mattaniah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
17 The tenth to Shimei, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
18 The eleventh to Azareel, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
19 The twelfth to Hashabiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
20 The thirteenth to Shubael, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
21 The fourteenth to Mattithiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
22 The fifteenth to Jeremoth, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
23 The sixteenth to Hananiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
24 The seventeenth to Joshbekashah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25 The eighteenth to Hanani, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
26 The nineteenth to Mallothi, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
27 The twentieth to Eliathah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
28 The one and twentieth to Hothir, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
29 The two and twentieth to Giddalti, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
30 The three and twentieth to Mahazioth, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
31 The four and twentieth to Romamti-ezer, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve.

The lots were cast and they were put into 24 groups, to fulfill their duties under the direction of the men mentioned before. Each group was a group of twelve, likely rotating in their service much like the men who served in the other duties of the house of the Lord.

Music plays an important role in inviting the spirit, so it is no wonder that the Lord would want music in his holy temple. It is a tool for preparing our minds for sacred things. Music is powerful and can help to teach us principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in marvelous ways. It has the power to soothe a weary soul, to uplift and enrich, and to move us to engage in the work of the Lord. The responsibility to become skilled at playing and singing, was important, and knowing that these men and families of the levites were called and organized to have that duty can teach us of the value this should have in our own day as well.

1 Chronicles Chapter 23

Solomon was the son of king David and his wife, Bathsheba. He was raised knowing that he was chosen to follow David. He was prepared from a young age, to build the temple of the Lord. He was taught to walk in the ways of God. David made it his purpose to prepared Solomon as much as possible before he, David, was too old or died. This chapter begins with the following:

1 So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel.
2 And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.
3 Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand.
4 Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the Lord; and six thousand were officers and judges:
5 Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the Lord with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith.
6 And David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi, namely, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

When David was very old in age and he knew he would not live much longer, he made Solomon king of Israel. (see also 1 Kings 1) He gathered the princes, priests and Levites. Those levites who were of the age to serve in the work of the Lord, totaled 38,000. 24,000 of those men were appointed to work with the house of the Lord. This left 6,000 as officers and judges, 4,000 as porters, and 4,000 as musicians to praise the Lord with instruments commissioned by David. David divided the sons of Levi into the groups based on the patriarchs of the Levites, which were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The work of the Lord is best done, with order and purpose. Throughout the history of the gospel, those who served in the priesthood have been organized into groups to better serve the Lord, just as David divided the men at this time.

David had a history of making music an important part of his life and of worship. When he was young, he played for Saul. Several times in the description of his rule, music is mentioned as a part of praise to the Lord. Music is an amazing tool for expressing the feelings of the heart, and for inviting the spirit of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 136:28 we read, “If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.” It should not be a surprise that many musicians were given the duty or calling of playing in the tabernacle and temple of the Lord.

7 Of the Gershonites were, Laadan, and Shimei.
8 The sons of Laadan; the chief was Jehiel, and Zetham, and Joel, three.
9 The sons of Shimei; Shelomith, and Haziel, and Haran, three. These were the chief of the fathers of Laadan.
10 And the sons of Shimei were, Jahath, Zina, and Jeush, and Beriah. These four were the sons of Shimei.
11 And Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second: but Jeush and Beriah had not many sons; therefore they were in one reckoning, according to their father’s house.

All those belonging to the Gershonites were the family of Ladan and Shimei. The sons of Ladan, were Jehiel, their leader, Zetham and Joel. The sons of Shimei, were Shelomith, Haziel, and Haran as leaders; and Jahath, who was chief, Zina (Zizah), Jeush, and Beriah.

12 The sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four.
13 The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the Lord, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever.
14 Now concerning Moses the man of God, his sons were named of the tribe of Levi.
15 The sons of Moses were, Gershom, and Eliezer.
16 Of the sons of Gershom, Shebuel was the chief.
17 And the sons of Eliezer were, Rehabiah the chief. And Eliezer had none other sons; but the sons of Rehabiah were very many.
18 Of the sons of Izhar; Shelomith the chief.
19 Of the sons of Hebron; Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth.
20 Of the sons of Uzziel; Michah the first, and Jesiah the second.

