Posts Tagged 'Prayer'

2 Chronicles Chapter 6

The presence of the glory of the Lord, was a manifestation of God’s acceptance of the temple that Solomon had built. The only thing remaining before the temple would be put to regular use, was to dedicate it to the Lord and His purposes. This chapter begins:

1 Then said Solomon, The Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
2 But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever.
3 And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all the congregation of Israel stood.
4 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying,
5 Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel:
6 But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
7 Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
8 But the Lord said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart:
9 Notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name.
10 The Lord therefore hath performed his word that he hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built the house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
11 And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, that he made with the children of Israel.

Solomon declared to God, that the temple was built as a house for God. Then, he blessed the congregation of Israel. He was grateful for the Lord’s help in fulfilling the commandment given to His father, David. The Lord had chosen Jerusalem to be the city where the temple would be built, after a very long time with the Israelites inhabiting the land of promise. David had been chosen by God, to rule over His people. David had desires to build the temple for the Lord, but it was given to David to build it. David was blessed for his desires and was told that his son would build the temple. Solomon spoke of the fulfillment of this through him. Solomon had placed the ark of the covenant in the temple, so that He could continue to keep the covenants made with the children of Israel by his presence being among them. (see also 1 Kings 8)

12 And he stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands:
13 For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven,
14 And said, O Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:
15 Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
16 Now therefore, O Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me.
17 Now then, O Lord God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David.
18 But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!
19 Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee:
20 That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.
21 Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.

After finishing this message to the people, Solomon stood upon a riser, before the altar and offered a dedicatory prayer. In the prayer, he recognized that God is unlike anything or anyone else in all the world or in heaven. God keeps His covenants perfectly and is a merciful God to the righteous who strive to walk with Him. Solomon said that God had fulfilled His words that day, with the completion of the temple. Solomon prayed that the promises made to his father, that the line of David would continue upon the throne in Israel, would continue to be fulfilled as well. Solomon recognized that God could not be contained by the temple built by men, but asked that the Lord would watch over the temple day and night. He asked that God would put his name upon the temple, as had been told to David, and that the prayer of Solomon would be heard and answered. Solomon prayed that the Lord would hear all the prayers offered toward the temple, and that the Lord would forgive.

22 If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house;
23 Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.

Solomon prayed that their oaths would be recognized by the Lord judging and rewarding them justly according to their wickedness or righteousness.

24 And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house;
25 Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers.

He prayed that when the Lord allowed their enemies to have power over them, the repentant sinners would be forgiven and brought back to the land of promise given to their ancestors.

26 When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them;
27 Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.

If they sinned and the consequence was drought, Solomon prayed for the Lord to forgive penitent Israel and bless them with rain upon the promised land.

28 If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be:
29 Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house:
30 Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)
31 That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.

Additionally, if there is any curse upon the land of any kind, he prayed that God would forgive those who repent and pray to the Lord, and they would receive forgiveness and blessings according to their good works. Solomon said that this was so that the people would reverence the Lord, following the commandments, because they would recognize that they received their blessings from God according to their faith.

God is all-knowing and therefore, He knows us. He knows are needs. He knows are dispositions. He knows our temptations. He knows our weaknesses as well as our strengths. He knows the things that we desire in the deepest parts of our hearts. He knows these things perfectly and in ways that we do not even know ourselves. He is waiting to bless us as our loving Father in Heaven, but he desires that we have every opportunity for growth in this life. Because of this, He expects us to repent and return to Him to ask for forgiveness, in order for us to receive those blessings. When the Israelites turned back to the temple, where the presence of the Lord was in their day, they could be forgiven by their all-knowing God, and through receiving promised blessings they would recognize the power, forgiveness, mercy and goodness of God.

32 Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name’s sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house;
33 Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name.
34 If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name;
35 Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
36 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;
37 Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;
38 If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:
39 Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.
40 Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
41 Now therefore arise, O Lord God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.
42 O Lord God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.

