Posts Tagged 'Parents'

Judges Chapter 13

During the time of judges in Israel, men were chosen and raised up to deliver the people and lead them in their battles with other nations. The Israelites repeatedly returned to idolatry and wickedness when these judges died. Consistently, the result was that the Lord allowed them to fall into the hands of their enemies. This cycle would eventually lead them to remember the Lord and repent of their wickedness. When they had repented and turned back to God, He would deliver them from their enemies by raising another judge. This cycle continues in this chapter, which begins:

1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.

This time, the Israelites were in bondage to the Philistines for 40 years, because they returned to wickedness.

2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.
3 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

Manoah, of the tribe of Dan, could not have any children because his wife was barren. An angel came to his wife and told here that even though she could not have any children, she would be blessed to have a son. She was commanded to abstain from drinking wine or eating those things that were considered unclean. Then, when her son was born, she was to raise him wholly dedicated to the Lord. Her son was to be a Nazarite, or a consecrated man, who would never drink wine or cut his hair. The angel promised that her son would deliver Israel from the Philistines.

6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:
7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.

She told Manoah of the angel and what he had told her would happen to her.

8 Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.
9 And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her.
10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day.
11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am.
12 And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?
13 And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware.
14 She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.

Manoah prayed to the Lord, that the man would come again to teach them how to raise the child they were to have. This showed his faith in the words of his wife, and his willingness to accept this calling from the Lord. The angel came again to his wife as she was in the field. She ran to get Manoah, and together they went to the angel. Manoah accepted the calling and asked what they should do for the child. The angel told them to do as his wife had already been commanded.

15 And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee.
16 And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the Lord. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the Lord.
17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?
18 And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?
19 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.
20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.
21 But the angel of the Lord did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the Lord.
22 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.
23 But his wife said unto him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.

Manoah asked the man, not knowing he was an angel, to stay with them until he could prepare a meal for him, or possibly to make a sacrifice in his name. The angel told him that he would stay, but would not eat. He told him to make his offering to the Lord. Manoah asked the angel of his name, so that they could honor him when the promise to them was fulfilled. The angel would not tell them his name and told them it was secret. Manoah made the offering to the Lord, and as they watched the flame rise, the angel ascended in the flame. Then Manoah and his wife realized that he was more than man, but was an angel of the Lord, and they fell down to worship the Lord. Monoah expected that they should die for seeing the Lord, but his wife told him that the Lord had accepted their offering and made them these promises, so she knew they would not die for seeing what they had seen.

24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.
25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

The wife of Manoah had the child and called him Samson. He was blessed by the Lord and was moved upon by the Spirit of the Lord. The manual I am reading along with my study, says that this was a reference to spiritual gifts being given to Samson, not that he had the spirit with him. Gifts of the spirit are given to every man. In Doctrine and Covenants 46:11, we read, “For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.” At times, gifts of the spirit were bestowed upon Samson, which probably put him in a better position to become the man of strength which he would later need to be.

What a huge blessing it would have been for the wife of Manoah, to be allowed to have a child, knowing that she was not able to have any. This experience of being visited by an angel to deliver this message is beyond my imagination. While, I could not fully understand the glory of this experience, I think it should cause us to reflect on the story of the Savior, who like Samson, was to be conceived and raised as a child wholly dedicated to God, so that he could deliver others from bondage. While Samson was to begin the deliverance of Israel at that time, the Savior, Jesus the Christ, was to make possible the deliverance of all mankind, in all the history of the world. What a blessing it must have been to be the parents of Samson, who were privileged to raise a child that had the potential to be completely devoted to the Lord and become a great blessing for the house of Israel.

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Judges Chapter 2

This chapter continues the introduction into the book of Judges. It is good to note that the book of Judges is not in chronological order starting from the events in the book of Joshua. Before this point, at least, each of the tribes had received their inheritance in the promised land, except for the Levites, who were given the responsibility of serving the Lord in his tabernacle. With the settling of their own lands, the people of Israel would begin to succumb to temptations if they did not strictly obey the commandments and guidance they had been given.

1 And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.
2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?
3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.
4 And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
5 And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the Lord.

Israel is rebuked by an angel of the Lord, because they had not listened to the words of the Lord. They had not fully served the Lord, and had not done away with those things that would lead them to worship false gods. The host of Israel wept and made sacrifices to the Lord.

