Posts Tagged 'Fear'

1 Samuel Chapter 28

King Saul was not living as a righteous man at this point in the Bible. He had originally been chosen and anointed by the Lord, but through selfish choices, he had lost favor with God. In his role as king, Saul had spent much of his time seeking after his own selfish pursuits, in particular, he had spent several years seeking to destroy David. This desire came from a great amount of jealousy he had towards David, and his feelings that he, King Saul, deserved to be held to a higher esteem than his servant, David. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men.
2 And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever.

The Philistines prepared for battle against the Israelites, and Achish called David to fight with the Philistines. David asked him if he knew the things that David could do for him, and Achish said he would make him “keeper” of his head, which I think means that he would have his as the captain of his personal guard.

3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.
4 And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa.
5 And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.
6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

Since the prophet Samuel had died, Saul had sent all people who were wizards and witches out of the land. Banishing these people, and I think even stoning them, was part of the law of Moses. The Philistines gathered against Saul, and he gathered his armies together as well, but he was afraid when he saw the host of Philistines they stood up against. He tried to ask the Lord what to do, but the Lord did not speak to him directly or by means of his dreams or to any prophets who could speak to him.

7 Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at En-dor.
8 And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.
9 And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?
10 And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.
11 Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.
12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.
13 And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.
14 And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.

Saul, is his desperation, asked his servants to find a witch from which he would be able to find answers. They told him there was a witch in En-dor. Saul put on a disguise and secretly went to talk to her in the night. The woman knew that the king had had all the witches and wizards sent out of the land. She did not know who Saul was when he came to her, but she thought he was trying to trap her and have her killed. Saul made an oath that no harm would come to her. He asked her to call upon the spirit of Samuel. When the witch saw Samuel, she was afraid and realized that she was speaking to Saul. He told her not to be afraid, and asked her what she had seen. She saw gods ascending from earth, and that there was an old man with a mantle, whom Saul knew to be Samuel. Saul bowed himself to the earth.

Interesting to note, the footnote in verse 14, says that this spirit was not brought about from God, but was purely a result of the work of the woman.

15 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.
16 Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?
17 And the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:
18 Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day.
19 Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.
20 Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.

Samuel, or the image of Samuel through the work of the woman, asked why he had been brought out by Saul. Saul told him that the Philistines were prepared to fight them and that without the support of God, he needed help to know what he should do. Samuel asked why he would ask him, since the presence of the Lord had departed from Saul. Samuel told him that the Lord had fulfilled his earlier promise, which had been made by revelation to Samuel. The promise was that the kingdom would be taken from Saul and given to David, because Saul had not been obedient to the Lord. Samuel told him that the Lord would Saul and his kingdom of Israel, into the hands of the Philistines. He also told him that Saul and his sons would die, and his host would fall into the hands of the Philistines. When Saul heard this, he fell to the earth, or collapsed in fear, weak from a lack of food, possibly from fasting for hopes of revelations.

In keeping with the thought that this was not a message from God, there is evidence to this in the message given to Saul. God would not produce a spirit whose purpose was to destroy the hope of that individual. When we see visions from God, even those that teach of destruction and tribulations, there is always evidence of the hope of God through repentance or through believing in the power of the atonement of the Lord, Jesus Christ. God desires his children to return to Him, not to feel that they have no hope. Those feelings only come from once source, and that is the adversary. Saul had allowed an evil spirit to influence him a lot over the course of his role as king, and this message to Saul was surely one of despair rather than hope.

21 And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me.
22 Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way.
23 But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed.
24 And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:
25 And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.

The woman saw that Saul was troubled, and she said to him that she trusted him with her life and did all that he had asked of her. She offered him something to eat, so that he would have the strength to go on his way. He refused to eat, but his servants helped the woman to convince him. She prepared a meal for Saul while he rested on her bed, then she brought it to him. Saul was able to eat and leave that night.

This is an interesting story in the life of Saul. I wonder if part of the fear which Saul had when he first faced the host of Philistines, was the knowledge that David was likely to be somewhere among them. He knew that the prophesies of the Lord through Samuel would one day happen, and he feared loosing everything to David some day. Even knowing this, he sought for answers from the Lord. I think he may have felt that the Lord would be on his side, because he was fighting for Israel, but Saul had made himself an enemy to God. The Lord will not support those who rebel against him. The Lord does not answer the prayers of those who are willingly disobedient to his commandments. He does answer the prayers of those who want to keep his commandments and will follow the inspiration they receive as answers. The Lord is always there, and is ready and willing to bless those who repent and return to Him, but He cannot bless the wicked for their wickedness and remain the perfectly just God that He must be.

Throughout the scriptures there is an idea about the Lord being slow to hear the prayers of the wicked. It seems that often times, those who are wicked and yet know of God and his ways, will not listen to the councils of the Lord when they are doing fine on their own. Then, when life gets hard, they plead for the Lord to listen to them and help them out of their troubles. If this is the way the Lord worked with us, He’d have a world full of spoiled children who never learn the hard lessons of life. God knows that it is better to allow us to learn from our choices than to bail us out at every turn, when we have willingly done things that were wrong. Even the best of us, should remember this principle. We need to be willing to follow the council of the Lord in all seasons of our lives, because if we choose only to listen when we have troubles, God will not be as quick to give us the answers and deliverance we seek.

1 Samuel Chapter 17

The Israelites were in an ongoing fight against the Philistines. Saul was the acting king of Israel, but he no longer had the support of the Lord or His spirit. David had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king of Israel, but he was still young at this point. He had been chosen to be the armor bearer of Saul, and played the harp for him when Saul was feeling troubled. The war with the Philistines continues in the chapter, which begins:

1 Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.
2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.
3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

In the land of Judah, a Philistine army gathered together to fight against Israel. Saul prepared his men for the fight. Both armies camped on the opposing sides of a valley.

