Posts Tagged 'Disobedience'

2 Kings Chapter 22

Hezekiah had been a righteous leader in Judah. On the other hand, his son Manasseh, was extremely wicked, and brought the people of Judah along with him into great sin. Manasseh’s son, Amos, followed in the wickedness of his father and continued to lead the people in idolatry. All of these had died and at this point, Josiah, the son of Amos, had become king. This chapter begins with:

1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.
2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.

At the age of eight, Josiah became king of Judah. He ruled for 31 years, or until he was about 39 years old. He was not like his father Amos, but lived and ruled in righteousness like King David. (see also 2 Chronicles 34)

3 And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the Lord, saying,
4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people:
5 And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the Lord, to repair the breaches of the house,
6 Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.
7 Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.

After 18 years had passed, Josiah being about 26 at the time, he sent a servant, named Shaphan, to the temple priest, Hilkiah, to take total of the money gathered from the people for the work of repairing the temple. This money was the tithes and offerings of their day. The priests had been faithful and did not require a reckoning of the money they were given to have the work done, because they could be trusted.

Tithes and offerings are for the purposes of building up the kingdom of God on Earth. Today, this money goes to the building and maintaining of temples and other church buildings around the world. The churches and temples are sacred places, consecrated for the faithful to gather, teach and uplift one another, worship God, covenant and serve. In ancient times, the temple of the Lord served the same purposes. It is right, that a faithful and righteous leader would desire to use the offerings of the people to rededicate the house of the Lord. If you would like to see more about temples in the LDS faith, I just saw this great, simple video about them: Mormon Temples

Trust in the work of the Lord, is so important to the uplifting and edification of all those who serve. Trust in God, of course, is of greatest importance. Those who serve in His kingdom, need to trust that God will keep his promises and covenants, and that He will be there to help them when they ask for help. Trust in others is also needed. So much of the work of the Lord, is Priesthood leaders, such as the prophets and high priests, giving callings and assignments to others, such as these priests in the temple, and then trusting that they will do their part in the work. When the work is accomplished the one who delegates is able to continue His work, others are able to come and participate in worship and service to the Lord, and most of all, those who were trusted and followed through, have opportunities to learn; grow in testimony, wisdom and knowledge; and become more as individuals. Additionally, we each individually, need to have trust in ourselves, that we are strong enough to do the work of the Lord. In one of the greatest paradoxes of the gospel, we are strong enough, when we become completely humble and submissive to the will of the Lord, becoming, in a sense, our weakest, in order to grow the most. Trusting the Lord, others and ourselves, is the only way that we can truly further the work of the Lord and reach our greatest potential as individuals.

8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.
9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord.
10 And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.
12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king’s, saying,
13 Go ye, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.
14 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her.

The book of the law was found in the temple and given to Shaphan, who read it and returned to Josiah to give a report of what had happened. He told Josiah that the money of the temple had been gathered and given to workers. He also showed the king that the book of the law had been found. He read it to Josiah. Josiah responded by renting his clothes. He told the Shaphan, his son Ahikam, a man named Achbor, and his servant Asahiah, to ask the Lord about the words of the book of the law, in behalf of Josiah and the people of Judah. Josiah was concerned for the people because their ancestors had so often willingly disobeyed the words of the book. The men went to Huldah the prophetess, to her home in the northwest part of Jerusalem, and communed with her.

What a huge blessing it must have been, to have found the record of the law. This was their scriptures, even the record of the law of Moses. Nations who loose the records of their laws, forget what that law is and create their own laws in order to make civilization work. The lessons from the past, especially those found in our own scriptures, show that the nations who are strongest, both physically and spiritually, are those who know the law because they keep the records and use them. People who are raised up without the laws, are so much more likely to fall away from the traditions of the past. (This is one of the themes we can read about this throughout The Book of Mormon.) The laws of God, such as the law of Moses for the ancient Israelites, had not changed. This law was still in complete effect at the time the book was given to Josiah. Because it had not been preserved by the kings, as they had been commanded when first given to Moses and passed on to Joshua, it had been forgotten. Josiah did not know the fulness of the law, until he was able to read it. Our scriptures our precious, but only if we read them and apply them to our lives.

15 And she said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me,
16 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:
17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.
18 But to the king of Judah which sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard;
19 Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord.
20 Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.

Huldah prophsied that evil would come to the people of Judah just as the book of the law had said it would, or rather all the evil and curses brought upon the wicked found in the record, because they had chosen to worship other gods of their own creation. The words of verse 17, sound as though the curses would come because the people deliberately turned to idolatry to upset the Lord. Their wickedness may have been more rebellion than being raised in ignorance of what was right. Their choice to practice wickedness would have strong consequences. However, to Josiah, the Lord had heard his humble weeping and she prophesied that he would die in peace and not be the one to see the destruction of his people. The men returned to Josiah and told him what she had spoken.

Josiah would be blessed for his choice to do what was right, once he had learned of it from the word of the Lord. Three things happened to him in order to receive these blessings. First, his heart was tender. This sounds like he had an open heart, softened to the word, sensitive to it and ready to receive it, because he was willing. Second, he humbled himself to the Lord. In Alma 32:14, Alma was teaching the Zoramites who were poor and brought to humility by their circumstances. He said, “And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?” Greater blessings come to those who are humbled when they learn the gospel, just as Josiah had done. In his humility, Josiah was concerned for others who would be destroyed, and was mourning for their loss. This humility and care for others, was seen by the Lord and blessings were promised as a result. If we are compelled into a situation where we become humble and then turn to the Lord with greater commitment, we will be blessed, but the greatest blessings and the most growth to our souls, comes in actively studying the word of God, and choosing for ourselves to have faith in that word and live what is taught. And third, Josiah heard or read the words and heard the spirit’s influence and inspiration. The word of the Lord will do nothing for us, if we read them, but refuse to hear what they can teach us. The blessing that was his, and can be ours if we follow this example and pattern, is peace. Peace is something that men desire for their lives, and he was promised to have this, even knowing what would come of his people.

