Posts Tagged 'Love'

2 Samuel Chapter 14

Absalom, was the son of David, who had killed his brother out of revenge. He had fled to Geshur, where he had family from his Mother’s side. David wanted to see his son, in fact the last verse of chapter 13, said that his soul longed to go to him. Joab, who led the king’s army and happened to be his nephew, was a faithful servant to David. This chapter tells the story of what Joab did to help the king.

1 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was toward Absalom.
2 And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman, and said unto her, I pray thee, feign thyself to be a mourner, and put on now mourning apparel, and anoint not thyself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead:
3 And come to the king, and speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.

Joab made a plan for a wise woman to go to king David disguised as a woman who mourned for a long time. He told her the words to speak to David.

4 And when the woman of Tekoah spake to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, and did obeisance, and said, Help, O king.
5 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, I am indeed a widow woman, and mine husband is dead.
6 And thy handmaid had two sons, and they two strove together in the field, and there was none to part them, but the one smote the other, and slew him.
7 And, behold, the whole family is risen against thine handmaid, and they said, Deliver him that smote his brother, that we may kill him, for the life of his brother whom he slew; and we will destroy the heir also: and so they shall quench my coal which is left, and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth.
8 And the king said unto the woman, Go to thine house, and I will give charge concerning thee.
9 And the woman of Tekoah said unto the king, My lord, O king, the iniquity be on me, and on my father’s house: and the king and his throne be guiltless.
10 And the king said, Whosoever saith ought unto thee, bring him to me, and he shall not touch thee any more.
11 Then said she, I pray thee, let the king remember the Lord thy God, that thou wouldest not suffer the revengers of blood to destroy any more, lest they destroy my son. And he said, As the Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of thy son fall to the earth.
12 Then the woman said, Let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak one word unto my lord the king. And he said, Say on.
13 And the woman said, Wherefore then hast thou thought such a thing against the people of God? for the king doth speak this thing as one which is faulty, in that the king doth not fetch home again his banished.
14 For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.
15 Now therefore that I am come to speak of this thing unto my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid: and thy handmaid said, I will now speak unto the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his handmaid.
16 For the king will hear, to deliver his handmaid out of the hand of the man that would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God.
17 Then thine handmaid said, The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable: for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: therefore the Lord thy God will be with thee.
18 Then the king answered and said unto the woman, Hide not from me, I pray thee, the thing that I shall ask thee. And the woman said, Let my lord the king now speak.
19 And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this? And the woman answered and said, As thy soul liveth, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from ought that my lord the king hath spoken: for thy servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of thine handmaid:
20 To fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.

The woman pleaded for help from David. She told David a story about her problem. She said that she was a widow with two sons. Her sons had been together in a field and one killed the other. She said that her family was all against her at this time, because they wanted her to deliver up the son who had killed his brother, so that they could kill him for his crime. If they did this, they would take away the heir of her family, leaving her alone and she would be left with nothing. In the law of Moses, it was known that the family of one who had been killed by another, where allowed to seek revenge out of justice. The family would not have been in trouble for doing so according to the law. However, David told her to return to her home and he would take charge of her. She told him that the problem was for her and her family, but that the king was not responsible. David told her that anyone who spoke against her, could be sent to the king and she would be protected. She reminded the king that he would not allow anyone to kill her son by revenge, as she said her family planned to do. David promised that no one would be allowed to harm her son. The woman asked to speak further with the king and he allowed her. Then, she said, what she had really come to say. She said that the king himself did this thing, by not allowing his own banished son to return home. Everyone will die and no one is different in the eyes of God. But God works to bring home those that are banished from Him, because he is a merciful God. If the king was willing to hear her story and help her, she suggested that she reveal herself and the Lord would be with David in deciding what to do. David told her to reveal herself to him. He asked her if Joab had arranged this. She admitted that this was true and that David had been wise.

21 And the king said unto Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go therefore, bring the young man Absalom again.
22 And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and bowed himself, and thanked the king: and Joab said, To day thy servant knoweth that I have found grace in thy sight, my lord, O king, in that the king hath fulfilled the request of his servant.
23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
24 And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king’s face.

David recognized what he had done and told Joab to bring Absalom to him. Joab thanked David for it, honoring him with a blessing, and went to bring Absalom from Geshur. He told Joab to have Absalom go back to his home and not to come to the king at this point. According to the chapter header, this was about three years since he had left Jerusalem.

25 But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
26 And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year’s end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king’s weight.
27 And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a fair countenance.

Absalom was described as a man of great beauty, without blemish, and long and heavy hair. He had three sons, and a beautiful daughter named Tamar. In returning, he would have been able to go back to his family again.

28 So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king’s face.
29 Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king; but he would not come to him: and when he sent again the second time, he would not come.
30 Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab’s field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.
31 Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom unto his house, and said unto him, Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire?
32 And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent unto thee, saying, Come hither, that I may send thee to the king, to say, Wherefore am I come from Geshur? it had been good for me to have been there still: now therefore let me see the king’s face; and if there be any iniquity in me, let him kill me.
33 So Joab came to the king, and told him: and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.

For two years, Absalom lived in Jerusalem, without seeing his father’s face. Absalom asked Joab to go to the king for him, but he would not do it. He asked again and was denied again. Absalom had his servants set Joab’s field on fire, in order to get his attention. Joab came to him and asked him why he had done this thing. Absalom said that he wanted Joab to go to the king and ask him why he had brought him from Geshur. He could have stayed there and it would have been good, as he was safe from harm there, but now he wanted to see the face of his father, the king. If the king felt there was any iniquity in Absalom, he could have him killed, according to the law. Joab went to the king and told him this, and Absalom was called for by David. He came to the king and bowed to the ground before him. David kissed his son to show that he was reconciled to him.

