Posts Tagged 'Discernment'

1 Chronicles Chapter 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1 Kings Chapter 12

Rehoboam was the son of Solomon, who began to rule once Solomon died. Solomon had been promised that his kingdom would no longer remain whole and under the rule of his family, but rather, that the kingdom would be split during the reign of his son, and ten of the tribes would leave to follow another ruler. That new ruler would be Jeroboam, who had been promised these things through the prophet. Those who ruled over the Israelites would be blessed if they were faithful to the Lord. This chapter tells of both Rehoboam and Jeroboam.

1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.
2 And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;)
3 That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,
4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.
5 And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.

Rehoboam went to Shechem to be made king over the people. Jeroboam, who had fled to Egypt during the reign of Solomon, heard of this and returned to be there. Jeroboam and the Israelites asked for a lighter burden upon them, then they had with Solomon. In return, they promised to serve Rehoboam. He told the people to leave him for three days, and so they did.

6 And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?
7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.
8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:
9 And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?
10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.
11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

Rehoboam sought the advice of the older men, or elders of Israel, that had served Solomon as his advisors. They told him that the people would remain loyal to him, if he would serve them and answer them with good words, which I think means to tell them he would do as they asked. Rehoboam ignored their advice, and then turned to the advisors of his own generation, who told him to say that he would be harder and harsher on them than his father had been.

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.
13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;
14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
15 Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord, that he might perform his saying, which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

Jeroboam and the people returned after the third day, and he told them that he would make their burdens heaver and harder. He did not listen to the request of his people and this would lead to the fulfillment of the words of the prophet to Jeroboam.

16 So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.
17 But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
20 And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.

The Israelites were upset with his decision, and returned to their own homes feeling separated from the king and disenchanted with his kingdom. Rehoboam continued to rule over those who lived in Judah (and those near it, which included those from the tribe of Benjamin). He sent out his servant to collect tribute from the rest of Israel, but the people of Israel stoned him. Learning of the revolt of his people, Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem. The ten tribes turned from the house of David and instead turned to Jeroboam to be their king.

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bc/images/03990_000_bible-map-3.pdf

21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
23 Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying,
24 Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the Lord, and returned to depart, according to the word of the Lord.

The tribes of Judah and Benjamin were gathered under Rehoboam (the southern kingdom), and he made an army to fight against the men of Israel, so that he could bring the kingdom back together under his rule. Shemaiah, a prophet, was given revelation to tell Rehoboam not to go up and fight against their brothers, the Israelites, because this fight was not acceptable to the Lord. They listened to the word of the Lord and departed.

25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.
26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
29 And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan.
30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Beth-el, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places which he had made.
33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Beth-el the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.

Jeroboam, who now ruled over the ten tribes of Israel (the northern kingdom), built Shechem and lived there. He also built Penuel. Jeroboam worried that those of his people who wanted to worship would go to Jerusalem and turn to the Lord and possibly back to Rehoboam. He worried that this might lead to his own death and loss of the kingdom. So after taking counsel, he built two golden calves for the Israelites to worship, saying that they were the gods who brought the people out of Egypt. He led the people into worshiping these false gods. He called false priests who were not Levites. Jeroboam established their own feast like the feast which the Lord had established, and made sacrifices and offerings on an altar. So, Jeroboam ruled with the practice of idolatry, over the children of Israel. In this, they became an apostate nation.

This is yet another example of two things. First, the negative effects from deliberately choosing not to follow the counsel of our elders in favor of those who might say more of the words that are easier for us to hear. In his case, Rehoboam lost the united kingdom of Israel and would spend the rest of his days against those in the kingdom of Jeroboam. Rehoboam could have avoided this, if he had listened to the elders. Those who have wisdom that comes with age and years of service, especially in a time or area where people are trying to do what is right, are more likely to advise us to do things that are good and better for us. People in my life that would be better to listen to are my parents, church leaders, and older people who have the same standards as I do. I am so grateful for the spirit, which allows me the gift of discernment, when there are many opinions and voices trying to be heard.

The second example is the bad that can come from following leaders who are not righteous. Unrighteous rulers will most likely lead their people into a life of unrighteousness. Idolatry has never been acceptable to the one true and living God, and it results in eventual destruction of the wicked. It is important for followers of Christ, to be watchful for those who say things that are pleasing to hear and those who tempt others to turn to false idols of all kinds.