6 And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.
7 And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that he did for Israel.
8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.
10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

Joshua died when he was 110 years old. After Joshua and the generation that had inherited the land with him passed away, the newer generation did not know the Lord and the things He had done for Israel. If we do not strive to raise our own children with a knowledge of the Lord and His commandments, they will not know these things when we are gone. This is part of the reason that it is so important for us to remember to do the simpler things with our families each day. Praying, studying the scriptures, having family home evening, attending church and the temple regularly, will establish traditions of good in our homes. Hopefully, these things will carry over as good traditions, into the lives of our children and grandchildren.

11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim:
12 And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.
13 And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

This new generation forsook the Lord, and begin to serve Baal (Baalim) and Ashtaroth. This was a fulfillment of the warning that their fathers had been given.

14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.
15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.

The Lord allowed the Israelites to fall into the hands of their enemies because of their weaknesses. His promise had been, that if they did not worship Him alone, He would no longer protect them from their enemies. They failed to keep the laws and worship God, so they suffered at the hands of their enemies.

16 Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.
17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so.
18 And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.
19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.

The Lord raised up judges, to deliver the Israelites out of the hand of their enemies. The people would not listen to the judges, but continued to sin against the Lord. When the judges were righteous, the Lord was with the people in protecting them from their enemies. When the righteous judges died, the people would return to wickedness even more then previous generations.

20 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice;
21 I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:
22 That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.
23 Therefore the Lord left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.

The Lord promised that he would not drive out anymore of the Canaanites from the land, which had been there when Joshua first brought them into the land. He did this to test Israel and see if they could prove that they were able to keep the commandments of the Lord.

The book of Judges, shows a time when the Israelites had truth, guidance and direction from the Lord. They were blessed greatly and then in their time of peace they would forget the Lord and turn to the ways of the world around them. The Lord would be ever merciful and patient, allowing them many opportunities to return to Him. The Lord was long-suffering with the Israelites, just as he is with us. Our lives are not so different from the people of old. We can have blessings of peace and prosperity in times when we strive to do what is right. We are also vulnerable to the temptations of the world. If we allow ourselves to become ungrateful, apathetic, or comfortable with our standing with the Lord, we will also be at risk of falling into the ways of the world. Our choices will lead to the Lord chastening us, and then feelings of sorrow and sadness. On the other hand, if we are continually striving to do what is right, the Lord will be with us and protect us from the dangers of the world. We are here to be tested and to prove ourselves willing and able to follow the commandments of the Lord. I know that we can and will be greatly blessed for our efforts in living righteously. I know that greater blessings will come if we share what we learn and know with other, especially with our loved ones.

Deuteronomy Chapter 21

In this portion of the sermons given by Moses, to the Israelites, he was teaching some of the specific commandments from what we call the law of Moses. There were hundreds of rules to the law of Moses, and He needed to review them before leaving the people to settle the land without him there. In the last couple of chapters, he already explained the difference between murder and manslaughter, how each should be punished differently, the law of witnesses, treatment for false witnesses, and some laws for the Israelite army. He continued in this chapter, with more regarding laws having to do with murder.

1 If one be found slain in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him:
2 Then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain:
3 And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke;
4 And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer’s neck there in the valley:
5 And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the Lord thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the Lord; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried:
6 And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley:
7 And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.
8 Be merciful, O Lord, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel’s charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them.
9 So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord.

In the case of a murder where there are no witnesses to say who had killed the person, the judges and elders were to determine which city was closest in proximity, to the death. An unused or unworked heifer (young female calf) from that nearest city, was to be taken to a rough valley without fields, and break it’s neck. The Levite priests were to solve the controversy, and make an atonement for the people, by having the elders near the heifer, wash their hands over it as a witness that they had not committed the murder or witnessed it. The elders were also to ask that Israel not be held accountable for the murder. When they did this, the elders would make the necessary amends for the murder, and having done their part, the Lord would forgive Israel of it. This was important, because it had already been established in the law, that those who knew of a murderer and did not hold that person accountable, would be held accountable by the Lord.

10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,
11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;
12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.
14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.

Men who wanted to marry a woman taken captive from an enemy nation, were to have her go through a month-long ritual first. After he took her to his home, she was to shave her head, cut her nails and change her clothes. Then, after waiting a month while she mourned for the separation from her family, he could marry her. If he decided then, that this was not what he wanted, he could not sell or treat her badly, but was to let her go free.

