Posts Tagged 'Plagues'

2 Samuel Chapter 24

King David had specific duties as the leader of Israel, in particular, the Lord had given specific direction for how one was to rule His people. At times, the Lord would do something to remind his people of the duties they were not following. This chapter deals with one of those times. It begins:

1 And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.
3 And Joab said unto the king, Now the Lord thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?
4 Notwithstanding the king’s word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel.

At David’s command, the people of Israel were to be numbered. It reads here, that David was instructed by the Lord to number Israel and Judah, so he sent Joab out to number them. In the footnotes it references 1 Corinthians, which says instead, that Satan provoked David to number Israel (see 1 Cor. 21:1). Joab questioned the king’s command, however he took the captains and numbered the people. The idea that Satan influenced David, makes it so I can see why the Lord would have his anger kindled against Israel. I am not sure what was involved in the numbering of the people, but it reads as if it was hard on the people and should not have been performed simply in order to please the king.

5 And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that lieth in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer:
6 Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi; and they came to Dan-jaan, and about to Zidon,
7 And came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beer-sheba.
8 So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

Several months later, they returned to Jerusalem and told him that the king had 800,000 men of war in Israel, and 500,000 in Judah.

10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,
12 Go and say unto David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.
13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.

David’s heart was smitten. I think that this is another way of saying that his conscience got to him, and he felt guilt in his heart over what he had chosen to do. He went to the Lord and confessed his sin in numbering the people of Israel and Judah. He asked for forgiveness. The prophet, Gad, received word from the Lord, that he was to go speak to David. Gad told David that the Lord offered a choice of three things to him. First, seven years of famine to the land, second, enemies who would pursue him for three months as he fled from them, or third, three days of pestilence in the land. David, pled with the prophet, that he and the people be at the mercy of God and not fall into the hands of other men.

It is interesting to me, that the Lord would offer David a choice in his punishment for sinning against him. The people of David would suffer for his choice, but I think that having to choose the punishment, was to be a reminder to David of what he, as their leader, had done wrong.

15 So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men.
16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
17 And David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.

The Lord fulfilled his promise of pestilence for three days, and 70,000 men died. An angel was given the responsibility of bringing the destruction upon Israel. David saw the angel, near the farm of a man named Araunah, and pled with the Lord, that the plague would be stopped, and that he and his family would take the consequences instead of the people, because they had not been the ones who had done wrong in this thing.

The Joseph Smith Translation of verse 16 reads, “And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, [the Lord said unto him, Stay now thine hand, it is enough; for the people repented, and the Lord stayed the hand of the angel, that he destroyed not the people]. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.” The Lord stopped the plague, because the people had been humbled to repentance.

18 And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite.
19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded.
20 And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground.
21 And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people.
22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.
23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee.
24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
25 And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.

The prophet returned to David and told him to make an altar where he had seen the angel. David went to the place, as he had been commanded. When Araunah saw him coming, he greeted him and asked why he had come. David offered to buy his threshingfloor, so that he could build an altar and make sacrifice to stop the plague. Araunah offered his threshingfloor to the king, as well as anything he had that could be used for the offering, including oxen and tools. David would not take it without price. I think he did this because he knew his choice needed to be more of a sacrifice on his part. David bought the threshingfloor and other items from Araunah, built and altar, and offered sacrifice and peace offerings to the Lord. The plague against Israel, was then stopped by the Lord.

We all make mistakes in life. There are going to be those moments when we think of our own wants and desires before others. For a moment, David’s pride led him to make the decision to number the people, which he should not have done. After it was done, he felt the guilt that we so often feel when we have done something we know we should not have done. This guilt, when applied correctly can move us towards repentance and drawing closer to God. David and his people, suffered the consequence of his choice, and then from his guilt, he turned to repentance. Something I am learning more as I get older, is the importance of sacrifice and service in order to make the repentance process complete. David gives us a good example of this. He recognized that he had to personally sacrifice in order to really humble himself towards the Lord. Then, I believe, in more than an attempt to stop the plague, he served the Lord through giving sacrifices and offerings at the altar he had built. Likewise, in the repentance process in our own lives, we will have to sacrifice and serve to have the forgiveness needed for us to change and become better or more like our Father in Heaven. Sacrifice and service are two actions that humble the soul. When we are humble, we are willing to let the Lord help us with His infinite atonement. That is the only way that we will have a lasting change of any kind. I am grateful for the repentance process and for the knowledge that forgiveness is real. The atonement is real and it can free us of the plagues and guilt we bring upon ourselves. This is a blessing that I am eternally grateful for.

Numbers Chapter 33

The children of Israel were led by the hand of the Lord from Egypt towards Canaan, which was the promised land of their fathers. It took them the better part of 50 years to make this journey, mostly due to their rebellious and disobedient nature. This chapter begins with a review of the journey they took.

Israel’s Exodus from Egypt and Entry into Canaan (Bible Map 2)

