Posts Tagged 'Choice and Accountability'

1 Chronicles Chapter 21

David had been chosen by the Lord and then prepared to become the king of Israel. The Lord had given rules and instruction to the kings, so that they could receive his blessing and continued guidance in leading the children of Israel. One of the instructions given, was that Israel was only to be numbered according to the commandment of the Lord. Numbering the people, was much like performing a census for today and it did things such as counting the number of men who would go to war for Israel. The kings of other nations would number the people whenever they desired. This chapter begins:

1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
2 And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beer-sheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.
3 And Joab answered, The Lord make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?
4 Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem.

Satan tempted David to number Israel, which he did in his weakness. Joab and the rulers over the people were instructed to do it and report back to him. Joab, who knew the Lord would make so much more of the people then the number they were, asked why David would go against the Lord in this thing. Nonetheless, David’s command won out and Joab went and numbered the people as he had been told to do. When he was done, he returned to Jerusalem. (see also 2 Samuel 24)

5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword.
6 But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king’s word was abominable to Joab.
7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel.
8 And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.

Joab reported to David and the men who could bear arms totaled something like 1,100,000 men in Israel and 470,000 men in Judah. (This number is different then listed in 2 Samuel 24.) Joab found his duties were abominable, so he did not include the count for Levi or Benjamin. As a result of the numbering, God smote Israel. David recognized his sin against God and begged to be forgiven by the Lord.

9 And the Lord spake unto Gad, David’s seer, saying,
10 Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.
11 So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Choose thee
12 Either three years’ famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the Lord, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore advise thyself what word I shall bring again to him that sent me.
13 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the Lord; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man.

David had a seer named Gad, whom the Lord spoke to with a message for David. David was given a choice between three consequences for his sin. First, three years of famine (seven years according to 2 Samuel), second, three months of their enemies being allowed to over take them, or third, three days of fighting with the sword through all the land of Israel. Gad told David to think about it and tell him what he should tell the Lord. David knew he was in a difficult situation and he knew that the Lord could be merciful to him, so he asked to be dealt with by the Lord and not by the hands of men.

14 So the Lord sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.
15 And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the Lord beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
16 And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces.
17 And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O Lord my God, be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.

The Lord allowed pestilence to effect the land of Israel, and they lost 70,000 of their men. An angel was sent by the Lord, to destroy Jerusalem, and when he saw that their was sincere repentance in Jerusalem, the angel was stopped. (see also Joseph Smith Translation 1 Chronicles 21) David saw the angel near the land of Ornan the Jebusite, with his sword prepared to destroy Jerusalem. (Side note: Jebus was the ancient name of Jerusalem, so a Jebusite was likely one who natively lived in Jerusalem.) David and the elders of Israel, who were in mourning, fell down upon their faces. David recognized that the sin was upon him, for his commandment to number the people, and he prayed for the Lord to punish him and his family, not the people of Israel.

18 Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
19 And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the Lord.
20 And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat.
21 And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshingfloor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground.
22 Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the Lord: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people.
23 And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all.
24 And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.
25 So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight.
26 And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the Lord; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering.
27 And the Lord commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof.

The angel gave instruction to Gad, to tell David that he was set up an altar to the Lord in the land belonging to Ornan. David went as instructed. Ornan and his four sons were working on his threshingfloor. The sons saw the angel and hid, while Ornan had his back turned and was working with his wheat. Ornan saw David approaching and left his work to meet him. Ornan bowed to the ground. David requested the use of Ornan’s threshingfloor to build an altar to the Lord. He would buy it at full price and hopefully the Lord would then have mercy on the people of Isreal. Ornan offered the place to David as well as oxen for a burnt offering, tools to prepared the wood and wheat to go along with the meat offereing, without asking for a price. Daivd told him he would pay him full price for it, because it was to belong to the Lord and not to David himself. He paid Ornan and did as he had been instructed in building an altar. David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings as he prayed to the Lord. The Lord responded with fire upon the altar. In accepting the offering, the Lord commanded that the angel put away his sword against Israel. (As a side note: This location would be the future site of the temple built by Solomon – see 2 Chronicles 3:2.)

28 At that time when David saw that the Lord had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there.
29 For the tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, were at that season in the high place at Gibeon.
30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the Lord.