4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
5 And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.
6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.
7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.
9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.
10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

The Philistines chose to take a different approach, and sent out their champion to represent them. The champion was a giant, named Goliath. He was from Gath, where the remaining giants had been in the land. He was around 9 feet tall and very large. He was heavily armored over nearly his whole body. He and a man bearing his shield, went out of the Philistine camp. He stood and challenged the Israelite army to choose their own champion to fight him. He dared the Israelites to choose anyone who would be able to fight him. Saul and his people were afraid.

12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Beth-lehem-judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.
13 And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.
14 And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.
15 But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Beth-lehem.
16 And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.
17 And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren;
18 And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.
19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

Three of the oldest of eight sons of Jesse (Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah) had gone to the battle front with Saul. These sons followed Saul. His youngest son, David, had returned home to the work of a shepherd, when Saul had left to fight. For forty days, Goliath challenged the Israelite army. Meanwhile, Jesse sent David to the battle lines, with food for his sons. He wanted to know how his sons were doing and I think to make sure they were okay.

20 And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
21 For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army.
22 And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
23 And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.
24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.
25 And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.
26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
27 And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.

David arrived at the trenches, as the host of Israel went out to fight. David ran out to find his brothers, and as he greeted them, Goliath challenged the Israelites again. David heard the words and saw that the Israelites ran away in fear. They told David that any man who killed him, would be blessed by the king with riches, the hand of his daughter, and a family who was free in Israel. David tried to remind the men that this champion was an uncircumcised Philistine, and could not challenge the armies of the Lord.

28 And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?

David’s brother, Eliab, became angry with him for coming and saying these things to their men. He asked why David had come and left his sheep. He called David prideful for desiring to come see the battle instead of doing his own work. David asked what he had done?

30 And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.
31 And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him.

Instead of leaving after the harsh words of his brother, David turned to another and asked the same questions. He got the same reply from others. Eventually Saul heard the words of David and sent for him. David’s steadfastness and determination earned him an audience with the king.

32 And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.
34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
37 David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.

David went to Saul and said the king should not worry about another man fearing, because he would go and fight Goliath. David had the faith and courage to do what was necessary, and did not fear Goliath more than he trusted God. Saul told David he could not do this, because he was just a young man, and Goliath had been trained in battle since he was young. David to Saul that he had had to face a lion and a bear, which had attacked his flock of sheep, and that he had fought them, and after getting his lamb, the animal got up and he killed it and brought his lamb back. David believed Goliath was like the animals, and since the Lord had delivered him against them, he would deliver him out of the hand of the Philistine. Saul allowed David to go and fight Goliath.

Sometimes it is hard to trust that youth can do great things. David was seen as a young man compared to the great men of war around him, and yet he had the faith to do what others could not do. If Saul had already known his servant, he would probably have had more faith in David from the beginning, but he did not and needed to be persuaded by learning of the things which David had been able to do with the help of the Lord. We can have greater trust in our own youth, if we help them to be faithful to the Lord.

In my personal experience, the Lord gives us small steps to build our trust in him, before sending us the Goliaths in our own lives. For David, the Lord had given him the experiences with the lion and the bear, so that he would feel confident in receiving help from the Lord. David knew he was not gifted with strength, and may have cowered with the rest of the army, if he had not been prepared with the other experiences. Because he had chosen to have faith before, he knew the Lord would bless him again. If we accept the challenges that are smaller, and face them head-on with faith in the Lord, we will gain the confidence and trust in God that we will need for the more difficult things in our future.

38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.
39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.
42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.
48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
52 And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.
53 And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents.
54 And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.

Before sending him off, Saul put his armor on David. David attempted to make due with the armor and sword, but it was not working for him. David told Saul he could not use them and then he took them off. Instead, he grabbed his own staff and five smooth stones from the brook. He armed himself with his sling and went out to meet Goliath. Goliath and the man who bore his shield, went out to meet David. Goliath looked around for who had come, but when he saw David, he did not see him as a worthy opponent. Goliath felt this was a bit of a joke, like their amry was sending a dog to play with him, and Goliath cursed David by his own gods. Goliath threatened David by saying he would fight him and then give his body to the birds and beasts. David told him that he might come at him with weapons and a shield, but that he came with the Lord of Israel whom Goliath had challenged. David knew that the Lord could deliver Goliath into his hands, so he told Goliath this, and that his death would show to the Philistines the power of the God of Israel. It would show all the host of the Philistines that God could win the battle without the weapons of men, because this was God’s battle with the Philistines. Goliath came closer to David and David quickly went towards him. David grabbed a stone from his bag, and used his sling to hit Goliath in the forehead. The stone hit so hard that it went into his head and Goliath fell face-down upon the ground. David had beaten Goliath with only a sling and stone, so he went to the body and removed Goliath’s own sword, and cut off his head. The Philistines saw this and were afraid, so they ran away. The Israelites went after the Philistines, destroying them. Then they went back to the camp of the Philistines and took their spoil. David took the head of Goliath to Jerusalem, and took his armor to his own tent.

55 And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell.
56 And the king said, Inquire thou whose son the stripling is.
57 And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.
58 And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Beth-lehemite.

Saul saw David go against the Philistine and asked the captain of his army who the boys father was. The captain, Abner, did not know. Saul told him to find out. Abner brought David before Saul. Saul asked David who his father was, and David replied that his father was Jesse of Bethlehem.

