Posts Tagged 'Dedication'

2 Kings Chapter 2

Elijah was a prophet in Israel during the reign of Ahab. He had performed miracles, showing that the Lord was God of Israel. Israel was in a state of wickedness, and they worshiped false gods, in particular Baal. Many of the prophets of the Lord had been destroyed by the hands of the leaders in Israel. Elijah had done a great amount of work for the Lord, and had been told through the spirit, that Elisha was to be called to follow after him. When Elijah found him, he cast his mantle on him, and Elisha joined Elijah and walked with him for a time.

1 And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Beth-el. And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el.
3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.
5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.
7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.
8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.

The time came for Elijah to be taken up by the Lord, and Elijah and Elisha were traveling together. Elijah told him to stay where they were, but Elisha was committed to stay with him, so they both travelled to Beth-el. The prophets in Beth-el went to Elisha and asked if he knew that the Lord was about to take Elijah from him, and Elisha told them not to worry because he already knew that. Elijah prepared to continue on to Jericho and told Elisha to stay in Beth-el, but Elisha would not leave him. They went to Jericho and the prophets there asked if Elisha knew that the Lord would take Elijah. Again, he told them not to worry because he knew it. Elijah told Elisha to stay in Jericho, because he had been told to go to the Jordan, but Elisha would not leave him. They went together to the Jordan. Fifty prophets watched from afar, as Elijah and Elisha went to the water of the Jordan. Elijah smote the waters with him mantle, and they divided. Then, Elijah and Elisha traveled on the dry ground.

Elisha is a good example of devotion and dedication. He had given up his own wants when he had willingly followed after Elijah. Then, here in this chapter, he was given every opportunity to let Elijah go on his own, but he would not leave him. He had committed to be his companion in the work of the Lord, and remained faithful to Elijah as he journeyed. The Lord prepared Elisha for his own calling as a prophet, by inspiring the prophets of Beth-el and Jericho to tell Elisha that Elijah was about to leave him. Elisha knew the time was coming, and decided that he would continue with Elijah, further preparing himself for his own call. He never turned from following after the prophet. We are currently living in a time much like Elisha. Not that anyone would want to say it, but it is clear that our living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, is growing weary and may not be with us for much longer. We can follow the example of Elisha, by remaining faithfully devoted and dedicated to our prophet, dear. Now is not the time to turn away from him. It is important for disciples of Christ, to continue to listen and heed his words, for he will be the mouth-piece for the Lord, for as long as he lives.

What would be the purpose of repeating the miracle of dividing the waters, as Moses had done, and as Joshua had done with the Jordan as well? It might have been done as a witness to those who watched from afar. That they would know that Elijah was indeed prophet of the Lord.
Furthermore, it stood as a witness to Elijah and Elisha, that they were doing what God desired for them, because the power to do this miracle was in fact given by God. Additionally, it was a reminder that these men were true men of God, to be heeded and followed just as the people of Israel had followed Moses and Joshua. Another possible reason, is that they were doing was God was commanding Elijah to do, and as mortal men they needed a way to get to the other side of the Jordan. As Nephi teaches in 1 Nephi 3:7, “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.” The Lord prepared a way for Elijah to go where he had been told to go. The Lord will always prepare a way for us to go and do those things He commands.

9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Once they were on the other side of the Jordan, Elijah told Elisha if there was anything he wanted to ask of him before he was taken away from him. Elisha asked that he have a double portion of the spirit that was with Elijah to be with him. A double portion was how the people of ancient times referred to the inheritance of the firstborn son. It is like Elisha was asking him to bless him as a firstborn son, in the things of the spirit rather than with physical things. Elijah told him, that it would happen, if Elisha witnessed him being taken away by the Lord. If he did not see him, it would not happen for him. They walked and talked together, when a chariot of fire went between them and Elijah was taken by a whirlwind into heaven.

It may have been possible for Elijah to tell Elisha that his desire was fulfilled, but doing things this way, gave an added witness to Elisha that the Lord was there for him in his service. Also, Elijah was not going to do anything contrary to the will of the Lord, and so he left this miracle to the Lord. This way of performing miracles, was why the Lord could trust Elijah with the sealing power he held. Only those who would not do anything contrary to the will of God, would be authorized to have the sealing power and use it among men on earth.

12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.
15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

Elisha did witness it and tore his own clothes as he mourned for Elijah. Elijah’s mantle had fallen, so Elisha picked up the mantle and went back to the waters of the Jordan. Then, Elisha used the mantle to part the waters of the Jordan as Elijah had. He crossed on the dry land and the prophets witnessed it. They recognized that the same spirit that had rested on Elijah, was with Elisha. The went to him and honored him as they had Elijah. The miracle of parting the waters could not have been done by a man alone. This is why it is such a spectacular event in the histories of the Israelites. Only a man, who has the power of the Lord with him, could do this thing. Both Elijah and Elisha were able to perform this miracle though the power of God.

When I think of the power to control the waters, I am reminded of a story in the life of the Savior. The story of being caught up in a horrible storm with his disciples. As he slept, they worried they were going to perish. When they woke him, He spoke and used His power to calm the waters and the wind. The men with him were amazed at this miracle, and wondered about the man Jesus (See Luke 8:22-25). Only with the power of God can things of nature be controlled in this way. A great lesson in this, is that with the power of God, things that seem impossible are possible. We can and should seek to have this spirit and power with us, just as Elisha did in his day.

16 And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send.
17 And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not.
18 And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?

The prophets told Elisha to send strong men to look for Elijah in case he had been moved to a mountain or valley some where, but Elisha refused. They continued to tell him to do this, until he gave in and told them to send men. The men looked for three days, but did not find him. They returned to Elisha in Jericho and he told them that this is why he had said not to send them.

19 And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren.
20 And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him.
21 And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.
22 So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.