1 These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron.
2 And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the Lord: and these are their journeys according to their goings out.
3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.
4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the Lord had smitten among them: upon their gods also the Lord executed judgments.
5 And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth.
6 And they departed from Succoth, and pitched in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilderness.
7 And they removed from Etham, and turned again unto Pi-hahiroth, which is before Baal-zephon: and they pitched before Migdol.
8 And they departed from before Pi-hahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah.
9 And they removed from Marah, and came unto Elim: and in Elim were twelve fountains of water, and threescore and ten palm trees; and they pitched there.
10 And they removed from Elim, and encamped by the Red sea.
11 And they removed from the Red sea, and encamped in the wilderness of Sin.
12 And they took their journey out of the wilderness of Sin, and encamped in Dophkah.
13 And they departed from Dophkah, and encamped in Alush.
14 And they removed from Alush, and encamped at Rephidim, where was no water for the people to drink.
15 And they departed from Rephidim, and pitched in the wilderness of Sinai.
16 And they removed from the desert of Sinai, and pitched at Kibroth-hattaavah.
17 And they departed from Kibroth-hattaavah, and encamped at Hazeroth.
18 And they departed from Hazeroth, and pitched in Rithmah.
19 And they departed from Rithmah, and pitched at Rimmon-parez.
20 And they departed from Rimmon-parez, and pitched in Libnah.
21 And they removed from Libnah, and pitched at Rissah.
22 And they journeyed from Rissah, and pitched in Kehelathah.
23 And they went from Kehelathah, and pitched in mount Shapher.
24 And they removed from mount Shapher, and encamped in Haradah.
25 And they removed from Haradah, and pitched in Makheloth.
26 And they removed from Makheloth, and encamped at Tahath.
27 And they departed from Tahath, and pitched at Tarah.
28 And they removed from Tarah, and pitched in Mithcah.
29 And they went from Mithcah, and pitched in Hashmonah.
30 And they departed from Hashmonah, and encamped at Moseroth.
31 And they departed from Moseroth, and pitched in Bene-jaakan.
32 And they removed from Bene-jaakan, and encamped at Hor-hagidgad.
33 And they went from Hor-hagidgad, and pitched in Jotbathah.
34 And they removed from Jotbathah, and encamped at Ebronah.
35 And they departed from Ebronah, and encamped at Ezion-gaber.
36 And they removed from Ezion-gaber, and pitched in the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh.
37 And they removed from Kadesh, and pitched in mount Hor, in the edge of the land of Edom.
38 And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the Lord, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month.
39 And Aaron was an hundred and twenty and three years old when he died in mount Hor.
40 And king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel.
41 And they departed from mount Hor, and pitched in Zalmonah.
42 And they departed from Zalmonah, and pitched in Punon.
43 And they departed from Punon, and pitched in Oboth.
44 And they departed from Oboth, and pitched in Ije-abarim, in the border of Moab.
45 And they departed from Iim, and pitched in Dibon-gad.
46 And they removed from Dibon-gad, and encamped in Almon-diblathaim.
47 And they removed from Almon-diblathaim, and pitched in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo.
48 And they departed from the mountains of Abarim, and pitched in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.
49 And they pitched by Jordan, from Beth-jesimoth even unto Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab.

I can’t help but add some additional things to this review. The Israelites left Egypt, more specifically the land of Rameses, the day following the first passover, and camped in a place called Succoth. They followed the cloud of the Lord, which led them each day, and camped in Etham, Migdol, and then escaped Pharoah’s army by crossing over the dry land of the Red Sea. They traveled to Marah, where the waters were bitter and they could not drink anything. There Moses showed them the power of the Lord when he turned the water sweet and they were able to drink. They traveled next to Elim, and then they left the area of the Red Sea and went on to the wilderness of Sin. Here they complained about the lack of food and the Lord began to give them manna from heaven. From there, they traveled to Dophkah, Alush, and Rephidim, where there was no water, so the Lord opened the rock in Horeb and provided water for the people. They also fought and won against Amalek, because the Lord provided His strength through Moses holding his arms up to heaven. From there, they took their journey into the wilderness of Sinai. This is where the Lord revealed the commandments and many other great and wonderful things to Moses, such as the instructions for the building of the tabernacle. The people made covenants with the Lord, but then returned to idolatry in the Moses’ absence.

When the children of Israel left Sinai, they headed into the wilderness of Paran, camping in Kibroth-hattaavah. This is where they complained for want of something else to eat and they were given quail and a plague, which brought death to those who lusted after the meat. Next, they encamped in Hazeroth, where Miriam and Aaron desired to have the same power that Moses had been given. Miriam was cursed with leprosy for seven days and afterward, the Israelites journeyed to Rithmah. At Rithmah, Moses sent spies into Hebron in Canaan, and of those who went, only Caleb brought back a report and desire to go in and take the land. All the people murmured, except for Caleb and Joshua, and for this, the rest of the adults were promised that they would not enter the land of promise. The rebels among them were destroyed and this is where the forty years of wandering begins.

The Israelites headed back into the wilderness and camped in Rimmon-parez, Libnah, Rissah, Kehelathah, mount Shapher, Haradah, Makheloth, Tahath, Tarah, Mithcah, Hashmonah, Moseroth, Bene-jaakan, Hor-hagidgad, Jotbathah, Ebronah, Ezion-gaber, and then Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin. As they wandered, there was more rebellion against Moses and the Lord, the rebels were destroyed, and many miracles were performed by the power of God. Kadesh (Meribah) was where Miriam died and where Moses and Aaron sinned against the Lord in taking claim to bringing forth water from the rock. The Israelites tried to go through the land of Edom, but were refused by it’s leader. Instead, they left Kadesh and traveled around the land, headed for mount Hor, where Aaron died, a little more than forty years after they left Egypt. Eleazar, his son, became the high priest in his stead. At this point, Arad, the Canaanite king, became aware of the Israelites heading their way. When the Israelites left mount Hor, they passed through Arad’s land and after he fought them and took some of the Israelites captive, they were blessed with the Lord’s hand in battle against the people of Arad in Hormah. As they traveled from mount Hor, they had the experience with the plague of fiery serpents, because they complained about the manna of the Lord again. They continued on camping in Zalmonah, Punon, Oboth, Ije-abarim (Iim), Dibon-gad, and Almon-diblathaim. Amid these places, the Israelites had to fight some of the inhabitants of the land. With the Lord on their side, they were able to destroy their enemies and take the lands. Next, they camped in the Abarim mountains near mount Nebo.

The final stop on the Israelite journey so far, was in the plains of Moab on the eastern side of the Jordan, across the river from the city of Jericho. Here some returned to idolatry, were tempted by the Midianite women, and experienced a plaque among them. By this time, those who had been promised not to see the promised land, had died. Only Moses, who would see the promised land, but not enter it, was remaining. Moses was called into mount Nebo, where the Lord told him, he was to be taken from the people, and Joshua was called to be his successor in leading the Israelites. Before he was to leave them, the people were commanded to destroy the Midianites. Then, the tribes of Reuben, Gad and part of Manasseh, took their inheritance in the land where they were camped.

50 And the Lord spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,
51 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;
52 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:
53 And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.
54 And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.
55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.
56 Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.