15 If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:
16 Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:
17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

The laws regarding the inheritance of the firstborn, were to remain in place, even if that child was not from the beloved wife of a man. This meant that no matter what, the literal first-born son of a man, was to receive a double-portion of the inheritance. Children were not to be treated unfairly, just because the were from an unloved or less liked wife.

18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

A stubborn or rebellious child was to be taken to the elders of the city for disobedience to the parents. The charge of disobedience from a child, was to be punished by being put to death by stoning. We live in a time, when this would not be an acceptable way to deal with a child, but as I get older, I can see the great importance of obedience to parents. I believe that one of the signs of the times, meaning one of the things that shows us we are drawing nearer to the second coming of Christ, is that children will stop listening to their elders and turn to their own wisdom. I cannot remember where I learned this, so I have no scripture reference for it. It does make sense as to a great falling away of the youth of the last generation. As I watch my friends and family, who have children just entering adulthood, I am seeing the fulfillment of this. It is heartbreaking to see them begin to ignore the rules and counsel of their parents while still in their youth. It is as if, many of the youth these days, think that having agency means that they do not owe respect and reverence to anyone, especially not to their parents and grandparents. This is part of the breaking down of the family, which does not end when one becomes an adult, but is designed to continue forever. When children turn from their parents, they become easier prey for the adversary. Since, they are the leaders of the future here in mortality, their falling away from obedience, and therefore, righteousness, will lead to apostasy of great numbers of the children of God.

22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:
23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

When a guilty person was punished by hanging on a tree, they were to remove his body that same day so that the land would not be defiled. This is an interesting thing to learn. In my study of the ancient lands in that area, I have learned that it was a common thing for the guilty to be left hanging for a long time, so that others would know and fear the consequences for their wrong choices. In the footnote to verse 23, it reads, “According to Rabbinical commentaries, to leave a body hanging was a degradation of the human body and therefore an affront to God, in whose image man’s body was made.” The Israelites were not to do anything that would defile the holiness of the land of promise and they were not to disrespect the body of the dead in this way. This standard was applied, when the Savior was crucified. His body was not to be left on the tree, or on the cross, and so the soldiers checked to see if He was dead. Those that were hung on a tree, were considered cursed by God. In Galatians 3:13 it reads, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” The curse must have been a part of the law of Moses, which was then fulfilled by the sacrifice of the Savior. Just another thing that was there to continually draw the Israelites to Christ. I am glad that I can live in a day to be able to look back and see how much of the scriptures testify of Christ and witness of Him. I hope that I am able to find those things in my life, that are meant to draw my attention and desires to the Lord as well.

Deuteronomy Chapter 13

The children of Israel had been a people living among a very idolatrous nation, Egypt. They had been delivered by the Lord, but continually showed a weakness for following after other gods. They were about to enter a land where the nations worshiped false gods as part of everyday living. Moses had taught the people the importance of worshiping the Lord, and doing all that they could to remove the temptations of idolatry. His teachings continued with the following:

1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
4 Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

The Israelites were warned that there may come a time, when a prophet or dreamer would promise a sign or wonder. If the things they promised came true, and that person called upon them to seek after other gods to serve, they were not to follow after them. They had been shown time and time again, that the only true and living God was the Lord, and that anything else was false and wickedness. The Lord would test them to see if they truly loved God, by expecting them to follow Him, obey His word and keep His commandments. The Israelites were commanded to put any false prophet or dreamer to death for trying to lead them away from the Lord with false doctrine. In this way, they would remove the temptation from the people.

6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
11 And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.

Likewise, if any member of their families or friends, tried to draw them away to idolatry, by any means, they were not to follow after them. They were instead, to be put to death, just as the false prophets and dreamers, and shown no pity or mercy in their wickedness. Their were commanded to stone them for trying to lead them after false gods and away from the Lord.

12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,
13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;
14 Then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.
16 And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the Lord thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.
17 And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;
18 When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord thy God.

If a city among the Israelites, was heard to have gone astray into the sin of idolatry, they were to investigate the possibility. They are called here the children of Belial, which according to the bible dictionary is another way of saying wicked men, who were worthless. If they found that the city had indeed become an idolatrous city, they were to destroy the people of the city and everything in it. Anything left was to be burned, and the city was not to be built again. If they were to continue to receive the promised blessings of the Lord, they could not keep anything from the wicked place. They would be blessed for obedience to this and all the commandments of the Lord.