The sons of Kohath, the second son of Levi, included Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. Amram was the father of Aaron, the spokesman for his brother, Moses. Aaron was singled out, or rather set apart, to be over the most holy things in the house of the Lord, including burning incense and ministering to the Lord. The sons of Aaron, were those who served with the priesthood. The men of the family of the Levites, assisted the sons of Aaron. Moses was the father of Gershom and Eliezer. Gershom was the father of Shebuel, who was the leader. Eliezar was the father of Rehabiah only. Rehabiah had many sons. The second son of Kohath, Izhar, was the father of Shelomith. The third son, Hebron, was the father of Jeriah, Amariah, Jahaziel and Jekameon. Finally, the forth son, Uzziel, was the father of Michah and Jesiah.

21 The sons of Merari; Mahli, and Mushi. The sons of Mahli; Eleazar, and Kish.
22 And Eleazar died, and had no sons, but daughters: and their brethren the sons of Kish took them.
23 The sons of Mushi; Mahli, and Eder, and Jeremoth, three.

Finally, the sons of Merari, youngest son of Levi, were Mahli and Mushi. Mahli was he father of Eleazar and Kish. Eleazar died without having any sons, but did have daughters who married the sons of Kish. Mushi was the father of Mahli, Eder and Jeremoth.

24 These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; even the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number of names by their polls, that did the work for the service of the house of the Lord, from the age of twenty years and upward.
25 For David said, The Lord God of Israel hath given rest unto his people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem for ever:
26 And also unto the Levites; they shall no more carry the tabernacle, nor any vessels of it for the service thereof.
27 For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above:
28 Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the Lord, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God;
29 Both for the shewbread, and for the fine flour for meat offering, and for the unleavened cakes, and for that which is baked in the pan, and for that which is fried, and for all manner of measure and size;
30 And to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at even;
31 And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the Lord in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the Lord:
32 And that they should keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the holy place, and the charge of the sons of Aaron their brethren, in the service of the house of the Lord.

This listing was those who were called to serve with the temple as soon as they came of age. David told the people that God had given rest to those who lived in Jerusalem and with the building of the temple, the Levites would not have to carry the tabernacle any longer. Some of the responsibilities of the Levites included serving in the courts and chambers of the temple, purifying the holy things, taking care of the shewbread, flour for the offerings, and all the unleavened cakes. They were tasked with expressing thanks to the Lord both morning and night, offering burnt sacrifices at all the times required by the Lord. They were also in charge of the tabernacle of the congregation and the holy place. They were to help the sons of Aaron with their duties of the priesthood, as they served the Lord.

The work of the temple is such an important duty, that an entire tribe of Israel was set apart for it. That duty continued from the tabernacle established by the Lord, to the temple that Solomon was to build during his reign. Temples have been important from ancient times, as designated places of worship and making covenants with the Lord. This work continues to be an important duty today in the temples that dot the earth. I am sure that all those who have served in the temples, in any capacity they were called to serve, have been greatly blessed for their service.

1 Chronicles Chapter 16

King David prepared the people to move the ark back to its resting place in Jerusalem. The Levites had carried the ark and they did so with praises to the Lord. David, himself, was among those who traveled with them. This chapter continues with the following:

1 So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God.
2 And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.
3 And he dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to every one a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine.

The ark was placed in the tent which David had prepared for it. The people offered sacrifices to God. David made an offering and then blessed the people. He gave everyone a loaf of bread, meat and wine.

4 And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to record, and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel:
5 Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obed-edom: and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals;
6 Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God.

Certain men were given the call to serve as ministers before the ark, to keep records, and to give praises to God. Among those called, were Asaph (the choir leader), Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom (also a door keeper), and Jeiel as musicians with harps and cymbals. Additionally, Benaiah and Jahaziel, the priests, were assigned to play trumpets continually before the ark.

7 Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the Lord into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.
8 Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.
11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.
12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
13 O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
14 He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
15 Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;
16 Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac;
17 And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,
18 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance;
19 When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it.
20 And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people;
21 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes,
22 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
23 Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.
24 Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.
25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.
28 Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.
29 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
30 Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth.
32 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein.
33 Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because he cometh to judge the earth.
34 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
35 And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord.