It is amazing to think of the kind of faith and trust that David had in the Lord. Here, he was among men of war, who would have been strong and brave. By the world’s standard, he was nothing in comparison to them. To men, he was nothing in comparison to the man, who the entire Israelite army feared. This did not matter, because David knew that God would fight the battles with their enemies, if they had faith in Him. The opinions of the world and even our own families, do not matter when we put our faith in God. God matters, and if He has chosen us for some purpose in this life, great or small, God can make it possible. I think about my own purposes in life. Right now, my life is filled with the responsibilities of motherhood. God has called me to this position in life. He has given me my children and placed them in my earthly care. In this calling, I have many battles to fight, especially with the outside influences of the world. What the world may say about how I choose to raise my children, does not matter. What matters is that I trust in God and act in faith. These are His children. These are His battles. God will help me to be victorious. Even though I may seem weak and incapable, with God I have the power to do all that is necessary for my children to have what they need and be faithful and successful in those things that matter most. This is true for anything which places our faith in direct conflict with something of the world. No matter what we may stand against, if our faith is stronger, the Lord will help us.

Joshua Chapter 10

At this point, the Israelites were near the land of the Gibeonites, where they had made peace with the people and taken them as servants. They had already taken the area of Jericho and Ai, and the kings of the land had gathered together to fight against them. This chapter begins:

1 Now it came to pass, when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them;
2 That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty.
3 Wherefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying,
4 Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.
5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.

The fact that Gibeon, a large and royal city, had given in to the Israelites, was a disheartening thing to Adoni-zedek of Jeresalem. In fear, he called for the neighboring Amorite kings to send their armies to him, so that they could fight the city of Gibeon for making peace with Israel. They sent their armies and began to fight Gibeon.

6 And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us.
7 So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour.

The Gibeonites, fearing the Amorite kings, asked Joshua and the Israelites for help to defeat the Amorites, so Joshua took his army towards Gibeon.

8 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.
9 Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night.
10 And the Lord discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.
11 And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.

Joshua, turned to the Lord, and had the assurance of the Lord that He was on their side, and that the Israelites would be able to conquer the Amorites. Joshua led the army quickly in the night, and they were able to destroy many of the Amorites in Gibeon. Those who tried to get away, were chased to Azekah, where the Lord helped Israel by sending great hailstones from heaven, which destroyed the fleeing Amorites.

12 Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.

Joshua prayed to the Lord and called the sun and moon to stand still. Then the Lord listened and fought for Israel, in a manner that had not been done before. In Helaman 12 we read the following:

13 Yea, and if he say unto the earth—Move—it is moved.
14 Yea, if he say unto the earth—Thou shalt go back, that it lengthen out the day for many hours—it is done;
15 And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun.

It seems like there would have been nothing quite like a miracle of stopping the sun and moon from their typical movement, or stopping the earth, so that the sun and moon appear to stop moving. This is a testimony builder for me, that the God of Israel was indeed the one true and living God.

It is interesting hear that the book of Jasher is mentioned. This is one of many occasions in the scriptures, when the book of a prophet is mentioned, which is lost to us today. I look forward to the time, when all the books will be revealed, because I think the evidences of truth in the gospel, will be too great to be ignored.

15 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.
16 But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah.
17 And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah.
18 And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them:
19 And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the Lord your God hath delivered them into your hand.
20 And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities.
21 And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.
22 Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave.
23 And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.
24 And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them.
25 And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.
26 And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening.
27 And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave’s mouth, which remain until this very day.

The Israelites returned to camp and the five Amorite kings went into hiding in a cave. Joshua learned where they were hiding and had the cave opening covered with great stones, to keep them in. Then, the army was to go after the enemy armies and destroy them before they could return to their cities. All this was done, with the knowledge that God had delivered their enemies into their hands. The Israelites destroyed the enemies and returned to their camp. The five kings were then brought to Joshua and he had his captains bring the kings low and place a foot on their necks, to show their submission to the Israelites. Then, he had them killed and hung on trees for the remainder of the day. When evening came, the bodies were put back in the cave and stones were placed in front of the mouth of the cave.

28 And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jericho.
29 Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah:
30 And the Lord delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho.

The Israelites took over the land of Makkedah, and destroyed it and all its people. Then the city of Libnah was delivered into their hands and they destroyed it as well.

31 And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it:
32 And the Lord delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah.

The Israelites fought against Lachish and they were victorious on the second day, destroying it completely.

33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.

Next, they destroyed the army of Gezer, and their king, Horam, who had joined the fight against Lachish.

34 And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it:
35 And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.
36 And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it:
37 And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein.

After this, the Israelites moved onto a place called Eglon and then to Hebron, which they destroyed also.

38 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it:
39 And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof; as he had done also to Libnah, and to her king.

They fought next against Debir and destroyed its cities and king.

40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded.
41 And Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.
42 And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.
43 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.

Under the command of the Lord, many cities and kings were destroyed. This they were able to do, because the Lord fought for Israel and delivered the nations into their hands. Once they were done, they returned to the camp in Gilgal.

In the destruction of these cities and kings, Joshua and the Israelites were following the commandment of the Lord. In Deuteronomy 20, we read the following:

17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee:
18 That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God.

The purpose for this destruction, is explained in these verses. They had to destroy and, in a way cleanse, the land, so that the other nations would not teach the Israelites to commit the sins and abominations that were a part of their everyday lifestyles. It would have been easy, and eventually was easy, for the Israelites to fall into the ways of the nations around them. The Lord wanted them to have the best foundation possible for settling in the promised land and being His people. There are times in our lives, when we will need to dispel fear or get rid of the destructive temptations around us. If we leave any hint of them, it will be easy for us to fall back in the habits of turning to them and the ways of men, instead of turning to the Lord. This process is not easy, just as fighting these people was not an easy task for the Israelites. They could not have been victorious without the help of the Lord. When we have fear or temptations creep into our lives, we need to have the Lord on our side as we fight our battles. When we follow this counsel, we can find great blessings of peace and happiness from our choice to draw closer to God.