It could not have been easy for David to handle these situations within his own family. As the king, he would have had so much to do and think about for his people. Adding the difficulty that must have existed knowing Amnon had taken advantage of his daughter, would have been hard enough for any loving father. Then, having Amnon, his first born son, killed out of revenge for it, must have been heartbreaking. Finally, Absalom had fled to another land and was no longer in Jerusalem with the rest of his family. David’s heart must have been aching and struggling to know how to grieve, comfort, and forgive, while still remaining a strong and able king for Israel. Joab was kind to risk his standing with David, to show him that he needed to forgive and bring his son back into his life in order to have peace come to his heart. Sometimes, in order to give greater help to those we love, we have to take risks, or make decisions, that may hurt them. Sometimes these decisions might hurt us as well, but it is true charity, to care for the welfare of another soul in doing so. Though it is not exactly related, I can’t help but think of the example of the Savior. He made the decision to follow through with the atonement and crucifixion. He chose to hurt His closest friends by leaving them and allowing them to go on without Him, and then made the decision to suffer the greatest a man would ever suffer, with the intent to bring an infinitely greater help to those who knew Him in His life, as well as to all mankind. This was pure love. This was charity.

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1 Samuel Chapter 20

David was forced to run away from his home and his wife, because king Saul desired to kill him. His wife, the daughter of Saul, helped him to escape. Jonathan, the son of Saul, was a close friend to David. They loved one another as brothers, and were described earlier as having souls knit together. David had done nothing to deserve the treatment he had received from Saul, in fact, he had been a loyal and hard-working servant to the king. Saul hated David because he was jealous of they way others loved him and praised him. In his envy and jealousy, Saul had gone after David, to find him and kill him. David had found Samuel and was hiding among the prophets. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what is mine iniquity? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life?
2 And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will shew it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so.
3 And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.
4 Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee.
5 And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even.
6 If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Beth-lehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.
7 If he say thus, It is well; thy servant shall have peace: but if he be very wroth, then be sure that evil is determined by him.
8 Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the Lord with thee: notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father?
9 And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee?
10 Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? or what if thy father answer thee roughly?

Saul had gone to the place where David had hidden with the prophets. David fled and went to Jonathan to ask why his father was trying to kill him. Saul had made a promise to Jonathan before, that he would not kill David, so when Jonathan heard this from David, he did not believe it. He felt his father would not do such a thing, without his knowing. David told him, that Saul must have seen how much Jonathan cared for him, which is why he would have kept his desire from him. David promised him, that he was not mistaken, but that he knew his life was in danger. Jonathan told him, he would do anything David wanted. This was because he loved David. David knew that according to tradition, he should have dinner with the king the next day, but he asked Jonathan to allow him to hide for three days. If Saul missed him or mentioned him not being there, David asked Jonathan to tell Saul that David had asked to be excused in order to return to his home of Bethlehem to make a yearly sacrifice with his family. If Saul was accepting of this excuse, then David would know everything was fine, but if Saul got mad about it, Jonathan would know that David had been right about the desires of his father. David asked that Jonathan deal kindly with him, if this be the case, because they had made a covenant with one another. But, if Jonathan learned that David had misled him, he could kill David himself rather than take him to Saul. Jonathan said that if he knew his father’s plans were to kill him, he would tell David. David asked him how he would know if Jonathan learned of his father’s plans, or how he would know if Saul mistreated Jonathan.

11 And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field.
12 And Jonathan said unto David, O Lord God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee;
13 The Lord do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the Lord be with thee, as he hath been with my father.
14 And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not:
15 But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.
16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the Lord even require it at the hand of David’s enemies.
17 And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
18 Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.
19 And when thou hast stayed three days, then thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was in hand, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel.
20 And I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a mark.
21 And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for there is peace to thee, and no hurt; as the Lord liveth.
22 But if I say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows are beyond thee; go thy way: for the Lord hath sent thee away.
23 And as touching the matter which thou and I have spoken of, behold, the Lord be between thee and me for ever.

Jonathan took David to a field, and made a covenant with him. He would seek out the feelings and desires of his father. If things were good, and he didn’t let David know, the Lord could deal with him. If Saul desired to do evil against David, Jonathan would let him know and send him away in peace and a blessing that the Lord be with him. Jonathan asked that David covenant to show friendship and kindness towards him and his family forever, even when the Lord had cut off all of David’s enemies. They made a covenant with one another, because they loved each other so much. Jonathan would go along with the plan that David had laid out. When the three days had passed, without word from Jonathan, David was to hide himself by the stone Ezel. Jonathan would go there, and shoot three arrows on the side of the stone, as he pretended to shoot at a mark. He would send a young man to gather the arrows. If the young man was told that the arrows were beside the stone, David would know that things were alright and he could come out of hiding. If he told the young man that the arrows were beyond the stone, David would know to go away in peace. Either way, their covenant would be between them forever.

24 So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat.
25 And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon a seat by the wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, and David’s place was empty.
26 Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought, Something hath befallen him, he is not clean; surely he is not clean.
27 And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day?
28 And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Beth-lehem:
29 And he said, Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there: and now, if I have found favour in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the king’s table.
30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness?
31 For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.
32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done?
33 And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David.
34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.

David hid in the field while king Saul had his meal. There was an empty place where his son-in-law, David, should have been seated. Assuming that David was not well enough to be there, Saul did not say anything on the first day. David’s seat was empty on the second day, and Saul asked Jonathan why David had not been there for two days. Jonathan told Saul the words that he and David had planned. Saul was angry with Jonathan, and spoke against him, for his support of David. Saul told Jonathan that he would never have the kingdom. He commanded him to bring David to him, to be killed. Jonathan asked what David had done to deserve being killed. In response, Saul attempted to hit Jonathan with his javelin. Jonathan knew that the words of David had been true, and he left without eating with the king. Jonathan grieved for David.