Solomon prayed the the prayers of foreigners, made towards the temple, would also be heard and answered by the Lord. He prayed for this, because all men, everywhere, would be able to see the blessings and know the God of Israel. He asked for the blessings of the Lord, to be upon the host of Israel who prayed towards the temple as they went to defend the children of Israel from their enemies. If they would be captured by their enemies because they sinned against the Lord and remember and return to the Lord with all of their heart and soul, praying towards the temple from the land of their bondage, then Solomon asked that the Lord hear their prayers and forgive them. He prayed that every prayer be heard that was made in the temple. He then dedicated the temple to the Lord as His resting place, asking for blessing upon the priests who would serve there, that the saints might rejoice.

Why would it be important to know of this dedication? Isaiah 56:7 reads, “Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” During His mortal ministry, Jesus said, “…It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Luke 19:46)” Again in more modern times, when talking of the temple, the Lord instructed Joseph Smith, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer… (Doctrine and Covenants 88:119).” The temples of the Lord, modern and ancient, are houses of prayer. Temples have been dedicated to the Lord by prayer. Sacrifices made to the Lord in temples have been dedicated by prayer. Sacred covenants are made there by prayer. The faithful seek revelation, guidance and answers through prayer when within the walls of the temple. This is necessary, because God wants to communicate with His people. This is a main purpose for the building of temples around the world. He desires for His children to separate themselves from the world spiritually and physically, and speak to Him, commit to Him, and love Him. We should be a prayerful people. I am grateful for the experiences I have had in hearing dedicatory prayers for a few of the modern temples. I am sure that all those present in the days of Solomon’s dedication of the temple in Jerusalem, were greatly blessed by that experience as well.

2 Chronicles Chapter 5

Solomon had been given the instruction to build a temple, before he had become the king of Israel. As far as the scriptures have recorded, this was the commandment that occupied the mind of his father, King David, for the last several years of his life. Once his reign had been established, Solomon had started the work of constructing the temple and made it a priority for his kingdom. This chapter continues the record of this, and begins with the following:

1 Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the Lord was finished: and Solomon brought in all the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God.

The temple was completed. Solomon took all the things that King David had dedicated for the temple during the last part of his life, and placed them along with the valuable things he had made for the house of the Lord. (see also 1 Kings 8)

2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.
3 Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month.
4 And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark.
5 And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up.
6 Also king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
7 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims:
8 For the cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
9 And they drew out the staves of the ark, that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen without. And there it is unto this day.
10 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

The elders of Israel and tribe leaders were gathered to Jerusalem, so that the ark of the covenant could be brought to the temple on mount Zion. They had their traditional feast, the Feast of Tabernacles known to be held in the seventh month, and the Levites and priests brought the ark and the tabernacle, along with all that was a part of it, into Jerusalem. The people gathered there, worshiped the Lord with a great number of sacrifices. The ark was placed in the holy of holies, under the cherubim wings within the temple, which was its intended resting place. Within the ark, was the two tablets containing the ten commandments Moses had received at Mount Horeb (also known as Mount Sinai). This verse says that was the only thing in the ark, however, Hebrews 9:4 teaches the ark also contained the “pot of manna” and “Aaron’s rod that budded,”. These items had also been included in the things the children of Israel were commanded to keep “before the Testimony” along with the tablets.

11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course:
12 Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:)
13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;
14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.

Once all had been properly placed within the temple by the priests, the temple musicians, which were all gathered at the end of the altar, dressed in white and ready with their instruments, began to play in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. They sang in praise of the Lord, of his eternal goodness and mercy. Then the glory of the Lord was manifested in the temple, by a cloud, which filled the space and caused the priests to be unable to stand to minister. Music is not something created by men for our enjoyment. Music is of God. The temple was complete and all was placed within it, but the glory of the Lord came when the people praised God with music. Music is seen by God as a prayer, as indicated in Doctrine and Covenants 25:12. “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” If one song could invite the glory of the Lord to abide in the temple in the days of Solomon, then a single song has a lot of power spiritually. This should cause us to consider what songs we sing, the power they have, and what we might invite into our lives and our personal temples or “tabernacles of clay”, as we sing and dance. What kinds of prayers are we singing to God in our everyday lives?