1 Kings Chapter 3

After the death of King David, the kingdom had been established greatly under Solomon. He had rid his kingdom of those who he knew would have destroyed it with rebellion. Solomon’s reign began with peace and strength. Chapter 3 begins as follows:

1 And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.
2 Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the Lord, until those days.
3 And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.
4 And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.

Solomon made a marriage relationship with the Pharaoh, by taking Pharaoh’s daughter to wife. They lived in the city of David. Solomon built up the city of David, including a house for himself, for the Lord, and a wall around Jerusalem. Up until this time, a house to the Lord had not been built. David had wanted to build a house to the Lord, but the Lord had instructed him not to do so, because he would allow his posterity to build His house in the place He wanted it built. The people had made sacrifices in other places up until the reign of Solomon. Solomon was a righteous man, and loved the Lord and kept the commandments as his father had instructed him to do. Solomon went to Gibeon to make sacrifice to the Lord, which had been the location of a tabernacle to the Lord.

The Lord’s wisdom is far greater than our own. I am not sure why David had not been allowed to build the temple of the Lord, but that is how the Lord wanted it. Instead, the right timing and place would fall in the reign of Solomon, and it would be great.

5 In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.
6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
7 And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.
14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
15 And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, asking what Solomon desired of him. Solomon acknowledged the great blessings that had been given to his father by the Lord, including the opportunity for him to sit upon the throne. Solomon felt he was not up to the task of being king, which is a typical feeling of those who are given these great callings of the Lord. He felt insignificant among a great and chosen people, so he asked for the ability to discern between good and bad and to judge the people with an understanding heart. The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s request, and blessed him with a wise and understanding heart, which he would be known for throughout history. His blessing of wisdom, was a blessing of the spirit and he was not simply wise to the things of the world, but spiritually wise, so that he could discern good from evil. He also blessed him with those worldly things that he had not asked for, even riches and honor. The Lord told him that he would be blessed with a long life, if he would keep the commandments like his father David. When Solomon woke up from the dream, he went to Jerusalem, offered sacrifices to the Lord and had a feast.

16 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.
17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.
18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.
19 And this woman’s child died in the night; because she overlaid it.
20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.
21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.
22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.
23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.
24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.
25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.
26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.
27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.
28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.

Two harlots came before Solomon, to have a dispute resolved that had risen between them. The women lived together, the first who spoke had given birth and then three days later the second also had a child. They were the only two in the house. The first claimed that the second’s woman’s child died in the night when she laid on it, and that she got up and traded the children while the first slept. When she awoke to feed her baby, she saw that it was not her baby that was next to her. The first said that she confronted the other woman, who said that the living child was her own. Solomon heard the complaint. He repeated their problem back to them and then in his wisdom, Solomon commanded his servants to bring him a sword, which they did. He told the servants to divide the child, giving a half to each woman. The mother of the baby told Solomon to give the baby to the other woman so that the baby would not be killed, while the other woman said for the baby to be divided. This was evidence of the true mother of the child, and so King Solomon pronounced judgement, that the child was to be given to the first, who had not wanted the baby killed, because she was the child’s mother. This was a bold way to judge this complaint that had been brought before him, and as the people of Israel heard of it, they saw that he truly was a wise judge.

Solomon was starting out as a good king for the people of Israel. Rather than seek after the things of the world, he desired to be wise. I think he felt the weight of his calling and truly wanted to magnify it and be the king that God wanted him to be. He did not want to judge others unfairly, but wanted to be able to tell what of the issues brought before him were good or bad. Because of this strong desire in him, he was blessed with more than he had expected. But, it was not his wealth that caused him to become known. It was the greatness of his wisdom, which was displayed as he judged between the two women. God was with him and helped him discern the good between them. Solomon was inspired to know that a mother would not allow her child to be destroyed.

The blessing of wisdom is not reserved only for great kings, but we all can seek after it just as Solomon did. It would be so good if more people turned to God and asked for the ability to discern and judge righteously, for wisdom before wealth. When we are given callings of the Lord, especially as a parent, we should desire the wisdom we need to fulfill that calling. I know, as a parent especially, I could use divine assistance in knowing how to do all that is expected and required of me. Moreover, every person would be greatly blessed to desire to do their best first, before having the best. Disciples of Christ should seek to be better servants of God, and like Solomon, they will be blessed with more than just help to be better, even with the blessings of the things of this world. This is because God loves us. He is a loving Father in Heaven, who desires to give blessings to all His children, both spiritual and physical blessings.