35 And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him.
36 And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot. And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.
37 And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, Is not the arrow beyond thee?
38 And Jonathan cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. And Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master.
39 But the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the matter.
40 And Jonathan gave his artillery unto his lad, and said unto him, Go, carry them to the city.

Jonathan went to the field as they had planned, and shot the arrow beyond the stone, to show David that he was right and could leave in peace. Jonathan gave his bow and arrows to the young man that was with him and told the boy to take it back to the city.

41 And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.
42 And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, The Lord be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.

After the boy had left, David came out of hiding. He honored Jonathan, kissed him, and cried with him. Jonathan told David to go, with a reminder of their covenant. David left him, and Jonathan returned to the city.

Jonathan had hoped that his father would not do evil against his cherished friend. After all, Saul had already made him a promise. But, Saul’s anger and jealousy had blinded him to anything else, and he did not care about anything that had happened in the past, other than praises going to David instead of to himself. All he desired at this point, was for David to be killed. I am sure that parting under these circumstances was incredibly sad for these friends. One of the things I learn from this chapter, is the good character found in Jonathan. It would have been easy for Jonathan to turn against David and give him up. If he had, he possibly could have secured greater power in the kingdom from his father. But, Jonathan was a trustworthy and loyal friend, who knew that the things his father wanted, were wrong. He did not care for greater power or the honors of the king. I am sure that he also recognized that God was with David and not with his father. He would have been choosing to follow after something other than what God wanted, if he had chosen to help his father. Jonathan did not weaken under the pressures of threat against his own personal safety. He loved David and was faithful to their covenant of friendship. It would be a huge blessing to anyone, to have a friend like Jonathan. Friends can have a great impact on the choices we make and the path we choose to follow. Our lives may not be threatened as David’s was, but we all our fighting our way through this life each and every day. True loyalty and love are very important in our relationships with others. Any person could know that a friend like Jonathan, would never seek their own interests without loving and supporting them first. I know this kind of friendship and it has been an amazing blessing in my life. I hope that I am now, or that I can become, a truly loyal and loving friend in my own relationships.

1 Samuel Chapter 18

David defended Israel and had fought and killed Goliath, the giant who fought as the champion for the Philistine army. Once Goliath had been slain, the Israelites were able to have victory over their enemy. Afterwards, King Saul had called for David to come and speak to him. This chapter begins after David had told Saul that he was the son of Jesse of Bethlehem. It starts as follows:

1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.
3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

Jonathan, was the son of Saul. Up to this point, Jonathan has shown he was a man of faith and courage. When David had finished speaking to Saul, Jonathan loved David. Jonathan being a good man, probably recognized the righteous spirit in David. Saul took David in as his own family, and did not allow him to return to his father’s home. Jonathan and David had a strong bond and made a covenant with one another. Jonathan gave David his robe, garments, sword, bow and girdle.

I love the word knit when used as a description for the love and heart between these two men. I can imagine two hearts, with the kind of love and unity that makes one unable to see where one ends and the other begins. Jonathan and David had the kind of friendship where their souls were united one with another and love abounded. I know this kind of friendship and love. It is stronger than any other and it sees beyond faults and appearances, to the spirit within. This would have been a true blessing in both of their lives. This kind of friendship is eternal and it reminds me a lot of the relationship that the Savior desires to have with each of us. The Savior taught of this friendship:

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

We can be knit together in love with the Savior, if we are willing to covenant with him to keep his commandments. He has already extended his loving friendship to us, by giving of his own life for us. His love for us, is eternally forgiving, and without a doubt it can look beyond our faults and appearances to the soul that we truly are.

5 And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.
6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.
7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.
8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?
9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

David followed the directions given to him by Saul, and did so with wisdom. Saul made him the leader of his armies, and all the people accepted him, including Saul’s servants. Women sang and danced to honor David and Saul for the success against the Philistines. They gave greater honor to David, and Saul became very jealous of David. Had Saul been a man of God, he would not have been more interested in the praising of the Lord, for his guiding hand in their battles, than in the greater praise going to David. But Saul was not a man of God, so he became wary of David and what might become of him, from that time forward. I am sure that somewhere inside, Saul remembered Samuel’s promise that the kingdom would not remain his. He was probably continually looking for who might be chosen to replace him, though he did not know that David had already been anointed to become the king.

10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.
11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.

After this time, Saul had temptations of an evil spirit come upon him, giving him a prophecy. In the Joseph Smith Translation of verse 11, it reads, “that the evil spirit [which was not of God] came upon Saul…” In his prophecy, David played the harp, as he had many times before, and Saul had a javelin in his hand. Saul said he would kill David with the javelin, but David got away two times. I think that Saul was being persuaded by an evil spirit, to have a greater fear of David, which would drive his desire to want him dead.

12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul.
13 Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.
14 And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him.
15 Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.
16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.

Saul was afraid of David, knowing that the Lord was with David, but not with him. Saul decided to send David away from his presence, by having him lead at the front of his army. David continued to do what he was told and continued to have the Lord with him. This made Saul afraid of him, but the people loved David because he protected them.

As a side note, it is interesting to see that there has been a shift in reference to the people. In the records of the bible, the people were referred to as Israelites, or the people of Israel. There has been a shift to referring to the people as Israel and Judah. Instead of being one nation, they were two groups of people associated because of God. Eventually, these two groups will be divided into two kingdoms.

17 And Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife: only be thou valiant for me, and fight the Lord’s battles. For Saul said, Let not mine hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him.
18 And David said unto Saul, Who am I? and what is my life, or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king?
19 But it came to pass at the time when Merab Saul’s daughter should have been given to David, that she was given unto Adriel the Meholathite to wife.
20 And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.
21 And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain.