I cannot begin to imagine the excitement and joy that must have been there among the elders of Israel and the Levites. After so many years in the land of promise, the ark of the covenant had finally found its resting place. So much effort had gone into the building of this glorious temple. Then, as they worshiped the Lord, his acceptance was made known to them as the cloud filled the temple. I do not know how often, if much at all, the cloud had been present with the tabernacle in the promised land. I am sure that they all knew the stories of the cloud that covered the tabernacle as their ancestors had traveled in the wilderness. In any case, this must have been a glorious time of celebration for the Israelites, and especially for Solomon. The Lord had accepted their sacrifices, both those in building the temple and those they made when it was completed, and they were able to witness his presence among them.

1 Chronicles Chapter 29

The book of 1 Chronicles records the history of the people of God from the creation through the rule of King David. As the last chapter in this book, the words of David to his successor and his people are wrapped up. David had been a great leader for the children of Israel, even with his personal flaws and transgressions. He had fought the enemies of the land valiantly. As a result, the land of Israel had finally been made ready for a permanent house of the Lord, which Solomon was to build during his reign. This final chapter begins with the following:

1 Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the Lord God.
2 Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.
3 Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house,
4 Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal:
5 The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?

David, speaking to all the Israelites, said that the work given to Solomon was a huge task for a leader who was still young. The Lord has often called those who are young, to perform great tasks for Him. David himself, who had fought Goliath in his youth, had been chosen by God at a young age to become the king of Israel. In youth, people are more humble and teachable, and less hardened by life experiences. In humility, the Lord can bless the weak to become strong, because they rely on Him and have greater faith and trust in the Lord.

David, in his own sincere desire to have the house of the Lord built, had done all that he could to prepare for it. Since he could not build it himself, he had saved all the treasures and supplies, that he could. He had a good amount of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stones, which he had gathered. He had even given a great deal of his own treasures, and dedicated them to the house of the Lord. The Lord had given instruction regarding specific materials to use for specific purposes in the construction of the temple as well as the design of all the tools and vessels. David told the people that the the things he had gathered were for their specific items within the temple, to be crafted by skilled workers. He then called for all who were willing, to consecrate their service to this great work.

6 Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly,
7 And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.
8 And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite.
9 Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.

The leaders of the tribes of Israel gave willingly to the construction of the temple. They gathered gold, silver, brass, iron, and precious stones. Jehiel, the Gershonite (possibly mentioned in 1 Chronicles 23:8 as leader of the sons of Laadan, who were Levites who served at the temple, though there were others by this name listed), worked to gather and give these treasures to house of the Lord.

The Israelites rejoiced because they willingly gave this offering to the Lord. David rejoiced also for their offerings to the Lord. God does not need men to give him their treasures in order to be able to have a House built to his name, because he could provide a way for these things to be handled without them. However, this is a sacrifice and a consecration of means and time, which God asks of men in order to show commitment to Him. This sacrifice of the Israelites, was much like the tithing that God asks of His people today. All things are His and when we contribute willingly to the building up of His kingdom on Earth, we show that we recognize that we are willing to do our part for Him. This commitment is worthy of rejoicing and having a grateful heart, as it was to the Israelites.

10 Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.
11 Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.
12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
15 For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
16 O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.
17 I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.
18 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:
19 And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.

David publicly praised the Lord as he dedicated all that had been offered to the Lord. He acknowledged that all things belonged to God, both in heaven and in the earth, and that all things were and are part of the Lord’s kingdom. He also recognized that God rules over all, just as the Savior did in what is known as the Lord’s prayer. Matthew 6:9-10 and 13 record he Savior’s words, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. …For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” These thoughts of both David and Jesus the Christ, are absolute truths related to God, the Father. They are eternal truths that should continue to be recognized today. People today can and should acknowledge God publicly and privately for His divine majesty.

Continuing, David acknowledged the power and might of God, and that God gives to men the ability to be great and strong. David thanked and praised God, adding that they were only able to give so freely of things because they belonged to the Lord and He made it possible. Again, this is an absolute truth and can and should be recognized by people today. All things, both in the earth and made by man, come of God. He has created all of it and it all belongs to Him. We are only here on earth, for a short time, with the permission granted to us to use all that He has created. When we give to the Lord in ways such as tithes and offerings, as the Israelites did, we are returning to the Lord what He has made possible for us to use. In this, we should be continually grateful, as David was.