The men of Jericho went to Elisha and told him that the city there was great, except that the waters were not good and the land was not producing. He told them to bring a jar or a bowl, with salt in it. They did and he went to the waters of Jericho and threw the salt into it. He told them that he had healed the water by the word of the Lord, and that the land would no longer be barren and the people would not die because of the waters. The waters were healed according to his words.

23 And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
25 And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.

Elisha left Jericho and went back to Beth-el. On the way, some youth came out of the city and mocked him because he was bald, meaning possibly that they saw him as old. It seems like this was much like a gang of youth, who would do this same type of thing today. These are the type of people who would try to instill shame or fear in others just for the sport of it. Elisha cursed them for mocking him, and two bears came and killed 42 of them. Elisha returned to Samaria, by way of Mount Carmel.

One of the things that this chapter causes me to reflect on, is the idea of a mantel in a calling. When a person is called and set apart by the Lord (through his servants), they have a spiritual mantel placed upon their shoulders. It is that thing, which gives them gifts of the spirit particular to the needs of that assignment. It is not something you can physically see, but I believe it can be seen with spiritual eyes. For example, just prior to the passing of President Gordon B. Hinckley, I watched Thomas S. Monson speak without sensing the mantel of his calling. Then, the first time he spoke after he became the new President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I had been praying for confirmation that he was called of God to be the prophet and president. When I saw him speak, my prayer was answered and I could see and feel, with my spiritual eyes, the mantel that was now upon his shoulders. It was a huge blessing to me, to know that he was called of God to lead the church. I am certain that President Monson feels the weight of the mantel upon his shoulders spiritually, just as Elisha would have physically felt the mantel of Elijha upon his own.

I think it is good to note also, that the Lord did not leave his people without a prophet to lead and guide them. There have been times when people did not have prophets because of their own transgressions and how they used their agency to kill the prophets, but at this time, the mantel was passed to another. We live in a time of continuing revelation. In order for revelation to continually come from God, we must continue to have prophets called to lead and guide his people. I feel that it is important to have a testimony of a newly called prophet in our modern times, and so I have taken to the habit of fasting and praying to know that a man has been called to lead and guide us as I mentioned above, before they are sustained by the vote of the church in conference. Since doing this, I have been blessed time and time again, by a witness of the spirit, that the new prophet or apostles are indeed called of God to do this work. This is the kind of experience that the men who watched had, as Elijah left and Elisha returned and parted the waters.

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1 Kings Chapter 8

Temple

The temple was built in Jerusalem and was prepared to be dedicated to the Lord. This chapter tells of the final steps needed to take this grand building that Solomon had built and make it truly the House of the Lord rather than just a pretty bulding. It begins with the following:

1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.
2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.
3 And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.
4 And they brought up the ark of the Lord, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.
5 And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.
7 For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
8 And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day.
9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord,
11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.

The leaders of Israel were gathered together, so that the ark of the covenant could be brought to the temple, from where it had been placed prior to this. Once assembled, the elders had a feast. The priests and Levites brought the ark, as well as the tabernacle and all that went with it, and placed it within the holy place of the temple, just as they had been commanded in the tabernacle under the direction of Moses. The congregation of Israel made sacrifices in great number. It was placed under the wings of the cherubs, as it’s permanent location. There was no intention of it being moved again now that the there was a permanent structure instead of the portable tabernacle, so they removed the staves which were connected to the ark in order to carry it as they traveled. The two tablets of stone, brought down from the mount by Moses, which contained the words of the Lord regarding the covenants of Israel, remained in the ark. A cloud and the glory of the Lord filled the temple to the point where the priests were unable to stand and minister. The cloud showed the people that God accepted the temple.

The cloud was a physical representation of the presence of God among the Israelites. There was a cloud that led them from Egypt and was there when Moses received the law. There was a cloud with the tabernacle as they wandered in the desert. When they could see the cloud, they knew that God was there. Sometimes I wonder how people today, including myself, would behave if they were able to witness a physical representation of God in this way. I believe that we do not have this experience as a people, because we live in a time, even the latter days, when greater faith is required of us. In order to stand in the battle we have against evil, our faith must be strong. We can have our own personal witnesses after we act in faith. A personal witness has the power to convert our hearts and shape our character in ways that draw us nearer to God.

12 Then spake Solomon, The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.
14 And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;)
15 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it, saying,
16 Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.
17 And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
18 And the Lord said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart.
19 Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name.
20 And the Lord hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
21 And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.

King Solomon gave a blessing upon the congregation of Israel. He praised God for fulfilling the promise he made to his father, David. He spoke of the word of the Lord to David, telling him that his son would build the house to His name, which David desired to build. David spoke of building a place for the ark, which contained the words of the covenants made between God and the Israelites who were brought out of bondage in Egypt.

22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:
23 And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:
24 Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
25 Therefore now, Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.
26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.
27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day:
29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.
30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.

Solomon prayed to the Lord, giving praise to God. He asked that the Lord also continue to fulfill another promise made to David, which was that David’s line would continue on the throne according to their faithfulness. He asked if God would dwell among them, even though the house they build could not contain Him. He prayed that the temple would be watched over as His house, with His name, and that the prayer of Solomon would be heard, as well as the prayers of those who would turn towards the temple, that they might be forgiven.

31 If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house:
32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

Solomon prayed that all their oaths would go before the altar of the Lord, and that they would be judged by them to the condemning of the wicked and blessing of the righteous.

33 When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:
34 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.

He prayed that when the people fell away and were brought down by their enemies, repenting and praying to the Lord, they might be forgiven and restored to the land of promise.

35 When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:
36 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.

He prayed that when times of drought, brought upon them by sin, caused that they returned to the Lord and to the temple, then God would hear them and forgive them, teaching them to walk in righteousness through the word of God and revelations, and allowing the rain to come upon the land of promise.

37 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be;
38 What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:
39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)
40 That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
41 Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name’s sake;
42 (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house;
43 Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.