1 Samuel Chapter 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deuteronomy Chapter 18

Moses continues his sermons to the Israelites as they prepared to enter the promised land. In the last chapter he shared teachings on the need for righteous leaders in their judges, priests and kings. We can learn from it, that the people have a greater chance at continuing in righteousness, when their leaders follow the laws of God and are just and true. Moses continues by teaching more about the priests of Israel.

1 The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and his inheritance.
2 Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the Lord is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.
3 And this shall be the priest’s due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw.
4 The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him.
5 For the Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for ever.

The Levites had a sacred calling, to be responsible for the tabernacle and sacrifices for the Lord. Because of their calling, they were not treated as the remaining tribes were, as far as inheritances were concerned. All that they had, was to be provided by the offerings of the remainder of the Israelites. In this way, those who were called to be the most holy in their duties, were also called to rely on the blessings of the Lord for all that they had. There is a lesson in this, and for me, that is that we draw nearer to the Lord, when we rely on Him in every part of our lives. We are not called to go without, but if we can recognize that we owe thanks to the Lord in all things, we will also be blessed to draw closer to Him. Moreover, the blessings we receive in return, will be the best portion of all that the Savior has to offer us, just as the Levites received the best portion of all that the Israelites had.

Also, the priests were then dependent upon a people who recognized the Lord in their lives. If the people began to go astray, and follow after other gods, the priests (and their families) would no longer be provided for by the sacrifices and offerings others would have given. It was important for the priests to have faith in the promises of the Lord, no matter how the people were, but it was also important that the people remained faithful in the commandments to give offerings. As disciples of Christ today, it is our duty to give all that we are able to provide for those who do not have their own “inheritance”. We give tithes and offerings in order to build up the kingdom of God on the earth, to live as Christ lived, and to help uplift other around us. When we give, we are recognizing that the hand of the Lord is in our lives and we can give of what he has provided to us.

6 And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the Lord shall choose;
7 Then he shall minister in the name of the Lord his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the Lord.
8 They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony.

Any man of Levite heritage, who desired to go to the tabernacle and serve in the name of the Lord, was to do so. He could come from any of the cities provided for the Levites, and was to be treated as any of the Levites in the service of the Lord.

9 When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
13 Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.
14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.

Moses goes on to teach the people that they were not to learn the ways of abomination, which other nations learned and practiced at that time. These things included the sacrificing of their children to false gods, divination, enchantments or sorcery, witchcraft, charms, spiritualism, wizardry, or necromancy. These things have existed through out the ages, and are a tool of the adversary to lead people after him, by giving them powers of wickedness. Because these were abominations to the Lord, he would cause the nations who practiced them, to be driven out before the Israelites were settled in the land. The Israelites were set apart to be a holy people to the Lord, and were not to practice these any of these things. There are still things such as this practiced today. There are some who live by superstitions and rely heavily on horoscopes and such. There are even some who do participate in the practices of what we would call today, dark magic. Satan uses these tools as he has through the ages, and brings many into bondage with them. Disciples of Christ should avoid these things as part of their lifestyles, and should find answers, comfort and peace through Jesus Christ instead.

The Israelites were given instruction, to be perfect with the Lord. This part of the law of the Lord is repeated by the Savior, during the sermon on the mount, when He said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” We grow in life, ‘line upon line and precept upon precept’. This applies to the perfection that is required of us as well. Eternal perfection will not be accomplished in this life, by any mortal man. It cannot. We cannot actually reach eternal perfection, until the atonement has been accomplished for us individually. We can however, keep the commandments that we have been given, to perfection. As we learn to be a little better each day, we become the kind of perfect that the Lord has asked us to be in this life. We do this, by relying on the Lord and having faith in Him. In 1 Nephi 3:7, we read, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” We can accomplish all things with His help. We can be perfect in what is asked of us here in mortality, and eventually, we will be made complete through Christ. In that eternal perfection, gained only by the atonement of Christ, we will be able to live forever in the presence of our Father in Heaven.