Part of obedience to the Lord, was having the courage to destroy those who were leading others into idolatry, even when it was loved ones. This is a perspective of these commandments, which I have only recently been considering. Following after the Lord and not being idolatrous, was only part of the commandment. I am sure that for some this would not have been a hard thing to do, and that they would have felt safe in knowing they would only follow the Lord. However, the love we have for family is strong, and I can imagine the great and heavy burden it would have been to learn that someone you loved was worthy of death at your hand. I know that there may have been many who were guilty of not following through with destroying those who had chosen a life of idolatry and were therefore also guilty of disobedience to the commandments of the Lord. This may have been the more difficult test that the Lord allowed the Israelites to experience, in order to show their complete devotion to the Lord.

In Matthew 10:28 we read, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Those family members of people who had turned to wicked idolatry, would have only been able to give a physical death to those who had chosen wickedness. It was the mercy of the Lord, that this punishment be given, because the temptations of Satan bring the greater spiritual death, which separate both body and spirit from returning to our God. If the individuals had been allowed to continue in their wickedness, they would have worst to come after this life. I think that this is the point of view the righteous would have needed to remember in order to show obedience to this commandment.

When I wonder about this commandment for the Israelites, I think as well about what is expected of me now, especially as a parent. It is my duty, to teach my children what is right and wrong. It is also my duty, to give loving correction, when they go astray. This is not an easy thing sometimes. I am sure it will become more difficult as they get older as well. Their are many people today, who value the friendship of their children more than consider the duty they have to the Lord. The better thing for parents to do, is to be a parent first, and call children to repentance when necessary, rather then allow them to follow after the other gods of our day. I am glad that this does not require the same consequence of capital punishment today, meaning death, but I also realize that there is a gravity to my choices that may help shape the eternal destiny of those I love. There will be great sorrow for those who are lost to wickedness. Moreover, I will be held accountable for their sins, if I do not do my part as a parent and teach and guide as I know is right.

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 2

(To view the previous posts for this question, start here: Our Potential Part 1)

As I mentioned previously, we are all children of God. In other words, God is the Father of all mankind. To reiterate this point of doctrine, in Doctrine and Covenants 84:83 we read, “For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things.” We also learn in the Doctrine and Covenants, that we have the potential to be parents of our earthly children forever as well as parents of spiritual children. In Section 132 we read the following:

19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. (emphasis added)

Along with all the other promises listed here, we have the potential to have “a continuation of the seeds forever and ever”. Since our potential is to be parents for eternity and to an continuing number of spirits, we need to strive to live up to our earthly potential as parents. The scriptures teach us a lot of things about how God is as a parent to us. In Proverbs 4:1 we read, “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.” Jesus told others that His Father was His teacher. In Luke 2:49 it says, “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” The Savior wanted to teach as His Father had taught Him. Likewise, in John 8:28 he said, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” As He taught Jesus, He teaches us. In Jacob 4:10 we read, “Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.” God gives us instruction, counsels or teaches us, so that we can know what is right and good. As parents, we need to be giving our own children the instruction that will lead them back to their Father in Heaven and help them to reach the potential that they each have. Proverbs 6:20 reads, “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother”. As our Father, God gives us commandments or rules that we need to follow to be kept safe and have a fullness of joy now as well as in our futures eternally. Parents should give their children boundaries and rules that will keep them safe and happy. In addition to teaching us and giving us rules, our Father in heaven is always listening. In Matthew 6:6, we read, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” God leaves his lines of communication open for us always. He listens to all our concerns and successes. He hears our pleas and then gives us the things he knows we need. As parents, we need to be the best listeners for our children. We need to be there for our children in times of need and in the good times. Parents should listen to the pleas of their own children and do all they can to give them what they know will enrich and uplift their lives.

