Posts Tagged 'Music'

1 Chronicles Chapter 16

King David prepared the people to move the ark back to its resting place in Jerusalem. The Levites had carried the ark and they did so with praises to the Lord. David, himself, was among those who traveled with them. This chapter continues with the following:

1 So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God.
2 And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.
3 And he dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to every one a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine.

The ark was placed in the tent which David had prepared for it. The people offered sacrifices to God. David made an offering and then blessed the people. He gave everyone a loaf of bread, meat and wine.

4 And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to record, and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel:
5 Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obed-edom: and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals;
6 Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God.

Certain men were given the call to serve as ministers before the ark, to keep records, and to give praises to God. Among those called, were Asaph (the choir leader), Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom (also a door keeper), and Jeiel as musicians with harps and cymbals. Additionally, Benaiah and Jahaziel, the priests, were assigned to play trumpets continually before the ark.

7 Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the Lord into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.
8 Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.
11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.
12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
13 O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
14 He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
15 Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;
16 Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac;
17 And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,
18 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance;
19 When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it.
20 And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people;
21 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes,
22 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
23 Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.
24 Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.
25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.
28 Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.
29 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
30 Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth.
32 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein.
33 Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because he cometh to judge the earth.
34 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
35 And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord.

Then, David delivered a psalm of thanksgiving to the those he assigned to play. It praised the Lord. It was a message to the children of Israel, to continue in thanksgiving to the Lord, to pray to him and to let all know of the wondrous works of God. It spoke of singing to the Lord and to glory and rejoice in seeking after him and his strength continually. It called for the people to remember the covenants and commandments of the Lord to their ancestors, which were an everlasting covenant to Israel. The Lord had given them their lands of inheritance and had kept them safe from other kings and nations. It spoke of the greatness of the Lord, and that He should be known as the true god who created the heavens, while all other gods were idols. All people should glory the Lord and worship him. The Lord was to come to judge the earth, and the things of nature were to rejoice. And the faithful should always call upon God for their deliverance from the temptations of the world, and that they would not turn away from God. Those who heard the psalm praised the Lord.

37 So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the Lord Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day’s work required:
38 And Obed-edom with their brethren, threescore and eight; Obed-edom also the son of Jeduthun and Hosah to be porters:
39 And Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place that was at Gibeon,
40 To offer burnt offerings unto the Lord upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the Lord, which he commanded Israel;
41 And with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chosen, who were expressed by name, to give thanks to the Lord, because his mercy endureth for ever;
42 And with them Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those that should make a sound, and with musical instruments of God. And the sons of Jeduthun were porters.
43 And all the people departed every man to his house: and David returned to bless his house.

David left Asaph and his brethren to minister continually at the ark each day. Obed-edom and his 68 brethren were to be porters. Zadok and his brethren were to be the priests of the tabernacle in Gibeon, where they were to make burnt offerings to the Lord continually as the Lord had commanded. Heman, Jeduthun and the remaining who had been called by name, were to continue in praise to the Lord, along with those musicians who had been called. The sons of Jeduthun were called to be porters. Then David and all the people returned to their own homes.

I am sure that relocating the ark and calling men of the priesthood to attend to it continually, brought peace to the heart of David and those covenant people of Israel. Proper worship of the Lord, had been a message of the law of Moses and the teachings of Israel. Now, the people could return to a proper worship with the promised presence of the spirit of the Lord among them. There was great reason to give thanks to the Lord, to sacrifice and give offerings, and to praise with song and words. Likewise, when something is out of place in our own lives, and we have the wisdom and follow the promptings of the spirit to put it right, we also have great reason to do these same things–give thanks, sacrifice, give offerings, and praise. Our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, have blessed us far beyond measure. We owe our every devotion and praise to God, for all that we have and all that we are.

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1 Chronicles Chapter 15

In chapter 13 of Chronicles, David attempted to move the ark to Jerusalem, but after the incident with Uzza, who was destroyed for touching the ark, and out of concern for what may happen if they continued, he placed it in the house of Obed-edom. David’s intent to relocate the ark was not removed, and in this chapter the story relating to this continues. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent.
2 Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever.
3 And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the Lord unto his place, which he had prepared for it.
4 And David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites:
5 Of the sons of Kohath; Uriel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twenty:
6 Of the sons of Merari; Asaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred and twenty:
7 Of the sons of Gershom; Joel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and thirty:
8 Of the sons of Elizaphan; Shemaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred:
9 Of the sons of Hebron; Eliel the chief, and his brethren fourscore:
10 Of the sons of Uzziel; Amminadab the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twelve.
11 And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab,
12 And said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it.
13 For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.
14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel.