Then, David delivered a psalm of thanksgiving to the those he assigned to play. It praised the Lord. It was a message to the children of Israel, to continue in thanksgiving to the Lord, to pray to him and to let all know of the wondrous works of God. It spoke of singing to the Lord and to glory and rejoice in seeking after him and his strength continually. It called for the people to remember the covenants and commandments of the Lord to their ancestors, which were an everlasting covenant to Israel. The Lord had given them their lands of inheritance and had kept them safe from other kings and nations. It spoke of the greatness of the Lord, and that He should be known as the true god who created the heavens, while all other gods were idols. All people should glory the Lord and worship him. The Lord was to come to judge the earth, and the things of nature were to rejoice. And the faithful should always call upon God for their deliverance from the temptations of the world, and that they would not turn away from God. Those who heard the psalm praised the Lord.

37 So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the Lord Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day’s work required:
38 And Obed-edom with their brethren, threescore and eight; Obed-edom also the son of Jeduthun and Hosah to be porters:
39 And Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place that was at Gibeon,
40 To offer burnt offerings unto the Lord upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the Lord, which he commanded Israel;
41 And with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chosen, who were expressed by name, to give thanks to the Lord, because his mercy endureth for ever;
42 And with them Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those that should make a sound, and with musical instruments of God. And the sons of Jeduthun were porters.
43 And all the people departed every man to his house: and David returned to bless his house.

David left Asaph and his brethren to minister continually at the ark each day. Obed-edom and his 68 brethren were to be porters. Zadok and his brethren were to be the priests of the tabernacle in Gibeon, where they were to make burnt offerings to the Lord continually as the Lord had commanded. Heman, Jeduthun and the remaining who had been called by name, were to continue in praise to the Lord, along with those musicians who had been called. The sons of Jeduthun were called to be porters. Then David and all the people returned to their own homes.

I am sure that relocating the ark and calling men of the priesthood to attend to it continually, brought peace to the heart of David and those covenant people of Israel. Proper worship of the Lord, had been a message of the law of Moses and the teachings of Israel. Now, the people could return to a proper worship with the promised presence of the spirit of the Lord among them. There was great reason to give thanks to the Lord, to sacrifice and give offerings, and to praise with song and words. Likewise, when something is out of place in our own lives, and we have the wisdom and follow the promptings of the spirit to put it right, we also have great reason to do these same things–give thanks, sacrifice, give offerings, and praise. Our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, have blessed us far beyond measure. We owe our every devotion and praise to God, for all that we have and all that we are.

1 Chronicles Chapter 12

David had spent several years as a leader of the armies of Israel while Saul was the king in Israel. When Saul was filled with envy and jealousy, he wanted to destroy David, so David had been made to hide from Saul to preserve his life. At one point, David was in a place called Gath, which was a city of the Philistines at the time. David had gained favor with the king, so he asked the king for land there and was given a place called Ziklag. (see 1 Samuel 27) While in this land, he had a host of men of war that were with him. This chapter begins with a listing of these men.

1 Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war.
2 They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow, even of Saul’s brethren of Benjamin.
3 The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite; and Jeziel, and Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth; and Berachah, and Jehu the Antothite,
4 And Ismaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man among the thirty, and over the thirty; and Jeremiah, and Jahaziel, and Johanan, and Josabad the Gederathite,
5 Eluzai, and Jerimoth, and Bealiah, and Shemariah, and Shephatiah the Haruphite,
6 Elkanah, and Jesiah, and Azareel, and Joezer, and Jashobeam, the Korhites,
7 And Joelah, and Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor.

The mighty men of David were skilled men. Those of Benjamin, were able to shoot with the bow and arrow, and throw stones. The leader of these men, was Ahiezer. Others among them were Joash, the sons of Shemaah, Jeziel, Pelet, Berachah, Jehu, Ismaiah, Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Josabad, Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shermariah, Shephatiah, Elkanah, Jesiah, Azareel, Joezer, Jashobeam, Joelah, and Zebadiah.

8 And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains;
9 Ezer the first, Obadiah the second, Eliab the third,
10 Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth,
11 Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh,
12 Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth,
13 Jeremiah the tenth, Machbanai the eleventh.
14 These were of the sons of Gad, captains of the host: one of the least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a thousand.
15 These are they that went over Jordan in the first month, when it had overflown all his banks; and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both toward the east, and toward the west.

There were some of Gad, who were skilled with the shield and buckler. They included Ezer, Obadiah, Eliab, Mismannah, Jeremiah, Attai, Eliel, Johanan, Elzabad, Jeremiah, and Machbanai. They were captains over many men and had led the armies over the Jordan and scattered those in the land.