15 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
16 According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
17 And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?
22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Jesus-Portrait

A prophet would be raised from among the Israelites, who would be like Moses. This prophet, was the Lord, Jesus Christ. In 3 Nephi 20:23, the Savior confirmed these words to the Nephites. He said, “Behold, I am he of whom Moses spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people.” The Israelites were taught to hearken to Christ. Christ would be the mouthpiece for God on the earth, so that the people would know the will of God for them. This was the role, which Moses had taken for the people, because they had feared that hearing the voice of the Lord directly would have brought death upon them. Anyone, who was not willing to hearken to the words of the Christ, would be held accountable for it. Likewise, we are taught to follow the words of Christ, which he taught while in his mortal ministry. If we learn of His teachings, and choose not to follow after them, we will also be held accountable for it.

Any false prophet, who claimed to speak the word of God, as directed by God, would die. One cannot lie to God, or claim to do his will without his authority, and continue in leading people astray. They could know that a man was a false prophet, if the things he claimed in the name of the Lord, did not come to pass. They were not to fear or reverence any false prophets among them. False prophets have existed since the days of Adam. People desire to follow after those who claim to be called and directed by the Lord. We can know if they are true prophets, by the works of their hands. God will not allow men to continue to lead others astray in the name of the Lord. One of the greatest blessings given to men, is the light of Christ, which we all have within us. If we trust and believe in God, the light of Christ will help us to discern or to recognize a false prophet from a man truly called of God.

I am so grateful for the restored gospel on earth today. I feel so blessed to live in a time, when the Lord calls righteous men to lead and direct us. I am grateful for the Lord’s prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and for the apostles and other leaders which He has called to assist the prophet in helping us to do what is right. They have helped to shape my life into what it is today. I know that we should listen to the words of the prophets and hearken to them, as if from the mouth of the Lord. I know that peace and happiness in life, come from following the prophet. I strive daily to follow their teachings because it feels right in my heart and mind. I have felt peace and happiness in my life as a result of this and I would not want to live any other way. I hope that others will recognize that the Lord loves us enough to guide us today, just as he did in the days of Moses.

D&C Section 91

The prophet, Joseph Smith, was translating the Old Testament early in 1833, when he came to the part called the Apocrypha. The prophet wondered if he should make any revisions to this part of the bible. He prayed regarding this, and received this revelation in answer to his prayer.

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha—There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly;
2 There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men.
3 Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated.

Before reading this section, I did not really know anything about this section of the Bible. Apparently, it has been controversial over time and has often been excluded from the scriptures. It is fifteen parts of books which are not doctrinal scripture, but it seems that they are more examples of how to live. The Lord told the prophet that most of the Apocrypha was translated correctly and many things were true, but many things were not true as well, because of men. The prophet was told that it did not need to be translated.

4 Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth;
5 And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom;
6 And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen.

The Lord told the prophet, that for those who read it, the spirit would teach them what was truth. There is benefit in reading them, if we already have an understanding of gospel principles. On the other hand, anyone who does not have the spirit’s discerning power as they read it, will not have any benefit.

I think that from this we learn that there are many good books that have been written. When it comes to books designed to guide a righteous life, we need to read them with the spirit of discernment. If there are things for us to be edified within the pages, the spirit will teach us of the truth and we will be benefited. It is good to always remember that only the prophets have the power and authority to speak in behalf of God on this earth. The writings of anyone else will not be scripture, but may be good companions for how to live a good and happy life.

D&C Section 50

Historical Background

When the church was still new many people were deceived with manifestations from spirits that were not of God. Some of the elders of the church went to the prophet, Joseph Smith, to ask the Lord about these manifestations. The revelation was given through the prophet in response.

Satan Seeks to Deceive Mankind through False Manifestations

“HEARKEN, O ye elders of my church, and give ear to the voice of the living God; and attend to the words of wisdom which shall be given unto you, according as ye have asked and are agreed as touching the church, and the spirits which have gone abroad in the earth (v. 1). Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world (v. 2).
And also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you (v. 3). Behold, I, the Lord, have looked upon you, and have seen abominations in the church that profess my name (v. 4). But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life (v. 5). But wo unto them that are deceivers and hypocrites, for, thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment (v. 6). Behold, verily I say unto you, there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some, which has given the adversary power; but behold such shall be reclaimed (v. 7); But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and wo unto them who are cut off from my church, for the same are overcome of the world (v. 8 ). Wherefore, let every man beware lest he do that which is not in truth and righteousness before me (v. 9).”