David humbly recognized that the children of Israel were strangers and travelers as their ancestors had been. This idea again applies to all men. We are all strangers to this life. We were spiritually created first, and lived in Heaven with God. We spend our time in this earthly life, as strangers, needing the prevailing guidance of our Father. That time is ever-changing, short and never standing still, as a shadow changes each moment with the movement of the sun.

As he went on, David spoke of the ways of God to test the hearts of his people, and of His pleasure in finding uprightness in them. David had willingly given his offering out of his own uprightness of heart, or honesty and goodness, and he found joy in seeing the people give willingly as well. He prayed to the Lord, that the people would remember this and prepare their hearts for the Lord. Moreover, he prayed that the Lord would bless his son, Solomon, with a perfect heart. That Solomon would keep the commandments and statutes of God, and do all in his power to build the temple for which David had prepared greatly.

20 And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the Lord, and the king.
21 And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings unto the Lord, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel:
22 And did eat and drink before the Lord on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the Lord to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest.
23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.
24 And all the princes, and the mighty men, and all the sons likewise of king David, submitted themselves unto Solomon the king.
25 And the Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.

The gathered people were told to worship the Lord, which they did through prayer, sacrifices, and burnt offerings. Their worship continued as they feasted with great gladness. Solomon was anointed king by the people, with Zadok as the priest. Solomon took the throne and prospered. Israel became subject to him, including all the leaders who had served under David. Solomon was truly blessed by the Lord, in ways that had not been known to the Israelites before this time.

26 Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel.
27 And the time that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.
28 And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead.
29 Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,
30 With all his reign and his might, and the times that went over him, and over Israel, and over all the kingdoms of the countries.

David had been king in Hebron for 7 years and in Jerusalem for 33 years, making his total reign in Israel, 40 years. He died at a good age for his day, which was about 70 (his rule began when he was 30, according to 2 Samuel 5:4), having been blessed with wealth and honor. There are other accounts of David’s reign, which are not all had in the Bible and are lost writings, but his reign was great and established much for the nation of Israel.

David was a good example to the people of his time, as well as to all the world since that time, to praise God with gratitude. He had been a memorable leader for Israel, serving them and remembering God. He had his shortcomings and was not a perfect man, but he recognized this in himself and ended his days looking to God. As the successful king he was, he could have chosen to withhold his gratitude as many others do. However, David knew from his youth, that his successes and greatness came from the hand of the Lord. As we go through our lives today, it is important for us to remember this as well. We owe so much to God for all He does for us, and we will be blessed and become more, if we humbly look to God with a grateful heart and openly praise Him.

1 Chronicles Chapter 14

The reign of King David in Israel began with things such as attempting to relocate the ark of the covenant. It continued with those things found in this chapter. David had already made a well-known name for himself, by leading armies with great strength and having many victories over their enemies. Moreover, he had reigned in Judah for 7 1/2 years. Once he was anointed king of Israel, he and his family, including his two wives Ahinoam and Abigail, had relocated from Hebron to Jerusalem. This chapter begins with the following:

1 Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and timber of cedars, with masons and carpenters, to build him an house.
2 And David perceived that the Lord had confirmed him king over Israel, for his kingdom was lifted up on high, because of his people Israel.

Workers from Tyre were sent along with messengers of the king, Hiram, who was a friend of King David. They brought cedar to build David a house in Jerusalem. David could tell that he was being blessed by the Lord and therefore knew his anointing as their king was confirmed by God.

3 And David took more wives at Jerusalem: and David begat more sons and daughters.
4 Now these are the names of his children which he had in Jerusalem; Shammua, and Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon,
5 And Ibhar, and Elishua, and Elpalet,
6 And Nogah, and Nepheg, and Japhia,
7 And Elishama, and Beeliada, and Eliphalet.

David married more wives while in Jerusalem, in addition to his two wives from before becoming king of Israel. These wives bore him children, including Shammua (Shimea, of Bathsheba), Shobab (of Bathsheba), Nathan (of Bathsheba), Solomon (of Bathsheba and successor of David), Ibhar, Elishua, Elpalet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Beeliada (Eliada), and Eliphalet (Eliphelet). (see also 2 Samuel 5 and 1 Chronicles 3)

Modern revelation teaches that the wives were given to David in a manner acceptable by God, by a prophet of God called Nathan, except for the case of Bathsheba, who was the wife of Uriah (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:38-39). In our current times, this act of having multiple wives has, in His wisdom, not been considered acceptable to the Lord.