Moses was told to command the people that when they crossed the Jordan, they were to drive the inhabitants out of the land. They were to destroy all of their idols, temples or shrines, and other things the people in the land worshipped. This was to be the land of their possession, the promised land which was given to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were to divide the land as their inheritances with larger portions going to the larger tribes or families. The Lord told them that, if they were to leave any of the inhabitants, they would vex the Israelites and the Lord would treat the children of Israel as the other people would be treated. This is something the Lord does with the willingly rebellious. He removes His hand of protection and guidance and allows the world to do what it will, which usually means some kind of affliction or torment. Then, if they return and repent, he draws them into his protecting arms and blesses them for righteousness.

I think of how much the children of Israel had to experience in order to escape bondage and inherit the promised land. They were tested by the Lord and tempted sorely by the adversary and his angels. Even greater still, they experienced mighty miracles beyond what I can even imagine. Many witnessed the glory of the Lord in some way or another. They watched as the power of God was used to do marvelous wonders, such as dividing the waters of the Red Sea. More than of few of them died from their choices to turn from the Lord, to choose rebellion and wickedness, to murmur against their leaders and against the Lord, and from their lack of faith in God. Still, hundreds of thousands lived to this point of the book of Numbers, when they were just about to gain the home they hoped for. I can’t quite fathom this amount of trial and hardship in life. I know that enduring each day with faith and hope in the blessings, would have been very difficult for even those with the strongest testimonies in the Lord. They must have spent a lot of time pleading for strength from the Lord. I know that if I had lived through that, as I am now, I would have been on my knees a lot.

One of the things that this chapter teaches me, is the importance of reviewing the trials of life that I’ve experienced, in order to see the hand of the Lord in my life. I wonder just how often these people thought about the daily blessing that the Lord was to them. I can say that life can draw my attention away from that very thing, and I know that it is so important. This is possibly part of the reason we should pray at the end of our days. So that we can look back, remember what we have experienced, and be grateful for the things that the Lord has done for us. I know that through this, we can gain greater strength to endure the next day. I am so grateful for the path that I am traveling on, to my own hoped for Home. I know that the Lord will be our guide each day, if we allow Him to be. He will bless us for our faithfulness and also allow us to learn from our choices of disobedience and rebellion. I know that He loves us and truly desires for us to return Home to His presence.

Numbers Chapter 25

In the last few chapters, the Israelites were encamped on the east side of the Jordan River, in the area of the Moabites. A Moabite leader, Balak, had hired Balaam to curse the Israelites. Balaam, who was a servant of the Lord, was instructed to bless the Israelites, but because he had a desire for the wealth of men, he told Balak about weaknesses the Israelites had. These weaknesses included issues with fornication and the worship of false gods. The Moabites would be able use these against the Israelites, to destroy them from within. Numbers, chapter 25 begins as follows:

1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.
2 And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.
3 And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.
4 And the Lord said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel.
5 And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baal-peor.

While dwelling in the land of the Moabites, some of the Israelites began to fall prey to temptations. When they began to worship the fall gods, and give sacrifices to them, the Lord was angry. The Lord told Moses to hang the heads of those who had rebelled against Him, between the Israelites and the sun, so that the anger of the Lord would be turned away from them. Moses commanded that all those who had turned to Baal-peor, were to be killed. The footnote for Baal-peor says, “The idol at Peor”, so they were to kill those who went to worship the idol at the mount Peor. The Lord could not look upon sin of this nature with the least degree of allowance. This was not a small sin or a sin of omission. The Lord did not say that those who had done anything wrong ever, were to be killed. Only those who went seeking after another God, after knowing the Lord and making sacred covenants with him.

6 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
7 And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;
8 And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
9 And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.

While the Israelites were weeping to the Lord, an Israelite man brought a Midianite woman in to the encampment, where she was seen by Moses and the elders. I am thinking this means, he brought her in to be involved with her in sins of immorality. Phinehas, one of the grandsons of Aaron and a man of the priesthood, saw him and sought after the man with a javelin in hand. He followed him to his tent and killed the man and the Midianite woman for their adultery. In doing this, he stopped the plague from spreading among the Israelites. 24,000 people died from the plague before he was able to stop it.

Why would the Lord bring a plague upon the people at this time? Because these people had made covenants with Him. Their covenant was that if they were true and faithful to the laws that had been given to them through Moses, the prophet, they would inherit the promised land. When they could not be faithful, God had to hold to his promise that they would not be allowed to inherit it. If God had not followed through on that, He would have ceased to be the unchanging God they had chosen to worship. The lesson in this, is that we can also know that God will remember his covenants with us. Our choices will bring consequences and we can trust that they will be the consequences the Lord has promised to us.

10 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
11 Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.
12 Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:
13 And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.
14 Now the name of the Israelite that was slain, even that was slain with the Midianitish woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites.
15 And the name of the Midianitish woman that was slain was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur; he was head over a people, and of a chief house in Midian.

Phinehas was blessed for how he stopped the plague and turned away the wrath of the Lord, by executing judgment on the adulterers. The Lord gave him a covenant of peace, where he was promised that he and his posterity would continue to hold the priesthood, because he had stood for what was right in the sight of God. The man who he had killed, was Zimri, a prince of the house of Simeon. The woman was Cozbi, a daughter of a chief in Midian.

I was wondering why it was important for us to know that whom the man was, seeing as the whole tribe was not going to be punished for his sin. He was a prince, or rather, one of the heads of the households in the tribe of Simeon. As such, this man was an example for his entire tribe and family. I have to wonder how many souls would have been lost if he had continued in his rebellion against the laws of the Lord. I have watched as many adults have made decisions to go against their own covenants, and the thing that is the hardest to see, is the effect it has on the children. It brings me such overwhelming heartache, that I cannot adequately describe how it hurts to witness it. When we choose to sin, we often do it with only ourselves in mind. However, the effects of some sins can reach for generations. His choices would have caused the loss of thousands of souls, or more, over time.

16 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
17 Vex the Midianites, and smite them:
18 For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor’s sake.