As I read this chapter, I think back on a time in my life, after having three of my six children, when the hard drive that held all my digital photos and videos, had stopped working. I had lost all of them and experienced a mourning for something non-living, that I had never known was possible. (It seems a given to mourn for the loss of something living.)
I was beside myself with grief for weeks, as we did all that we could to possibly get something back. I felt as though I would not be able to remember my children as babies, and memories are so important to me. After several weeks, we got word, that the majority of the files had been recovered. My joy was so full. I know now, just how much I could mourn for the loss of non-living things of great value to me. This taught me to have greater gratitude for these things. Likewise, I am so grateful for the scriptures. I love them more than other things of this world, much like family photos, because of the happiness I feel as I study them. I am so glad that there are so many ways to have the scriptures available to us, because if they were lost to me now, I would be heartbroken. I know I would mourn them, because my memory will not always hold on to the words I study. I would forget them and yearn for the peace they bring. Knowing that the scriptures have not always been as available to mankind, and reflecting on just how short a time anyone in the world has even known about the Book of Mormon, enlarges my gratitude for being able to live today and have them. Finding the scriptures in the temple, truly was a blessing for Josiah and the people of Israel.

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2 Kings Chapter 13

Jehu ruled in Israel during the reign of Joash in Judah. When Jehu died, his son, Jehoahaz, began to rule in Israel. Each of these ruled the nation, while Elisha was the prophet. Jehu had not ruled in the same wickedness of the kings before him, but he still worshipped other gods and did not follow after the ways of the Lord. This chapter continues the story of those who ruled in Israel in the days of Elisha.

1 In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years.
2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.

When Joash had ruled for twenty-three years, Jehoahaz became king of Israel. He was king for seventeen years, and ruled in wickedness. He continued to lead the people with idolatry, as the kings before him.

3 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael, all their days.
4 And Jehoahaz besought the Lord, and the Lord hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.
5 (And the Lord gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime.
6 Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein: and there remained the grove also in Samaria.)
7 Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.

As promised, the Israelites were not protected in their wickedness, and the Lord allowed for them to fall into the hands of the Syrians under both Hazael and Ben-hadad, the kings. Then, when they were being destroyed by their enemies, Jehoahaz began to see what was happening to his people, and turned to the Lord and hearkened to Him. Israel was eventually delivered from the Syrians and returned to their normal lives, which included continuing to live with idolatry and the like. But at this time the Israelites were left with very little in order to protect themselves against their enemies, because of the oppression and destruction by the Syrians.

Sometimes men become so engrossed in their own wickedness, that God has a need to bring them down into humility. Then blessings can be given to them, as with Jehoahaz, who turned to the Lord when destruction was upon his people. In Alma 32:13, we read, “And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.” But the book of Alma teaches us also, that it would be better to become humble on our own and not wait to be compelled by God. In that same chapter we read, “And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word? Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty. Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.” (Alma 32:14-16) Greater blessings come to those who seek God before the difficulties become too hard to bear.

8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
9 And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead.

Jehoahaz died and his son, Joash began to rule in Israel.

10 In the thirty and seventh year of Joash king of Judah began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years.
11 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin: but he walked therein.
12 And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, and his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
13 And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

Joash or Jehoash ruled for sixteen years. He continued the line of unrighteous leadership in Israel. During his reign, he fought against Amaziah of Judah. After sixteen years of being king, he died and his son Jeroboam became king of Israel.

14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.
15 And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.
16 And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands.
17 And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.
18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed.
19 And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.

Elisha became sick and was near death. Joash of Israel, went to see him and cried over him. Elisha told Joash to get a bow and arrow. He did and Elisha told him to put his hand on the bow. Then Elisha put his hands on the hands of Joash as they held the bow. Elisha told him to open the east window. When he did, Elisha told him to shoot. He did this, and then Elisha prophesied that the people would be delivered from Syria by the hand of the Lord. Elisha told Joash to hit the ground, which he did three times and then stopped. Elisha told him that he should have done it five or six times, because now he would only be able to smite Syria three times. If he had hit the ground as many as five or six times, he would have been able to consume Syria.

20 And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.
21 And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.

Elisha died. The Moabites began to invade the land of Israel as the year ended. There was who had died. As he was being buried, a band of men were seen. Those who were burying the man, threw the body into the sepulchre of Elisha. When the dead man’s body touched the bones of Elisha, he came back to life. That is a witness to the power of God that had been with Elisha, that even his dead body held the power to raise a man.

22 But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.
23 And the Lord was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.
24 So Hazael king of Syria died; and Ben-hadad his son reigned in his stead.
25 And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel.

Hazael continued to oppress Israel during the reign of Jehoahaz, but the Lord continued to keep the Israelites from destruction, because of the promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Hazael of Syria died. His son, Ben-hadad, became king, and Jehoash was able to regain the lands taken by the Syrians. Joash or Jehoash was able to beat Ben-hadad three times in order to get the Israelite cities back.

Again, it can be seen in this chapter, that unrighteous rulers lead their people in unrighteousness. Those who willing choose to be disobedient to the laws of God, are not blessed with His protection against their enemies. Rather, the disobedient are allowed to fall into the hands of their enemies. This is so that they might be brought back to a remembrance of God, and also because the blessing of protection is reserved for the faithful.

1 Kings Chapter 13

Jeroboam had become the leader and king of ten of the tribes of Israel. He had been among those who revolted against Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. Jeroboam had been told that he would rule, by a prophet. He had also been promised continual reign and support of the Lord, if he would remain faithful to God. However, early in his reign, he turned to the worship of false idols, in order to keep his people away from the temple in Jerusalem and from returning to Rehoboam. Jeroboam had quickly become a wicked leader to the people of Israel, leading them into apostasy from the Lord.

1 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Beth-el: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.
3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the Lord hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.
4 And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Beth-el, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
5 The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.
6 And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Entreat now the face of the Lord thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.
7 And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.
8 And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:
9 For so was it charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.
10 So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Beth-el.