He prayed that the prayers of those who suffered from any plague, whether upon the land or in one heart, would be heard. He prayed that God would forgive them and bless each man according to his heart. He prayed that as long as they live in the promised land, they would fear the Lord, and that any who left their own lands seeking for the Lord, praying towards the temple, could be blessed by having their prayers answered. He prayed that people all over the earth would know the Lord and fear Him as the people of Israel feared Him. He prayed that all would know that this temple was the Lord’s house.

44 If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name:
45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;
47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;
48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:
49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,
50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:
51 For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron:
52 That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee.
53 For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.
54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,
56 Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.
57 The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:
58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.
59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:
60 That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.
61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

Solomon prayed that those faithful who prayed towards the temple would be blessed in the battles with their enemies (at least those who God would command them to fight). He prayed that sinners, who would be carried away captive by their enemies, but repent and turn their hearts back to God in prayer, would be forgiven and blessed that their enemies would have compassion on them. He asked that the Lord would remember them as His people when they had repented. When Solomon finished his prayer, he blessed the congregation, with a reminder that the Lord would be with them, if they would turn their hearts to God and keep the commandments. The Lord had fulfilled all that He had promised them regarding the rest among their people, and for this they should have been grateful. God always keeps his word and promises to mankind. He asked that all the earth would come to know that the Lord was the true and only God, as they strived to keep the commandments.

62 And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord.
63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the Lord, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.
64 The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the Lord was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.
65 And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.
66 On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.

The people then made sacrifices at the dedication of the temple. Solomon held a feast and the people were worshipping there for fourteen days. Then Solomon sent the people back to their homes, and they were full of joy and gladness because of the blessings that the Lord had given to David and all Israel. The completion of the temples today, followed by the sacred dedications, also bring much joy and gladness to the hearts of disciples of Christ.

There is great importance in having dedicatory prayers. When we want the Lord to accept our sacrifices and offerings, we need to commit them through our words to Him. When we want to serve the Lord in our personal lives, we need to dedicate our time to Him through prayer. The spirit can attend us, just as it can be in the house of the Lord, after we dedicate our bodies, hearts, minds and time to Him.

This chapter is an indication of the love that Solomon had for the Lord. He clearly desired to do the will of God and lead his people to do the same. He showed gratitude and praise for God, and recognized His hand in the lives of his predecessors as well as his own life. Solomon did not take credit for the peace of his people, but owed that to the Lord. He feared God and loved his people.

One other thing that this chapter causes me to ponder on, is the need to pray towards the temple. The children of Israel were told to physically turn towards Jerusalem and pray towards the temple. We have not been told to do this physically in our day, but we too must face ourselves towards the temple if we desire to have the Spirit as our companion. This means that we pray with the intent to keep our covenants and the commandments of God. It means that we will strive to live the gospel, with a continued prayer in our hearts. It means that we will live worthy of the temple, even when we are not in the walls of the temple. I am grateful for the temple and the figure of holiness it is in my life. It is a constant reminder of my personal desire to draw nearer to God.

The temple is truly the house of the Lord. I know that the Lord continues to command His people to build temples today. I have seen the dedication and rededication of a handful of temples and I have felt the spirit there. I know that this prayer of Solomon is much like the dedicatory prayers of the temples today. And like the people of Israel, the Lord will bless those who repent of their sins, turn to Him, worship Him, and serve in His holy house.

Judges Chapter 13

During the time of judges in Israel, men were chosen and raised up to deliver the people and lead them in their battles with other nations. The Israelites repeatedly returned to idolatry and wickedness when these judges died. Consistently, the result was that the Lord allowed them to fall into the hands of their enemies. This cycle would eventually lead them to remember the Lord and repent of their wickedness. When they had repented and turned back to God, He would deliver them from their enemies by raising another judge. This cycle continues in this chapter, which begins:

1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.

This time, the Israelites were in bondage to the Philistines for 40 years, because they returned to wickedness.

2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.
3 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

Manoah, of the tribe of Dan, could not have any children because his wife was barren. An angel came to his wife and told here that even though she could not have any children, she would be blessed to have a son. She was commanded to abstain from drinking wine or eating those things that were considered unclean. Then, when her son was born, she was to raise him wholly dedicated to the Lord. Her son was to be a Nazarite, or a consecrated man, who would never drink wine or cut his hair. The angel promised that her son would deliver Israel from the Philistines.

6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:
7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.

She told Manoah of the angel and what he had told her would happen to her.

8 Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.
9 And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her.
10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day.
11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am.
12 And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?
13 And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware.
14 She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.

Manoah prayed to the Lord, that the man would come again to teach them how to raise the child they were to have. This showed his faith in the words of his wife, and his willingness to accept this calling from the Lord. The angel came again to his wife as she was in the field. She ran to get Manoah, and together they went to the angel. Manoah accepted the calling and asked what they should do for the child. The angel told them to do as his wife had already been commanded.

15 And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee.
16 And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the Lord. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the Lord.
17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?
18 And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?
19 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.
20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.
21 But the angel of the Lord did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the Lord.
22 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.
23 But his wife said unto him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.

Manoah asked the man, not knowing he was an angel, to stay with them until he could prepare a meal for him, or possibly to make a sacrifice in his name. The angel told him that he would stay, but would not eat. He told him to make his offering to the Lord. Manoah asked the angel of his name, so that they could honor him when the promise to them was fulfilled. The angel would not tell them his name and told them it was secret. Manoah made the offering to the Lord, and as they watched the flame rise, the angel ascended in the flame. Then Manoah and his wife realized that he was more than man, but was an angel of the Lord, and they fell down to worship the Lord. Monoah expected that they should die for seeing the Lord, but his wife told him that the Lord had accepted their offering and made them these promises, so she knew they would not die for seeing what they had seen.

24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.
25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

The wife of Manoah had the child and called him Samson. He was blessed by the Lord and was moved upon by the Spirit of the Lord. The manual I am reading along with my study, says that this was a reference to spiritual gifts being given to Samson, not that he had the spirit with him. Gifts of the spirit are given to every man. In Doctrine and Covenants 46:11, we read, “For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.” At times, gifts of the spirit were bestowed upon Samson, which probably put him in a better position to become the man of strength which he would later need to be.