16 And there came of the children of Benjamin and Judah to the hold unto David.
17 And David went out to meet them, and answered and said unto them, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it.
18 Then the spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee. Then David received them, and made them captains of the band.
19 And there fell some of Manasseh to David, when he came with the Philistines against Saul to battle: but they helped them not: for the lords of the Philistines upon advisement sent him away, saying, He will fall to his master Saul to the jeopardy of our heads.
20 As he went to Ziklag, there fell to him of Manasseh, Adnah, and Jozabad, and Jediael, and Michael, and Jozabad, and Elihu, and Zilthai, captains of the thousands that were of Manasseh.
21 And they helped David against the band of the rovers: for they were all mighty men of valour, and were captains in the host.
22 For at that time day by day there came to David to help him, until it was a great host, like the host of God.

Men came from Benjamin and Judah to join David while he was in the hold. David met them and told them he would join with them in heart, if they came to him in peace, but if not, God would be against them because he had done no wrong. The chief of the captains, Amasai, spoke by the spirit with an agreement of peace with David. David allowed them to join his men and made them captains. Likewise, there were some men of Manasseh who joined him after he went with the Philistines against Saul. They had not helped the Philistines because the leaders of the Philistines had sent David away fearing that he would join with Saul against them. David had gone to Ziklag, and that is where those of Manasseh joined him. They included Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu, and Zilthai. David’s army became great in number as more mighty men came to help him.

23 And these are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to the war, and came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the Lord.
24 The children of Judah that bare shield and spear were six thousand and eight hundred, ready armed to the war.
25 Of the children of Simeon, mighty men of valour for the war, seven thousand and one hundred.
26 Of the children of Levi four thousand and six hundred.
27 And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him were three thousand and seven hundred;
28 And Zadok, a young man mighty of valour, and of his father’s house twenty and two captains.
29 And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul.
30 And of the children of Ephraim twenty thousand and eight hundred, mighty men of valour, famous throughout the house of their fathers.
31 And of the half tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king.
32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.
33 Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.
34 And of Naphtali a thousand captains, and with them with shield and spear thirty and seven thousand.
35 And of the Danites expert in war twenty and eight thousand and six hundred.
36 And of Asher, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, forty thousand.
37 And on the other side of Jordan, of the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and of the half tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of instruments of war for the battle, an hundred and twenty thousand.

These men wanted to fight along side David, because they knew the Lord had chosen him to be their next king. There were 6,800 men from Judah; 7,100 from Simeon; 4,600 from Levi; 3,700 men of Aaron, led by Jehoiada; 22 captains of the family of Zadok, along with Zadok; 3,000 from Benjamin, where most men kept their allegiance with Saul who was of their tribe; 20,800 from Ephraim; 18,000 of half of Manasseh, who were specifically called to make David the king; 200 leaders and their men from Issachar; 50,000 from Zebulun; 1,000 captains over 37,000 from Naphtali; 28,600 from Dan; 40,000 from Asher; and 120,000 from Reuben, Gad and the other half of Manasseh.

38 All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king.
39 And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them.
40 Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel.

These warriors were in full allegiance with David and were prepared to make him the king of Israel, along with much of the whole of Israel. They gathered for three days and ate and drank the things which were prepared for them by their brothers. Those who had been nearer to Hebron had also brought preparations for food and drink in abundance, because this was a time of celebration for Israel.

Many of the Israelites gathered to support David, because they recognized him for his calling by God. Those who lead for the Lord, are often called to other responsibilities or even called Home to the Lord, and others who have been prepared by the Lord, are called to fill that responsibility. It is great that so many were able to recognize the calling given to David and to discern for themselves where their allegiance should be at that time. Those who are followers of Christ today, have this same responsibility. If we live faithfully and rely on the Lord to help us recognize truth, we will have eyes to see whom we should heed. The Lord calls men today, to lead his people. They, along with the words of the prophets before them, will guide us back to live with God again. We have our choice to recognize these or not, but we will be blessed if we follow the example of these mighty men and follow after the leaders chosen by God.