A prophet came to Jeroboam from Judah. Jeroboam was an the altar of one of the temples. He prophesied that there would be a man called Josiah, of the house of David, who would offer or sacrifice priests and men upon the altar. The prophet said that the altar would be broken down and the ashes upon it would be scattered. Jeroboam heard what had been said, and with the direction of his hand, told his men to grab the prophet. When he did this, the hand he used became dried up and he could not pull it back toward himself. The altar was broken and the ashes were scattered. Jeroboam told the man to ask the Lord to restore his withered had. The prophet prayed and the hand of Jeroboam was restored. Jeroboam asked the prophet to go with him and be refreshed and rewarded. The prophet said that he would not go with him, even if he had been offered half of the king’s house. He refused even the slightest offering of bread or water as well. He told Jeroboam that the Lord had commanded him that he should not eat or drink there, or even go back the way that he came. Then, the prophet left another way, as he had been commanded.

11 Now there dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Beth-el: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.
12 And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.
13 And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon,
14 And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.
15 Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.
16 And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:
17 For it was said to me by the word of the Lord, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.
18 He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.
19 So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.

In Bethel, where the prophet had come to deliver his message from God, there was an old prophet. This old man’s sons told him of the prophet from Judah, and directed their father as to which way he had gone. The old prophet rode after the prophet from Judah, finding him sitting under an oak tree. He asked him if he was the prophet from Judah and the other said that he was. He offered him bread, but the other refused him just as he had refused Jeroboam. The old prophet told him that he too was a prophet and had revelation from an angel that he was to offer him bread and water. Verse 18 says that this was a lie, which causes the thought that the old prophet was attempting to deceive him. However in the Joseph Smith Translation of this verse it reads, “Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water[, that I may prove him; and he lied not unto him]. This translation leads us to see that the Lord intended on testing the prophet from Judah, who gave in and went to his house to eat and drink. (see footnote 18b)

20 And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the Lord came unto the prophet that brought him back:
21 And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, and hast not kept the commandment which the Lord thy God commanded thee,
22 But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the Lord did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.

As they ate, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet, and he told the prophet from Judah that because he did this thing and disobeyed the Lord, his dead body would not return to the resting place of his family.

23 And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.
24 And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.
25 And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.
26 And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the Lord: therefore the Lord hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake unto him.
27 And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.
28 And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass.
29 And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.
30 And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!
31 And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:
32 For the saying which he cried by the word of the Lord against the altar in Beth-el, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.

After the prophet from Judah had finished eating and drinking there, he left and was met by a lion along his path. The lion killed the prophet and stood by the body of the man, along with the donkey he had ridden there. Men who passed by the body and lion, told the old prophet what they had seen. The old prophet went and found the body, which had not been disturbed by the lion. The lion had also not eaten the donkey. He took the body, laid it on the donkey, and went back to the city, where he buried the prophet from Judah in his own grave and mourned for him. He told his own sons to bury him along with this man when he died, because he knew the dead prophet’s prophecy would come to pass.

33 After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.
34 And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.

Jeroboam still did not repent of his wickedness, but continued to worship false gods. He continued to raise people to be priests, who were not of the line of Aaron. Because of this sin, Jeroboam and his line were cut off from the Lord and would eventually be destroyed.

When reading this story, one could focus on those things that happened with Jeroboam, as well as those that happened with the prophet from Judah. With either one, their is a lesson in the consequences that come from disobedience to the Lord. Jeroboam was cursed for his actions against the man of God, and eventually chose to be cut off because of sin. The prophet, who had done a portion of what he had been commanded, did not follow the commandments of God with strictness. He was then cursed for his choices as well, and served as an example to others in Israel. Both were given an opportunity to return through obedience to the word of the Lord, and both chose to follow their own path and find ultimate destruction. There is a verse in the book of Alma, that teaches an eternal principle relating to wickedness. In Alma 41:10 it reads, “wickedness never was happiness”. There will be no reward of happiness for those who choose to sin and wickedness. The consequences of sin may be immediate, as was the consequences to the prophet along his journey home. On the other hand, they might not come until we have lived a long life of wicked choices, basking in the glory of men and earthly treasures. The point is, that the consequences will come to the wicked and the reward will not be happiness, but eternal misery. I know that if more people realized just how small the time we have in our earthly life is when compared to the span of eternity, they would not choose to live for eternity in misery to have false happiness in this life. This is the reason for my hope in Christ. We all make mistakes. We all give into temptations of some kind. And we all will have the opportunity, to turn to Christ and receive forgiveness and mercy from Him who gave everything for us.

2 Samuel Chapter 6

David became the king of Israel, combining Judah and Israel into one kingdom again. David was the Lord’s anointed king of the people and thus far, he had continued to seek the guidance of the Lord in his leadership. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.
2 And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.
3 And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.
4 And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.
5 And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.

David gathered 30,000 men of Israel and they brought the ark of the covenant out of the house of Abinadab, and many of the men played music as they moved the ark. In Doctrine and Covenants 136:28 we read, “If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.” Music is an important part of worshipping the Lord and David was traveling in the manner of worshipping God.

6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.
7 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
8 And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perez-uzzah to this day.
9 And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and said, How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?
10 So David would not remove the ark of the Lord unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.
11 And the ark of the Lord continued in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months: and the Lord blessed Obed-edom, and all his household.

Uzzah saw that the ark was shaking, and so he put his hand on it to steady it. No person, who had not been given authority from God, was to touch the ark or do anything with it, for it was the seat of the Lord. So, Uzzah was smitten immediately and died. David was upset with the death of Uzzah, and wondered how they could move the ark any further, when he had intended on it being placed in the city of David. Instead the ark was placed in the house of Obed-edom, where it remained for three months. Obed-edom and his family were blessed by the Lord, while the ark remained in their home.

As mortals, we will not and cannot understand all the workings of the Lord. In Isaiah 55:8-9, we read, ” For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The instruction that had been given in the days of Moses, was that no man was to touch the ark, and only Levites were to be involved in moving it. Uzzah, in a moment of weakness, felt that he needed to steady the thing that represented the Lord’s presence on the Earth at that time. With such a sacred item, I am sure that he had been taught of how they were to handle the ark and also how strictly they needed to obey the instructions. Additionally, it had not been too long since people, I believe philistines, had looked into the ark and brought death and destruction to entire cities. However, sometimes we forget the greatness of God. His ways are higher. Sometimes we must learn that the Lord can do all for Himself. He could have kept the ark from falling if that is what was meant to happen. Even the best of us, have much to learn. A lot of these things cannot be mastered while we live in this fallen state of mortality.