One-third of the host of heaven chose to follow Satan and have been on this earth as all people have lived. They do the work of Satan and tempt mankind every day. It does not surprise me that they would give some people false manifestations of the spirit, to bring doubt into their hearts and to draw people away from the light of Christ, the holy ghost and the gospel. Those who are living righteously will be blessed with the ability to discern which things are of God and which are not. The warning in these verses is that those who are hypocrites will be cut off from the church and therefore cut off from all the blessings that come from living righteously.

“Let Us Reason Even As a Man”

“And now come, saith the Lord, by the Spirit, unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together, that ye may understand (v. 10); Let us reason even as a man reasoneth one with another face to face (v. 11). Now, when a man reasoneth he is understood of man, because he reasoneth as a man; even so will I, the Lord, reason with you that you may understand (v. 12).”

When the Lord reasons with a man, even as a man, he does it so that the man will understand what the Lord wants him to. The Lord told these elders that he wanted them to understand how to know which things were of Him and what is of Satan. It is important the church leaders can know these things, so that the church does not get lead astray in any way. This is the Lord’s church and only He will guide its growth and progression.

How Can One Discern and Unmask Evil Spirits?

“Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—unto what were ye ordained (v. 13)? To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth (v. 14). And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God; and in this are ye justified (v. 15)? Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong (v. 16). Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way (v. 17)? And if it be by some other way it is not of God (v. 18 ). And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way (v. 19)? If it be some other way it is not of God (v. 20). Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth (v. 21)?

Only a person who is guided by the spirit of God, can discern these things. The spirit of God in truth, but the spirits of Satan do not. It is through the power of the priesthood that this gift of discernment is possible. The only way to unmask an evil spirit is through the power of the priesthood and by the spirit of truth, which is the spirit of God.

What Criterion Determines “That Which Is of God” and That Which Is of Satan?

“Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together (v. 22). And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness (v. 23). That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day (v. 24).” Those things that are of God edify us and bring light into our lives. They are the things that enrich us, make us feel better, and lift our spirits. Anything that is of Satan, will not do these things, but will keep us stagnant or even bring us down. The things of Satan are designed to keep us from progressing and becoming more like God.

How Can Man Become “Possessor of All Things”?

“And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you (v. 25); He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all (v. 26). Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son (v. 27). But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin (v. 28 ).”

The only way to become a possessor of all things is to live a pure life. Once we have received covenants, including baptism and temple covenants, we have the potential of possessing all things that God has to give. Living a righteous life and keeping the commandments, is the only way that we can be purified and cleansed through the power of the atonement.

“It Shall Be Given You What You Shall Ask”

“And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done (v. 29). But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask; and as ye are appointed to the head, the spirits shall be subject unto you (v. 30).” If we are living worthy of all that God has to give, then whatever we ask of God, will be given to us. There are two things that I think of about this. First, when we are living a worthy life, we should have our goals in line with what the Lord wants for us, so we should be able to ask only for those things that are good and righteous. Second, the Lord will keep his promise to us, so He will give us what we ask for and we need to accept however it may turn out. We may not always ask for the things that are best, even though they may be good. He may give us what we ask and then we would need to take the consequences as they come. This is a good reason to keep the spirit close to our hearts and listen to the promptings that we receive.

A Key for Discernment

“Wherefore, it shall come to pass, that if you behold a spirit manifested that you cannot understand, and you receive not that spirit, ye shall ask of the Father in the name of Jesus; and if he give not unto you that spirit, then you may know that it is not of God (v. 31). And it shall be given unto you, power over that spirit; and you shall proclaim against that spirit with a loud voice that it is not of God (v. 32)—Not with railing accusation, that ye be not overcome, neither with boasting nor rejoicing, lest you be seized therewith (v. 33). He that receiveth of God, let him account it of God; and let him rejoice that he is accounted of God worthy to receive (v. 34). And by giving heed and doing these things which ye have received, and which ye shall hereafter receive—and the kingdom is given you of the Father, and power to overcome all things which are not ordained of him (v. 35)—And behold, verily I say unto you, blessed are you who are now hearing these words of mine from the mouth of my servant, for your sins are forgiven you (v. 36).”

When we are in doubt of a spiritual manifestation, we should pray to our Father in Heaven and in the name of Jesus Christ, and he will help us to know what kind of spirit it is. This blessing is the gift of discernment and it is by the power of God that it is given to us. This power is given to us because we have been promised to be able to overcome Satan, since we chose to follow Jesus Christ in our first estate. God will help us, because He does not want us to fall into the temptations and influences of Satan and his followers.