As our Father, God has laid out a plan for us and yet given us the opportunity to choose if we will follow it. In Matthew 7:21 we read, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Our Father in Heaven has a plan for His children and expectations he wants us to meet within that plan. As earthly parents, we should also have a worthwhile plan for our children. We should teach them what our expectations are as parents, help them to understand that plan and then allow them to decide for themselves if they will follow it. Another thing our loving Father in Heaven does for us is found in Ephesians 6:4 which reads, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The Lord nurtures and admonishes us. Parents striving to live their potential, do not stir up the hearts of their children, but instead, they nurture them and then give advise and reprimands when necessary to help their children to know what is right. Going right along with that, 1 Thessalonians 2:11 says, “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,”. Parents should give comfort to their children, as well as exhort them and give them a charge to do what is right, the way that God does to us. It is important that we as parents, do not let our children go astray without attempts to help them see the error of their ways. I think in todays world, this is something parents are less likely to do. The example is given to us in Hebrews 12:7, which says, “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” We are chastened by God when we are sinning. Parents have a duty to chasten their children with love and kindness, so that they might be persuaded to return to the things that are righteous and good. Because fatherhood is one of the overarching roles of God, it is very important that we really try to work on these things as earthly parents in order to reach our own potential.

(Coming tomorrow: Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 3)

To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

Alma, Chapter 56

Review game

At the beginning of this chapter, it is the 30th year of the reign of the judges and Moroni got a letter from Helaman about how the war was going for them (v. 1-2).  He wrote of how he was asked to be the leader of the 2,000 warriors in defense of the Nephite country (v. 3-5).  He reminded Moroni of their parents covenant not to take up arms and told them how they wanted to defend the Nephites (v. 6-7).  He told them how he had warned them not to break their covenant (v. 8 ).

He writes that in the 26th year, he led the 2,000  to Judea to help one of Moroni’s appointed captains, Antipus (v. 9).  Antipus was being defeated at the time and many Nephites had died or been taken prisoner (v. 10-12).  When Helaman arrived, the Lamanites had taken the land and city of Mani, the city of Zeezrom, the city of Cumeni, and the city of Antiparah (v. 13-15).  The Nephites there in Judea were worn out spiritually and physically, and had decided to protect Judea to the death.  They had great joy when they saw the arrival of Helaman and the 2,000 soldiers (v. 16-17).

The Lamanites, seeing the 2,000, were ordered not to go against them in battle (v. 18 ).  “And thus were we favored of the Lord; for had they come upon us in this our weakness they might have perhaps destroyed our little army; but thus were we preserved (v. 19).”  In the 27th year, Helaman’s army helped Antipus to fortify the city and they wanted the Lamanites to come to them to fight so they wouldn’t have the disadvantage in fighting against the Lamanite strongholds (v. 20-21).  The Nephites had spies watching the Lamanite movements, so that they could surround them if they tried to come against them by surprise (v. 22-23).  But the Lamanites did not come against them in any of the Nephite cities, but rather they protected the land they had taken (v. 23-26).  The Nephites were sent provisions and more men, so the Lamanites began to fear and wanted to stop the provisions from coming to the Nephtes (v. 27-29).

Review questions (according to the manual):

  1. How did the Nephite military leaders communicate with one another?  They communicated with letters.
  2. How many of the sons of Ammon were brought into battle?  2,000 joined the fight against the Lamanites.
  3. Were these sons of Lamanites or Nephites?  They were 2,000 descendants of converted Lamanites.
  4. Because of the Nephites’ afflictions, what were the people of Ammon ready to do?  They were prepared to break their covenant with God.
  5. What army did Helaman and his 2,000 striplings join?  They joined the army of Antipus.
  6. What were the cities and lands taken by the Lamanites?  They had taken the land and city of Mani, the city of Zeezrom, the city of Cumeni, and the city of Antiparah.
  7. Why were the armies of Antipus depressed?  Because many of their numbers had been killed and taken prisoner, and they had suffered much in their fighting.
  8. What did the Nephites do to keep track of the Lamanites?  They sent out spies to watch the Lamanite movements.
  9. How large did the army of the Nephites become?  The small army of Antipus had the 2,000 stripling warriors added as well as 2,000 more from Zarahemla.

How can we be preserved from the evils of the world?

The manual asks what is defined as “a cunning plan to deceive an enemy”?  In verse 30 we read, “Now when we saw that the Lamanites began to grow uneasy on this wise, we were desirous to bring a stratagem into effect upon them; therefore Antipus ordered that I should march forth with my little sons to a neighboring city, as if we were carrying provisions to a neighboring city.”  I think the word they are defining is stratagem.  The following summary is about the Nephite stratagem used against the Lamanites.