12 And it was told king David, saying, The Lord hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness.
13 And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings.
14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.
16 And as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.

David heard that Obed-deom had been blessed by the presence of the ark, so he decided to happily bring it into the city of David as he had planned. David had a sacrifice made and he danced before the Lord. There was great rejoicing among the house of Israel, and Michal saw king David dancing before the Lord in a linen ephod. She despised him for it.

17 And they brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.
18 And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts.
19 And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house.

David had a tabernacle set up and the ark was placed in the midst of it. He blessed the people and had a feast with them. Then everyone returned to their homes.

20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!
21 And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord.
22 And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.
23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.

David returned home, and Michal greeted him with a comment about how he thought himself great, as he shamelessly uncovered himself in front of other women. The footnote for this verse describes it in this way, “In his joyful dancing, more of his body was exposed than she believed proper.” David told her that he did these things for the Lord, who had chosen him to be ruler of Israel. He felt that those who saw him, would honor him, but he would never have a child with her, which I think means that he would never bless her with children, because he would not be with her. Her pride and her judgement of David in how he should act as the king and as her husband, caused their relationship to be damaged from them on.

The main thing I take away from this chapter, is the importance of being strict in our obedience to God, especially with all things sacred. In Doctrine and Covenants 82 we read:

8 And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you;
9 Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.
10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

Commandments help us to understand what God wants of His people, in order for us to return to live with Him and to receive great blessings from Him. The Israelites had been given commandments and had not remembered to adhere to them. The result was destructive and immediate, in order to teach of the importance of being obedient. Likewise, we are given commandments and when we are disobedient to the commandments, the results can bring destruction to our souls. We are weak and we will make mistakes, and thankfully, we can humble ourselves and repent when we do wrong. I am forever grateful for the Savior and His atonement, which makes this possible.

1 Samuel Chapter 15

Saul has been king of Israel for a couple of years at this point. In pride, he had tried to assume the duties of the priesthood, and his actions had been rejected by the Lord. As a result, the prophet Samuel, had told Saul that he would no longer reign with the Lord’s blessing upon his leadership. The Lord was still leading his people through direction given to the prophet. This chapter begins with Samuel speaking to King Saul.

1 Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord.
2 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.
5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.

Saul was reminded that his calling as the king, had been extended to him by the Lord, and Samuel was going to reveal the word of the Lord to Saul. Saul was given instruction, to attack the Amalakites. God had told Moses that the Israelites would continue to war with the men of Amalak, for generations after his time. At this point, Saul was told specifically to destroy all of the Amalakites, along with all of their flocks and herds. Saul began to follow the instructions by gathering 210,000 men to battle and then lying in wait in the valley near Amalek.

6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.
8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

Saul allowed the Kenites to flee, so that they would not be destroyed along with the Amalekites. The Kenites were family to the wife of Moses, and Saul’s army were not going to harm them because they had been kind to the Israelites. Saul destroyed the Amalekites, but he took King Agag and the best of the flocks, herds, and their belongings, and he did not destroy them.

10 Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying,
11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.
12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.
13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.
14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.
17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?
18 And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?
20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal.
22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Samuel received a revelation from the Lord. The Lord had continued to allow Saul to lead, but Saul continued to be disobedient to the commandments given to him. (The Joseph Smith translation of verse 11 reads, “I have set up Saul to be a king, and he repenteth not that he hath sinned, for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.”) Saul felt sorrow for Saul, and he continued to pray to the Lord through the night. Samuel woke early to go out and meet Saul, but Saul had gone down to Gilgal. Samuel went down to meet him. Saul greeted him and told him he had done the things which the Lord had given him as a commandment. Samuel asked why he heard the noises of animals with him, which was the physical proof that Saul had not followed the commandment given to him. Saul told him that his men had kept the best animals, in order to make a sacrifice to the Lord.

Samuel caused that Saul should stay with him a while, so that he could tell him what the Lord had revealed to him. He talked of how Saul had been raised up by the Lord to be the king, when he was still young, and that the Lord had sent him on a journey to destroy all the Amalekites. Samuel asked Saul, why then, he had disobeyed and taken spoil of the Amalekites, which was evil in the sight of the Lord. Saul said that he had done what the Lord wanted, and had taken the king captive, but that the people had taken the spoil in order to give sacrifice. It sounds here, like Saul blamed the people for his disobedience. Samuel asked Saul if he thought it better to make sacrifice, then to be obedient to the Lord. Then Samuel told him, that it was better to obey then to make sacrifices, and that hearkening to the Lord was better than giving the fat of rams. His disobedience had led the people to rebellion against the commandments of the Lord, which was equal to witchcraft, iniquity and idolatry. As a result of his choice to reject the word of the Lord, the Lord now rejected Saul as the king.

24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.
26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent.
28 And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
30 Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God.
31 So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord.

Saul realized that he had been too concerned with what the people thought, and had sinned against God. Saul asked for forgiveness, and wanted Samuel to return with him, so that he could worship the Lord. Samuel refused because Saul had been rejected by the Lord. Samuel left to leave, and rent his clothes, saying that the kingdom of Israel had been torn from Saul and given to another who was more worthy of it. Samuel had great sorrow for the choice that Saul had made. Saul acknowledged his sin and begged for Samuel to allow him to worship the Lord. I do not believe Saul’s sorrow for his sin, had reached the kind of godly sorrow necessary for true repentance, because his desire was to worship before men. Even still, Samuel allowed Saul to worship.

32 Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.
33 And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

Samuel had Agag, the king of the Amalekites, brought to him. Agag was destroyed, just as he had destroyed many of the Israelites. Samuel needed to make right, what Saul had not done. In this, Saul, as well as all of Israel, would see that their leaders needed to obey God. Samuel stood firmly on the Lord’s side.

34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul.
35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Samuel left and went to Ramah. Saul returned to his home and was not visited by Samuel again, until the day he died. Samuel mourned for the loss of Saul.