“And None of Them That My Father Hath Given Me Shall Be Lost”

The Lord tells these men that all those who have been called to preach the gospel, should be able to do the things that have been commanded of them, without anything getting in their way (v. 37-38 ). “Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth (v. 40). Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me (v. 41); And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost (v. 42). And the Father and I are one. I am in the Father and the Father in me; and inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I in you (v. 43).”

We may have stewardship over some who have lost their way and are not doing what we know is right. This promise can give us comfort in times of worry that come our way. It is our duty to do all that we can to teach them all that we know, and to live as an example of righteousness. They will eventually see the error of their ways and feel the influence of God again. No one will be lost; the Lord will be there for them.

“The Day Cometh That You Shall . . . See Me”

“Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall (v. 44). And the day cometh that you shall hear my voice and see me, and know that I am (v. 45). Watch, therefore, that ye may be ready. Even so. Amen (v. 46).” We all have the ability to receive manifestations of the spirit of God, which will bear witness of the Lord to our hearts and minds. Some are blessed with the opportunity to literally see God, the way that Joseph Smith did, but that experience is rare. Most of us will only receive inspirations through the gift of the Holy Ghost. Our opportunity to see the Lord, will come as we are judged of our worthiness, after this life. Some day, those who are around to witness the second coming, will have the opportunity to see the Savior. I would be honored to live in that day and to experience that marvelous moment in time. I look forward to seeing the Lord and thanking Him for the amazing blessings He has given me.

D&C Section 46

Historical Background

This revelation was given to the Church, through Joseph Smith, and was concerning how the meetings should be conducted and gifts of the spirit.

How are Nonmembers of the Church to Be Treated at Public Sacrament Meetings?

“HEARKEN, O ye people of my church; for verily I say unto you that these things were spoken unto you for your profit and learning (v. 1). But notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit (v. 2). Nevertheless ye are commanded never to cast any one out from your public meetings, which are held before the world (v. 3). Ye are also commanded not to cast any one who belongeth to the church out of your sacrament meetings; nevertheless, if any have trespassed, let him not partake until he makes reconciliation (v. 4). And again I say unto you, ye shall not cast any out of your sacrament meetings who are earnestly seeking the kingdom—I speak this concerning those who are not of the church (v. 5). And again I say unto you, concerning your confirmation meetings, that if there be any that are not of the church, that are earnestly seeking after the kingdom, ye shall not cast them out (v. 6). But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation . . . (v. 7)”.

When the church was first organized, there were some who excluded anyone who was a “nonmember”. In 3 Nephi 18:22-24 we read, “And behold, ye shall meet together oft; and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not (v. 22); But ye shall pray for them, and shall not cast them out; and if it so be that they come unto you oft ye shall pray for them unto the Father, in my name (v. 23). Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed (v. 24).” The Lord taught the early saints, that the meetings would be under the direction of the Elders as they are influenced by the spirit, and that no one should be excluded from public meetings. If the practice of keeping Sacrament private, had continued, I think there would be a lot fewer members of the church today. Being able to feel the spirit that is in sacrament meetings, has influenced many to seek for the truth. In 3 Nephi, we are taught that we should pray for those who do not yet believe, that they may feel that the spirit is with us.

Not All Supernatural Manifestions Are Gifts of the Spirit

“. . . doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils (v. 7). Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given (v. 8 ); For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts (v. 9).”

Satan has the power to give men gifts, but they are not gifts of the spirit. Men have the ability also, to make it seems as though they have been given gifts of the spirit when they have not. When we have the holy ghost with us, we can discern what these gifts are. The Lord teaches us that we should look for those gifts that we know are good and will be used properly. Gifts of the spirit should not be desired or used for our own gain, but rather to further the work of the Lord.

“And to Every Man Is Given a Gift”

“And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church (v. 10). 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 (v. 11). To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby (v. 12).” We are promised by the Lord, that everyone who has received the spirit, has been given a gift of the spirit. There cannot be a gift of the spirit, without the acceptance of the spirit in us, so those who have not received baptism, do not have gifts of the spirit. But those who continue to rely on the spirit, will not go without at least on gift. There are so many different gifts of the spirit and we are given different ones, so we each have a work to do in the church.

What Is the Gift “to Know That Jesus Is the Christ”?

“To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.” Some people have received a revelation that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. This gift is specifically given to prophets and apostles, so that they may act as witnesses of the Savior for the world.