Saul wanted to be rid of David, but felt he could not kill him. He wanted instead, for David to die in battle against the Philistines. Saul offered his oldest daughter’s hand in marriage, if David would continue to fight valiantly for the Lord’s army. David thought this honor too much for someone of such a humble background as he was. So, when it was time for him to be married to Merab, Saul gave her to another man. Saul’s other daughter, Michal, loved David and she told Saul. Saul was happy with this, because he felt that she would be a snare to David. As the son-in-law to the king, it could bring the Philistines down upon him.

22 And Saul commanded his servants, saying, Commune with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee: now therefore be the king’s son in law.
23 And Saul’s servants spake those words in the ears of David. And David said, Seemeth it to you a light thing to be a king’s son in law, seeing that I am a poor man, and lightly esteemed?
24 And the servants of Saul told him, saying, On this manner spake David.
25 And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.
26 And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son in law: and the days were not expired.
27 Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.

Saul told his servants to talk David into becoming his son-in-law. David wondered if the servants thought that being the son-in-law to the king was a simple or insignificant thing, but he was too lowly for this privilege. They went back to Saul and told him. Saul had them return and tell him he did not need to offer a dowry for marriage, but he could instead offer a sacrifice of part of 100 Philistines, so that Saul could be avenged of his enemies. Saul had an ulterior motive in this, and that was that he hoped David would be killed in battle. David was glad to hear what Saul asked of him, and he desired to marry his daughter. So, David took him men and killed 200 of the Philistines, bringing the offering back to Saul with the story of what had happened. Saul gave Michal to David.

28 And Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal Saul’s daughter loved him.
29 And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David’s enemy continually.
30 Then the princes of the Philistines went forth: and it came to pass, after they went forth, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was much set by.

This did not please Saul, because he knew that his daughter loved David and that the Lord continued to be with him. Saul grew in animosity towards David. David become the wisest among all of the servants of Saul, and became well-known and loved for his service.

One of the things that comes to mind as I ponder on this chapter, is that there is a need to be watchful of the choices we make and the influences in our lives. When we make choices that drive the spirit out of our lives, just as Saul had done in moments of fear and pride, we make a space in our lives for something else. Saul allowed that space to be filled with an evil spirit, which persuaded him into fear. This kind of spirit attaches itself to a person’s soul, bringing temptations to them to do wrong, and binding that person to wickedness. Pretty soon, all that that person is able to think about is their own selfish desires, as was the case with Saul. His greater desire became wanting to see David dead, instead of wanting to accept the honors that David was bringing to his king. Sadly, these feelings were never provoked by David himself, only by others who gave honor to him. David did not seek to make himself better than the king, in fact, he felt he was not even worthy of the honor of even becoming the king’s son-in-law.

It is sad to see the kind of effect this had on the relationship between Saul and David. When Saul first met David, he adored him. He took him in as if his own son, because he was a talented young man. Saul gave David honors by setting him over a portion of his army. While the relationship between Jonathan and David grew stronger out of love, the relationship between Saul and David became weakened out of envy and hatred. However, through all of this, David remained a loyal servant and son-in-law, because he was a good man who was faithful and blessed with the spirit. This causes me to consider my own life. What kind of friend am I? Do I allow feelings of self-doubt to creep in and bring along the partners of envy and jealousy? Or do I rejoice in the accomplishments of my friends and show greater gratitude to God for the things that he blesses others with? It is better to be humble, faithful, loyal and wise like David, rather than prideful, envious and yet, powerful like Saul.

Ruth Chapter 1

The writings in the book of Ruth, took place during the time of the judges, but is an account that is different from those preceding it. In the Bible Dictionary we read, “The book appears to be intended to connect the history of David with the earlier times, and also to form a contrast, in its peaceful and pastoral simplicity, to the disorders of which we read so continually in the Book of Judges.” (see Bible Dictionary:Ruth) The book of Ruth begins:

1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth-lehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Beth-lehem-judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.
3 And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.
4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.
5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.

There was a famine in the land of Israel, which had become so bad, that a man named Elimelech felt the need to leave and go to the land of Moab. He took his family with him, which consisted of his wife, Naomi, and two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. There is no indication as to whether this famine was this bad all over Israel, but it was bad enough in the area of Beth-lehem-judah, that they needed to leave. While living in Moab, Elimelech died, leaving Naomi and her two sons. Her sons married women of Moab, namely Orpah and Ruth. They lived in Moab for 10 years, during which Mahlon and Chilion also died. They left all three women as widows.

6 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.
7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.
8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.
9 The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.
11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;
13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.
14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.
16 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
18 When she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

Naomi had heard that the famine was over in the land of Israel, and she intended to return there, along with her daughters-in-law. They headed for Judah. Naomi told her daughters-in-law, to go back to their parents homes with a blessing from the Lord, and wished them well with their future husbands. She kissed each of them, and they cried at this farewell parting. They both loved her, and did not desire to leave her. They said they would stay with her. Naomi wondered why they would go with her, seeing as she had nothing more to offer her, and had no more sons for them to marry. It was an Israelite custom, for brothers of the deceased, to marry his widow and care for her. Naomi was too old to get married again, and though she hoped for a miracle of sorts, it was unlikely to happen for her. Even if she was married that day, and had sons, these women could not be expected to wait until those sons were old enough to marry them. In those days, life as a widow was hard. Women were supported by the husbands, and once their husbands were gone, they could no longer expect to be sheltered and fed, or loved by a man. If they chose to be with Naomi, they chose this life along side her, which meant they would be far less likely to remarry and live a decent life. Out of love, Naomi desired for these women to have better lives than her own, which was that of a beggar. Orpah chose to return to her family, but Ruth chose to continue with Naomi. Ruth told her not to plead with her to return to her people and their gods. She chose to go with Naomi, to be a part of the people of Israel, and to be converted and follow after the god of Israel.

19 So they two went until they came to Beth-lehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Beth-lehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?
20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
21 I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?
22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Beth-lehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

Naomi and Ruth traveled to Beth-lehem at the time of the barley harvest, and the people there remembered Naomi. She told the people to call her Mara, because she was widowed and felt she was being humbled by God through her afflictions.