What a huge blessing it would have been for the wife of Manoah, to be allowed to have a child, knowing that she was not able to have any. This experience of being visited by an angel to deliver this message is beyond my imagination. While, I could not fully understand the glory of this experience, I think it should cause us to reflect on the story of the Savior, who like Samson, was to be conceived and raised as a child wholly dedicated to God, so that he could deliver others from bondage. While Samson was to begin the deliverance of Israel at that time, the Savior, Jesus the Christ, was to make possible the deliverance of all mankind, in all the history of the world. What a blessing it must have been to be the parents of Samson, who were privileged to raise a child that had the potential to be completely devoted to the Lord and become a great blessing for the house of Israel.

Deuteronomy Chapter 27

The children of Israel had heard the laws of God from the prophet Moses, and had made covenants with the Lord, that they would keep this law and God would in turn bless them and their families in the land of promise. At this time, they were still camped on the Eastern side of the Jordan, preparing to enter the land that had been promised to them through the blessings of their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This chapter begins with the following:

1 And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day.
2 And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster:
3 And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee.
4 Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaster them with plaster.
5 And there shalt thou build an altar unto the Lord thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them.
6 Thou shalt build the altar of the Lord thy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord thy God:
7 And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the Lord thy God.
8 And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.

The Israelites were given the commandment to follow the law of Moses. As a memorial, they were commanded to establish a monument of stones just after they would cross the Jordan. These stones were to have the law written upon them. Then they would go into the land of inheritance and build and altar there. They were commanded that the altar was to be of stones that had not required the use of iron tools, but were whole. They were to use this unpolluted altar, to offer burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. This ritual of giving of their offerings was a way of showing their gratitude to the Lord for allowing them to finally enter the land of promise. Likewise, when we give of our own offerings to the Lord, especially when prayers are answered and blessings received, we show gratitude to the Lord for all that He has done for us.

It is so important to build up our own monuments in our lives, in order to remember the Lord’s promises and blessings. This is another lesson for me, of the importance of putting things in my home that remind me of what is really important to the Lord, and what should be important to me. If we fill our homes with things that remind of us worldly things, or those things that are not really of any lasting value, those will be the things that we remember on a daily basis. It’s the difference between putting up a poster of our favorite sports celebrity or entertainer, and a picture of the temple where we want to make, or have made, sacred covenants with God. Not that a picture of temporal things is bad, but how much more are we focused on those things in comparison to the things of eternal importance. What will our mind think about throughout the day, if we choose to place reminders around us of our families, covenants, and the Lord? I am grateful for the reminders in my own life, which keep me in remembrance of those things that I know are of the greatest importance.

9 And Moses and the priests the Levites spake unto all Israel, saying, Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the Lord thy God.
10 Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the Lord thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day.

As covenant people of the Lord, the Israelites were the Lord’s people. As such, the Israelites were held to the higher standard and expected to keep all the commandments of the law. When we make covenants with the Lord, we become His people as well, and therefore are also held to the standard of keeping His commandments.

11 And Moses charged the people the same day, saying,
12 These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin:
13 And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.

Those who were representatives of all of the tribes of Israel, I am guessing the Elders of the tribes, were charged with what I think was consecrating the land and the people of the land. They were to proclaim a blessing from mount Gerizim and a curse from mount Ebal.

14 And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice,
15 Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
16 Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
17 Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.
18 Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.
19 Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.
20 Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife; because he uncovereth his father’s skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.
21 Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen.
22 Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
23 Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen.
24 Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen.
25 Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen.
26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.

After the blessing and the curse were proclaimed upon the people and the land, the Levites were to proclaim a cursing upon all those who did wickedly in the land. With each declaration of wickedness, the people were to answer the priests with Amen, I believe as they made covenants to abstain from these evil things. Among the acts of wickedness, were making secret idols, disgracing or dishonoring parents, changing their neighbors inherited property borders, being a stumbling block to the blind, perverting the just acts with regard to strangers, fatherless and widows, committing adultery with their mothers or sisters, performing sexual acts with animals, murdering their neighbors, or being paid to kill another. In other words, these were the people of God, and any who ever did wickedly and went against the law, were to be cursed by this proclamation given by the priests.

It is a good thing to dedicate lands to the Lord and His holiness and purposes. Likewise, it is good for places of worship to also be dedicated. Our homes should also be places dedicated to the Lord and His work. Dedication of these places, is our promise to use them in the way the Lord intended, and it invites and allows the spirit of the Lord to dwell among us, so long as we are faithful to the commandments of the Lord. Moreover, we can make covenants in order to dedicate ourselves to the Lord and His work. When we do this, we too are able to have the spirit of the Lord dwell with us all the time, if we remain faithful to the commandments of God.

Numbers Chapter 7

The Israelites were organized by God, through Moses, into camps. Each camp was made up of some of the tribes of Israel, each with a prince of Israel, or captain, at its head. They were the patriarchs of their families. They were responsible for leading their family tribes under the direction of Moses. (For more on the organization of the camps of Israel see the first and second chapters of Numbers.) This chapter begins as follows:

1 And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them;
2 That the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered:
3 And they brought their offering before the Lord, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes, and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle.
4 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
5 Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service.
6 And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites.
7 Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service:
8 And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.
9 But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.

When the tabernacle was prepared and ready for its designed purposes, the princes of Israel went to it to give their offerings to the Lord. (This was in the beginning of the second year, as they recorded it.) There was a wagon for every two, and an ox for every one of the twelve princes. The Lord instructed Moses to take the offerings and give them to the Levites. Each of the tribes of the Levites had specific duties of the service in the tabernacle and they were given the offerings according to the duties they had. Those who were going to serve in the temple with the offerings given, received a portion of the offerings as the tithing they received. The sons of Kohath, who did not have a responsibility to carry out at that time, did not receive of the offerings.