In response to the actions of Cozbi, and to prevent more of the people of Midian from tempting the Israelites away, the Lord commanded Moses to vex and smite the Midianites.

I think that the Lord was allowing opportunities for the Israelites to use their agency to prove themselves. That is part of the purpose of our lives on earth. We are to make choices, with the opposition placed in front of us, and prove to the Lord that we will indeed follow Him. The Lord had every power to lead the people straight through to the promised land, but he did not. He allowed them time to live among other nations, so that they could know for themselves the good from the evil. We are not blessed by having an easy life, where we are not given choices. We can only increase in wisdom, knowledge, faith and righteousness, as we make everyday choices and learn from the consequences, good or bad. We will be given the same opportunity to use our agency and prove ourselves to the Lord. Because of this, I know that we must be ever watchful. The adversary knows our weaknesses. He knew that Balaam would desire for the wealth of the world. He also knew that Zimri had a weakness for women outside of the covenant. He knows what we find appealing. On the other hand, the Lord knows our strengths. He also knows how we can change our weaknesses into strengths. If we are willing to trust Him, He will help us to avoid falling prey to our temptations. If we are watchful, He will help us to see the stumbling blocks in our path, long before they become to difficult for us to avoid.

Numbers Chapter 21

The Israelites had traveled from the desert of Zin, to Mount Hor, on the border of the land of Edom. Here, the high priest, Aaron, had died and the people morned his loss. His son Eleazar, was called to be the high priest. I am under the impression, that these things happened just a short time before the Israelites were able to go into the promised land, which would mean nearly forty years have passed since some of the rebellious had attempted to go into the land on their own.

The book of Numbers continues with the following:

1 And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners.
2 And Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.
3 And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah.

The Canaanites were worried that the Israelites were coming up against them, so they went out against them. King Arad, took some Israelites prisoner. The children of Israel went to the Lord for help in conquering this people, and the Lord listened to their plea. The Canaanites were pretty much destroyed in the land they called Hormah.

4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

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They traveled from mount Hor, around the land of Edom, by way of the Red Sea. The spirit of the Israelites was weighed down because the way of traveling was hard for them. It is so easy to fall into murmuring in times like this, when life seems unnecessarily difficult to us. Once again, they complained against God and the prophet, Moses. They were so tired of eating manna, and they were not happy with not having water to drink. In response, the Lord sent a plague of fiery, or poisonous, serpents, and many of the people died.

7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

The people plead with Moses, when they realized they had sinned and were being punished by God. They begged for Moses to pray for them, that the Lord might remove the fiery serpents from them. Moses prayed for them, and the Lord told Moses to make a serpent on a pole. If those who had been bitten, would look at the serpent, they would live. Moses did as he was commanded, and when bitten people looked at it, they were healed and spared from death. We have a symbol used for the healing of the world today, which is based on this story. Here is a picture (from lds.org) of what the brass serpent may have looked like:

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The symbol in the medical profession looks like this (found on wikipedia):

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There is more to this bible story, which we can find in the book of 1 Nephi, chapter 17, which reads:

40 And he loveth those who will have him to be their God. Behold, he loved our fathers, and he covenanted with them, yea, even Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and he remembered the covenants which he had made; wherefore, he did bring them out of the land of Egypt.
41 And he did straiten them in the wilderness with his rod; for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.
42 And they did harden their hearts from time to time, and they did revile against Moses, and also against God; nevertheless, ye know that they were led forth by his matchless power into the land of promise.

Also found in Alma 33:

18 But behold, this is not all; these are not the only ones who have spoken concerning the Son of God.
19 Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live.
20 But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them.
21 O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish?
22 If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works.

The Israelites had been saved by great miracles beyond anything that most of us could imagine. Many of those who were remaining at this point in their wanderings, were either young children at the time they left Egypt, or had been born in the wilderness. The Lord had sent plagues in Egypt and had given a way for them to remain safe from the destroying angel. Really, the ability to be saved by sacrificing a lamb and putting it’s blood on the doorway of their homes, was not a difficult task for them. However, they had seen the great and terrible power of the Lord up to that point, in the many plagues that came before it. They were willing to put their trust in the Lord at that time. Here they were given a greater test of their faith, and many felt it was too easy a thing, and died instead. In Alma 33:19 (see above), the brass serpent is called a type. It was a type or a symbol of Christ who would come. John 3:14-15 reads, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: (v. 14) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life (v. 15).” If the Israelites could look in faith, towards Christ, they could be saved. If they could not, they would perish. The scriptures teach us, that this was indeed a symbol of Christ.

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The stories of the trials our parents and other ancestors have experienced, should help us to build our own trust and faith in the Lord. We have many opportunities in our lives, to choose if we will learn from those things and look to the Savior, or if we will think that it is too simple a thing He asks of us. There are simple things that the scriptures and modern prophets teach us, will save us. Some of these are reading our scriptures, prayer, attending church, having family home evening, and such. Many feel, however, that things like prayer and scripture study are not for them. They are just too simple to fix all the problems of life. They are too simple to bring them salvation. If we find ourselves feeling like this, we are also choosing not to look to the Lord for our healing and salvation.

10 And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in Oboth.
11 And they journeyed from Oboth, and pitched at Ije-abarim, in the wilderness which is before Moab, toward the sunrising.

The Israelites moved from mount Hor, around the land of Edom, to Oboth, and then on to a place called Ije-abarim near Moab.

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12 From thence they removed, and pitched in the valley of Zared.
13 From thence they removed, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, which is in the wilderness that cometh out of the coasts of the Amorites: for Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.
14 Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon,
15 And at the stream of the brooks that goeth down to the dwelling of Ar, and lieth upon the border of Moab.
16 And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the Lord spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water.

They traveled into the valley of Zared and then moved passed Arnon between Moab and the Amorites. Next, they journeyed to Beer. I am sure that moving into areas where others lived, was a relief to many who were feeling the difficulties of life in the wilderness. They were now in areas with some water and I imagine that some probably recognized how far they had come towards their promised land.