Deuteronomy Chapter 31

At this point in the books of Moses, the prophet had finished preaching the word of the Lord to the people. They had made covenants to keep the law, so that they could prosper in the land of promise. Moses was near the end of his mortal life at this time, and was ready to help them finish the final preparations before they continued on their way to their inheritance. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel.
2 And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the Lord hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan.
3 The Lord thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the Lord hath said.
4 And the Lord shall do unto them as he did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites, and unto the land of them, whom he destroyed.
5 And the Lord shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto them according unto all the commandments which I have commanded you.
6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

At the age of 120, after about forty years of being their leader, Moses could no longer lead the Israelites. The Lord had told him that his work was done and that he would not enter the promised land. (Side note: Moses lived as an Egyptian prince for about 40 years, then he fled and lived with the family of Jethro, a priest of Midian, for another forty years. At the age of 80, the Lord called Moses to save his people, and then after about 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and leading the children of Israel, he was taken from this life. It is interesting how his life was broken up into these 40 year periods, each marking a major change for him.) Moses told the people that God would go before them, with Joshua as their prophet and leader. The nations in the land would be destroyed with the Lord’s help. Moses told them have courage and to not fear the other nations that would be in the land, because God was with them. The Lord’s promise that he would not fail them or forsake them, is a promise to all the people of God today as well. In Doctrine and Covenants 68 we read the following:

5 Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants.
6 Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.

Anyone who serves God and strives to live righteously during the constant battle we wage against the adversary, has this promise. The Lord will always be with those who are fighting for His cause.

7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.
8 And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Moses gave counsel of encouragement directly to Joshua, where he again told him to “be strong and of good courage”. Joshua had the responsibility of leading the people to victory, so that the promised inheritance would be received by all the children of Israel. They would have to fight nations that were stronger and more numerous then they were. They would also need to continue to be strong in keeping the commandments, in order for the Lord to remain on their side. Joshua needed confidence in the Lord at this time, because the task he was facing was going to be extremely difficult. He also needed confidence in himself. It would have required a great deal of faith and trust in the Lord, to go forward in this calling and it must have been difficult following in the footsteps of a spiritual leader, such as Moses. I am sure that this counsel was needed and appreciated by Joshua. The fact that Moses was instructed to say these things to Joshua and the people, reminds me of the love of God for each of us. He wants us to know that He is aware of us and our difficulties, and that he can help us to accomplish great things. The Lord promises us help as well, if we will go forward with faith in our own callings in life. I am so grateful for this promise and I believe that it is the power of the atonement that gives us the strength to endure. If we have faith in the Lord and His power, we will have the ability to endure all things well, even the giants that we have to conquer.

9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel.
10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles,
11 When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.
12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:
13 And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.

Moses gave a record of the law to the elders of Israel. They were commanded to read the law every seven years in the feast of tabernacles. This they were to do, so that they would know the law and continue to obey it. It would not have been long, before the message would have been forgotten, so it was important that they have the opportunity to be reminded. We are told to gather often, so that we can be instructed and edified by the word of the Lord as well. In this, we will be able to remember the commandments we have been given, the covenants we have made, and the love of God for His people. The strength that comes from gathering and hearing the word of the Lord, provides the knowledge to be obedient, and the ability to endure through the difficulties that every day life throws our way.

I think it is important for us to realize that because Moses had these words recorded and preserved, we have the words today. The books of Moses were part of the brass plates which the family of Lehi took with them to the Americas, and so they effected the people of the Book of Mormon who would then live the law of Moses. Without the law, they would not have been able to continue in righteousness for the times that they did. The books of Moses were also preserved in the old testament of our bible today, which allows us the opportunity to have these words, so that we might know and live the way God wants us to live. Record keeping is vitally important, especially when it comes to things of a spiritual or eternal nature nature, such as inspirations and commandments received from the Lord.

In their days, they did not have the ability to provide all the words of Moses in every home. They had been told to keep the commandments and covenants written and carried on themselves and placed around their homes so that they could remember, but they needed to gather together in order to hear the complete law. We are so blessed to live in a time when not only can we have a copy of the written word of the Lord in a physical book, but we have devices of all sizes and computers, which mean we can easily keep the word of the Lord with us at all times. This is such a blessing and I think it is taken for granted by many. We need to be grateful for the access we have to these words, and show that gratitude by studying them regularly and making them a part of our lives.

14 And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation.
15 And the Lord appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle.

Moses, who was nearing the end of his life, was commanded to call Joshua to go with him to the tabernacle. They presented themselves there and the presence of the Lord appeared there.

16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?
18 And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods.
19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.
20 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant.
21 And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware.

Moses was told that it was his time to die and be with those who had gone before. He was also told that the Israelites would follow after false gods, forsake the Lord and brake the covenants they had made. The Lord told the prophets that this specific law being broken so many times throughout the Bible, and it makes me think about the things that our prophets and apostles warn us of today. I that the some of the sins that are spoken about and warned against quite frequently, are those of sexual nature. One warning in particular is about the effects of seeking after and indulging in pornography, which can lead to destruction of those things that should matter most. I know that the modern prophets continually repeat their warnings, because they know this is a challenge in our day, the way idolatry was in the days of Moses. We can look back at the story of the Israelites and see that if they had listened to the warnings of the prophet, Moses, they would have been able to continue with the Lord by their side, but do we look at ourselves the same way? We have modern prophets called to lead the Lord’s people in the ways of righteousness, and we need to listen to their words of warning, so that we can also have the Lord by our side.