10 And the princes offered for dedicating of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes offered their offering before the altar.
11 And the Lord said unto Moses, They shall offer their offering, each prince on
his day, for the dedicating of the altar.

The offerings were made for the dedication of the altar when it had been anointed. They were to give the offerings of one tribe each day for twelve days.

12 And he that offered his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah:
13 And his offering was one silver charger, the weight thereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them were full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
14 One spoon of ten shekels of gold, full of incense:
15 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
16 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
17 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nahshon the son of Amminadab.

On the first day, Nahshon, of Judah, gave his offering of a silver charger and a silver bowl of flour for the meat offering; a golden spoon of incense; a bullock, ram, and a first-year lamb for the burnt offering; a goat kid for the sin offering; and two oxen, five rams, five he-goats, and five first-year lambs for the peace offering.

18 On the second day Nethaneel the son of Zuar, prince of Issachar, did offer:
19 He offered for his offering one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
20 One spoon of gold of ten shekels, full of incense:
21 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
22 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
23 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nethaneel the son of Zuar.

Nethaneel of the tribe of Issachar, gave his offering on the second day. His was an offering of the same things.

24 On the third day Eliab the son of Helon, prince of the children of Zebulun, did offer:
25 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
26 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
27 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
28 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
29 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Eliab the son of Helon.

The third day, the offering was made by Eliab of Zebulun. His offering was of the same items.

30 On the fourth day Elizur the son of Shedeur, prince of the children of Reuben, did offer:
31 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
32 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
33 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
34 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
35 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Elizur the son of Shedeur.

The fourth day was the day for Elizur, of the tribe of Reuben, to give his offering. Again, he gave the same items for his offering.

36 On the fifth day Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, prince of the children of Simeon, did offer:
37 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
38 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
39 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
40 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
41 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.

The fifth day, Shelumiel, of Simeon, offered his offering of the same things.

42 On the sixth day Eliasaph the son of Deuel, prince of the children of Gad, offered:
43 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, a silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
44 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
45 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
46 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
47 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Eliasaph the son of Deuel.

On day six, Eliasaph, of the tribe of Gad, gave his offering, like the others.

48 On the seventh day Elishama the son of Ammihud, prince of the children of Ephraim, offered:
49 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
50 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
51 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
52 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
53 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Elishama the son of Ammihud.

The seventh day, was the day for Elishama, of Ephraim, to give the same offering.

54 On the eighth day offered Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, prince of the children of Manasseh:
55 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
56 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
57 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
58 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
59 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.

Gamaliel, of the tribe of Manasseh, offered the same offering on the eighth day.

60 On the ninth day Abidan the son of Gideoni, prince of the children of Benjamin, offered:
61 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
62 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
63 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
64 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
65 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Abidan the son of Gideoni.

The ninth day, was the day for the tribe of Benjamin to give their offering by the prince Abindan. This offering was also of the same things.

66 On the tenth day Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, prince of the children of Dan, offered:
67 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
68 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
69 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
70 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
71 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.

On day ten, Ahiezer, of Dan, gave the same offering for his people.

72 On the eleventh day Pagiel the son of Ocran, prince of the children of Asher, offered:
73 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
74 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
75 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
76 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
77 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Pagiel the son of Ocran.

Pagiel, of Asher, gave the same offering on the eleventh day.

78 On the twelfth day Ahira the son of Enan, prince of the children of Naphtali, offered:
79 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
80 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
81 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
82 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
83 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahira the son of Enan.
84 This was the dedication of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver bowls, twelve spoons of gold:
85 Each charger of silver weighing an hundred and thirty shekels, each bowl seventy: all the silver vessels weighed two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:
86 The golden spoons were twelve, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece, after the shekel of the sanctuary: all the gold of the spoons was an hundred and twenty shekels.
87 All the oxen for the burnt offering were twelve bullocks, the rams twelve, the lambs of the first year twelve, with their meat offering: and the kids of the goats for sin offering twelve.
88 And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed.
89 And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.

The twelfth day was the day for Enan, of the tribe of Naphtali, to give the same offering. In total, there were twelve silver chargers and twelve silver bowls, each with flour for the meat offering; twelve golden spoons with twelve portions of incense; twelve bullocks, twelve rams, and twelve first-year lambs for the burnt offerings; twelve goat kids for the sin offering; twenty four bullocks, sixty rams, sixty he-goats, and sixty first-year lambs, for the peace offering. Once these offerings were given, the altar had been anointed and dedicated for its purposes. Moses went in to the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with the Lord, as had been promised (see Exodus 25:22). The voice of the Lord, was heard from the mercy seat.

I think that this is a type for our own lives as well. The tribes of Israel were commanded to bring the offerings (both tithes and sacrifices) to the tabernacle. We are commanded to be holy by giving a full tithe to the Lord. In addition, we are asked to give of offerings of our time, energy, and means. In doing so, the Israelites consecrated and dedicated the tabernacle to the Lord. When we give tithes and offerings, we give so that temples of our day can be dedicated, but moreover, we give in order to dedicate ourselves to the Lord. When the Israelites dedicated the tabernacle, the Lord was able to be there and speak with the prophet, Moses. When our temples are dedicated today, they are houses of the Lord and He visits His prophets there to give instruction and inspiration, just as was given to Moses. Additionally, when we personally dedicate ourselves to the Lord, we make our bodies a place where the spirit of the Lord can be at all times. Then, we can have our own communication with God through the constant companionship of the Spirit. There is great power in being obedient to the law of tithing and to the commandment to sacrifice and dedicate ourselves to the Lord. I have felt the blessings of the spirit from being an honest tithe payer and from giving more of myself to the Lord. It is real. It is a truly amazing blessing and one that every person can claim through keeping the commandments.