David made a sacrifice upon the altar when he saw that his prayer had been answered. He did it at the threshingfloor of Ornan because the tabernacle of the Lord was quite a distance away in Gibeon (about five miles north of Jerusalem). David was not willing to go there, in the presence of the Lord, for fear of the destruction of the angel of the Lord.

The events of this chapter occurred after David had committed great sins against the Lord. It is likely that David was not living in a way that would have allowed for the spirit to be as strong of an influence to him. In this state, David had allowed himself to be tempted by the adversary to do those things that he knew were against the statutes of the Lord. He may have justified his need to know the number of men who would go to battle for Israel, but the army of Israel was not to be handled this way according to the ways of the Lord. After the consequences came upon the people of Israel, David recognized the error of his ways. David saw this and desired to take the punishment upon himself. When we make bad choices, the consequences often times effect the lives of those around us. This can be hard to witness when we finally step away from our own selfish desires, especially with those we love. It is far better for us to think of what may result from our choices before we do something we would regret. David sought the Lord’s forgiveness through his own repentance and sacrifices to the Lord. He was forgiven and the plague of destruction was stopped from being upon others in Jerusalem. No matter how far we turn from the Lord, He will always be there to accept us when we repent and return to him.

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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.

Ponderizing – Week 11 Thoughts

The verse I have chosen to ponderize this week, is 2 Nephi 10:24.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

I know there something beyond this life. I have had personal experiences in my life and have heard stories of family members and friends who have experienced things, that have taught me there is life after we die. My understanding and belief of what that life is, comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ, which teaches me that there are great blessings awaiting me there, beyond anything I can imagine. However, the blessings will not be the same for everyone. This is because, in this life we make choices and every choice has a consequence. These consequences do not only come in this life, but they will also come in our life after death. Every choice that is wrong, separates us from God. Because of the eternal laws of justice, all of us would be separated from God after this life. If this was the consequence we all were to receive, without any hope of changing it, there would have been no point in God’s plan to send us to this earth. We would be lost. God, however, made a plan, which allowed for a Savior, to be sacrificed to answer the law and to show mercy to all of us, if we would choose to accept it. This sacrifice was made by the Lord, Jesus Christ, and is called the atonement. With the atonement, Christ provides mercy and grace, which are the only reason any of us can be saved and hope to receive the blessings of God after this life.

How then, do we choose to accept this gift of sacrifice, which the Lord has provided for us? This verse gives us the answer. We must “reconcile [ourselves] to the will of God”. We have to choose the right way. Everyday we make choices. No matter what the world may tell us, there are choices that are morally right and those that are morally wrong. Not every decision we have to make, will be either right or wrong, but a lot of them will be. Those things that are right, will always be aligned with the things that God wants for us. Those things that are wrong, will always be aligned with the things that the devil wants for us, or those things of the flesh. To be reconciled is to settle differences or to bring harmony into our relationship with God. We can only do this by doing the things that He asks of us. Throughout the scriptures, their is a repeated phrase, that teaches us He wants us to keep His commandments. We become reconciled to the will of God, when we make the choice to keep the commandments of God. If we choose to do those things that we know to be morally wrong, we choose to put ourselves in harmony with the devil and his plan to destroy the work of God.

Sadly, there are things in this world, that confuse what is right and wrong. In order to know that we are doing what is right, we must know the expectations that God has set for us. We must know the commandments, expectations, and statutes of God. We can come to know these through prayerful study of the gospel as found in the holy scriptures, as well as from the mouths of His modern prophets. In order to be reconciled to God, we need to study the scriptures and pray for guidance from the Lord.

Finally, when we make mistakes, we reconcile ourselves with God by repenting of those things we have done wrong. Repentance means recognizing we’ve done wrong, asking for forgiveness, making restitution, turning away from sin, and allowing God to change our hearts through the atonement. When we repent, we settle the differences between our choices and what God wants for us. Reconciliation requires repentance.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

I know that God is real. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Knowing this helps me to know that we can either choose to stand with God, or stand with Satan. I believe that Satan offers me nothing in return for choosing to follow him, while the Lord offers me everything he has if I choose to follow Him. I know that families can be together forever and that is what I desire as my future. This blessing is only offered to me by God, and can only be made a reality if I become reconciled to God. I know that repentance is real. I know that the atonement is real. Grace is the offering that will save me, but I need to do my best to live as God wants me to live, so that I will want to accept His offering. Knowing and believing these things, gives me direction in this life and I am so grateful for that.

