Posts Tagged 'Diligence'

1 Kings Chapter 17

Ahab was the wicked king of the northern kingdom of Israel. He married Jezebel who worshiped Baal, and together they led Israel in great wickedness. The Lord had caused prophets, such as Jehu, to curse the kings of Israel for practicing unrighteous dominion over the people of Israel. The Lord was prepared to humble the people. Chapter 17 begins with the following:

1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
2 And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,
3 Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
5 So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
7 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

Elijah was a prophet, who went to Ahab and cursed the land with a drought and famine, which would only be ended by his word. I believe he was able to do this, because he held the sealing power from God, which allowed men the ability to close up the heavens by their word. Then, the Lord told Elijah to go into hiding, where the Lord would provide water from the brook Cherith and food from the ravens. Elijah, like so many other prophets, went into hiding and the ravens brought him bread and meat each day and he drank from the brook. However, because of the drought in the land, the brook eventually dried up.

The work of a prophet is to bring people unto the Lord, mainly by calling them to repentance. This is not meant to be words that are pleasing for the people to hear. People engrossed in sin, especially the great sins that were everywhere in the days of Elijah, are not going to take these words well. It is no surprise that Elijah would have a threat come upon him. The Lord had a work for Elijah to do, and because Elijah was faithful to His command to hide, Elijah was sustained with the necessities of life. Elijah had to be a man full of faith and hope. He had been willing to go to the king who was not living righteously and had the power to kill him, and speak of a curse. I am sure that he knew the people would feel that he, Elijah, had brought this curse upon them, rather than look to themselves and repent of their wicked ways. And then, in faith, trusting in the sustaining power of the Lord, he went into hiding.

8 And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,
9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
12 And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
14 For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.
15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.

The Lord told Elijah to go to Zarephath, where he would be sustained by a widow. Elijah followed the direction of the Lord, and found a widow gathering sticks at the entrance of the city. He asked her to get him some water to drink. As she went, he also asked her for some bread as well. She told Elijah that she did not have any bread, but that she had a small portion of meal (flour) and oil, that she was going to prepare for herself and her son to eat as their last meal. Elijah told her to faithfully do as she had said, but bring him a little first before making for herself and her son. He promised her that the Lord would provide meal and oil until the drought had ended with rain. She did what Elijah had commanded her to do, and the promise was fulfilled. Her flour and oil did not fail her by becoming empty. This was a huge blessing from acting with faith in a prophet and the promises of the Lord that he spoke.

Again, Elijah showed faith and trust in God, and the power to sustain him. He must have known that he was on the Lord’s errand because he had been helped to this point. As a man of God, I am sure Elijah was a man of compassion. I cannot imagine what it would have felt like, knowing his own hunger, to ask the widow to part with what she felt was her last meal and give it to him instead. I know he could not have asked it of her, unless he felt sure that the Lord would provide all that she needed to survive.

Greater faith would have been required by the widow in this story. She had not been sustained by the Lord during this season of famine. She was sure her death was soon at hand and she had such a simple desire to share a last meal with her son. To have a man come to her and command that she bring him food with that precious last meal, must have been a hard choice for her. This choice to sacrifice would have meant the difference between a few more days of living with her son. She trusted in the word of Elijah and had faith in his promises.

17 And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.
18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?
19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.
20 And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?
21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.
22 And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
23 And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.

After this miracle of provisions had taken place, the widows son was taken ill and died. She pleaded with Elijah, as the prophet, asking if he came to them to remind her of her own sins and then to take her son from her by death. Elijah commanded the widow to bring her son to him, which she did. He took her son to the place where Elijah slept, and laid him on the bed. Then, he prayed to God, stretching himself on the boy three times, asking that he would have his soul again. God answered the prayer of Elijah and allowed his soul to return to him. The boy was raised from the dead. Elijah took the boy to his mother.

24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.

The woman testified that she knew then, that Elijah was a man of God or a prophet, and that his words were the true word of the Lord. This testimony must have given her hope in her own future, and greater faith in the Lord. When we experience the hand of God in our own lives, we should also recognize what that means to us, and be willing to testify of those things to others. When we do this, we are uplifted and others around us can be edified and strengthened by our words.

What a sweet miracle this woman received through her faith and diligence in following the words of the prophet. This was a time of suffering for the people in the land, and she was provided for because she put the Lord’s servant before herself when asked. Then, God blessed her with the continued companionship of her son, even after death had separated them. This should be an example to us, that as we diligently follow the commands of the prophets, which are the word of God, we can have miracles in our own lives. Moreover, we can have our own faith strengthened and be able to bear a mighty testimony of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

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Notes on Patience – Nourishing Faith

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

Faith is a Sunrise

40 And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.
41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
43 Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you. (Alma 32:40-43 emphasis added)

3 And as ye have desired of my beloved brother that he should make known unto you what ye should do, because of your afflictions; and he hath spoken somewhat unto you to prepare your minds; yea, and he hath exhorted you unto faith and to patience
4 Yea, even that ye would have so much faith as even to plant the word in your hearts, that ye may try the experiment of its goodness. (Alma 34:3-4 emphasis added)

  • My faith will take time to become what it can become. It needs to be patiently nourished by acting upon the principles of the gospel. Without patience my faith will never become strong enough to stand firm and I will be vulnerable when difficulties come. This means that I should have patience and do what is right when times are going well, so that I can have the strength when times are hard. It takes working patiently every day of my life, with great diligence, to develop a strong and secure faith.
  • D&C Section 10 (Part 1)

    Historical Background

    Martin Harris had taken 116 translated manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon and they had been lost. In order to learn a lesson, the prophet had had the Urim and Thummim taken away from him. When they were returned, this revelation was given to him through the Urim and Thummim.