8 And when the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek David. And David heard of it, and went out against them.
9 And the Philistines came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
10 And David inquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? and wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord said unto him, Go up; for I will deliver them into thine hand.
11 So they came up to Baal-perazim; and David smote them there. Then David said, God hath broken in upon mine enemies by mine hand like the breaking forth of waters: therefore they called the name of that place Baal-perazim.
12 And when they had left their gods there, David gave a commandment, and they were burned with fire.
13 And the Philistines yet again spread themselves abroad in the valley.
14 Therefore David inquired again of God; and God said unto him, Go not up after them; turn away from them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.
15 And it shall be, when thou shalt hear a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt go out to battle: for God is gone forth before thee to smite the host of the Philistines.
16 David therefore did as God commanded him: and they smote the host of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gazer.
17 And the fame of David went out into all lands; and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations.

The Philistines heard of David’s anointing and decided to go after him. David went against them and found them spread about in the valley of Rephaim (the giants). David asked the Lord if he should fight the Philistines, and if he did, if the Lord would deliver them into his hands. This was something that had happened a number of times before, because David turned to the Lord for his strength. The Lord answered David and told him to go against them, because the Lord would deliver them into his hand. David led his men and they were victorious in Baal-perazim, recognizing that God had done this for him and his people (see also 2 Samuel 5:19-20). The idols that the Philistines had brought with them, were burned at David’s command. Once again, the Philistines were in the valley and David went to God again. However, this time, God told him not to go after them in that valley. Instead, he was to go to a place that had mulberry trees. Once he heard the sound of their going, or marching, from the tops of the trees, he was to take his army against them. This would be a sign that God had gone before them to destroy the Philistines. David followed the commandments of God, and they were able to defeat the Philistines (see also 2 Samuel 5:22-25). Then the fame of David spread to all the nations and others feared him.

The message of faith and trust in God rather than in the arm of the flesh, that is found in this story of David, is such a good example to us today. David had already shown that he was a skilled fighter and leader of armies. He had grown in these talents over the years and had been continually successful in it. However, he was meek in his own power and in humility, turned to the Lord for guidance, knowing that God would help him if it was the right thing to do. God blesses the meek and humble with the power to overcome their challenges. It may not happen in the timing or way that we would expect. I imagine that David’s wisdom would not have led him to listen from the trees before attacking the Philistines. I don’t imagine that this was how he had initially expected to have victory over his enemies. However, it was God’s wisdom and it proved successful. We will be greatly blessed if we can demonstrate a level of faith and trust in God compared with our own challenges in life.

1 Chronicles Chapter 4

A Family Tree

A genealogy of the children of Israel, was started in 1 Chronicles chapter 2, with the sons of Jacob and a focus on the family of Judah. It continued to list this line through the kings of Judah in 1 Chronicles chapter 3. In this chapter, some of the families of Judah are listed, along with Simeon and others. (Note: These verses can seem a bit confusing as to who belongs to whom, and so this is my best understanding of what is recorded.) It begins:

1 The sons of Judah; Pharez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal.
2 And Reaiah the son of Shobal begat Jahath; and Jahath begat Ahumai, and Lahad. These are the families of the Zorathites.
3 And these were of the father of Etam; Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash: and the name of their sister was Hazelelponi:
4 And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah (the ancient name for Bethlehem), the father of Beth-lehem.

As written in 1 Chronicles 2, included in the descendants of Judah were Pharez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur, and Shobal. Shobal was the father of Reaiah, the father of Jahath, the father of Ahumai and Lahad. These made up the families of the Zorathites. The children of Etam, which may have been a location, included Jezreel, Ishma, Idbash, and Hazelelponi, his daughter. Penuel was the father of Gedor. Ezer was the father of Hushah. These are the families of Hur, who was the firstborn of Ephratah and the father of Beth-lehem.

5 And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.
6 And Naarah bare him Ahuzam, and Hepher, and Temeni, and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah.
7 And the sons of Helah were, Zereth, and Jezoar, and Ethnan.
8 And Coz begat Anub, and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum.