2 Samuel Chapter 11

As the king in Israel, David had led the army to victory against many nations. Because he had depended upon the Lord and not relied upon his own strength, the Israelites had been able to experience much peace and growth. However, we learn in this chapter, that even great men like David, who had been righteous and faithful, can experience temptation like everyone else. The Israelites continued to battle with other nations around them, and their borders grew in size. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.

At a time when tradition called for the king to go into battle, David sent Joab to lead the men of Israel. The Ammonites were destroyed and besieged, but David did not go with them. Instead he remained in Jerusalem.

2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
3 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.
5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.

David was walking upon the roof of his home one evening, when he saw a beautiful woman bathing. David wanted to know who she was, and was told that she was Bath-sheba, the wife of Uriah. David wanted her, and gave into his temptations and took her and lied or slept with Bath-sheba. She returned to her home and sent word to David that she had conceived a child.

6 And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.
7 And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.
8 And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.
9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.
10 And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?
11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.
12 And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.
13 And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.

David asked Joab to send her husband to him. Uriah went to David and David asked him how things were going with Joab and the battle. David told Uriah to return to his home with a meal as a gift, but Uriah stayed at the door of the king’s house and ate and slept there with the king’s servants. When David learned of this, he asked Uriah why he had not returned home. Uriah told him that others were staying in tents, and Joab and the other men were sleeping in the fields. He did not feel it was right to go to his house to eat, drink and be with his wife, while others were not allowed that same privilege. He refused to do it. It is interesting that Uriah would use this argument against going home, seeing as this was the humble attitude that David had taken when he wanted to build a temple for the Lord. Uriah seems to have been a good and loyal man who did not want to take advantage of this situation just because the king had allowed it. David told Uriah to stay for that day and the next, as he had with the servants, and he did not return to his home.

My guess is that David intended to cover up his transgression with Bath-sheba, and the resulting pregnancy, by having Uriah sleep with his wife and think that the baby was his own. When this didn’t work out as David had planned, he decided to do something even worse.

14 And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
16 And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.
17 And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.

When the morning after came, David sent Uriah back to Joab with a letter. The letter commanded Joab to send Uriah into the front of the battle lines, so that he would die in battle. Joab did some of what was commanded by David, which resulted in the death of Uriah in the battle.

18 Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war;
19 And charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king,
20 And if so be that the king’s wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall?
21 Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.

Joab sent a messenger to tell David all that had happened in the war. Joab told him, that if David got mad about how close they allowed the battle to get to the city wall, the servant was to then tell David that Uriah had died also. Joab was supposed to set Uriah up front to fight, and then leave him there to die. Instead, he remained with Uriah along with other men, and more had died. It seems that Joab was afraid that David would be mad that others had died, and that more could have died, because Joab did not follow his commands to the letter. I don’t think that Joab felt it right to allow a man to die in battle in this way.

22 So the messenger went, and came and shewed David all that Joab had sent him for.
23 And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate.
24 And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants; and some of the king’s servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
25 Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.

The messenger did as he was told to do. David sent a message back to Joab, telling him that Joab did not need to be displeased with the news, but that he should fight stronger and overthrow the city. The messenger was given a charge to encourage Joab.

26 And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.

Bath-sheba learned of her husband’s death, and mourned for him. When the time of mourning was over, David brought her into his house and married her. She had a son. All this that David did, was not right in the sight of God.

David had been a great leader and king for Israel. This was the only time in our records, where he gave into a temptation. He would have lost the influence of the spirit by making this choice. It was bad enough with his sexual sin, because it is abominable to the Lord, but instead of repenting, David went even further by planning the death of Uriah and accomplishing his design. He made a bad choice and then it seems that he did all he could to try to cover up his sin. We cannot hide sins from the Lord. Sadly, we can read in the modern revelation found in Doctrine and Covenants 132:39, that David lost out on his eternal reward because of what he did. It reads, “David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.”