Joshua Chapter 7

The people of Israel, had the city of Jericho delivered unto them by the Lord. By following the directions given to Joshua, they brought the walls of the city down. They had been instructed to destroy the city, take the worthy treasures for the Lord, and to leave the forbidden things alone. The Israelites were not a perfect people, however, and this chapter begins with their transgression.

1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.
2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Beth-el, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai.
3 And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.
4 So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.
5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.

A man named Achan, from the tribe of Judah had not followed the commands with strictness, but had taken something forbidden. The manual I am studying teaches that “a possible meaning of “accursed thing” is something God tells us not to do but that we do anyway.” Achan had made a curse come upon Israel, by going against the commandments given to the people. The whole of Israel was held accountable for his actions. Without a knowledge of this thing, Joshua continued to lead the army of Israel. He sent spies to the land of Ai and they returned to tell Joshua that they did not need to send all of their army, because the number of men in Ai was few. Joshua sent 3,000 men, which were defeated and fled from the men of Ai. Some of the Israelites were killed in the fight, and they began to have fear.

Why had the Lord deserted his people at this time? When we make promises or covenants with the Lord, He is held by an eternal law to fulfill his part of that covenant. If however, we choose to break our covenants, as the man Achan did, the Lord does not have to keep his part any longer. This principle is taught to us in Doctrine and Covenants 82:10, which reads, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” The Israelites no longer had the promise that the Lord would be with them.

6 And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.
7 And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!
8 O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!
9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?

Joshua mourned and took his questions or complaints to the Lord. He asked why the Lord had brought them there, if they were going to be delivered up for destruction. He said they would have been better off if they had remained on the eastern side of the Jordan. Joshua did not know how to continue to lead the people if they were afraid to face their enemies, and was worried about what the other nations would think of the Israelites and their God.

I find it interesting that the same kind of words are written here from the words of Joshua, which the Israelites had used to earn 40 years of wandering. Joshua had been one of two, who showed faith in God at that time, when the children of Israel felt they would have been better off back in Egypt. The Lord would not punish Joshua for the thought at this time, but would show him why the people had been forsaken during their fight. I think the Lord’s response was different, because he knew the heart of Joshua, just as he had known the heart of those unfaithful Israelites before him.

10 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?
11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.
14 In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the Lord taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the Lord shall take shall come by households; and the household which the Lord shall take shall come man by man.
15 And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.

The Lord told Joshua to rise, and said that their had been transgression in the law given to Israel. Joshua was told that something forbidden was taken from Jericho and given a place within their stuff. Because of this, they could not stand up against their enemies and God would not be with them unless they destroyed that which was forbidden. The Lord commanded Joshua to sanctify the people and they were to be led to find it among the tribes and families of Israel. When it was found, that person, and all that was his, was to be destroyed by fire.

16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken:
17 And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken:
18 And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:
21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

Joshua did as he was commanded, and was lead by inspiration to the man Achan, of the family of Zarhites, in the tribe of Judah. Joshua asked Achan to confess his wrong to God by telling Joshua what he had done. Achan confessed that he had taken an item of clothing, some silver and gold. He had hidden them in the ground of his tent, which shows that he knew it had been the wrong thing to do. I think we can be the judge of our own actions, by looking to see if we try to hide them from anyone. Justification is a form of hiding our actions as well, when we know within our hearts and minds that we have done something wrong. The only thing that hiding these things does, is to delay the consequences. There will always be consequences, either in this life or after it, when the opportunity to repent has passed.

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it.
23 And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord.
24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.
25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.
26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.

Messengers were sent to find the items and bring them to Joshua to be laid before the Lord. The forbidden items, Achan, and all his household and belongings, were taken to the valley of Achor and destroyed for his transgression. The Lord no longer held his anger towards the Israelites.

The natural man in us, assumes that when we sin or transgress the law, we are going to be the only ones affected by that choice. This is simply not true and this idea is one of the tactics that Satan uses to ensnare us, and is entirely selfish. If we had a clear idea the effects of our choices on others, I wonder how often we would choose the right rather than see others suffer for us. Achan’s choice caused some to suffer the consequence of death, some were left to mourn, and others to probably suffer doubt in their faith. These are only the immediate consequences, while there were more lasting ones we couldn’t possibly imagine. I think that it is important for us to try to keep a larger perspective in life, so that we will recognize how our choices could effect our personal eternal outcome, as well as the effects on the lives, mortal and eternal, of others around us.


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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