They decided to pretend that the 2,000 stripling warriors were taking provisions to a city nearby the city of Antiparah, which had been previously taken by the Lamanites (v. 30-32).  Antipus marched with some of the rest of the army, towards Antiparah where the most numerous part of the Lamanite army was (v. 33-34).  Their spies were warned of the stripling warriors, so they went after them to fight (v. 35).  The stripling warriors fled northward and led the powerful part of the Lamanite army away (v. 35-36).    Then the Lamanites saw the army of Antipus following them, but the followed the stripling warriors to kill them before the army of Antipus could get to them (v. 37).  Antipus’ army marched faster to catch up, and the stripling warriors continued their march away from the Lamanites (v. 38-39). The Lamanites continued to follow them so that they would not be surrounded (v. 40).  The Lamanites came upon them, and the stripling warriors fled (v. 41).

The Lamanites followed the 2,000 stripling warriors because they wanted to stop the Nephites from getting provisions.

The Lamanite army stopped, and Helaman’s army did not know what was happening, so he asked his army if they would go and fight the Lamanites army (v. 41-44).  “And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites (v. 45).  For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus (v. 46).  Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them (v. 47).  And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it (v. 48 ).”

The Lamanites followed their march for 2 days and then a little of the third day.  This Lamanites army was the most powerful, but this did not stop the stripling warriors from having the courage to return and fight, so that the Lamanites would not destroy the Nephites of Antipus’ army.  They had great courage because they had been taught that if they believed in God, he would deliver them.

Helaman and the stripling warriors returned to the battle, where Antipus had met up with the Lamanites (v. 49).  Antipus’ army was tired from their march and without Helaman’s army, they would have been overtaken (v. 50).  Anitpus and many of the other Nephite leaders in his army had been killed, so the Nephites had began to give up their fight (v. 51).  Then Helaman’s army arrived and began to fight, killing many  Lamanites.  The Lamanites turned to fight Helaman’s army (v. 52).  Seeing this, Antipus’ men gathered together to surround the Lamanites (v. 53).  The Lamanites gave up the fight and became prisoners of war to the Nephites (v. 54).  Helaman then counted his men and all 2,000 remained.  “… yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war (v. 56).”  They did not have room to keep the Lamanite prisoners, so they sent them to the land of Zarahemla, guarded by some of Antipus’ men.  The rest of Antipus’ army joined the stripling warriors and went back to the city of Judea (v. 57).

The things that their mothers had taught them, were true.  They had faith in God as they fought, which gave them great courage and strength, so they did not die.  It may not always be that we are saved from death by our faith in God, but we will be saved in one way or another.  As we believe in God, he will use us to accomplish his purposes by His will.  And we will ultimately be saved from the evils of this world, after this life.  This is the greater goal that all saints should have, and if we believe in God, all other principles of the gospel will begin to fall into place for us.

What difference can a righteous mother make?

The mothers of the stripling warriors were righteous women.  They were faithful and taught their sons to trust God.  They did not waiver in their belief, so much that their sons could say they knew, without a doubt, their mothers know it to be true (see v. 47-48 above).  My mother was a great example of consistency in reading the scriptures.  I remember my mother sitting down in our tv room, reading her scriptures very often.  This is a foundation for me.  Because of seeing her, I know that I can managed to be faithful in scripture study in my life, which is nowhere near as busy as hers was.  It is my scripture study that keeps me strong in the gospel.  It makes my testimony stronger each day and I know that scripture study gave my mother a strong testimony as well. A strong testimony affects a mother’s entire life.  It influences the way she talks to her children.  It influences how she acts towards them and the amount of love she shows towards them.  If a mother shares her testimony with her children, through words and actions, she can have the greatest effect on them.  I hope that my children will see me as a woman of faith and will want to follow the example I set for good.

2 Nephi, Chapter 4

The eternal importance of the family

In D&C 68:25 we learn that mothers and fathers will be held accountable by God if they do not teach their children the gospel principles.  Children are not held accountable for what they have not been taught. Likewise, in 2 Nephi, chapter 4, Lehi told Laman and his children that if they would keep the commandments, they would prosper.  If they would not keep the commandments, they would be cut off from the Lord’s presence.  However, if they are cursed because of their parents who do not teach them what is right, the cursing would be answered upon the heads of their parents.  The Lord will be merciful to them forever.