David took some time to prepare the city of David with his home and a resting place for the ark. He recognized that the Lord had called the Levites (in particular the sons of Kohath) to bear the ark of God, and so he called for them to be the only ones who should carry it. It is not stated directly, but it seems that Uzzah (who was destroyed for steadying the ark), may not have been a Levite given authority to touch sacred things, which would be part of the reason for the consequence he received. David may not have known the specific responsibilities defined by the Lord, but he had done what was needed to learn how God wanted this done, so that no one else would be harmed.

David gathered the Israelites together again, in order to finally move the ark to Jerusalem, where he had prepared a place for it. Specifically, David called upon the Levites and sons of Aaron. Among them were Uriel and 120 men of Kohath (the second son of Levi, in whose line were Moses and Aaron), Asaiah and 220 men of Merari, Joel and 130 men of Gershom, Shemaiah and 200 men of Elizaphan, Eliel and 80 men of Hebron (the Levitical city where Abraham was buried, which became the inheritance of Caleb, where David had reigned initially), and Amminadab and 112 men of Uzziel. He called for these six leaders along with Zadok (who officiated in the priesthood at Gibeon with the tabernacle) and Abiathar (who officiated at David’s camp), the priests, and commanded them to sanctify themselves and their men to bring the ark to Jerusalem. He told them that they had not been prepared properly the first time, and this is why the breach with Uzza had occurred. They needed to seek the Lord first and be prepared for this undertaking. The priests and Levites did as he commanded and sanctified or prepared themselves for the task of moving the ark of God.

It is so important for us to take the commandments of the Lord seriously and observe them with strictness. According to the words of David, the men who attempted to carry the ark the first time, had not done so. It is possible that the strict instructions of how to handle the ark had not been reviewed by Uzza, and so he had not realized what his choice would result in for himself or those who were with him. When we do things of a sacred nature, such as participating in sacred covenant making and renewing, we need to have our hearts turned to the Lord through our own sanctification, otherwise the consequences will be serious from our own offense to God. Before participating, we should prepare to administer or partake of the sacrament, and prepare to serve or make our own covenants in the temple of the Lord.

15 And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the Lord.
16 And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.
17 So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah;
18 And with them their brethren of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, the porters.
19 So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were appointed to sound with cymbals of brass;
20 And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth;
21 And Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel.
22 And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful.
23 And Berechiah and Elkanah were doorkeepers for the ark.
24 And Shebaniah, and Jehoshaphat, and Nethaneel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, did blow with the trumpets before the ark of God: and Obed-edom and Jehiah were doorkeepers for the ark.

The Levites carried the ark as the Lord had instructed Moses to have them do. David asked that some of the Levites be called to sing and play music of joy. Heman, Asaph (cymbal player mentioned in Psalms), Ethan, Zechariah, Ben, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Matithiah, Elipheleh, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel, were called. Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, carried brass cymbals. Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, Benaiah carried psalteries (large harps). Mattithiah, Elipheleh, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah carried the harps on the Sheminith. Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was called to lead the music because of his skill. Berechiah and Elkanah were called to be doorkeepers. Shebaniah, Jehoshaphat, Nethaneel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer, were priests called to play trumpets before the ark. Finally, Obed-edom and Jehiah were called as doorkeepers for the ark.

Of all the people called to serve with the movement of the ark, the musicians are named specifically. This is a testimony to the importance of music in worshiping the Lord. Moreover, David was a skilled musician himself, and he knew the value of worshipping God through beautiful music.

25 So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the house of Obed-edom with joy.
26 And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams.
27 And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen.
28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.

David, along with the elders of Israel and an army of thousands, went to the Obed-edom and took the ark of the covenant of the Lord. They did this with joy. The Levites that carried the ark, had offered a sacrifice of seven bulls and seven rams to the Lord. David dressed in fine clothes, along with all those involved in carrying the ark and providing the music. David wore the ephod of the priests. So, the ark was carried to the city of David with great joy and rejoicing.

29 And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.

When the ark reached the city of David, Michal, who was the daughter of Saul and David’s first wife, saw David out of her window, and she despised him deeply.

So, David accomplished the thing he felt inspired to do, and did it according to the pattern the Lord had established. This is an example of good, righteous leadership. He knew this thing was something to honor and celebrate, and so he called for the musicians and made this time, one of joy and rejoicing. It was a huge blessing for the ark to be with the Israelites in the place designated for worshipping the Lord.

2 Samuel Chapter 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Samuel Chapter 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deuteronomy Chapter 32

In the previous chapter, Moses was commanded by the Lord, to make a record of the teachings he had given. As part of that record, we have this chapter, which is known as the song of Moses. It begins:

1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:
3 Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.
6 Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?