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An interesting thing in these verses, is the part about the book of wars. I don’t really understand it, but the footnote to verse 14, says that it relates to lost scriptures. I think that this means that these are some of the things that have been taken away from the scriptures over time, and I think that some day these things will be revealed.

17 Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it:
18 The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah:
19 And from Mattanah to Nahaliel: and from Nahaliel to Bamoth:
20 And from Bamoth in the valley, that is in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looketh toward Jeshimon.

The Israelites sang, I think in gratitude, for the water they had come upon. Their journey continued to Mattanah, Nahaliel, Bamoth of Moab, and then Pisgah towards Jeshimon.

21 And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,
22 Let me pass through thy land: we will not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink of the waters of the well: but we will go along by the king’s high way, until we be past thy borders.
23 And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness: and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel.
24 And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon was strong.
25 And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof.
26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even unto Arnon.
27 Wherefore they that speak in proverbs say, Come into Heshbon, let the city of Sihon be built and prepared:
28 For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon: it hath consumed Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon.
29 Woe to thee, Moab! thou art undone, O people of Chemosh: he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites.
30 We have shot at them; Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon, and we have laid them waste even unto Nophah, which reacheth unto Medeba.

Messengers were sent to the king of the Amorites, Sihon. They asked to peacefully pass through the land, just as they had done with Edom. Sihon also refused to allow them through, but instead came against the Israelites in Jahaz. The Israelites were blessed to defeat the Amorites and take the land of Arnon. They lived in the cities they had gained.

31 Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites.
32 And Moses sent to spy out Jaazer, and they took the villages thereof, and drove out the Amorites that were there.

A spy was sent to Jaazer by Moses, and the Israelites were able to take the land and drive even more of the Amorites out.

33 And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei.
34 And the Lord said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.
35 So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.

Next they moved toward Bashan, where the king, Og, tried to fight against them. Moses was promised by the Lord that this was the work of the Lord and the Israelites needed not fear the people of Bashan. I think they may have feared them, because these people may have been giants, or at least very large in stature. The Lord told him they would take the land here as well. The Israelites killed the people of this land and took possession of it.

One of the things we learn of the people who were destroyed, is that they were not a righteous people. In 1 Nephi 17 we read:

32 And after they had crossed the river Jordan he did make them mighty unto the driving out of the children of the land, yea, unto the scattering them to destruction.
33 And now, do ye suppose that the children of this land, who were in the land of promise, who were driven out by our fathers, do ye suppose that they were righteous? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.
34 Do ye suppose that our fathers would have been more choice than they if they had been righteous? I say unto you, Nay.
35 Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God. But behold, this people had rejected every word of God, and they were ripe in iniquity; and the fulness of the wrath of God was upon them; and the Lord did curse the land against them, and bless it unto our fathers; yea, he did curse it against them unto their destruction, and he did bless it unto our fathers unto their obtaining power over it.

The Lord prepared the land for his righteous and chosen people. Likewise, the Lord has prepared a place for his righteous people today. If we will be healed by His power, accepting his atonement into our hearts, we will be able to endure to the end, and receive salvation and the promised land He has prepared for us.

Challenge: Is there healing you need in your life? Are you doing the simple things in life, that will draw you closer to the Lord? What can you do today, to look towards Christ and accept the healing power of the atonement in your life?

Numbers Chapter 16

In the wilderness of Paran, the children of Israel had been chastised for rebellion. They were given a promise that all those who were over the age of 20, would not receive the blessings of the promised land in their life. Those who led the rebellion had been destroyed by the Lord. The rest of the people began the years of wandering in the wilderness, which were a consequence of their faithlessness. The book of Numbers continues as follows:

1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:
2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:
3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?
4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:
5 And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the Lord will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.
6 This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;
7 And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the Lord to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the Lord doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.
8 And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi:
9 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?
10 And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?
11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?

Korah of the Levites, Dathan of the tribe of Reuben and Abiram also of the tribe of Reuben, gathered about 250 men against Moses and Aaron. They said that Moses and Aaron were putting themselves higher than the rest of the congregation. This sounds like they thought Moses and Aaron were claiming too much of the power over the people, and that since the presence of the Lord was with them all, they all deserved the power he held. The footnote for the phrase “rose up” references ingratitude. These men were ungrateful for the blessings that had been brought to them and were probably only thinking of the trials and difficulties they were facing. Moses, who was truly a man of God and the prophet of God, fell down, I am guessing in the humility of seeking an answer from God to his current problem. He told the men that on the following day, the Lord would show them who was His holy and chosen people. The men were to burn incense that following day. Moses asked the sons of Levi, if they felt the work they did for the Lord, in bearing the tabernacle, was too small a thing. The Lord had already raised them in their office of the Aaronic priesthood, and now they felt like they deserved the priesthood offices of the Melchizedek . He questioned why they stood against the Lord in this, and why they were against Aaron for the office he held. We learn from modern revelation that those who stand against the people he calls, will be cursed of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 121:16 we read, “Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them.” These men of Israel were bringing the Lord against them.

12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:
13 Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?
14 Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.
15 And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the Lord, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.
16 And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the Lord, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow:
17 And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the Lord every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer.
18 And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron.
19 And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the congregation.
20 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.
22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?

Dathan and Abiram, of the tribe of Reuben, were called to Moses, but refused. They said that they felt as Moses made himself a prince over them and had brought them out of a land of plenty, to kill them in the wilderness. These men felt much like Laman and Lemuel of the Book of Mormon, who felt that their younger brother Nephi had taken it upon himself to be their leader, when it was the Lord who called him to lead the people. These feelings are those of men who have lost a measure of faith in the Lord and His ways. Moses pleaded with the Lord, because this made him upset. Moses had not done these things to them, but the Lord had and Moses was purely the messenger of the Lord. Moses did not want these men to be accepted of the Lord because of the things the were doing. In response, Moses told these men to bring their censers of incense before the Lord on the following day, as well as Aaron who they stood against. The next day, each of these men took their incense and stood with Moses and Aaron at the door of the tabernacle. The glory of the Lord appeared and the Lord told Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from the children of Israel, so that he could destroy them. They pleaded with God, that they would not destroy the entire people.