God is no respecter of persons. He had extended a calling to a man, who could have chosen to live his life in harmony with the will of the Lord, and he would have been blessed. When he made choices based on the words and actions of his subjects, rather than following the strict instructions given by the Lord, he had placed his desires before the Lord. In effect, he had chosen to worship another before God. He forfeited the honor to be called of God. We cannot expect that the Lord will favor us in our own choices of disobedience. The Lord blesses those who follow his commandments with faith and trust in Him. He will not bless those who willfully choose to go against his commandments, whether they are a king or a beggar. How sad it must have been for Samuel to see the loss of the potential in Saul. I believe that God is a loving Father in Heaven, and It makes me wonder about the kind of mourning that God experiences when his children make foolish decisions and turn away from him. I think that as Samuel mourned, the Lord must have mourned as well.

The main lesson I think we are to learn from this chapter, is that it is better to be obedient than to make sacrifices. This was something that the Lord would try to teach the men during his mortal ministry as well. Often times the Israelites and those that would follow them, were overly concerned with living the letter of their laws. They focused so hard on it, that they began to make additions to it. Soon, there was no distinction between the original law of Moses in its purity, and the laws of men which had been added to it. Men became so focused on living their laws that they missed the purpose for those original laws. They strictly observed the part of the law regarding sacrifices, but they refused to be pure in heart. The problem with this, is that being obedient will change our hearts and draw us nearer to the Lord, while the simple act of sacrifice, is only an outward symbol. Without the right frame of mind and heart, it is only something done. With an obedient soul, sacrifice becomes a sign of true worship of the Lord.

We, likewise, need to remember that it is better to be obedient than to sacrifice. For example, we can go to church every Sabbath and partake of the sacrament, which is much like going to make sacrifices in ancient times. We sacrifice our time to worship the Lord through this ordinance. We show God, with this action, that we are doing what we have been told to do, but if we are not living a life of obedience, it means nothing. In fact, it makes us unworthy in our hearts, and we will be judged accordingly. Obedience to the Lord, and to the direction He gives us through our living prophets and apostles, will draw us nearer to God. Obedience is what will allow the spirit to work in our hearts, to cause us to change. Obedience is what allows Christ the opportunity to sanctify us through his atonement. Then, when we make the sacrifices that we are asked to make, of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, we will be made clean and become more like our Savior. Alone, obedience is better than sacrifice. Together, obedience and sacrifice help us to become perfected through Christ.

Judges Chapter 16

Samson was a judge in Israel, who had been raised by his parents, as a Nazarite. He had made covenants with God, and had been blessed with mighty strength as a gift of the spirit. His strength had already brought Israel, the beginnings of deliverance from the bondage of the Philistines. However, Samson had broken most of his covenants with the unrighteous choices he had made. The story of Samson continues:

1 Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.
2 And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.
3 And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.

Samson saw a harlot in Gaza, and went to be with her. Again, his weaknesses got the better of him, and he went against his covenants by doing this. The people of Gaza learned that Samson was there, and encompassed him in the city, with the intent to kill him the next morning. Samson got up at midnight, and carried away the doors of the gate of Gaza, carrying them up the hill.

4 And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
5 And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.

Samson came to love a woman named Delilah, and when the Philistine lords learned of it, they went to her and told her to entice him into telling them how he had his strength. They wanted to be able to take him, bind him and afflict him, which I’m guessing would have been to torture him. For her part, they were willing to pay Delilah 1,100 pieces of silver each.

6 And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.
7 And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.
9 Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.
10 And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.
11 And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
12 Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread.
13 And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.
14 And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.

Delilah asked Samson straight out, what his weakness in his strength was, so that they could bind him. Samson lied and said that he would be weak if he was bound with seven green undried withs, or new cords. She told the Philistines and the lords brought her the withs to bind him. The men waited to grab him, and she told him that the Philistines were there to take him. He broke the bands, so they did not truly know where his strength was. Delilah asked again, and he lied again by saying that he would be weak if they used new ropes to bind him. She tied him with new ropes and told him the men were there to attack him. Once again, he broke the ropes without any difficulty. For a third time, she asked how he had his strength, and he lied again and told her he would be weak if sheave weaved a web, of the loom, into seven locks of his hair. She did it and once it was fastened, she told him the Philistines were there, and he left with his hair still fastened.

15 And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.
16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;
17 That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.
18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.
19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.
20 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.

Delilah enticed Samson by telling him if he loved her, he would tell her instead of not being honest with her. Finally, he gave in, just as he had with his first wife, and he told her that his strength would be gone if his head was shaved, because he was a Nazarite. She could tell that he was being honest with her this time. She told the Philistines and then made Samson fall asleep on her lap. As he slept, a man shaved seven locks of his hair. He became weak and she woke him with news of the Philistines again. He thought he would be able to escape them as he had before because he had not realized that his gift of strength had left him.

I get the impression that Samsom may have thought his strength had more to do with himself then strictly with the Lord and his covenant. It is as if he knew in his mind that he was to keep his hair for his covenant, but he did not understand in his heart, that his strength truly came from the Lord.

21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.
22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.
23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.
24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.
25 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.
26 And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.
27 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.
28 And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.
29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.
30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.

The Philistines grabbed him and blinded him, then they took him to Gaza, bound him and put him in prison. His hair began to grow again. When the Philistines gathered together to sacrifice to their god and celebrate that Samson had been captured, they brought him out of the prison to mock him. They put him between the pillars. Samson asked the boy who brought him there, to allow him to feel the pillars of the house. The house was full of 3,000 Philistines there, including the lords. Samson prayed to the Lord, that he might be avenged for loosing his sight, by regaining his strength for just that one moment. He grabbed the two pillars, one in each hand and then pulled on them with all his might. The Lord gave him strength and the house fell on all who were inside, killing himself and 3,000 others. His family went down to gaza and took his body to bury him. He had judged Israel for 22 years.

This story is not far from reality for the life of anyone who would choose to make covenants with the Lord. Whether we choose to believe it or not, the moment we step foot on the path of discipleship, we begin to have an enemy who desires to bind us. There are many who lie in wait, for us to make a mistake. The army of the adversary encircles our homes and sends things in to entice us. They will never tire, but will be persistent in their attempts to reveal our weaknesses. We must remain strong, and when we make mistakes, we need to be quick to repent and rely on the strength of the Lord.