    “Your Mind Became Darkened”

    “NOW, behold, I say unto you, that because you delivered up those writings which you had power given unto you to translate by the means of the Urim and Thummim, into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them (v. 1). And you also lost your gift at the same time, and your mind became darkened (v. 2).” Joseph’s mind had become darkened with sorrow for the loss of the pages. His entire family felt the loss and were in mourning because of it.

    Why Would the Lord Warn Joseph Not to Run Faster Than He Was Able?

    “Nevertheless, it is now restored unto you again; therefore see that you are faithful and continue on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work of translation as you have begun (v. 3). Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end (v. 4).” I am sure that he was so happy to have the power of translation returned to him. In this happiness, he may have felt like he needed to work even harder and make up for lost time and the lost pages. But the Lord knows us and I am sure that the prophet would have gotten burned out and perhaps not been able to have the strength of mind to translate correctly. The Lord needed to make sure that there were no human errors in the translation of these sacred records.

    Also, I have found in my life that my involvement in things of a spiritual nature, I use more energy than I do with most of what I do physically. I am always tired after working in the temple, even though less is required physically than dealing with my children for that same amount of time. I am sure that translating required all the energy of his mind and soul and over-doing it would have wiped him out. He may not have been able to do other things that were required of him, such as helping his family and he may not have been able to keep them protected from other outside forces at work against them. When I over-do it, it usually does not take long for me to catch a cold or something else, because my system does not have the strength to hold these things off. I could understand if over-doing the work of the Lord at one time, could have cause the prophet to become ill.

    We are blessed when we follow this same counsel in our own lives. We cannot do everything all at once. In Mosiah 4:27 we read, “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.” If we take it slow and steady, with diligence and faith, we will be able to accomplish anything that is asked of us.

    How Does a Person “Pray Always”?

    “Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.” I feel like to pray always, is to keep the thoughts of our prayers in our heart and mind as we go through our days. When I make a conscious effort to continue to think of the things that I have asked for in my prayers, answers come to me clearly. Praying always, is remembering to keep your mind open to communication between yourself and Heavenly Father.

    President Joseph F. Smith said, “It is not the words we use particularly that constitute prayer. Prayer does not consist of words, altogether. True, faithful, earnest prayer consists more in the feeling that rises from the heart and from the inward desire of our spirits to supplicate the Lord in humility an in faith, that we may receive his blessings.” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 219.) When we continue to think of God and be grateful to him for all that we have been given, we are continuing in humility and faith. Our thoughts and desires will then be able to stay in line and in tune with the spirit of the Lord. In Alma 34:27 we read, “Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.” When we are not vocally saying our prayers, which we should do regularly, we need to be thinking of those things that would help us and those who are around us to come unto Christ.

    When we keep our hearts and minds open and ready to receive guidance from the spirit, we have the strength of the Lord on our side. We will “come off conqueror” and we will be able to “escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work”. Temptations cannot bring us down, if we remain faithful and grateful to God in all things. Satan is always on duty, therefore it is necessary that we are always praying.

    How Did These Men Seek to Destroy Joseph Smith?

    “Behold, they have sought to destroy you; yea, even the man in whom you have trusted has sought to destroy you (v. 6).” The men who took the lost manuscript, were seeking to destroy the reputation of Joseph Smith. The wanted to discredit him, so that others would not follow him. “And for this cause I said that he is a wicked man, for he has sought to take away the things wherewith you have been entrusted; and he has also sought to destroy your gift (v. 7). Martin Harris had his desires and they were more about himself then the work of the Lord. He may not have been trying to discredit the prophet and stop the work, but he could have, if he had continued to go after his personal desires.

    Satan Is Extremely Well Organized and Has Devised a “Cunning Plan”

    “And because you have delivered the writings into his hands, behold, wicked men have taken them from you (v. 8 ). Therefore, you have delivered them up, yea, that which was sacred, unto wickedness (v. 9). And, behold, Satan hath put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated, which have gone out of your hands (v. 10). And behold, I say unto you, that because they have altered the words, they read contrary from that which you translated and caused to be written (v. 11); And, on this wise, the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work (v. 12); For he hath put into their hearts to do this, that by lying they may say they have caught you in the words which you have pretended to translate (v. 13).” Satan’s desire was to stop the work of the Lord, by persuading wicked men to change the translation into something false. They would have used this to discredit the translations and the prophet, if Joseph Smith had been allowed to re-translate the portion that was lost.

    Satan uses many tactics to attack truth. Here he was manipulating the words of truth (see v. 9 above). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that Satan has great hold upon their hearts; he stirreth them up to iniquity against that which is good (v. 20). . . Yea, he stirreth up their hearts to anger against this work (v. 24).” Satan stirs people “up to iniquity” and to anger. Satan has the power to influence our emotions and passions. With our emotions unchecked, truth is blurred. When our anger takes control, we are blinded to the truth. He also uses lies to distort the truth. When we have lies and anger one toward another, it leads to contention. When we are contentious, we cannot have the spirit with us to influence us and show us what is truth. The hardest thing is that Satan knows us well and knows which of these tactics will work the best on us. He knows our weaknesses and will do whatever he can to stop us from seeing the truth.


    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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