Lehi was so harsh with Laman because he saw Laman’s future and knew he was capable of many bad decisions.

Next, Lehi told Lemuel and his children the same blessing applied to them and they would not be utterly destroyed.  Then Lehi told Sam and his children that they are blessed and will inherit the land like Nephi.  Sam’s blessing was good and shows that Lehi knew Sam’s family would choose the right along with Nephi’s family.

As a parent, I am to love and care for my children.  I need to teach them righteousness.  I need to provide for them physically and spiritually.  I need to teach them love, service, obedience to commandments and to obey the laws of the land.  Otherwise, I will be held accountable. I know if I do these things to the best of my ability, the responsibility is then on the heads of my children.  They will choose for themselves, but I must create a firm foundation for them to stand on.  To help parents fulfill this responsibility, children can listen to what their parents teach them.  Children should also be willing to ask questions, because parents sometimes don’t realize what they have not taught their children about until it may be too late for proper understanding.

What value is there in daily scripture study?

How important are the scriptures to me?  I try to keep the scriptures high on my list of importance.  Nephi writes, “For my soul delighteth in the scriptures…” (v. 15).  I think in order to “delighteth” in the scriptures, I must know them well.  I think studying each day, is helping me to do this better.  I enjoy being able to explain a story to my daughter and I can see what happiness the scriptures can give me.  I feel good when I read them.  Nephi continues, “…and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.” (v. 15).  To me, pondering the scriptures means reading with a greater desire to learn from them.  I want to find answers and guidance in scripture reading.  I am more in tune with the spirit when I read scriptures.

The Psalm of Nephi

The hymns that are my favorite are those I’ve sung with my family for years.  Probably the most favorite being “Come, Come Ye Saints”. 

Come, come, ye saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy, wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
‘Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell
All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
‘Tis not so, all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward,
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take;
Our God will never us forsake,
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell,
All is well! All is well!

We’ll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the saints will be blessed.
We’ll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we’ll tell,
All is well! All is well!

And should we die before our journey’s through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the saints their rest obtain,
O how we’ll make this chorus swell,
All is well! All is well!

I have thought about these words a lot and keep them near and dear to my heart.  

In Chapter 4, we read what is commonly called the Psalm of Nephi, which is a lot like a hymn.  What a beautiful testimony that Nephi has.  Nephi loves the scriptures and knows they do good for himself and his family (v. 15).  He tries to stay in the right spirit by pondering what he knows and has seen (v. 16).  He fells bad for the wrongs he has done (v. 17-19). He trusts the Lord (v. 19).  He knows the Lord helped him get through his trials (v. 20).  He knows the Lord loves him (v. 21).  He knows the Lord has protected him (v. 22).  He has received answers to his prayers (v. 23-24).  He has witnessed many great things (v. 25).  He knows he should not waste time felling sorry for himself because of the things he’s seen (v. 26).  He knows he should not commit sins because they torment his soul and he wishes he did not have anger for his enemies (v. 27).  He wants to get out of the state he’s in when he thinks of these things, and rejoice because of the Lord (v. 28-30).  He asks the Lord to redeem him, deliver him from his enemies, and stay clear of sin (v. 31).  He wants to walk the straight and narrow path to avoid that which leads him to Hell (v. 32).  He asks for the Lord’s help in these things (v. 33).  He says he has trusted the Lord and will continue to trust the Lord because he knows better than to trust man (v. 34).    He knows he will be blessed for asking, so he will continue to pray to God (v. 35).

I hope that others can feel strength in my testimony, the way that I feel strength through Nephi’s testimony.

How can I escape temptation?

If the temptations of my life became repulsive, they would be easy to get away from. I saw a woman on a TV talk show, who was addicted to smoking.  She decided to try hypnotherapy to stop her from giving in to the temptation.  The therapist convinced her sub-conscience that smoking repulsed her by relating it to something that she was already repulsed by.  It worked and she was able to quit smoking from that point on.  We have a power to do this for ourselves.  In chapter 4, Nephi was angry with his brothers for how they have been (v. 27).  Nephi prayed to have his anger taken away.  He prayed for help to change his own attitude, not that of his brothers.  If I can pray to be stronger when temptation comes my way, than I will stronger.  I cannot pray for another to change, that is their job.


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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