It is interesting to see that over the course of his adult life, Samson did several things to go against the covenant of a Nazarite, but it was not until he had gone against the entire covenant, that his strength was removed from him. He had been blessed with physical strength, but did not seem to be strong in character. I wonder, if he had been faithful to his covenants, would he have been a man of character strength as well? Samson’s weakness was not loosing his strength, but giving in to the temptations of his life, including finally, giving in to the enticements of Delilah, when I am sure he knew it might put him against the standards of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 3:4, we read, “For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.” The Lord blesses each of us with talents and gifts, just as He blessed Samson. If we live up to the promises and covenants we make with the Lord, we will be blessed with greater gifts as well. If we choose to live only a portion of our covenants, or if we choose not recognize the hand of the Lord in our ability to use those gifts, we will be missing out on the full measure of blessings that the Lord has in store for us. There will eventually come a time, when those who choose the path of disobedience, as Samson did, will indeed receive justice for their choices.

Judges Chapter 15

Samson had been raised as a Nazarite by his parents, with the hopes in helping to deliver Israel from bondage. This was the promise from the Lord, before he had been born, if he would remain faithful to his covenants. After he was married out of the covenant, he was deceived by his philistine wife, and had left her. His story continues:

1 But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber. But her father would not suffer him to go in.
2 And her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion: is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her.

Samson returned to his wife some time later, but her father had given her to the old companion of Samson. His father-in-law offered his younger daughter to Samson.

3 And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure.
4 And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails.
5 And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives.

Samson felt he could go against the Philistines, with reason, and would be blameless in his retribution. He burned the crops of the Philistines. I don’t think that he would have truly been blameless here. He was angry at what had been done to him, so he destroyed their property out of vengeance.

6 Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son in law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire.

The Philistines worked out that Samson had burned their crops, because his father-in-law had given his wife away. They took the wife of Samson, and her father, or her father’s house, and burned them with fire.

7 And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.
8 And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.

Samson declared to them that he would avenge them, and it sounds like he destroyed the Philistines who had killed his wife. Then he went to the rock Etam to dwell. I don’t think Samson was going to hold on to any additional grudges against the Philistines, but did what he thought was fair retribution for what was taken from him.

9 Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi.
10 And the men of Judah said, Why are ye come up against us? And they answered, To bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us.
11 Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them.
12 And they said unto him, We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves.
13 And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock.

The Philistines gathered in the land of Judah, to go against Samson for what he had done to their people. 3,000 men of Judah went to Samson in Etam, asking why he had gone against the Philistines who ruled over them. He told them that he had reason to, after what the Philistines had done to him. The men of Judah told Samson that they intended on taking him, bound, to the Philistines. Samson had the men swear that they would not attack him or kill him themselves. They agreed and took Samson down from Etam, bound with new cords.

14 And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.
15 And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.
16 And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.
17 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramath-lehi.

As he was brought into Lehi, where the Philistines waited, the Philistines shouted at him. The gift of strength from the Spirit of the Lord gave Samson the ability to loose himself from the bands. He found the jawbone of an ass and used it to kill a thousand Philistines. When he was done, he threw the jawbone away from himself. Considering his vow as a nazarite, which included not touching any carcass, I wonder about the choice in his weapon. Additionally, he was not told by the Lord to go and kill these Philistine men. Rather, he killed them for what had been done to him before. I think it might have been another case of not really living the covenant.

18 And he was sore athirst, and called on the Lord, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?
19 But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof En-hakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day.
20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

Samson felt he would die from thirst, so he pleaded with the Lord to help him so that he would fall into the hands of his enemies. God split a hollow, or a basin as the footnote says, and water came out for Samson to drink. Then he was no longer weak from thirst. He became the judge of Israel for twenty years, during the time when the Philistines ruled over them.

Even with the many times that Samson had not lived up to a lot of the covenant of a nazarite, the Lord continued to allow him to have the gift of strength. The Lord is long-suffering with our choices of disobedience. He will give us the opportunities we need to repent and return to Him, but eventually there will come a time, when the Lord will have to let the consequences of our own actions determine the blessings we have. This time for Samson, would come in the next chapter.

Deuteronomy Chapter 30

The Israelites made sacred covenants with the Lord, and were promised great blessings if they would be obedient to the commandments of God. They were also promised a lot of awful curses if they would not be obedient. Among those was a scattering of the people across the earth. This is what is called the scattering of Israel. The Israelites learn more of what will happen in this chapter. It begins:

1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee,
2 And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;
3 That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.
4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
5 And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
7 And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
8 And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.
9 And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:
10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

The scattered people would some day be brought to a remembrance of the covenants that their ancestors made. When they remembered these things, they would return to the Lord through repentance, and obey his commandments. The Lord would then deliver them from captivity and gather the house of Israel from every place to which they would be scattered. They would be gathered back to the promised land, and blessed with great blessings, as had been promised already to the fathers. In that day, the Lord would place curses upon the enemies of the Israelites. The blessings would be had among all those who willing gave all their heart and soul to the Lord, and were obedient.

Each of us becomes separated from the Lord as well, when we disobey any of his commandments. We also, need to be gathered back in through the repentance process. We return to the Lord, when we humble ourselves enough to admit to God that we have been wrong and have gone against His word. We receive the blessings, when we turn away from any sin and draw nearer to the Lord instead. I am so grateful for the blessings of repentance in my life. I have felt a great sense of peace and love, when I have used the atonement in my life, to turn back to the Lord and remember the commandments and the covenants that I have made with the Lord to keep them.

11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

The people were reminded that the commandments and God’s law, were right there for them to live. They did not need to go seeking after it elsewhere, because it had already been given to them. When lived, they could in their mouths and in their hearts. The footnote of verse 11, for the phrase “hidden from thee”, reads, “too hard for you”. The commandments were not too hard for the people to follow. They were plain to them and anyone who desired to be devoted to the Lord, could follow them. Likewise, the commandments that we are asked to live now, are not too hard for us to follow either. In Doctrine and Covenants 93:31 it says, “Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.” These commandments are plain and so simple. I think of how often the modern day prophets have taught us, that in order to receive the blessings of God, we need to do simple things such as daily prayer and scripture study, having family home evening, attending church meetings and so on. These things really are simple and it’s easy to understand what is required of us, and yet there are many who feel these things are too difficult, and they “receive not the light”. We should desire to receive the light of Christ, through keeping the commandments near to us, in our own mouths and in our own hearts.