I love the imagery of learning that is given to us in verse 2. When we are tender in our learning of the gospel, the teachings of Moses are simple as the dew in the morning, which is there waiting for us as we arise. When we have grown a little, his teachings are a light rain, and when we have grown in our gospel learning, the teachings are like rain showers on established grass. In all things, we grow line upon line and our learning builds upon what we have already come to know and understand. Likewise, if we do not allow the rain to come upon us in any quantity, our grass will wither and die.

The words of the scriptures, are a testimony of the Lord and His greatness, spoken to heaven and earth. When people go wrong, it is because they choose that for themselves. Those who live a perverse and crooked life, are not behaving as children of the Lord should. We are all His children, because He has created us and given us all, including His grace through the power of His atonement. However, when we are disobedient to His laws, we choose to no longer be considered His children and refuse the promised blessings for after this life.

7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.
8 When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
9 For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
12 So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;
14 Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.

If any of the Israelites wondered about the history of their people, they should have been able to go to their fathers and elders, to learn of it. I know there are some people today, who would claim that we should not look to our history for learning, but everything about the scriptures teach us that this is not true. We need the stories of the people in history, to know how we should live now. They are a great example for us.

The people of the Lord, have always been led by his hand as His chosen people. He has taught His people and protected them.

15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.
17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

When the righteous people have been greatly blessed, they forget the Lord who gave them all. Time and time again, the people of the Lord have turned to other gods and false idols, both old and new. The people forget the Rock of salvation, or the Lord, who brings their salvation.

19 And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23 I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.
24 They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.
25 The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.
26 I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:
27 Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this.
28 For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.

The Lord would hide himself from the people, because they forgot him and turned to other gods and wickedness. They would have mischiefs, fire, animals, poison, swords and terror come upon all the people, to destroy them. The people would be scattered and forgotten. These things would come because they would choose not to listen and heed the word of the Lord.

29 O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?
31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
33 Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
34 Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?
35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
36 For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.
37 And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,
38 Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.
39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
40 For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.
41 If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
42 I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

Wisdom is being obedient to the counsel of the Lord. The people would not understand that the Lord was the reason for their deliverances. They would choose wickedness over righteousness. I think the idea that the vine was the vine of Sodom, is to say that the fruit of the wicked, is wickedness. Instead of sweet fruit of the vine, they would have fruit of gall and bitterness. The Lord would bring vengeance and recompense upon the people and those who deserved wrath at His judgement, would receive it. Some day, the people would see that false gods could not be there for them in their need, but that the Lord is the only god. The Lord is the only living god. He can bring life, death, resurrection, and deliverance. Those who served the Lord, and would be his people, would be avenged and receive the Lord’s mercy.

I think of the rock mentioned in these verses. Our rock, is the thing that we choose to build our foundation upon. The only true rock that will not fail us, is the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The rock that the disobedient people would choose, would not remain in their times of difficulty. We can choose to place our faith and trust in a lot of things in this world, but only the Lord will remain a sure foundation for us.

When Lot first chose Sodom as a place for him to settle, it seemed a good idea. The land of Sodom was very desirous and it says in Genesis 13, that it was as the garden of the Lord. There are a lot of things in this world that look pleasing at first, and we are naturally drawn to them. Like Sodom, however, if these things are not pointing us towards righteousness, they will lead to an awful result of bitterness and destruction.

44 And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun.
45 And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel:
46 And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.
47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
48 And the Lord spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying,
49 Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession:
50 And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:
51 Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel.
52 Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.

Moses and Joshua spoke these things to the people of Israel. At the end of his words, Moses told them to take his words to heart, or to listen and follow all that he had taught them, and to teach their children to be obedient to them also. He promised them that if they were obedient, they would have their days prolonged in the land. Then Moses was told by the Lord, to go into the mountain to die and be gathered to his people, just as Aaron had done. Before he died, he was going to be allowed to see the land that he was not allowed to enter because he had trespassed against the Lord.

I love music. For me, a song can be in my mind and heart much easier than words alone. I don’t think I am alone in this, because we teach basic principles to our children through music, such as the ABC’s. Calling this chapter the song of Moses and reading that they were to take these things into their hearts seems quite fitting. This is part of why it is important for us to learn and know righteous and inspired hymns, which help us to remember the principles of the gospel, the purposes of life, and the amazing things that the Lord has down for his people. I am so grateful for beautiful music and the messages that I can learn from it.

God speaks to all people of the earth, and always has. While not everyone has always had the privileges of knowing the gospel, it is still for all people. I believe that their is one God who created all people. He knows and loves us all, and speaks to the world today through His chosen prophet, Thomas S. Monson. Just as He led the people through Moses, he leads today through the modern prophets. It is amazing to live in a time when a prophet can lead us and teach us the word of the Lord for our day.