This is a reminder to me, that I must remain alert to the temptations of the adversary. As our current prophet, Thomas S. Monson, has said, “decisions determine destiny“. I think David’s first mistake in this may have been, that he made the decision to remain at home at a time when he was expected to fight with his men. The Lord had called and anointed him as their king, and he was not fulfilling his calling at that time. When we are in the right places at the times we should be, the Lord can help us avoid temptations. I have been given a calling in church, extended to me by priesthood authority from the Lord, and therefore I should be there to fulfill that calling. If I am doing the will of the Lord, there won’t be room for temptations to creep up on me. I have also been given a calling as a mother in my home. If I am there for my children, doing the things that the Lord expects me to do for them, I will be blessed with greater strength to avoid the temptations that may otherwise influence me. At any time, we can ask ourselves, “How is this decision shaping my destiny?” No one is immune to temptation, but there are ways to be strong in the face of it. Just as bad decisions brought bad eternal results to David, good decisions can result in good things for eternity. I hope that I can remain faithful to the Lord for the rest of my life, and I know that by following the commandments of the Lord found in the scriptures and teachings of modern prophets and apostles, I can have the strength to do it.

1 Samuel Chapter 16

Saul, who had been the chosen leader of Israel, was called and sustained by the Lord. Then, the power he held began to get the better of him. He made some bad choices out of fear of the people, fear of his enemies, and his own pride. He was not faithful to the Lord. The Lord rejected Saul as the leader of his people. Saul remained the king, but no longer had the appointment from the Lord. Samuel remained the prophet during this time and continued to give the revelations and directions from the Lord. The Lord had revealed to Samuel, that he would call another to be the ruler of his people. This chapter begins:

1 And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
2 And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord.
3 And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee.
4 And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Beth-lehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?
5 And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.

Samuel continued to mourn over the things that had happened with Saul. The Lord spoke to Samuel and asked him why he did this, when he had been rejected. Instead, Samuel was to prepared himself to anoint a new king. The Lord directed Samuel to go to Jesse in Bethlehem where he would find the new king in one of Jesse’s sons. Samuel was worried that Saul would find out, and kill him. Samuel was told to go as if to make a sacrifice, calling Jesse to make sacrifice with him. Then, the Lord would help Samuel to know what to do next, in order to anoint a new king, whom the Lord had called. In faith, Samuel did as he was told by the Lord. The elders of Bethlehem, were afraid of his coming. Samuel told them he came in peace, to give sacrifice to the Lord. He told the elders to sanctify themselves and to prepare to make sacrifices. Jesse and his sons were among the men whom were sanctified, and Samuel called them to the sacrifice.

It is important to note, that this is the Jesse spoken of by the prophets who foretold the Savior’s mortal lineage. When speaking of the Lord, the book of Isaiah teaches, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). Jesus of Nazareth, was this specific descendant of Jesse of Bethlehem.

6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.
7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.
9 Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.
10 Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these.
11 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

Each of the sons came before Samuel in turn, and as they did, Samuel assumed that the eldest or strongest would be chosen by God. However, as he thought this, the Lord told Samuel to look at the men as the Lord would look at them. The worth of the men would not be found in their appearance or stature, but in their hearts. God does not look at us in the way that other people do. God knows our character better than any person, even ourselves. God can tell if our hearts are pure, if we are sincere, honest, and good. Likewise, God knows if our desires are to please men more than Him. In this experience, God would inspire Samuel to see these sons as He would see them, with spiritual eyes rather than the eyes of men.

Eliab, Abinadab, Shammah, and seven sons of Jesse were presented, but none were chosen by the Lord. Samuel asked Jesse if these were all of his sons. He told them that his youngest was keeping the sheep. Samuel asked Jesse to call for him, and when he was brought in, it was revealed to Samuel that he was the chosen son. David was a good-looking young man, but more importantly, the Lord knew he had a good heart. Samuel anointed David, the youngest son of Jesse, in front of those of his family who were there. I think the witnesses of his anointing were few in order to keep David safe from Saul, who may have killed David if he had been made aware. From that time forward, the Spirit was with David. In my mind’s eye, I can picture Samuel laying his hands upon the head of David, and giving him great blessings, which would prepare him for his calling to lead Israel. The most important blessing he could give to David, was the gift of the companionship of the Spirit, which he had from that day forward. Samuel left Bethlehem and went on to Ramah.

14 But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.
15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.
16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.
17 And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.
18 Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Beth-lehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.

In contrast, the Spirit of the Lord withdrew from Saul, and his servants noticed an evil spirit about him. The footnote for verse 14 (see also verses 15, 16 and 23) explains that the Joseph Smith translation of this verse reads, “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit which was not of the Lord troubled him.” This is an important distinction, because the Lord does not give evil spirits to afflict the souls of men. He does, however, allow for men to be influenced by the spirits around them, good or bad, so that men may choose for themselves which to follow. Any evil spirit is from the devil, not God.