The Lord told Moses that the people would be forsaken and the Lord would no longer be among them. The curses that had been promised, would come to pass among the Israelites. Moses had to record the law as a witness against the disobedient, so that the judgements that would come upon them would be just. The Lord knew their weaknesses and knew what they would do in the face of temptation. I hope that I am a person who the Lord can see as loyal and faithful. I know that having the word of God in my life is the key to remaining obedient to the commandments.

22 Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel.
23 And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.

Moses did as he was commanded by the Lord, both in giving the words to the people, and in charging Joshua, who would be his successor in leading the people, with the responsibilities of leadership and sharing words of faith and hope with him.

24 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,
25 That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying,
26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.
27 For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death?

The written law was to be put in the ark of the covenant as a witness, along with the commandments received at Sinai, and I believe a basket of manna. All these were to be kept there by the Levites, to be had in remembrance of the commandments, covenants, promises and blessings that the people had received from the Lord. Moses knew that the people were not a perfect people, and that the natural man in them was an enemy to God. He also knew that they would grow further from the Lord after he had been taken from them, because greater knowledge and priesthood would go with him, and they would not always remember these things they had been given. It is so important for us to have the law of God, but it is more important for us to live it so that we can be worthy of the spirit. The spirit helps us to recognize truth, and he will continually testify of Christ to our hearts, if we will listen and obey. We can keep the spirit with us, when we hold a remembrance of our own covenants, blessings, promises, and commandments.

28 Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them.
29 For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.
30 And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended.

Moses called the elders of Israel again, so that he could speak to them of those things that were most important. If Moses had not done this, he would have been held accountable for not doing all that he could to bring the Israelites to the Lord. In doing this, his words were a witness against all those who would choose to rebel against the commandments. Moses gave the words to those who were gathered, as he had been commanded.

There are many things that we can fear in the world today. In this day, there is easy access to some of the most dangerous and frightening things. The adversary of us all, is seeking to do all that he can to destroy the happiness of mankind by causing us to fear. The message to have courage and not fear, is so important for us today. We cannot win our own battles without the Lord on our side. We can know that we have the promise of His companionship, if we follow the commandments and put the Lord first in our lives. When we do what is right, in the sight of God, he can bless us with greater courage and faith. We will know what is right, if we make a constant effort to read, study and ponder the scriptures. These books of Moses, as well as all the other inspired words of the prophets, need to be a guide in our lives. I am so grateful that Moses was obedient to the commandments he was given, and that because of his obedience, we have these ancient scriptures today. I know that these words are for us today, as much as they were for the people of ancient Israel. My life as been greatly blessed by striving to learn and live the principles found in the scriptures. My hope is that I can influence others around me, to have a love of the scriptures as well, so that they can obtain the courage needed to endure in our day.

Exodus Chapter 14

The children of Israel were being led through the wilderness by the Lord. Moses was their chosen prophet and had been given them the Lord’s instructions regarding things such as the passover, sanctification of the firstborn, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The journey of the Israelites continues as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.
3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.
4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.

The Lord knew the heart of Pharaoh, and that he would follow after the Israelites. Because of this, he told Moses to have the Israelites return and stop to camp between Migdol and the Red Sea.

5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?
6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him:
7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.
8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.
9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon.

Pharaoh was told that the Israelites had left. Pharaoh hardened his heart towards them and the Egyptians were upset that their servants had been let go. Pharaoh prepared to go after them. He took all the captains and chariots of Egypt to go with him to find the Israelites. They went toward the Israelites and camped by the sea.

10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord.
11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

When the Israelites saw Pharaoh and his Egyptian army coming for them, they were afraid and prayed to God. The people of Israel feared that Moses had brought them out of Egypt to die in the wilderness. They said that it would have been better for them to stay in bondage to the Egyptians, then to die there in the wilderness.

13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Moses told them that the Lord would be there salvation, so they did not need to fear. This was a lesson in patience for them. If they turned and ran away, or turned back toward Egypt, they would not receive the blessings of the Lord. They needed to have patience and wait on the Lord. Moses assured them that they would not see the Egyptians any more because of the salvation of the Lord.

15 And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

Moses prayed to God and the Lord said that the Israelites would continue. He told Moses to use his rod over the sea and it would divide for the Israelites to cross the ground on dry land. The Lord told Moses that Pharaoh and the Egyptians would follow after them, but they would be shown that He was the Lord, or shown the power of God.

19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

The cloud which had led their way, was moved behind the Israelites so that it was between them and the Egyptians. The cloud protected and divided them from the Israelites. It was only darkness to the Egyptian, but on the side of the Israelites, it continued to give them light in the night. Moses did as the Lord had told him, and used the rod to cause the sea to divide. The Lord used the wind to hold the waters back and make dry land. The Israelites walked on the dry ground between the walls of water. I wonder why the has so often used the natural elements of the world, to show His mighty power. I wonder if it is to stir a remembrance in our spirits, that he is the creator of all things and has power over all that we know. I am reminded of His power to cover the earth with water in the time of Noah, and how He calmed the sea during His ministry as well as walked on the water to his disciples. I think of how he carried many over the waters and controlled the winds, such as with Lehi’s family and the family and friends of Jared in the Book of Mormon. It reminds me of the natural disasters brought upon the people at the time of the Savior’s death, which had been foretold long before. No man, without the power and authority of the almighty, could cause these wonders to happen. The Lord was surely with Moses and the Israelites at that time.