D&C Section 25

Historical Background

This revelation was given to the prophet’s wife, Emma Smith. The manual I am using tells that Emma and Joseph Smith had only been married three years at this point and already she had been made to experience great trials at his side. She was a strong woman who went through a lot of difficult things. I am sure that this revelation came to give her the strength that was needed to support the prophet of God.

“Sons and Daughters in My Kingdom”

“HEARKEN unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter; for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom (v. 1).” This is a revelation that reminds us that we are able to become sons and daughters of the Lord, through baptism. When we make covenants with the Lord, we set ourselves apart from the rest of the children of God. In Moses 8:14-15 we read, “And when these men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, the sons of men saw that those daughters were fair, and they took them wives, even as they chose (v. 14). And the Lord said unto Noah: The daughters of thy sons have sold themselves; for behold mine anger is kindled against the sons of men, for they will not hearken to my voice (v. 15).” Those who choose not to hearken and make covenants are called the sons and daughters of men.

In What Sense Was Emma “an Elect Lady”?

“A revelation I give unto you concerning my will; and if thou art faithful and walk in the paths of virtue before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an inheritance in Zion (v. 2). Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called (v. 3).” In the words of the prophet, “. . . I gave much instruction, read in the New Testament, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants, concerning the Elect Lady, and showed that the elect meant to be elected to a certain work . . .”. Emma Smith had been chosen and elected by the Lord, to support the prophet and be his companion.

Why Did Emma Murmur?

“Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come (v. 4).” Emma wanted to see the things that the special witnesses had seen. She had been so close to all of the marvelous things that were happening during the translation of the Book of Mormon and had even helped as a scribe for a time. It is a sin that I am sure most of us our guilty of at one time or another. Murmuring is what we do when we forget to move forward with faith in the will of the Lord.

We are expected, by the Lord, to do what we have been called to do and not to question the will of the Lord. “And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., thy husband, in his afflictions, with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness (v. 5). And thou shalt go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe, while there is no one to be a scribe for him, that I may send my servant, Oliver Cowdery, whithersoever I will (v. 6).” The Lord told her exactly what her calling was at this time. In addition to being a comforter to her husband, she was going to act as a scribe so that Oliver Cowdery could serve as a missionary and bear his witness of the Book of Mormon and the gospel.

What Is the Meaning of the Word Ordained As It Is Used in This Verse?

“And thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit (v. 7).” The foot note for the word “ordained” says “set apart”. Emma was to be set apart in her calling, by the power of the priesthood, to teach the members by the spirit.

How Does Emma’s Calling to Exhort the Church Relate to the Apostle Paul’s Statement That Women Are Not to “Speak” in Church?

In 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 we read, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law (v. 34). And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church (v. 35).” The Joseph Smith Translation says the work speak is actually rule (see v. 34, footnote b). Women were not to hold the priesthood and rule the church, but instead were to be led and directed by men who held the priesthood. Emma was called to teach, which is more than appropriate for women in the gospel.

Emma Smith Was Called to Compile the First Book of Hymns

“And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better (v. 10). And it shall be given thee, also, to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church (v. 11).” Emma was specifically called to compile a hymnbook for the saints. I have a firm testimony of the importance of sacred music in our church meetings. Music has an incredible power to bring the spirit into a room where words alone may not bring it. This was an important calling. I am sure that the saints were grateful for the selections she chose, because hymns were one of the things that truly supported the them through their persecution and trials.

“The Song of the Righteous Is a Prayer”

“For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads (v. 12).” I believe that songs, or music, touch parts of our souls that nothing else can touch. Sometimes it feels as though a song carries the spirit passed walls and boundaries through to the core. To me, the song of the heart is the purest testimony unto God. The Lord wanted Emma to know that the music she chose should be appropriate and righteous hymns to bless the saints.

“This Is My Voice Unto All”

“Wherefore, lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made (v. 13). Continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride. Let thy soul delight in thy husband, and the glory which shall come upon him (v. 14). Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive. And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come (v. 15). And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my voice unto all. Amen (v. 16).”

This revelation is for all of us, especially the women of the gospel, and it tells us things that we need to do in order to be a elect, just as Emma was. First, we need to comfort our husbands (and wives) in their afflictions, with consoling words. I am not perfect at this and I know that I need to do better. Second, we need to have the spirit to guide us in expounding the scriptures and exhorting the members of the Church. Especially, when we are called to have a stewardship over others. Third, lay aside worldly things for those that are better. We will know what is better by the inspiration of the spirit. Fourth, we need to choose and listen to uplifting righteous music. We need to keep that music that is unrighteous out of our worship, and out of our lives. Fifth, we need to lift up our hearts and rejoice, holding onto the covenants we make with God, because our eternal life depends upon them. Sixth, we need to avoid pride and instead be meek. Seventh, we must keep the commandments of God.


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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