(Note: If you would like to know what the modern prophets and apostles have to teach us, you can learn a lot this coming weekend from the Latter-Day Saint General Conference. To read more of what General Conference is, you can do that here: What is General Conference?)

15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

In the words of Moses, he had given them the choice of life or death. Life, which was doing and gaining all that was good, and death, which was doing and gaining all that was evil. If they chose life, they were choosing to be obedient to the commandments and loving God. Likewise, they would choose the blessings that come from doing good. If they chose death, they were choosing to be disobedient to God’s commandments and turning from Him. If they made that choice, they were also choosing the consequence of curses, such as a promise to perish. Moses seals this promise by calling heaven and earth to record this covenant and its promises to stand against them. He pleads with the Israelites, to choose life.

What I see as the main purpose of this chapter, is the message of this last section. It reminds me so much of the words of the prophet, Lehi found in 2 Nephi 2:

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;
29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

Lehi was a prophet who knew and lived the law of Moses. He had the brass plates, which taught this law, and he had studied the words and lived them. His testimony here is a second testimony of this principle. “Life” in the words of Moses, can read as “eternal life”, which is the greatest blessing that God has to give us. It is liberty from Satan’s power, and freedom to enjoy the blessings of God through the atonement of Jesus Christ, the “great Mediator of all men”. On the other hand, the word “death” in Moses’ words, can read as “eternal death”. Eternal death is captivity to the power of the devil, and a cursing of the misery which will come in living in the kingdom of Satan, which is hell. Both Moses and Lehi teach us here, that it is a choice we make. All of us have our agency, which is the eternal gift of choice, and we need to be active in choosing our own destiny of eternal life and its blessings, or eternal death and its curses.

Deuteronomy Chapter 29

A covenant is a two-way promise we make with God, in which we promise to do something, such as be obedient, and He promises to bless us in return. God has made covenants with His people throughout the history of the world. We learn about the covenants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob early in the old testament, as well as those of the Israelites in the days when Moses initially led the people out of Egypt. When Moses was preparing the Israelites for entering the promised land, they were also expected to make a covenant with the Lord.

1 These are the words of the covenant, which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.

In addition to the expectations along with the covenants of their fathers, this was their covenant with God.

2 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land;
3 The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles:
4 Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.
5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.
6 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the Lord your God.
7 And when ye came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them:
8 And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh.
9 Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.

The Israelites were reminded of the blessings of deliverance and care which the Lord had already blessed them with since living in and leaving Egypt. This reminder was to help them, so that they might desire continued blessings of prosperity. This promise of prosperity, is given to all people today who turn to the Lord, just as it has been given to the Lord’s people throughout time. When we make our own covenants of baptism and additionally when we make temple covenants afterwards, we have the same promise of prosperity in our lives. The Lord wants to bless those who want to follow Him and be obedient.

10 Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel,
11 Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water:
12 That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and into his oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day:
13 That he may establish thee to day for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

All of the people of Israel, including men of all positions, women, children and strangers among them, were gathered to make covenants with the Lord. In making covenants with the Lord, the Israelites would be established as the people of god, just as their fathers were.

14 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;
15 But with him that standeth here with us this day before the Lord our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day:
16 (For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by;
17 And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:)
18 Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;
19 And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:
20 The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.

The covenants made on that day, were not only with those present, but with all those who would ever join with the children of Israel. It would have been easy for someone new there, to excuse away their sins by claiming they had never made the covenants with the Lord. The Lord would hold them to the same covenant and promise as those there that day, because otherwise the people would quickly fall away. Any man among them, who did not honor their covenants, would receive the same curses and consequences promised for disobedience.

21 And the Lord shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law:
22 So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the Lord hath laid upon it;
23 And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:
24 Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?
25 Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt:
26 For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them:
27 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book:
28 And the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.
29 The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

If the Israelites were disobedient, their land would be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah had been destroyed before. A land of brimstone is a land of burning, or destroyed by fire. A land of salt, is one where the land cannot bring forth plants to sustain the life. Their land would become a place of desolation. Then, the land and people of Israel, would stand as an example to others, who would question why the destruction had come. Others would know that the people had worshiped other Gods, and the Lord had been angry with them for forsaking the covenants they had made.

As a side note, I was thinking of the phrase “from the hewer of they wood unto the drawer of thy water”, found in verse 11, which I think is to say that men of every profession and lifestyle, were to be there and make this covenant with the Lord. The choice of words is interesting though, because it reminds me of the Savior himself.

Jesus-Portrait

A hewer of wood, is one who cuts wood, and I can’t help but think of the carpenter that the Lord was raised as in a physical sense. Then the drawer of water, was one who draws water, and again I can’t help but think of the many references to Christ and the spiritual living water he was raised to be. It causes me to think of how the covenants we make, require that we bring our whole soul to Christ, both the physical and the spiritual. We cannot make covenants wholly, without recognizing that they require very physical actions along with very spiritual thoughts. We cannot keep our covenants in a strictly physical sense, without doing anything spiritually. Likewise, we cannot keep our covenants by just being focused on the spiritual nature of them either. This is part of what it means to love the Lord with all our might, mind, and strength. In order to keep our covenants, we must live the letter of the law physically, as well as have a spiritual change of heart within us.

A covenant is not to be taken lightly. Part of their covenant was to teach the younger generations all of these things that Moses had taught them. The covenant was meant to continue through the generations, just as the covenants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Israelites would not continue to keep the covenants throughout their generations, and it would eventually bring about the destruction that the Lord promised to them. When we make our own covenants with the Lord, we would do well to remember the consequences and promises that accompany them. The Lord has said that we can hold on to the promises when we keep our covenants, but when we do not keep them, the promises are no longer ours. We read this in Doctrine and Covenants 82:10, which says, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” I have faith in the promised blessings of the Lord and find that it is becoming necessary to hold fast to the word of the Lord and strive continually to keep His commandments. I know that if we keep the commandments and remember the importance of our covenants, we will be blessed to prosper, just as the Israelites were blessed in their day.