23 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
24 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.
26 And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.
27 So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.
28 And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.
29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the Lord hath not sent me.
30 But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord.

The Lord told Moses to tell the people to go away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Moses went to these men who refused to speak with him, and the elders followed him. Moses told the people there, that the belongings of these men were wicked and should not be touched by anyone who did not wish to be consumed by their sins. The people left the tents of Dathan and Abiram. The two men came to the doors of their tents along with their families. Moses told them they would witness that he had not done any of these things of himself, but that the Lord had commanded him to do them. Either the men would die of natural causes or as normal men died as proof that Moses did this of himself, or they would be swallowed up by the earth along with all that belongs to them as proof that they had stood against the Lord and provoked his wrath against them.

31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.
35 And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

The ground opened under the men, and they were swallowed up along with all that belonged to them. Their families were also lost in the ground. Those that witnessed it, ran away in fear. The leaders who had brought the incense and were waiting for a witness from the Lord, were consumed by the fire of the Lord because they had rebelled against Him.

36 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
37 Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed.
38 The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before the Lord, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel.
39 And Eleazar the priest took the brasen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar:
40 To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the Lord; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the Lord said to him by the hand of Moses.

Moses was commanded to have Eleazar take the censers of these men, and scatter the fire. He was to make plates to cover the altar as a sign to the Israelites. No one was to seek after the office of the priesthood to which he did not belong. The seed of Aaron had been set apart to the work in the tabernacle and they were to remain the ones who served in that capacity.

41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord.
42 And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared.
43 And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.

The following day, the children of Israel had heard what had happened and many complained against Moses and Aaron for killing the men. They did not recognize the hand of the Lord in this, but blamed Moses and Aaron instead. Once again, the glory of the Lord appeared and Moses and Aaron went to the tabernacle.

44 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.

Moses was told to leave the congregation, so that Lord could consume the people for the faithlessness. Moses and Aaron fell down before the Lord again.

46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun.
47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.
50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.

Moses commanded Aaron to take burning incense into the congregation to make an atonement for them, because the Lord had caused a plague to go out among the people. Aaron did as he was commanded. He stood between those who had died and those who were living and stopped the plague from continuing. 14,700 people died, before the plague was stopped by Aaron and the incense.

This is yet, another example of the lack of faith among some of the people. How easy it seems for some rebels to cause an uprising of otherwise good people, leading to their destruction. It is sad to see how often the people did not trust in the word of the Lord. It is hard to read of how often they felt that Moses should not have been allowed to be the only prophet of God among them. They fell prey to the idea that they knew better than God. They accepted the temptation to ignore the word of the Lord as from the mouth of His holy prophets. I wonder how often we fall prey to these same things today. It is so important to gain a testimony that the prophet has been called of God today. It is also of great importance for us to not question the authority of the priesthood. There are some women today, who are striving to change church policy to allow women to hold the priesthood, as if this would change the will of the Lord. To me, this is evidence that people are not willing to see the Lord as the head of this church. It is his gospel and it does not belong to any man to control or adapt for the times. This kind of dependence on the ways of the world will not please God. We should not provoke the Lord in wrath against us, because the scriptures teach us that it will only lead to our physical or spiritual destruction. Instead, we should follow His chosen prophet and leaders and strive to gain a testimony that they are doing as the Lord commands.

Exodus Chapter 11

Moses and Aaron were called of God, to deliver the Israelites from bondage. They were commanded by God to bring nine plagues against the Egyptians by this point. Pharaoh hardened his heart against the wonders of God and still would not allow the people of Israel to go. Moses and Aaron have been cast out of the presence of Pharaoh with the threat of death if he saw them again. The story of Moses and the plagues of Egypt continues as follows:

1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.
2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.
3 And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.
4 And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:
5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.
8 And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger.
9 And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.
10 And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

The Lord told Moses that there would be one more plague and then Pharaoh would let them go, or rather he would cast them out. The Israelites were told to ask for jewels or jewelry from their neighbors. I think this was to fulfill the promise that was made to them before the plagues began, that they would receive things of wealth before leaving the land of Egypt. I think the Egyptians were willing to give them anything, if it meant they would leave and stop bringing such awful things upon them. The plague was that all the firstborn, whether human or animal, in the land of Egypt would die. This would bring great heartache to the people of Egypt. This plague was following a warning given to Pharaoh before the first plague came to them. He had been told then, that if he did not allow the Israelites to go and worship him, then his firstborn would be slain. The Lord is always true to His word, and here again was the promise of taking the firstborn. The Lord would put a difference between the Egyptians and the Israelites. I think that this means that the Egyptians would not have been able to hide among the Israelites to avoid this. The Lord knew His people from those who worshipped other gods. He knew that some would beg them to leave and not bring any more plagues upon them. I think Moses was to tell these things of the Lord to the people so that word would get to Pharaoh, since he was not to go to Pharaoh any more. However, the verse says he went out from Pharaoh in anger and I’m not quite sure what that means. Anyway, the Lord told Moses that Pharaoh would not listen to the warning and the plague would happen. The lesson learned from this chapter, is that the Lord will do what is necessary to more His work forward. Pharaoh was warned multiple times of what would come and yet he still hardened his heart to the words of Moses. Also, the Lord keeps His word. The Israelites were given much from the Egyptians and this was just as the Lord had said. We are given warnings as well, and we need to heed them.

Exodus Chapter 10

At this point in the book of Exodus, Moses and Aaron had gone to Pharaoh a number of times, under the direction of the Lord. They had asked Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, so that they could worship God freely, but Pharaoh was not a believer in the God of Israel. Even though he was shown the power of God through the awesome plagues that Moses and Aaron had brought upon Egypt, he would not allow his heart to be softened. He had promised to let them go multiple times, but had not followed through with his word. The book of Exodus continues as follows:

1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:
2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord.
3 And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.
4 Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast:
5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field:
6 And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh.
7 And Pharaoh’s servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?
8 And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the Lord your God: but who are they that shall go?
9 And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord.
10 And he said unto them, Let the Lord be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you.
11 Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.