The book of Ruth begins by showing us the character of Ruth. She had married into a family of a different faith and background. Ruth had come to love her new family, and when the men were no longer with them, she had love and compassion for her mother-in-law. She chose to follow Naomi to the Israelite land and take care of her, rather than leave for what would have seemed to be better chances at a good life. Likewise, we learn that Naomi had a great love for her daughters-in-law. She was willing to live alone and in poverty, so that they could have better chances for a decent future. This love and willingness to sacrifice personal desires, should be a great example to us of how we should feel towards our family, including those whom we are not related to by blood. When we are married, we become one with our spouse and become a part of their family just as much as our own. Our families, especially our parents, deserve our love, compassion, care and companionship. I do not think this kind of love is fostered in many families today, when it should be. I am grateful to feel the love of my own mother-in-law and I have a desire to have a good and loving relationship with her as well.

Deuteronomy Chapter 33

At this point in the story of Moses and the Israelites, Moses has completed his sermons to the people and is preparing to go up into the Mount to die. Throughout the scriptures, we have records of what the prophets have done when they know they are about to leave their mortal life. It seems that quite often, they take the time to leave a blessing upon the people or upon their families. In this chapter Moses leaves a blessing upon the tribes of Israel. (This is just my simple understanding of what the words of Moses mean, and I know I do not have a perfect grasp of all the words spoken). It begins as follows:

1 And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.
2 And he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
3 Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.
4 Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.
5 And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.

Moses was a man, who led the saints of his day under the had of the Lord. The people were loved by the Lord, and He gave them His word in the Law of Moses, as well as a promised inheritance.

We have a prophet today, who leads the saints of God now. He is a man called of God, and serves under the direction of God. In modern revelation it tells us how our prophet should be like Moses. In Doctrine and Covenants, chapter 107, we read the following:

91 And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—
92 Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.

6 Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.

Moses blessed the tribe of Reuben, that they would not die, but would be great in number. They still did not hold any greater blessing even though they were the tribe of the firstborn, because those blessings were given to Joseph and his posterity. However, being blessed to have numbers, was a great blessing for their tribe.

7 And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.

The tribe of Judah was blessed that they would have sufficient for their needs and aid when faced with enemies or other nations they would need to drive out of the land.

8 And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah;
9 Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant.
10 They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar.
11 Bless, Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.

The tribe of Levi was blessed to have directions from the Lord, to teach the children of Israel all the Lord’s judgments, or ordinances, and the law. This was the duty of their priesthood, which only they held among all the Israelites. They were blessed to continue in their service to the Lord with incense and sacrifices. They were also blessed to have their work and service accepted by the Lord, and to be protected from any enemies.

12 And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.

The people of Benjamin were blessed with safety and protection provided by the Lord, and the presence of the Lord to be with them.

13 And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,
15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,
16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.
17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

The tribes of Joseph, meaning Ephraim and Manasseh, were given a blessing on the land and all around them. They were blessed with glory and the power to push people together. This is the greatest blessing of the tribes, and draws attention to the calling that these people have for gathering the house of Israel in the latter days. As mentioned earlier, they received the greater blessing, because they still maintained the birthright of the tribes of Israel.

18 And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents.
19 They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.

The tribe of Zebulun received a blessing over their travels, I think. This tribe was already blessed with what sounds like the ports of the sea (Genesis 49:13), where they would be able to work for their good and be blessed by the “abundance of the seas”. The tribe of Issachar was given a blessing in their homeland, and what sounds like blessings of treasure in the land. These tribes would bring people to the house of the Lord to offer righteous sacrifices.

20 And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.
21 And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments with Israel.

I think that the tribe of Gad was blessed to be enlarged and have strength. They had already been blessed to gain the land of their inheritance, which was right by the Lord. I think they may have been blessed to be judges in Israel.

22 And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.

The tribe of Dan was blessed with being like a lion’s cub, I think in the hand of the Lord. They would be protected as a cub is protected by it’s father. I think they would have an inheritance of rich soil, as well.

23 And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord: possess thou the west and the south.

The tribe of Naphtali was blessed with favor and blessing of the Lord. They were blessed to posses land in the west and south of the land of promise. The footnote indicates that this means the sea of Galilee was an inheritance to this tribe.

24 And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.
25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

The tribe of Asher was blessed with children, and to be accepted by others. They were also blessed with strength.

26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.
27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.
29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

In this blessing, Moses again reminds the people that there is no other God as the God of the Israelites, who is the God of the righteous. God was the only one who would give help and be a refuge and defense for the Israelites. If they stayed a righteous people of God, they would be blessed to stay in his safety and he would destroy and scatter their enemies. The land would be blessed for them, as well. In all things, Israel was blessed to triumph with God on their side.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), the fullness of the priesthood has been restored, which allows men today, to be called as patriarchs and give amazing blessings to the saints. I have received my own patriarchal blessing, which tells me that I am a covenant member of the tribe of Ephraim. That means that these blessings apply to me as well, if I choose to live faithfully. Likewise, it means that I have a duty to serve in these latter days, in the gathering of Israel. My life is greatly blessed by God, and I know that this comes through my faithful living of the commandments of God.

It is interesting to learn the importance of blessings in life. Why do we give and receive blessings? It would have been easy for men of God to leave this earth without pronouncing blessings on their people and posterity, but it seems a rite of passage in a man’s life to do so. It is a natural desire for men to leave something behind for their children. Some men choose only to leave the physical possessions of this life, but men of God, choose to leave words of wisdom, guidance, and love. With the addition of the priesthood, men are able to leave blessings of God upon others as the spirit directs them to do so. These blessings may help others to live in a way that is more righteous or will help them to go further in their mortal progression. Overall, these blessings show me that true men of God desire the best for their children. As they desire to be more like their Father in Heaven, they give their love through their words to their family. I am so grateful for the words of righteous men and women in my own life and for the great words of the prophets of old.