Numbers Chapter 6

The children of Israel, were organized into an ancient-day church of God. After many generations in bondage with the Egyptians, they had to be taught the laws of God. Moses had received commandments and instruction from the Lord, and as their prophet, had been teaching the people how they needed to be living. We see this same kind of significant teaching at the time of the Savior, when he established his church on the earth during his ministry. We also see it when the Lord’s church was restored in latter-days with the prophet Joseph Smith. We have these records and these teachings, so that we can have and live the gospel in our lives today. The Lord continues to reveal the law in this chapter with the following:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord:
3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.
5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.
6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the Lord he shall come at no dead body.
7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.
8 All the days of his separation he is holy unto the Lord.
9 And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it.
10 And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
11 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day.
12 And he shall consecrate unto the Lord the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.

The Israelites were established as a covenant making people. The Lord reveals here, the law of the Nazarite. In this law, the Israelites could dedicate themselves to the Lord by vow. Those who consecrated themselves this way, were set themselves apart from the world and its ways during that time. They were not to partake of strong drinks or wine. These drinks have the ability to cause drunkenness, which was not the way of the Lord. Today, the Lord has revealed the word of wisdom, which also teaches us that we should not partake of any wine or strong drinks. The Nazarite was to avoid all the parts of the grape vine and grapes. Sometimes when we want to avoid something, the best thing to do is to avoid those things associated with it. In the case of avoiding strong drinks, or alcoholic beverages, we would want to avoid situations that promote drinking. Someone who desires to follow the word of wisdom, would be better off not going into a bar.

The Nazarites were not to shave, but were to let their hair grow naturally. I am not sure what the significance is of not shaving, but a devout and devoted man of God was not to shave his head. There is no mention of this in our modern revelations, so my thought is that the purpose was a physical representation of consecration to the Lord. They were not to defile themselves by being near the dead, even if it was close family. I also don’t know the reason for not being near the dead, but this was part of the law of Moses as well. It was one of the things that caused a person to be unclean or unholy. Nazarites were to live according to the laws of righteousness, being holy to the Lord. If someone were to die near them, they were to go through the cleansing ritual, shaving on the seventh day and offering a sacrifice on the eighth day. Then, they were to continue with the dedication of themselves to the Lord. Just to make sure I understood it correctly, I looked up ‘Nazarite’ in the Bible Dictionary.

A consecrated man. A man under a vow to abstain from wine, from any cutting of the hair, and any contact with the dead. The vow might be lifelong, or for a short, definite period.

The life of a Nazarite, was a life devoted to God and His work.

13 And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
14 And he shall offer his offering unto the Lord, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings,
15 And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings.
16 And the priest shall bring them before the Lord, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering:
17 And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering.
18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.
19 And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven:
20 And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.
21 This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the Lord for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.

At the ending of their dedication of the law of the Nazarite, they were to go to the tabernacle and give burnt, sin and peace offerings to the Lord. Then they were to shave their head and burn the hair from their head as part of the peace offering. As part of the ritual, the priest would give them part of the cooked peace offering as a wave and heave offering. Then, it says the Nazarite was able to drink wine, which I think is a way of saying that the man may then return to his normal way of life.

22 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
25 The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.

Aaron and his sons were given the words to use as a blessing for the children of Isreal. They are familiar words to me. These are lyrics found in the song “The Lord Bless You And Keep You” which I have heard sung often:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face to shine upon you
To shine upon you and be gracious
And be gracious unto you

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord lift His countenance upon you,
The Lord lift His countenance upon you
And give you peace, and give you peace;
And give you peace, and give you peace

What a beautiful blessing for the righteous followers of the Laws of the Lord. We can be blessed with this same blessing if we will keep the commandments of God. He will bless us. He will keep us, or we will be His people. He will give us a portion of His light, which will show in our countenance. He will bless us with more than we can even know, and then we will have His promised peace in this life as well as in the life to come. These are such amazing promises and blessings.

Finally, those who desire to follow the Lord, were to put His name upon themselves. In other words, to take his name upon them. Today, we take the name of the Lord upon us, when we make the covenants of baptism and then strive keep those covenants. When we do this, we stand as a witness of God, at all times, in all things, and in all places. In return, the Lord blesses us with His light, His peace, His safety, and His spirit. Living the laws of God can seem really hard at times, but these things make it worth every effort we have to give.

Leviticus Chapter 1

The book of Leviticus is the third book of Moses found at the beginning of the Bible. In Exodus, we read of the children of Israel being led out of Egypt by the prophet Moses. They ended up being camped at Mount Sinai, where great commandments and instruction were received from the Lord. They have built the tabernacle of the congregation, which was an ancient temple that could be moved along with the Israelites. The children of Israel were going to be led by God to the promised land. Leviticus begins as follows:

1 And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.
3 If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord.
4 And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
5 And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
6 And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces.
7 And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire:
8 And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
9 But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.

The Lord spoke to Moses, his chosen prophet, saying that those who wanted to give an offering to the Lord, could willingly offer a sacrifice of an unblemished male cattle. This offering would be for an atonement for their sins. They were to dedicate the cattle at the entrance of the tabernacle, for a burt offering. The priests were to prepare the offering as directed by the Lord.

10 And if his offering be of the flocks, namely, of the sheep, or of the goats, for a burnt sacrifice; he shall bring it a male without blemish.
11 And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar.
12 And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
13 But he shall wash the inwards and the legs with water: and the priest shall bring it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.

If an offering of a sheep or goat was made, it was also to be an unblemished male of the flock. Again, the Lord told Moses, how the priests were to prepare the offering.

14 And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the Lord be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons.
15 And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring off his head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof shall be wrung out at the side of the altar:
16 And he shall pluck away his crop with his feathers, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes:
17 And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.

Some could bring an offering of turtledoves or pigeons. Moses was told how the priests were to prepare them as an offering as well. All of these offerings were “of a sweet savour unto the Lord.” When I think of this phrase, I am initially led to think of the smell of something cooking, in which case the Lord is saying something like the smell is sweet to the Lord. I looked up the word savour and one meaning refers to the word repute, which can mean honored. I think in this sense, that the Lord may possibly be saying these offerings are a way to honor God. Either way, these burnt offerings were a way to show the Lord that they had a desire to be clean from the sins of the world. It was a type of the great an final atonement provided by the Lord for all of mankind.