23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.

The Egyptians followed after them, just as the Lord had said. Their chariots were stopped and then the Egyptians began to see the power of the Lord was with the Israelites, so they began to flee.

26 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.
31 And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.

Moses was told to use the power of God, or his priesthood power, to cause the waters to fall upon the Egyptians. Moses did this and the sea returned to normal. The Egyptians were caught in the waters as they fled, and not one of them was left. The Israelites continued on dry land and were delivered again. This caused the Israelites to believe in the Lord and in their prophet, Moses.

In Moses 1:25 we read, “And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again, for it was upon him; and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God.” This promise was fulfilled that day, when Moses parted the sea and then caused it to destroy their enemies. I am sure that knowing the Lord had made this promise of having power over the waters, helped to give Moses the faith to follow what the Lord told him to do in order to save his people.

Faith is a Sunrise

These miracles would not be done without faith on the part of those involved. I can’t imagine what that scene would have looked like to those who were there. They had no way of knowing what would happen to them when they walked into the path between the waters. The Israelites did not know how the Lord would save them, but they had the faith to take steps into the unknown and allow the power of God to work in their lives. We read all throughout the scriptures of amazing wonders and miracles shown to the people, and yet so often those same people are quick to forget what God has done for them. We cannot afford to forget the power of God. When we forget, our faith is weak and easily shaken. It is so important for us to reflect on the tender mercies that God has shown us in our own lives. We must not forget when we have been saved or delivered from our own enemies or from sin. God loves us and He will protect and guide those who choose to have the faith to follow Him and serve Him. I have had many tender mercies in my life, a lot of which have come in just the last couple of years. They have required a lot of faith on my part. They have led me to be where I am and be the person I am today. I am so grateful for them and I hope with all my heart, that I can remember these things and stay strong in the faith. I hope that I too can be delivered and return to the promised land, or rather to return to the presence of my Father in Heaven.

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

The lessons from the Gospel Principles manual finished in my ward, but sadly we did not go through the entire book. I’m not one for letting it go without completing the book, so I’m going to continue posting my thoughts on the rest of the book. To view the entire lesson go here: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Note: I do not include the entire lesson, just my take on the questions it poses and thoughts on the general topics.

There are several verses in the scriptures, which teach us of the coming of Christ in the latter-days. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a firm believer in this principle of the gospel. The Savior came to the earth over 2000 years ago, and he lived and died for all mankind. But that was not the end of his works on the earth. The Savior will return again, to rule and reign on this earth. It is that time, that I look forward to with hope and purpose.

What Will Jesus Do When He Comes Again?

At his coming, all the wicked will be destroyed. In 2 Thessalonians 2 we read the following:

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

No one who desires to do wickedness will be able to withstand the brightness and power of the Lord’s glory and will therefore be destroyed at his coming. His glory will separate the righteous from the wicked and will judge all people. That same glory will be used to refine those who remain. In Malachi 3 we read the following:

1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

Those who hold the priesthood, will be purified in order to make a righteous offering in the temple, which is where the Lord will be. In addition, Jesus will make himself known to all people when he comes again. In Isaiah 40:5 we read, “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Everyone will witness the glory of Christ because He will reveal himself to all people. He will reign over the earth as well. In Doctrine and Covenants 76:63 we read, “These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.”

Jesus Christ will be the spiritual and political leader of the world, with all governments beneath him. This will mark the beginning of His Millennial reign on the earth. At this time, he will continue dwell on earth with his people. In Doctrine and Covenants 104:59 we read, “For the purpose of building up my church and kingdom on the earth, and to prepare my people for the time when I shall dwell with them, which is nigh at hand.” The Savior will remain on the earth and work along side those who choose to follow Him.

Also, Jesus Christ will reveal all the hidden truths to those who are willing. In Doctrine and Covenants 101 we read the following:

32 Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things—
33 Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof—
34 Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven.

This will be an amazing time of knowledge and understanding, which has never been before. This is something that I really am anxious for. I have a thirst for gospel knowledge. To believe that there will be a time on this earth, when all the revelations of the ancient and modern prophets, will be known by those on the earth, is amazing.

When the Savior comes again, he will bring the work of the first resurrection with him. All those who died willing to serve Him, will rise again and work alongside the living and Christ, during the time of the Millennium. In Doctrine and Covenants 133:56 we read, “And the graves of the saints shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right hand of the Lamb, when he shall stand upon Mount Zion, and upon the holy city, the New Jerusalem; and they shall sing the song of the Lamb, day and night forever and ever.” There will be so much work to accomplish and it will be able to be done with the help of those who have faithfully gone before.

What are your thoughts and feelings as you contemplate the events of the Second Coming?

I am overwhelmed by the amount of excitement I feel inside when I reflect on the future coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I want to be with the saints at that day, so that I can rejoice in the blessings of His coming. I strive each day to live a good life, so that I can be numbered with His followers. His coming will bring blessings beyond my wildest imaginations and I know in my heart that this is true. I want to have no doubt in my soul, and peace at the time of His coming. I hope to say, as the prophet Joseph said near his own death, “I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men.”

How Will We Know When the Savior’s Coming Is Near?

In His great mercy and wisdom, God has given us many signs to know when the Savior’s coming is getting near. Many of these signs have already come to pass. We are living in the last days and His coming is not far away. (To read more about these signs, see Signs of the Second Coming from the last Gospel Principles lesson.

How Can We Be Ready When the Savior Comes?