Deuteronomy Chapter 24

Moses, under the direction of the Lord, was at this point, repeating and renewing the laws of the Lord for the Israelites. He had already covered many things that they needed to know in order to be worthy to live with the Lord among them, as well as many that would keep them a happy and prosperous people. One of the things of importance, was how their relationships should be treated, especially in marriage and family. His sermon continues with the following:

1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.
3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;
4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

The law of divorcement is given here. If a man found his new wife to be unclean, or unchaste, he could divorce her and send her on her way, free from any tie to that man. If she remarried, and then was divorced again or became a widow, the first husband was not to take her as his wife again.

5 When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.

A newly married man, was not to go to war or business that would take him away from his wife, for the first year of their marriage. There is great importance in a happy and loving marriage, and there is something to be said of a marriage that starts off as a priority for that man and his wife.

6 No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man’s life to pledge.

I am not sure if I understand this completely, but I think that when the people made pledges or promises to one another, they would give something as a token of that pledge. The Israelites were not to take the parts of a millstone as a pledge token, either the upper or lower stone, because these were necessary parts of a tool for grinding grain. An individual needed this tool to be able to sustain himself and his family. I think that it meant that they were not to take something that was used as a life-sustaining tool, because it was as if they took the man’s life as the token of the pledge.

7 If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.

The Israelites were not to make slaves of each other for profit. They may have had slaves of other nations, though I am not sure on that, and they had Israelites who became their servants, but they were not to make their fellow Israelites into property to be sold. The act of selling their brothers as slaves, was a sin worthy of death. I can’t help but think of Joseph of the twelve tribes and how his brothers sold him into slavery to be rid of him, which was a big part of Israelite history, and would have been strictly forbidden by the Mosaic law, which came over 400 years later.

8 Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so ye shall observe to do.
9 Remember what the Lord thy God did unto Miriam by the way, after that ye were come forth out of Egypt.

They had been given strict laws and customs with regard to those who had leprosy. In order for their nation to continue to thrive, they needed to be diligent in following those things. They were reminded here, that the Lord could give and take away, when it came to leprosy, just as had been done to Miriam, the sister of Moses, during their journey in the wilderness.

10 When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge.
11 Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee.
12 And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge:
13 In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the Lord thy God.

When others borrowed from them, they were to let them give their own pledge, or token, and were not to go into their homes searching for them. Those that had little, were not to have their pledges kept from them overnight. Probably because they would have needed that thing in order to get by, especially if the pledge was part of his raiment, or his clothing.

14 Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates:
15 At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee.
16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

There was to be no oppression of their servants. When he was due pay, they were to give it, or be held accountable for the prayers to God from that servant. I think that servants were usually paid on a daily basis, depending on the work they did, so at the end of a days work, they were to be given the payment they had worked for. Also, men were to be held accountable for their own sin. If a man sinned worthy of death or another punishment, his children would not be held accountable, or vice versa. This idea of holding anything against the family, was reserved for the curses of the Lord, who sometimes would promise a curse upon the generations of the wicked if they did not repent. I think this would only be acceptable of the Lord, because God alone can know and judge the posterity or the family of men.

17 Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge:
18 But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing.

They were not to take advantage of strangers, and especially those in need. They were instead, to remember, that they had once been slaves in need of deliverance, and the Lord had provided for them. They were commanded to do likewise and deal justly with all people.

19 When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.
20 When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
21 When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
22 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.

Any parts of their fields, that were missed during harvest, were to be left for gleaning. Those who were poor and in need, had allowance from the Lord, to glean crops from the fields. The owners of the fields, were told to remember their situation in Egypt, when they were strangers in the land, but given the things that they needed.

A lot of this chapter seems to have been about the importance of treating others with kindness. Treating others with a decent amount of respect makes a nation stronger. It is so important for us to give to others what they are due, to help those in need, and to be sure we don’t take advantage of others. I think that everyone experiences times of need, physical or spiritual. We should remember those times and recognize the Lord has provided for us, often through the helping hand of others. If we desire to be active and true disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to extend our kindness to our neighbors and strangers. It is a commandment, that we love others as we do ourselves (see Matthew 22:36-40). We would not want to be treated unkindly, to be taken advantage of, or left without any help in our own moments of need. Others do not want these things for themselves, either. A happier and more prosperous people would be found, if we would remember how the Savior wants us treat one another.

Deuteronomy Chapter 10

This portion of Deuteronomy, is the second to last sermon from Moses recorded in the books of Moses. In this sermon, the Israelites were reminded of the ten commandments, blessings that would come from God for the righteous, the importance of teaching the younger generations of the laws and blessings, the consequences of disobedience, the role of Moses as their mediator when they have rebelled, and more. This teaching continues as follows:

1 At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood.
2 And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.
3 And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand.
4 And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me.
5 And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me.

Moses reminds the Israelites, that the Lord commanded him to prepare two new tablets after he had broken the first. After the Lord wrote on the tablets for the second time, though the second set were the lesser law (the ten commandments), they were to be placed in the ark, which contained the most sacred things of the Lord. The Joseph Smith translation of verse 2, reads, “And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest, save the words of the everlasting covenant of the holy priesthood, and thou shalt put them in the ark.”. (see also JST, Exodus 34) The everlasting covenant, was then reserved for a later time of restoration of the priesthood.

There is great value in keeping a physical record of sacred things. Only so many things recorded, will remain through great amounts of time, but I believe that as these sacred things are recorded on earth, the angels can record them in heaven, where they will be eternally. It is important for us to record sacred feelings and learning that we gain in this life, for our remembrance, and to be able to pass that learning on to our posterity.