Deuteronomy Chapter 28

Moses gave some sermons to the children of Israel, as they prepared to finally enter the promised land. After reminding them of the commandments, statutes, and ordinances contained in what we know to be the law of Moses, they made a covenant with the Lord, to keep this law. The message to the Israelites continues as follows:

1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.
3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
7 The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
8 The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
9 The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways.
10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.
11 And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
12 The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
13 And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

If the Israelites were obedient to the commandments, the Lord would bless them above all the nations. God would bless them in abundance in their cities and in their fields. People, animals, and crops within their land would multiply in abundance. The blessing of the Lord, such as blessings of safety, would be upon them as they journeyed and as they remained in their own land. Their enemies would be destroyed or scattered by the Lord. They would be blessed with rain in its season, in such abundance, that they would be able to give to others and never need to borrow from them. In all things physical or temporal, the people would be blessed. Likewise, they would be blessed to be the people of the Lord if they remembered to keep His word. Others would fear them, as the people of the Lord, so long as they stayed on the straight and narrow path given to them by the Lord through the prophet Moses.

Just as there are blessings promised for being obedient, there are curses promised for being disobedient.

15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
20 The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
21 The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
22 The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
23 And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.
24 The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.

The promise was that disobedience would bring a curse upon their land and fields. Their harvest would be cursed, they would have a cursing in the increase of people, animals, and crops. They would not have God’s blessing when they went to other lands, and they would not have it in their own land either. All things they worked to do, would be cursed until they perished due to their own wicked choices. They would be cursed with pestilence, sicknesses, wars and fighting, and mildew until their death. Also, the Lord would curse them to not receive rain from heaven, but power and dust. I am imagining that instead of rain, their would be dust and sand storms.

25 The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.
26 And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.
27 The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
28 The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart:
29 And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.

The curses continue, with their enemies being able to destroy and scatter them throughout the earth. They would be cursed with incurable diseases, madness and blindness. They would be cursed with oppression without deliverance.

30 Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.
31 Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them.
32 Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand.
33 The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway:
34 So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.

If they were disobedient, they would be cursed to loose their wives, homes and vineyards to other men and nations. Their flocks and other animals, would be removed from them and they would not be able to retrieve them. Their children would be taken from them and they would mourn all the time for them, being helpless in preventing it from happening. All that they had been blessed with, would be taken and destroyed, which would bring them great heartache and madness.

35 The Lord shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.
36 The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone.
37 And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee.
38 Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.
39 Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.
40 Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.
41 Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity.
42 All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.
43 The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low.
44 He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.

Another curse the disobedient would receive, was an incurable botch (like leprosy or boils) would inflict them over their entire body. Other nations would rule over them and force them to serve other gods, just as they had done in the land of Egypt. Other nations would know the Israelites for the curses that had come upon them. Their punishments would then stand as an example to all the world, of what happens when the covenant people disobey the Lord. Additionally, they would work much harder, and not see the fruits of their labor because of locusts, worms, bad fruit and so on. Their children would be taken into captivity and others would take from them without allowing them to borrow in their need.

45 Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:
46 And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.
47 Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;
48 Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.

The Israelites would only have these curses if they would not hearken to the Lord and keep the law they had received by covenant. The results of this, would be carried with their people forever. They would be cursed for failing to serve the Lord and appreciate the many blessings that they would receive. Instead of great things, they would be forced to serve their enemies and remain in some type of bondage until they were destroyed.

49 The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;
50 A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:
51 And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.
52 And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.

A nation would be brought against them, or the Lord would allow a fierce nation, to come against them. This nation would not show any favor to the old or young, but would take all their animals and crops until the Israelites had no more for themselves. The Israelites and their kingdom, would be destroyed by this fierce nation.

53 And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee:
54 So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave:
55 So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates.
56 The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter,
57 And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.

The curse continues with a promise that they would eat their own children, because of the enemies that would come against them. Therefore, they would have cause to hate and fear one another, even those they had loved. Likewise, their wives would hate and fear their husbands and children.

58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;
59 Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
60 Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.
61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
62 And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God.
63 And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.
64 And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.
65 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:
66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:
67 In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
68 And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.

The Israelites would have reason to truly fear God, if they chose a life of disobedience to the law. The promised curses of plagues and sicknesses would last a long time, for them and the generations which followed. Things that they had worried about in the land of Egypt, would afflict them sorely until their destruction came. Instead of being numbered as the stars, they would dwindle to just a few souls. If they were disobedient, they would be scattered across the earth, where they would serve all the false gods of the world. They would never find peace or rest where they were, but would feel awful things, such as sorrow and fear for their lives. The Lord would allow them to return to the physical bondage they were in before while in Egypt.

I find it interesting that the portion that teaches the simple, yet amazing blessings for being obedient, is so much shorter then the description of the awful things that awaited their disobedience. I think that it requires a greater faith and hope in the possibility of the promised blessings, and so less description requires that individuals seek harder and more diligently to recognize these righteous blessings in their lives. It would have been hard to miss noticing the results of their disobedience. Sadly, the Israelites struggled to remain faithful to their covenants, and these curses eventually came upon them to their own destruction.

We are not immune to these things in our own day. The promises of great blessings that are given to those who make covenants with the Lord today, only hold for those who are obedient. When we choose to be disobedient, negative and destructive consequences will follow. Sometimes, we fail to see the consequences of our own choice to be disobedient to the laws of God. It may be easier, to place the blame of our problems on others, instead of seeing the results of our own choices. I think this is part of why a strong foundation in the gospel is so important, because there is a chance we might then recognize how we bring things upon ourselves. Hopefully, then we can make the necessary changes by turning back to God, repenting of our sins, and trying harder to live his law each day. I am so grateful for the countless blessings that the Lord has given me and my family. I know that in trying to do what is right, and in following the promptings of the spirit, we have been blessed beyond what we thought possible. I watch loved ones suffer from the consequences of poor choices, and my heart aches for them to understand what they could be blessed with if they turned back to the Lord. I know that it is possible for all people to be a happier, more blessed and peaceful people, if the Lord’s commandments would be followed more fully.


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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