Saul’s servants suggested that he call a man who was a talented musician, to play the harp for him, that his spirit would no longer be troubled. If the servant’s of Saul had been men of God, I am sure they would known that the thing Saul truly needed was to be right with God. Saul needed to repent of the things he had done and put aside his pride, but he would not. Saul called for one who could play the harp well, and one of the servants suggested a son of Jesse of Bethlehem, who could play well and was a good, pleasant looking man whom had the Lord with him. I think also, that in saying he was prudent in matters, it was suggested that he was wise and possibly, that he also may have been able to discern when his services were needed for the king.

19 Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep.
20 And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul.
21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer.
22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight.
23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

Messengers were sent to Jesse, which asked for David to be sent to the king. Jesse sent David along with bread, wine and a kid. David pleased Saul and he was chosen to bear Saul’s armor. Saul sent a message to Jesse, to ask that David stay with the king, because he had found favor in his sight. When Saul was troubled, David would play for him on his harp and Saul would be well again. Music is such a powerful influence in our lives. In this case, music was used to calm a troubled spirit. David used his talents to do good for the king. When we choose music to listen to, it is important to note if it is one that can calm our own troubled souls. There is a lot of music in the world today, which has the power to bring us down. We should seek to listen to those things that are inspiring, uplifting, and bring us peace.

In this chapter, we can see the hand of the Lord in preparing young David to become the ruler of the Israelites. I am sure the servants of Saul, felt inspired to suggest that the king ask for a man to come and help ease his mind. Likewise, I am sure that the suggestion that Daivd be asked, out of all the men of Israel. It is also possible that David had been blessed by the Lord, with the gift of the spirit, to be the best harpist in all the land. Whatever the path that led there, David was now in the position to become what the Lord wanted him to become, if he would continue to be a man of God.

Once again, we have a calling from the Lord, extended to the least likely of men. He was the youngest, with several older brothers, who may have been capable. However, the Lord will choose whomever has the qualifying characteristics for the work. Over and over again, we see that the Lord chooses those who are humble and teachable, faithful and trustworthy. These are qualities that we should seek after in our own lives.

I am grateful to know that the Lord is not going to bless me on my appearance or my physical strength, because these are not my greatest attributes. These are not bad attributes to have been blessed with, but they are not the attributes that will draw us nearer to God. It is a humbling thing to know that God knows my character so well, and this understanding gives me the desire to become a better person in Christ-like attributes, which are the attributes of God. Disciples of Christ, should seek to improve our character rather than focusing solely on our outer appearance. I know that a happy soul is one who strives to be Christ-like in body and spirit.

1 Samuel Chapter 13

Saul had been called by the Lord, to be the king of the Israelite people. He lived in a time when the Israelites were largely following after their own wisdom and not living according to the will of the Lord. In the beginning of his rule, Saul had delivered the people from the hands of the Ammonites. He had not boasted of himself, but had done what he could to remind the people that their deliverance had come the Lord. This chapter begins:

1 Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel,
2 Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Beth-el, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent.
3 And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear.
4 And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal.

Saul had been the king for two years, when he chose 3,000 men as soldiers. The rest of the army were allowed to return to their homes. Jonathan, his son, was over 1,000 of the soldiers in Gibeah. They smote the Philistine soldiers that had been in Geba. The Philistines got word of this. Saul made the sound of the trumpet heard in all the land, that they would know that a garrison of the Philistines had been smitten. The people were called to gather in Gilgal.

5 And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Beth-aven.
6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.
7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

A Philistine army gathered in Michmash, with 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and a host of men to fight. The Israelites were worried. Those in or near that area hid themselves or fled to Gilead in the land of Gad. Saul remained in Gilgal, but the people with him were scared.

8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.

He waited for Samuel for seven days, which was when they had planned to meet there. I think that this was probably a yearly ritual and sacrifice, which they went through in order to follow the law of Moses. It may have been close to the anniversary of his becoming king over Israel. Samuel did not come. The people began to leave him, so Saul decided to make a burnt offering himself instead of waiting for Samuel any longer. He was the king, and could probably make demands that things be done his own way, rather than strictly following the tradition of sacrifices which had been followed for many years. After making the sacrifice, Samuel arrived, and Saul went to meet him.