Mostly, I think that living today as if He were here right now, is the best way to be ready. We cannot procrastinate our preparation. We have been promised that he will come as a thief in the night. In 1 Thessalonians 5:2 we read, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” No one will know and it will most likely be at a time when most people least expect it. We show that we are people who live by faith, when we live each day in preparation for Him. How do we do this? We prepare when we read the scriptures and follow the commandments that are found in them. We should be striving to strengthen our personal testimonies and also helping our family to be stronger in their faith. We prepare by listening to the words of the Prophet, who is His holy mouthpiece today. We prepare by removing the things from our lives that would prevent us from being worthy to stand in His presence. We prepare by being watchful of the harmful things to our spirits, bodies and minds. We prepare by becoming accustomed to doing the work of the Lord now, because when He is here, that is exactly what we will be doing. Instead of fearing the gloom and doom of His coming, we should be changing our lives to find the happiness that He will bring. If we can find the joy He offers now, we will not fear the destruction that will come.

Why should we be concerned about our preparedness rather than the exact timing of the Second Coming?

Matthew 24:42 reads, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” If we focus on being prepared, it doesn’t matter when He comes. If he comes today, we are saved. If he comes many years from now, we are saved. Preparation will bring us the most joy. If the Savior never comes in your lifetime, living a life in preparation of His coming, means a life worthy of the promised blessings of joy in eternity. I think the question should instead be, why not? What is lost in this life by living it righteously? Nothing of any lasting value would be lost. Everything of value is to be gained when we choose to live righteously now. I am so excited for the coming of the Savior. I hope that my testimony of this will grow even stronger and more firm, so that as the trials I face in life (which we all have to face), I will not falter. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I look forward to the day when I will be counted worthy to stand with His people and do His work at His side.

Signs of the Second Coming

To view the entire lesson, go here: Signs of the Second Coming

The Second Coming is something that I personally look forward to with great anticipation. In Matthew 16:27 we read, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that the Second Coming is the time when Christ will return again to this earth and rule over all the nations of the world. It is a time when great work will be accomplished. It will mark the beginning of the Millennium, when saints will work hard to complete temple work for all who have ever lived on the earth. It will be a time of great peace and joy.

What are some of the signs of the Second Coming?

The scriptures teach us of several known signs of the Second Coming. In Matthew 24, the Lord taught his disciples about the signs of his return.

3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Some of the signs include false Christs who deceive, wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes, killing of the saints who stand for truth and righteousness, offenses, betrayals, and hatred, false prophets, and great amounts of sin and cold-heartedness. A great sign will be that the gospel will be preached to all the world, which is only made possible by the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Then there will be great destruction through all the world both physically and spiritually. Then at the time of His coming, the sun and moon will be dark, the stars will fall from their places, and those who remain will see Christ coming again, with the elect of heaven at his sides. It may seem like a lot of doom and gloom, but the hope and excitement come in the outcome of these signs. In particular, the spreading of the gospel will bring great joy and happiness to people all over the earth, and even more to those who have already died and are waiting for work to be done on their behalf. As the gospel spreads, testimonies of Christ will be strengthened and faith will displace the fear of the awful destruction that is to come.

Another sign of the second coming, was foretold by the prophet Malachi. In Malachi 4:5-6 we read the following:

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

This has happened already. Elijah appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith and to Oliver Cowdery, in the temple. He restored necessary keys for the sealing powers of the priesthood. This sign has been fulfilled and we are now preparing for the Savior’s coming by doing work in the temple.

We also believe that before the Lord comes again, the city of Zion will be built upon the American Continent (see Article of Faith 10). This is a sign that the saints of the latter-days have been anticipating since the restoration began.

What evidence do you see that the signs are being fulfilled?

It doesn’t take much effort to see the calamities of the world getting worse and causing more destruction and casualties than they have in years past. Natural disasters are happening often all throughout the world. Transgressions and sins are becoming popular culture and those things that are good are painted as wrong by the world. It is becoming increasingly difficult to be a righteous individual without ridicule and hardship from others. On a more pleasant note, temples are being built more frequently and in more places around the world. The church continues to grow and the gospel is being taken to most of the world. I truly believe that the Second Coming is not far from us.

How can we remain calm and at peace even when some of the signs are terrifying and dreadful?

In Doctrine and Covenants 38:30 we read, “I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” There was a time, when thinking of the signs of the Second Coming, brought me fear and discomfort. I have learned now, that this was because I was living in a way that caused me to fear what would happen for the things I was doing wrong in my life.

Faith is a Sunrise

Faith cannot coexist with fear. When we work to strengthen our testimonies and focus on preparing ourselves, fear is wiped away and faith takes its place in our hearts. I believe that this is true. In simpler terms, I think about how it feels to take a test when I am unprepared and have little faith in my own abilities. I am fearful that I will not do well, and I struggle greatly. When I study and become confident in my knowledge of the material, I do much better and I have a faith that I will do the best I can. This principle is the same for the feelings that come when we think about the Second Coming and the signs that precede it. We remain calm and at peace, when we try to follow the commandments, study the gospel, attend the temple, and follow the counsel of preparation given to us by the church leaders. In 1 Thessalonians 5 we read the following:

1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

We would do well to use wisdom in all that we do. We should not be wasting away our days, thinking that we can do whatever we want and prepare later. We need to be prepared for the signs that are negative, because something will effect everyone of us. We also need to prepare for those positive signs as well, because it is the duty of every disciple and follower of Christ to do their part in the work. It is through this preparation and active participation, that we will find a sense of security and peace.