Again, Moses is told to go before Pharaoh, to tell him to let the people go or be shown more of the power of God. The Lord says that the power of God was to be witnessed so that they could teach their children and further posterity that He is God. Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh in his pride. This time, Pharaoh is warned that if he failed to do what the Lord wanted, a plague of locusts would come to the people of Egypt. The Lord would cause that the locusts would devour everything that had been left behind from the previous plagues. They would be everywhere. Moses did as he was told and then left Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s servants questioned why Moses was still allowed to do these things to do and why he would not let the people go. Moses was becoming a barrier to their progress and they felt something should be done about it. His servants suggest that he allow the men to go. Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and asked them who they planned on taking with them. Moses told him they would take all of the Israelites and their flocks. Pharaoh said if he let them go with their little ones, they would be up to something that was not good, so instead he said they could take the men and go, and then they were sent away from Pharaoh.

12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left.
13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.
15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.

Since Pharaoh would not allow all the people to go, the Lord told Moses to bring the locusts as he had said to Pharaoh. This he did, and the plague of locusts was very grievous.

16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you.
17 Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the Lord your God, that he may take away from me this death only.
18 And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the Lord.
19 And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.
20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.

Pharaoh quickly called Moses and Aaron and again asked that they pray to the Lord to remove the plague. Moses asked the Lord and the locusts were removed to the sea. Again, Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not let the people go.

21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.
22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

This time, the Lord had Moses bring darkness on the land, without a warning to Pharaoh. This darkness was thick and could be felt. For three days, the Egyptians were without light, but the Israelites were able to have light in their homes. I can imagine that Pharaoh was aware of the plagues affecting the Egyptians, but not affecting the Israelites. I wonder how this made a man of his stubborn pride feel. I have to wonder if he had moments where he wondered why this was, and perhaps felt something or if he was purely without understanding. The Lord really does give every opportunity for those who have turned to other Gods and Satan, to turn back and do what is right, so that they can earn a just reward.

24 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.
25 And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God.
26 Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the Lord our God; and we know not with what we must serve the Lord, until we come thither.

Pharaoh told Moses that they could take the children with them, but not their flocks. Moses told him they were to take their animals as well so that they could serve the Lord and sacrifice to Him. They could not have the proper feast without a way to give sacrifice to the Lord.

27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.
28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.
29 And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.

Pharaoh continued to harden his heart and would not allow them to leave. Instead, he cast Moses out from him and told him he would not see his face again, or he would die. I think that Moses went with the knowledge that he would not come to plead with Pharaoh again. I don’t think that this was the last time they saw one another, but Moses would not be coming to ask permission any longer.

As I am studying this now, I have a feeling that these plagues occurred over a much longer period of time, then how it reads. It seems as though one thing happened right after another, but I am guessing that between the hail which destroyed much and these locusts, there was enough time for some of the plants to grow. I feel like I can have a small idea of what that plague would have been like. One year, when I was a teenager, we had a huge number of grasshoppers in my town. They seemed to be everywhere. I would walk home from school and try my best to avoid stepping on them. It was not pleasant in the least. Still I can’t quite imagine them in the number talked of here. Again, I can’t quite imagine what the darkness would have felt like either. I have felt something like a vapor of darkness. Just thinking about it gives me a sense of claustrophobia. Darkness affects us and not in the most positive ways. I am sure this was extremely difficult for the Egyptians to live with for three days, without an understanding of how it could come to an end. I am so grateful for light and the hope it brings.

This is now nine of the ten plagues of Egypt. I cannot begin to understand how the people of Egypt felt. I wonder is some had learned to fear the Lord and turn away from there false Gods. I wonder if most or all of them were so stuck in their ways that they failed to see the power of God for what it was. So many in the world today would blame these things on some coincidence or force of nature, without recognizing the power of God. As a people, we have turned to explaining away miracles and wonders in our lives. The power of God is real. It exists in our lives today. We are not exempt from the same wonders that the people experienced in Moses’ time. He is here for us, just as He was there for them. We need to take a look at our lives and recognize the tender mercies and miracles we have had. If we recognize these things with gratitude in our hearts, there will be plenty more besides. I am so grateful for the Lord’s tender mercies in my own life. I believe that the priesthood power has been restored to the earth and that righteous men of God have been given the authority to use it to further the work of the Lord.

Exodus Chapter 9

Moses and Aaron had been chosen to deliver the people of God, the Israelites, from the Egyptians. Pharaoh had no desire to let his slaves go free and had hardened his heart to the miracles and wonders of God. Moses and Aaron have been commanded by God to use His power to bring plagues upon the people in the land of Egypt. At this point, the Egyptians have been made to suffer through their water turning to blood, and great numbers of frogs, lice and flies. The magicians of Pharaoh, who are much like false priests, were not able to stop these plagues. The only way they stopped was by the prayers of Moses to God, but still Pharaoh has not listened. The story of the plagues of Egypt continues:

1 Then the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
2 For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still,
3 Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.
4 And the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel.
5 And the Lord appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the Lord shall do this thing in the land.
6 And the Lord did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.
7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

Again, Moses is commanded to go to Pharaoh and ask him to let God’s people go. If he would not, the animals of the fields of the Egyptians would die. This time, the Lord said there was a certain time this would happen. Moses did as he was commanded and the cattle of the Egyptians died the next day, while the cattle of the Israelites were unharmed.

8 And the Lord said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh.
9 And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.
10 And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.
11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.
12 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses.

The Lord commanded Moses to use ashes to bring a plague of boils upon the Egyptians and their animals. They were commanded to spread the ashes in front of Pharaoh, so that he could see what they did. Moses and Aaron did as they were commanded and boils came upon the Egyptians. Still Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not listen.

13 And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
14 For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.
15 For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.
16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
17 As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?
18 Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.
19 Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.
20 He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:
21 And he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his servants and his cattle in the field.