One of the things I think about when reading this chapter, is the requirement that these be a willing sacrifice. The Lord will not compel us to make a sacrifice to Him. Our agency is an eternal part of our being, which we had before this life and will have forever. It is up to each of us individually to dedicate our sacrifices to the Lord. In Romans 12:1 we read, “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” I believe that life would have more meaning if I would truly dedicate more of myself and the things I have to the Lord. I hope to do away with the selfishness of the natural man, and give more as a dedicated sacrifice to the Lord for my sanctification and salvation.

Exodus Chapter 40

The Israelites have crafted all the pieces to the tabernacle, as they were instructed by the Lord through the prophet Moses. The tabernacle was the sanctuary to the Lord, where they were to give offerings and sacrifices to the Lord. Aaron and his sons had been called to the priesthood and were to serve in the tabernacle. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.
3 And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony, and cover the ark with the veil.
4 And thou shalt bring in the table, and set in order the things that are to be set in order upon it; and thou shalt bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof.
5 And thou shalt set the altar of gold for the incense before the ark of the testimony, and put the hanging of the door to the tabernacle.
6 And thou shalt set the altar of the burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.
7 And thou shalt set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and shalt put water therein.
8 And thou shalt set up the court round about, and hang up the hanging at the court gate.
9 And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy.
10 And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy.
11 And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot, and sanctify it.
12 And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water.
13 And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
14 And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats:
15 And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.
16 Thus did Moses: according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did he.

At the beginning of the month, as their calendar recognized it, Moses was to set up the tabernacle as instructed by the Lord. Moses was to place the ark of the covenant within the holy of holies of the tabernacle and cover it with the veil made for that purpose. In thinking of all the veils mentioned with the tabernacle, I think of the sacred nature of them. When the Lord commands a veil or a covering for something, that thing is very sacred in nature. When the sacrament is prepared, it is covered because it is sacred. I think that when I see veils related to sacred things of the Lord today, I will look at the thing they are covering as more sacred and holy then I have before.

Moses was to set up the table for the shewbread, the incense altar, the burnt offering altar, and the water basin for washings. He was to set up the outer court as well. Then he was to anoint the tabernacle and all those things within it, to sanctify it as holy to the Lord. Next, he was to perform washings and anointings for Aaron and his sons, to sanctify them for their service there. They were to be clothed in the holy garments made for this purpose. The sons of Aaron, were to be set apart with an eternal holy calling, for all the sons of Aaron through all eternity. I believe that there is now a birthright, of those who are descendants of Aaron, to hold the Aaronic priesthood, because of this holy anointing. Moses did all these things as the Lord commanded him. I am again, so glad that the scriptures teach us the commandments of the Lord. I am more grateful that they also show us that faithful followers of the Lord, do what He has commanded. We can look to Moses as an example of exact obedience and faithfulness to the Lord.

17 And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.
18 And Moses reared up the tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars.
19 And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; as the Lord commanded Moses.

The tabernacle was raised and covered as Moses was commanded by the Lord.

20 And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark:
21 And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the veil of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the Lord commanded Moses.
22 And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the veil.
23 And he set the bread in order upon it before the Lord; as the Lord had commanded Moses.
24 And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward.
25 And he lighted the lamps before the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses.
26 And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the veil:
27 And he burnt sweet incense thereon; as the Lord commanded Moses.
28 And he set up the hanging at the door of the tabernacle.
29 And he put the altar of burnt offering by the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering; as the Lord commanded Moses.

Moses put the ark of the testimony together with the mercy seat, placing the commandments of the Lord within it. Then he placed it within the tabernacle with its coverings, as he had been commanded by the Lord. He placed the table for the shewbread outside the veil in the placement the Lord had commanded him. Moses placed the candlestick and the lamps, the golden altar for incense, the door of the tabernacle, and the altar for burnt and meat offerings just as the Lord had commanded him.

30 And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash withal.
31 And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat:
32 When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the Lord commanded Moses.
33 And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.

The washing basin was placed where he had been instructed, and then Moses, Aaron and his sons washed. The outer court was raised also, as commanded.

34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
36 And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys:
37 But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.
38 For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

When the tabernacle was complete, a cloud covered the tabernacle and the glory of the Lord was there. What a blessing it would have been to have completed this commandment from the Lord. To add to the feelings they must have felt, they were blessed to know the Lord accepted their offering, because his glory rested there in a cloud. I can only imagine how great that would have felt to those who had worked so hard to make it happen. The cloud was the way the Israelites would receive direction from the Lord, just as they had been guided in the past. When the cloud was with the tabernacle, they did not travel. They were only to move, when the cloud was no longer covering the tabernacle. Just as before, it was a cloud by day and a fire by night. It was a constant reminder to the Israelites that the Lord was there.

Temples are amazingly beautiful houses of the Lord. In 2010, my family made the decision to move based on inspiration of the spirit. We planned to move in mid-2011 to a small town just outside of Boise, Idaho. In the April conference of 2011, the prophet announced that a temple would be built in Meridian, which was another town just outside of Boise. Even though we knew we would be moving to a different town at first, the spirit told me then that we would live near that temple. I was filled with an amazing feeling in my entire body, that is hard to describe. Since that time, we did follow that inspiration, and now we are living in a home just about 10 minutes away from the proposed location of that temple. The temple is still in the early planning phases 2 years later, but I am so excited to see it built and to be able to serve there someday. So far, it has been announced and designed, but has yet to have its groundbreaking, building, inspection, open house and dedication. In the meantime, I have been able to experience the rededication of the temple in Boise, which is still very close to home. That experience was also amazing for our family. I know that the Israelites must have felt wonderful to have the tabernacle raised near them. I am sure they felt blessed to know that the presence of the Lord would be among them, to lead and guide them. We can look to the temple today, for guidance in our own lives. I am so grateful for this blessing which I have available to me and my family.