6 And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest’s office in his stead.
7 From thence they journeyed unto Gudgodah; and from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters.

They are reminded of Aaron’s death and how his son Eleazar became the priest who served them in the tabernacle, in his place. Perhaps part of the reason that this needed remembering, was that the people needed to know that the Lord would not cause the priesthood go from among them as long as they were a righteous and God-fearing people. I think that they needed the rituals of worship in their lives, and seeing that God had caused that the ordinances could continue without interruption, meant they did not need to turn to another form of worship to fill that need.

8 At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day.
9 Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy God promised him.
10 And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also, and the Lord would not destroy thee.
11 And the Lord said unto me, Arise, take thy journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them.

The tribe of Levi were set apart to carry the ark of the covenant, and to serve with regard to the attending to the tabernacle. I love the reminder here, that they were also called to bless in the name of the Lord. Part of the duties of the Levitical Priesthood today, is to share the blessings of God with the people. I think that this is done by sharing the gospel and more so by physically laying their hands on individuals and blessing them. In this thing, men of the priesthood, are serving as the hands of the Lord on the earth today. This is such a beautiful honor and worthy of sacrificing to live a righteous life.

12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.
15 Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.
16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
20 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.
21 He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.
22 Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the Lord thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.

Moses taught the Israelites, that all the Lord required of them, was to love and serve Him. As a people, they had been chosen from all the nations, because their ancestors had been chosen. To show their love, the Israelites needed to be committed to the Lord by keeping the commandments and ordinances. They needed to keep them physically as well as in their hearts, purifying themselves and showing that they followed God. Moses taught them that God was not a respecter of persons, but had a love of all men. God had done many great things for them, including causing that they should multiply and become a great nation of people.

This is all the Lord asks of us as well. We are still commanded to love the Lord, with all our hearts, and to serve him all our days. In Doctrine and Covenants 59:5 we read, “Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.” The Savior taught us that we show our love, by following His laws, when he said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). We have been taught that we need to write these things in our hearts, or make them part of our very beings and character. In all this, we are not above any other when it comes to the love of God, and we are also commanded to love others as God loves them. The Savior taught us in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” God will love those who follow him and is still no respecter of persons. He does not withhold his love, but He will not look upon sin with the least bit of allowance whether committed by those in His church, or the stranger. In Mosiah 2:24 we read, “…he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you…”. He has blessed us, and will continue to bless the righteous people today.

Numbers Chapter 36

At the end of the book of Numbers, the Israelites were in their moments of final preparation before they were to enter the promised land under the leadership of Joshua. They were still encamped in the plains of Moab, across the Jordan from Jericho. The Lord had given a lot of direction to the people, through the prophet Moses, who was going to be leaving them soon. This instruction continues with the following:

1 And the chief fathers of the families of the children of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came near, and spake before Moses, and before the princes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel:
2 And they said, The Lord commanded my lord to give the land for an inheritance by lot to the children of Israel: and my lord was commanded by the Lord to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother unto his daughters.
3 And if they be married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the children of Israel, then shall their inheritance be taken from the inheritance of our fathers, and shall be put to the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they are received: so shall it be taken from the lot of our inheritance.
4 And when the jubilee of the children of Israel shall be, then shall their inheritance be put unto the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they are received: so shall their inheritance be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.
5 And Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the Lord, saying, The tribe of the sons of Joseph hath said well.
6 This is the thing which the Lord doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry.
7 So shall not the inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe: for every one of the children of Israel shall keep himself to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.
8 And every daughter, that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may enjoy every man the inheritance of his fathers.
9 Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep himself to his own inheritance.
10 Even as the Lord commanded Moses, so did the daughters of Zelophehad:
11 For Mahlah, Tirzah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married unto their father’s brothers’ sons:
12 And they were married into the families of the sons of Manasseh the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of the family of their father.
13 These are the commandments and the judgments, which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.

The head of one of the families in the tribe of Manasseh, came to Moses and the other leaders of Israel. He questioned the conditions for which the daughters of his brother, which had no husbands, had been given the inheritance of their father. He wondered, if they married outside of their own tribe, if they were to loose the inheritance to the tribe they married into forever. The Lord gave the commandment that the daughters, in all of Israel, were to marry whomever they wanted within the tribe of their family. With this commandment, the land would remain with the original tribe who had inherited it from the Lord. The inheritances were not to move from tribe to tribe.

The Lord gave many commandments to help the Israelites avoid contention and fighting among themselves, and I think that this was one of those commandments. Contention leads to the breakdown of families, and in this case, would have lead to the destruction of the children of Israel. If they could honor the commandments and statutes that the Lord had given to them, they would be a happy people. We are also expected to love one another and avoid contention, especially within our own families. In 3 Nephi 11:29, the Savior teaches us, “For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.” When we choose to love one another instead, there is no room for contention. A good example of this can be found in 4 Nephi 1:15, when the people were living in happiness after the Savior had visited the Nephites. “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.” I hope to build up my own family in love, so that we will be stronger and remain together forever.

Challenge: Is there an area of family life, which is bringing contention into your home. What can you change or establish so that there will be less contention in that area, and greater love within your family?

Sharing the Sunshine

I was looking back through some drafts I had written in the past and I saw this one and wondered why I did not finish writing it. I think it may have been because I had a plan in mind for my study already. I am a planner. Sometimes I have an internal struggle with where I expect my study to take me, and where the spirit guides it to go. Right now I am trying to get through the Bible, but really that is a huge goal. And the way I study, it is going to take a while. A long while. So, today I am going to break away from it for just a moment.

There are many places throughout the scriptures, which teach us how we should live as saints. There is one in particular that stuck out to me a while back, because it describes basic principles of living the gospel. In 1 Peter 3:8 we read, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous”. What does this mean to me?