Moses was commanded to go to Pharaoh again, to ask for the Israelites to be let go. The Lord threatened all His plagues upon the Egyptians to show them his power and majesty was greater than their false Gods. The Lord had allowed Pharaoh to remain, in order to show his power to the people. But Pharaoh had put himself above the people of God and denied God by not letting the Israelites go. The Lord promised a great hail to fall on Egypt and any animal left out in the fields would die. The people who had learned to fear the Lord, hid their cattle and themselves in their houses, while the others left their cattle in the field to die.

22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.
23 And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.
24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.
26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.

The Lord commanded Moses to use the power of God to bring hail upon the land of Egypt, which he did. A storm of hail and fire came upon the land by the power of God. The storm destroyed everything in the fields: animals, men and trees. Again the Lord protected His people. I find it interesting that the things which the Egyptians had been blessed by because of the Israelites, were now being taken away. Crops of the field were plentiful in Egypt, because of Joseph and his gift of the spirit to interpret dreams. The cattle were brought to Egypt and raised by the Israelite farmers, when Jacob and his sons came to live in Goshen. The fact that even any Egyptians remained after the great famine, was due to Joseph so many years before. All these things were blessings to the Egyptians through the power of God, and now that Pharaoh would not allow the Israelites to worship God in freedom, God was taking those things away.

27 And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.
28 Intreat the Lord (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.
29 And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lord’s.
30 But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the Lord God.
31 And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.
32 But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up.
33 And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth.
34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses

Pharaoh asked Moses and Aaron to pray to God again, to remove the plague of hail, and he said he would let the people go. Again Moses prayed for the plague to be stopped, and again Pharaoh went against his word and hardened his heart to the things of God. He would not let the people go free.

This story has been heard by many millions of people, the world over. When the Lord said Pharaoh had been allowed to remain so that His power would be shown to the people, I think that he may have meant to us, not just to those who lived there in Egypt. The story of the plagues and Pharaoh is an example to all of the great and terrible power of God. We cannot afford to become full of pride and harden our hearts to the things of God. This world is His. He created all that we know and have. When the Lord makes promises of destruction and trials due to wickedness, we need to listen. God can be trusted to do as He promises. In fact, promises of this type have been made to us in these latter-days. As the coming of the Lord gets closer, we will again experience plagues of all types, which will destroy the wicked things of the world. In 1 Nephi chapter 22 we read the following:

16 For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous.
17 Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire.

I believe in the promises of the Lord. I know that His power, the priesthood power, is greater than another power of man. I want to be on the Lord’s side and do the things that He has commanded us to do, so that I (and those I love who choose the right) can experience blessings and be spared from the destruction that will eventually come.

Exodus Chapter 8

By this chapter in the book of Exodus, Moses has been given the priesthood authority to show the wonders of God to the people of Egypt. Pharaoh denied the Israelites the ability to leave and worship God, so God commanded Moses to turn their water into blood. Pharaoh had his priests do something much like it and consequently hardened his heart to the miracles and wonders of God. This account continues as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
2 And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs:
3 And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs:
4 And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.

Moses was commanded to return again and request that the Israelites be freed so that they might worship God. If he was refused by Pharaoh, the Lord would bring a plague of frogs to all people in the land of Egypt.

5 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.
6 And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.
7 And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.

Aaron was told to bring the plague of frogs upon the people. The false priests of Pharaoh also conjured this plague.

8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the Lord, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the Lord.
9 And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only?
10 And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the Lord our God.
11 And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only.
12 And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the Lord because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh.
13 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields.
14 And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.
15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

Pharaoh asked Moses and Aaron to ask God to remove the plague of frogs and he agreed to let the Israelites go. Moses prayed that the Lord would stop the frogs and they stopped coming and the dead frogs were gathered. When the plague was no longer an issue, Pharaoh went back on his word to them and did not allow them to be free.

16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
17 And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
18 And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast.
19 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

The Lord told Moses to have Aaron turn the dust into a plague of lice. Aaron did what he was told to do and there was lice throughout Egypt. The magicians of Pharaoh tried to stop this plague, but they could not do it. They recognized the work of Moses and Aaron as the work of God, or at least they recognized that the power of God was with them, but Pharaoh still did not listen and let them go.

20 And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
21 Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.
22 And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.
23 And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.
24 And the Lord did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies.

Moses was commanded to go again to Pharaoh when he was going to the water, and again ask him to let the people go so that they could worship the Lord. He was commanded to tell him that if he did not, the Lord would bring a plague of flies upon Egypt. With this plague, the Lord said that the Israelites, who still lived in the part of Egypt called Goshen, would be spared from the plague. This was to show Pharaoh that He was the God of the world. Moses and Aaron did as they were commanded and the Lord put a plague of flies on the people in Egypt.

25 And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.
26 And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the Lord our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?
27 We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the Lord our God, as he shall command us.
28 And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me.
29 And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will intreat the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, to morrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.
30 And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the Lord.
31 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one.
32 And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.

Pharaoh told Moses and Aaron that he would let them worship in the land, but Moses said no to this. He told Pharaoh that the Egyptians would kill them if they worshipped there. Moses told Pharaoh to let them leave the land to worship, just as God had commanded them. Pharaoh said he would let them go to worship, but they couldn’t go far away. Moses said he would pray that the flies be removed, but Pharaoh should not go against his word again. Then, Moses prayed and the flies stopped, but again Pharaoh would not let the people go.

I believe that Satan had a hold of the heart of Pharaoh. This man was a worshipper of false Gods, who put himself above all other people. Each time his false priests were able to duplicate something that Moses and Aaron had done, it gave him little reason to believe that the God of the Israelites was greater than himself or his gods. His heart was so hard and so deceived, that every time life was not plagued by some pest, he would go back on his word to the Israelite people. God knew the heart of Pharaoh, but still He gave him every chance to do the right thing. These plagues would have been extremely unpleasant to the Egyptians and they were just the beginning. I think it must have taken a very wicked man to allow his own people to suffer so much, just to be able to stay in power over another group of people. I wonder if I had the opportunity to experience things such as these, would I recognize the power of God or explain it away as something of lesser value. I would hope that I could recognize God’s work and more importantly, that I would learn from it and draw nearer to Him.


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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