11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;
12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.
15 And Samuel arose, and gat him up from Gilgal unto Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men.
16 And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash.

Samuel asked Saul what he had done. Saul explained his reasons for making an offering to the Lord, including worry that he would not have been able to perform sacrifices before being attacked by the Philistines. Saul told Samuel that he had taken it upon himself to make the offering, as if he could give himself the priesthood authority to do so. Samuel told him that he made a poor decision when he did this, and that it went against the commandment of the Lord. If he had been faithful in the commandments, the Lord would have been with him in his continued leadership in Israel. But now, Saul was given the promise that his kingdom would not continue and that the Lord would call another to lead Israel. Saul was left with 600 of the men, including Jonathan, when he left Gilgal and went to Gibeah. Meanwhile, the Philistines were still camped against them.

17 And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leadeth to Ophrah, unto the land of Shual:
18 And another company turned the way to Beth-horon: and another company turned to the way of the border that looketh to the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.

The Philistines sent companies of men toward Ophrah, Beth-horon, and the border towards Zeboim.

19 Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears:
20 But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.
21 Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads.
22 So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found.
23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash.

While under the oppression of the Philistines, the Israelites were not allowed to have any blacksmith. This was to prevent them from making any swords or spears. Instead they would have to go into the land of the Philistines to have their tools made and sharpened. Therefore, when the battle was upon them, the army of Saul did not have any swords or spears with them. As this chapter ends, the Philistines were prepared to fight them.

One thing I learn from this chapter, is that Saul had a good intention with his desire to sacrifice to the Lord. I believe it was so that they would have the Lord on their side during the upcoming battle against their enemy. However, he made the sacrifice and offering in a manner that was not authorized by God. Even though his desires were not entirely bad, he went against the strict rules given to them regarding who was to make sacrifices. Without the authority of the priesthood in the ritual of sacrifice, it was not only incorrect, but evil in the sight of God. This reminds me of the first mortal conflict we learn of in the bible. In the story of Cain and Able, the people had been commanded to make sacrifices. Even at that point there were guidelines to adhere to, and Cain had the good desire to give a sacrifice. But in his choices regarding that sacrifice to God, he did not follow the instructions for an acceptable offering. Therefore, his sacrifice was not accepted by God and consequences followed. We are not immune to making the same kinds of mistakes in our own lives. There are many opportunities when one might desire to do something good, but like Cain and Saul, should not change the established pattern or take the responsibility on themselves. God is a god of order, and He has asked that his ordinances and laws be followed strictly, in part, so that they are done correctly and completely. This allows us the opportunity to take full advantage of the blessings that should come as a result, rather than for us to be held accountable for the covenants we make, without the fullness of His blessings upon us.

I knew a group of girls once, who innocently did something a lot like this story of Saul. It was a group of young LDS (Latter-day Saints) girls who were on a school trip away from home. It was on a Sunday, and they were unable to attend church. They decided that they would have their own sacrament meeting where they were staying and the group of them took it upon themselves to bless and administer the sacrament. These girls were young and did not have the knowledge and understanding for this to be considered evil, but it was incorrect. They did not have the priesthood. Without the priesthood authority they did not have the ability to follow after the pattern that the Lord has established for the ordinance of the Sacrament. The intention was good, but it was not a good choice. I don’t know the outcome, but I am sure there was a lesson to be learned about the ordinances of the priesthood. This is an simple example of how these things can happen in our own lives.

With regard to the priesthood, modern revelation found in Doctrine and Covenants 121:39, teaches us, “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” How does this apply to Saul? He was the ruler of Israel. He had dominion over the people and was an example of how they should live. He would have been taught the proper order of the ordinances and statutes related to offerings and sacrifices. It is very possible he knew of the ancient story of Cain as well. Saul knew that he was stepping outside of his authority, and yet he did so in order to get his personal desired result. In doing this, he forfeited the blessings of God upon his leadership. In a way Saul was putting his own judgement and wisdom before God. How does this apply to us? We forfeit the blessings promised to us, when we put our own wisdom before the wisdom of the Lord. When we participate in the ordinances and covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must do it in the manner which the Lord has established. When we follow the pattern established by the Lord, we can receive the fullness of His blessings in our lives.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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