Notes on Patience – Enduring Trials in Righteousness

Patience is something that is tested in my life every day, as I am sure it is for most of us. I thought that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to begin a study that was a bit more in depth so that I could know how to gain a self-mastery that I do not have right now. I hope that my readers will enjoy following this series of posts on patience and that it may help someone else out there, as much as it has helped me. To see more posts, check out Notes on Patience

For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (1 Peter 2:20)

  • It’s good to have patience no matter what, but it is better to be patient when I’m doing what is right and am made to suffer for it, than it is when I am doing wrong and suffer for my own faults. There are greater blessings for having trials and enduring them well, because it shows dedication and faith to the Lord and his gospel.
  • Conference Questions – Doing Our Part

    Recently, I watched the 182nd Semi Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I watch conference, I am always filled with the spirit and a desire to be a better person and draw closer to the Savior. I love to take notes. When I first started being a note taker for learning in church settings, I would write everything I possibly could down. Including what the speakers said, as well as the little lessons the spirit would teach me during the talks. Once that became a habit, I learned that I should really be focused on writing down the things that I am personally taught by the spirit. So, with that as my focus for note taking, I found myself writing down questions that I should be able to answer. The thought then came to me that these are questions that I could attempt to study on this blog. To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

    Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke in the Saturday afternoon session, about the honeybees from his father’s peach orchard. He talked of how so many of them worked together to make the honey. What Elder Ballard said was that each honeybee only contributed about one-twelth of a teaspoon of honey to its hive. It seems insignificant alone, but put together with the contributions of from all the bees in a hive, it amounted to much more. He related the work of each individual bee and the outcome of the work of the entire hive, to our work as saints in the church of God. My third question in this series, is am I doing my part in the beehive-like community of the church? (See “Be Anxiously Engaged”.)

    What is the duty of those who have become a part of the Church of Christ? Our duty is to magnify our callings. Our callings within the church can be many. This is because the purpose of the church is so huge. President Monson said the following:

    I would hope that we would not lose the real objective of our cherished opportunities to serve. That objective, that eternal goal, is the same spoken of by the Lord and found in the Pearl of Great Price: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39)

    May we ever remember that the mantle of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cloak of comfort but rather a robe of responsibility. Our duty, in addition to saving ourselves, is to guide others to the celestial kingdom of God.

    … I pause when I think of the words of President John Taylor (1808–87): “If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor (2001), 164.)

    Just as the honeybees, we are all tasked with specific responsibilities within the church. If we have not received any callings, we should seek to have one, so that we can serve as the Lord would have us. Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, requires playing an active role in our salvation, as well as the salvation of others. As for myself, I have the calling of being what is called a visiting teacher. This means I have been given specific women to watch over and serve. I have also been given the responsibility to assist the president of our women’s organization, the Relief Society, as her secretary. In addition, all members of the LDS faith, accept the duty of sharing the gospel with others as moved upon by the spirit. I also have the callings that come with being a wife and mother, which are included in my duties as a faithful member of Christ’s church. What should we be doing in those callings to magnify them and truly do our part?

    In 3 Nephi 27:21, the Lord taught the people of the Americas, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;”. What did the Savior do for others? He looked for the needs and then helped to bless and heal them. He taught the gospel to them. He helped others to see the potential they had by giving them opportunities to serve. Most of all, he loved others with the greatest love, the Love of God. The Savior’s call was to do these for all. I believe that we are given specific callings over certain people or groups in the church, so that we can learn how to do these things on a lesser scale than the Savior was called to serve. As the Son of God, He had the power of God, and was physically able to handle serving masses. God will help us to be able to serve those we have been called to serve. When we come to understand and fulfill our callings, we will be given the capacity to reach beyond those specific people, to others who are in need.

    We, as disciples of Jesus Christ, need to be doing all that we can wisely do, to look for the needs of those we are called to serve. One of the things that Elder Ballard said related to this teaches us how we can strive to do our part. He said, “In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help. Stay focused, just like the honeybees focus on the flowers from which to gather nectar and pollen. If you do this, your spiritual sensitivities will be enlarged and you will discover opportunities to serve that you never before realized were possible.” Prayer is only the first step. The Lord knows others better than we will ever know them. He also knows us best, and knows what we can handle. He would not ask us to do anything, that He cannot help us to achieve. We can strive to do our part, by honestly asking how we can serve and have a heart that is ready to follow the inspiration that He gives us in answer. Then we show the faith, as we focus our minds on that possibility for inspiration and the results of it.

    I think that one of the things this talk really made me think about is how much I serve with a willing heart. It is easier to serve when someone else asks us for help, but the greater service, is to really put my heart into it each day. We need to keep some scriptures in mind related to this. First, Mosiah 2:17 says, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” When we serve others, we serve God, because we help Him to fulfill His work. Second, the greatest commandments are given to us in Matthew 22.

    37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
    38 This is the first and great commandment.
    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    Love for God and love for fellowmen will give us the drive to do our part. We need to develop a Christ-like love for others, so that our care and concern for them, both physically and spiritually, will give us the desire to serve them. I think that if we can keep these principles in mind, and truly ask with a sincere desire in our hearts, we will be doing our part. I know that there are a lot of times in my life, when the business of everyday gets in the way and I loose this focus. It’s a good thing that this is a life of progressing line upon line and not reaching perfection in a moment. I am grateful for the mercy of a loving Heavenly Father, who has afforded me the opportunity to repent of my selfishness and turn back to doing His work. I know that it is a blessing to live a life of commitment to doing our part. I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for his church. I am so glad that I have the opportunity to serve within the church. I know that I grow the most, when I am devoted to doing my part and being mindful of others. I know that my little acts may not amount to much on their own, but that if I continue faithful, the work of the Lord will move forward as the great and marvelous work it is.


    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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