First, The Lord expects us to be unified. We need to be one, whether in our marriages, in our families, at church with other saints, or really anywhere else where we hope to have strength. We need to be working towards the same goal or at the least, walking in the same direction. In Peter’s epistle to the saints of his day, I think he was teaching how they should have been within the church. As saints and members of the church of Jesus Christ, we need to have the same goal in mind. That goal is the same goal of our Father in Heaven. We need to have a goal for the salvation of mankind. Do we desire for others to live with God again, as we desire it for ourselves? Do we knit ourselves together so that we can all reach that goal together? Mosiah 18:21 reads, “And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.” When I think of this, I imagine linking arms with the sisters in Relief Society. Knitting requires 2 needles to work. These two needles bring two sides of the work together. The work becomes one whole without separation. We can be one in our purpose when we meet together often as the yarn of our own work, and use our spiritual gifts and talents to link with one another. Then our hearts will become knit together and we will strengthen, enrich, and uplift one another. With that one eye, one faith, and one baptism, we can be strong enough to stand firm in the gospel.

The Lord wants us to have “compassion one of another”. We should care for the temporal and spiritual welfare of others. If one of us suffer, we all suffer. In 1 Corinthians 12:26 we read, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” This makes me think of family life. It is often said that a happy Mom, means a happy home. It is interesting to me, to watch how the attitude of one individual in the home, can determine if we all have a good attitude. Attending to the needs of others, benefits all of us. We should willingly give to the poor and needy. Paying tithes and offerings is one way which we can give to those in need. Also paying closer attention to the lives of others around us, we will be able to see and even discern needs that are there. The instruction given in these latter days can be found in Doctrine and Covenants 52:40, which says, “And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple. (empahsis added)” What else can we do? We can visit those who are alone, such as the widows. President Monson, our prophet today, has given us a great example of being there for the widows. When he was bishop, he made it a point to be there for the many women in his ward, and he remained loyal friends to them for the remainder of their lives. In addition, we can pray for others. As we pray and serve, we will feel deeply for those around us and the welfare of others will effect us in meaningful ways. That is the kind of compassion the Savior has for each of us. Compassion leads us to greater faith and service. It was recently my privilege to serve at a funeral for a gentleman in our church. I enjoyed doing the service, but even greater was the opportunity to watch as many gathered together in compassion one of another. I watched as every detail of the help was done with the upmost in care and consideration for what those in mourning would need. There was an incredible outpouring of love, even in the simplest things. This kind of compassion is so beautiful and is one of the best ways we can show the light of Christ to others.

Compassion leads to charity, the pure love of Christ. Disciples of Christ should love each other as brothers and sisters. The love I have for my siblings causes my mind to be focused on them often. I want them to have true happiness and joy. I want them to have peaceful family lives. I care deeply for how they are doing, even though I am far from all of them. We should love one another, whether our actual kin or not, with the desire to remain brothers and sisters in the eternities. Having a love like this will help us to fellowship one another continually. In Doctrine and Covenants 38:24, the instruction for us is to “let every man esteem his brother as himself…”. The Savior taught by example in this. In John 15:13, He said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He loved all people with the brotherly love, and He showed us that love, by giving His life for us.

To be pitiful is to be full of “the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others“. Followers of Christ should be tender hearted and compassionate. It is our duty to take on one another’s pains and burdens, or to make them lighter in whatever ways we can. We should be sensitive to others and easily moved to love when we see others in need. This epistle of Peter does not teach us to have a little pity for others, but to be full of it. Our hearts should be filled with care and concern for others who are having any kind of difficulties in life.

Finally, we are taught to be courteous to one another. Show others the honor and respect they deserve as children of God. Be genuinely polite to others. A difficult, but important way to remain courteous, is to refrain from gossiping. Our comments of others, should always be positive and uplifting. Showing others the kind of respect you would want them to give to you.

Being of one mind, having compassion one of another, loving as brethren (and sisters), being pitiful, and being courteous come with ease and grace when we have the light of the gospel active in our lives. A song which goes right along with this is “You Can Make the Pathway Bright”. I love the words, and often think of them in the mornings as I prepare for the day ahead.

You can make the pathway bright,
Fill the soul with heaven’s light,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
Turning darkness into day,
As the shadows fly away,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

I have experienced darkness in my own heart at times. There are many who suffer from deep depressions, feelings of hopelessness and much more. We can help them, by sharing our sunshine, which is the light of Christ in each of us.

You can speak the gentle word
To the heart with anger stirred,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
Tho it seems a little thing,
It will heaven’s blessings bring,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

There is so much power in kind words. Responding to others’ negativity in kind, does nothing to help any situation. If we choose to share our light with kindness, cold hearts will warm and hard hearts will soften.

You can do a kindly deed
To your neighbor in his need,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
And his burden you will share
As you lift his load of care,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

Thinking outside of our own lives is the key. When we serve others in need, we share the light of Christ. Small acts of kindness are not that hard to do if we just pay attention to others around us. Opportunities to serve are all around us.

You can live a happy life
In this world of toil and strife,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
And your soul will glow with love
From the perfect Light above,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

We will be happier, others around us will be happier, and life will seem easier, when we live and share the gospel light with others. Why? Because it is His light, the light of Christ. Everyone loves to have a little more sunshine in their life. I know I do. I hope that I can be less selfish and less focused on those things that do not matter in the grand scheme of things, so that I can serve Christ by sharing His gift that has blessed my life so much. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Notes on Patience – Praying for Others

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

But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you; (3 Nephi 12:44, see also Matthew 5:44)

  • To be a patient person, I should pray for those who offend, hate, or persecute me. I believe in the power of prayer. Not only does it bless that person, but it softens the heart of the one who prays. You cannot respond in anger, when you sincerely pray for another who has wronged you. I think that when I choose to do this in the heat of the moment, I find that the spirit shows me where I have taken offense and there may have been none intended, or how it is that I can be the bigger person and forgive before I let things get out of hand.

  • 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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