The Gift to Believe on the Testimony of Others

“To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful (v. 14).” I have felt the touch of the spirit in confirmation that testimonies of the Savior, from church leaders, is truth. I know that the Savior, Jesus Christ, is the Son of God and that he died for all mankind. It is something that makes perfect sense in my mind and feels perfectly true in my heart, that I know I can never deny it. I believe their testimonies and I do not doubt it. This gift is common among church members and is the driving force behind the faith of many.

The Gift to Know the Difference of Administration

“And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.” I don’t fully understand this one, but the manual I am reading says this, “One who has the gift by the Holy Ghost to know differences of administration is one who discerns correctly the services and agencies by which the Lord works.” I guess if I had this gift, that I would know better what it is.

The Gift to Know the Diversities of Operations

“And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal (v. 16).” This gift is the ability to discern those philosophies and prophets that are of God or are not. There have always been false prophets and teachings that are not true. Some have been given the gift to know what is from God and what is not. We should all seek for this knowledge, or to be able to follow those who have this gift, so that we will not be deceived by others.

The Gift of Wisdom

“And again, verily I say unto you, to some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom (v. 17).” Those who seek after wisdom, may be given this gift of the spirit. The manual I am reading says that this gift is often given to church leaders and their counselors. It also says that it is often given to parents to be able to counsel their children. I pray often that I might know what is the best thing to say in a particular situation. I hope that I am given this gift in times when I need to counsel my children as they grow up.

The Gift of Knowledge

“To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.” With faithful study, we can gain knowledge and revelations to know things that God wants us to know. Knowledge is one the the best things that we can seek for because it not only will help us as we live our lives, but we will continue to have this knowledge after this life.

The Gift to Discern Spirits

“And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed (v. 19); And to others it is given to have faith to heal (v. 20). And again, to some is given the working of miracles (v. 21); And to others it is given to prophesy (v. 22); And to others the discerning of spirits (v. 23).” These are all great gifts that can help build the faith and testimony of others. Those who discern spirits are able to see the good (or bad) in some that others do not see. The manual I am studying says that this gift is most important for missionaries to have, in order to find their “hidden spark that may be lighted by the truth”. It seems like a pretty amazing gift, to be able to tell what truth will help someone to turn to Christ and his gospel.

The Gift of Tongues

“And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues (v. 24); And to another is given the interpretation of tongues (v. 25).” The gift of tongues is the ability to speak and interpret foreign languages, particularly given when seemingly little to no study of the language is received. Missionaries are often given the gift of tongues after a short time of learning. It is a gift that is given to further the work of the Lord and is not for boasting of oneself. If tongues are used for anything other than the Lord’s purposes, they are not of God.

The Bishop Is to BeGiven the Gift of Discerning All The Gifts

“And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God (v. 26). And unto the bishop of the church, and unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God (v. 27).” The gift of discernment is most important for those who lead the church. This gift allows the Bishop to know what callings the Lord may want someone to have. It allows the leaders to know if something is wrong and hurtful to the church. It is a blessing of great responsibility.

“He That Asketh in Spirit Shall Receive in Spirit”

“And it shall come to pass that he that asketh in Spirit shall receive in Spirit (v. 28 ); That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby (v. 29). He that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh (v. 30). And again, I say unto you, all things must be done in the name of Christ, whatsoever you do in the Spirit (v. 31); And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with (v. 32). And ye must practise virtue and holiness before me continually. Even so. Amen (v. 32).” When we need a gift of the spirit, we can receive it. First, we must pray for it, asking according to the will of God. We must ask in the name of Christ and give thanks to God for all of the blessings we are given. Then we must remain worthy of it by having virtue and holiness continually.

When we are called to do something in the church, it is appropriate to ask for those gifts that will help to do the work. For example, when we need to teach and lead our children, it is important that we seek after the gift of wisdom. These gifts are there for us, and if we ask sincerely to have one, so that we can lift, help, or save souls, we will be given them. Our sincerity must be accompanied by the righteousness to be a worthy holder of the gifts given to us. When we are not worthy, we cannot use these gifts. They can be taken away just as they are given to us, if we do not use them properly or if we are not prepared to have them. These gifts will be given according to our faith and we can use them with faith to do many great works in our lives and the lives of those around us. I know that the Lord wants us to be able to serve and bless others by using gifts of the spirit. I am so grateful for the gifts that I have been given.


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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