Faith to Be an Example

In 1 Nephi chapter 7, the sons of Lehi have returned back to Jerusalem to ask Ishmael’s family to come with them, because the Lord told them it was not good for them to go without being able to marry and have families. Then some of the family of Lehi and some of those of Ishmael’s family began to murmur and want to return to Jersalem. I find myself reflecting on the words of Nephi to his family, found in verse 8. “And now I, Nephi, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, therefore I spake unto them, saying, yea, even unto Laman and unto Lemuel: Behold ye are mine elder brethren, and how is it that ye are so hard in your hearts, and so blind in your minds, that ye have need that I, your younger brother, should speak unto you, yea, and set an example for you?” It seems natural to want older siblings to set an example, because they should be ‘older and wiser’ as the saying goes. However, this is not always the case. I am in a family with four older siblings, and I have always had the desire to look up to them as an example in my own life. Sometimes, however, it becomes necessary for the younger sibling to live as an example to those who are older. My patriarchal blessing mentions that I will need to be an example to my own family, in this same sense as Nephi had to be. I can feel that my attempts to set an example for my siblings is met with quite a bit of frustration on their part over my being the younger sibling to them. It is a difficult thing to experience and I’m not even in a situation where I have need to be concerned for my life. Nonetheless, it is a scary thing to experience. I love my family and I have a strong desire to be close with them. When I try to stand as an example, they set themselves further apart from me. This tempts me to hold my tongue and keep my beliefs to myself. When I look at the example of Nephi, I see that he had the faith to speak with boldness to his brothers, even in the face of severe persecution to the point of death. He did not fear that speaking of the truth would ruin his relationship, because he loved them and grieved for their lack of faithfulness. I hope that in my own life, I will be able to follow the inspirations that come to be that example, to speak up and stand up for what I believe, and trust that even though they may like me less for it now, it will someday bless their lives.

Seeing the Negative

I read the third chapter of 1 Nephi today, which tells of the attempts of Nephi and his brothers to get the plates of brass from Laban. Lamen and Lemuel experience a visit from an angel of the Lord, who tells them they should not hurt Nephi and Sam, but that they should follow the commandment that was given to them.

29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.
30 And after the angel had spoken unto us, he departed.
31 And after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur, saying: How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?

Even after this experience, they murmured about how they could possible accomplish the thing that they were supposed to do. My personality is such that when planning, I will see all the things that could go wrong. I think I think like this for two reasons. Occasionally it is so that I can be fully prepared for whatever may happen, in which case it is helpful to me. However, I think that more often then not, I do this because I want to find a way out of a situation that is hard for me. When I do this, I am doing exactly what Lamen and Lemuel were doing. When I am prompted by the spirit to do something, or in other words, the Lord is telling me that I should do something, I need to make sure that I turn to faith and not fear. I need to be a bit more proactive and really think of the ways I can do that thing, and not all the ways that would stop me from accomplishing it. I know that if I turn to faith more fully in my life, I will receive blessings beyond measure.

My Own Preparation

I’m participating in a program at church, called Celestial University. In this program, we can get “degrees” in different “colleges” and I am the “dean” of the college of Theology. I’m in no way the scholar for anything in this area of study, but I was picked because I make it a point to study and blog about the scriptures and I can be used as a resource. I had previously decided that this would be my area of study, so I was happy to accept. I will probably be writing about a bunch of the things I study for my degree, so there may be a bit that seems different than my normal posts. Mostly, I hope to add to my written testimony (see my recent posts on the writings of Paul here and here).

One of the goals is to study 5 articles from the Ensign, which is a church magazine for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I plan on studying one article every other week. For this goal, you read an article and then find two ideas learned from it and share these ideas. So, I’m sharing my thoughts with you.

I picked up this month’s copy of the Ensign yesterday and flipped through it, looking for something that caught my interest. Even though, the message was originally given to young single adults, I decided to read the article titled “Preparing for the Future” by Elder M. Russell Ballard.

First off, Elder Ballard told the young adults to picture themselves in 20 years. 20 years to them would be about 10 years to me, so I tried to think of where I pictured myself in 10 years time. Unlike those who the message was originally intended for, I have been married in the temple to a loving man and now have three beautiful daughters. I believe that 10 years from now, I will still be a faithful and loving wife, and a happy and healthy mother. I hope that in that time I will have made the effort to add to our family in both quality and quantity. One of the points of this article is to not be afraid of that future. I hope to continue with a trust in my Heavenly Father’s plan for me and my family, without any fear. I’ve been taking some great leaps of faith for the benefit of my family in the last ten years, and so far I have had great opportunities to learn and grow a lot because of them. In 10 years, I want to be actively working to magnify my callings. These callings are both at home, as well as in church. I am finding so much strength in being an active member of the LDS church. In 10 years, I hope to have a better handle on my own self-reliance. This means learning how to cook (from scratch) well enough to keep my family healthy and happy. It also means learning how to garden, can my own foods, have a better food storage that fits our needs, and so on. This is something that I can surely start learning how to be better at now. Becoming more self-reliant, will help me to find greater faith and get rid of any fears I may have.

Second, he talks about how many young single adults are likely to be away from their parents. Even though I am not as young, and I am not single, I am still away from my parents. One of the great things about the plan of salvation, is that our parents can be our parents forever. They will forever have the responsibility to be there for us and we as their children have the responsibility to honor them and care for them as well. I am grateful for my parents and also for the wonderful modern technologies which allow me to see them often even though we are very far apart. I hope that in 10 years time, I will still be in good contact with my parents and turning to them for strength and knowledge from the wisdom that they have gained in their own lives.

I think that it is a good thing for us to occasionally look at our lives and think of the goals that we have for ourselves in 10, 20, 30 years or more. I am grateful for the gospel in my life today and I hope and pray that it will continue to be large part of my life in the future.


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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