Ashur was the father of Tekoa. Ashur had two wives named Helah and Naarah. With Naarah, he became the father of Ahuzam, Hepher, Temeni, and Haahashtari. With Helah, he became the father of Zereth, Jezoar, and Ethnan. Coz was the parent of Anub, Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel, who was the son of Harum.

9 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.
10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

Jabez was an honourable man, more so than those in his generation, who prayed for blessings from God, that the borders of his land would be enlarged, that he would have the protecting hand of God with him and not against him. God, who had promised this to the children of Israel if they would keep the commandments, blessed him with the things he asked for in prayer.

11 And Chelub the brother of Shuah begat Mehir, which was the father of Eshton.
12 And Eshton begat Beth-rapha, and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of Ir-nahash. These are the men of Rechah.
13 And the sons of Kenaz; Othniel, and Seraiah: and the sons of Othniel; Hathath.
14 And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen.
15 And the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh; Iru, Elah, and Naam: and the sons of Elah, even Kenaz.
16 And the sons of Jehaleleel; Ziph, and Ziphah, Tiria, and Asareel.
17 And the sons of Ezra were, Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon: and she bare Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa.
18 And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took.
19 And the sons of his wife Hodiah the sister of Naham, the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite.
20 And the sons of Shimon were, Amnon, and Rinnah, Ben-hanan, and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were, Zoheth, and Ben-zoheth.

If understanding these verses correctly, than Shuah had a brother named Chelub. He was the father of Mehir, who was the father of Eshton, the father of Beth-rapha, Paseah, and Tehinnah. Tehinnah was the fatherof Ir-nahash. These were the families of Rechah. Kenaz was the father of Othniel and Seraiah. Othniel was the father of Hathath. Meonothai was the father of Ophrah. Seraiah was the father of Joab, who was over the valley of Charashim, where they were craftsmen. Caleb was the son of Jephunneh of Judah. Caleb had been one of the men sent by Moses to spy on the promised land before the Children of Israel entered the land. He and Joshua had returned with a good report and faith to conquer with the Lord’s help, while others gave a report that caused fear and doubt in the Lord. Caleb and Joshua were the only people of their generation, that were allowed to live long enough to enter the promised land. Caleb was given the land of Hebron. He was the father of Iru, Elah, and Naam. Elah was the father of Kenaz. Jehaleleel was the father of Ziph, Ziphah, Tiria, and Asareel. Ezra was the father of Jether, Mered, Epher, and Jalon. Jalon was the mother of Miriam, Shammai, and Ishbah, who was the father of Eshtemoa. Ezra also had a wife named Jehudijah, and they had Jered, the father of Gedor; Heber the father of Socho; and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. Mered has a wife named Hodiah, the sister of Naham, and they had Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite. Shimon was the father of Amnon, Rinnah, Ben-hanan, and Tilon. Ishi was the father of Zoheth and Ben-zoheth.

21 The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were, Er the father of Lecah, and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, of the house of Ashbea,
22 And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubi-lehem. And these are ancient things.
23 These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.

The sons and families of Judah, were Er, who was the father of Lecah; Laadah, who was the father of Mareshah; those who were makers of fine linens from the house of Ashbea; Jokim; the men of Chozeba; the men of Joash; the men of Saraph, who ruled in Moab; and the men of Jashubi-lehem. These families were potters and those who lived with plants, and were possibly the farmers who lived near the king and served him.

24 The sons of Simeon were, Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul:
25 Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son.
26 And the sons of Mishma; Hamuel his son, Zacchur his son, Shimei his son.
27 And Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brethren had not many children, neither did all their family multiply, like to the children of Judah.
28 And they dwelt at Beer-sheba, and Moladah, and Hazar-shual,
29 And at Bilhah, and at Ezem, and at Tolad,
30 And at Bethuel, and at Hormah, and at Ziklag,
31 And at Beth-marcaboth, and Hazar-susim, and at Beth-birei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities unto the reign of David.
32 And their villages were, Etam, and Ain, Rimmon, and Tochen, and Ashan, five cities:
33 And all their villages that were round about the same cities, unto Baal. These were their habitations, and their genealogy.
34 And Meshobab, and Jamlech, and Joshah the son of Amaziah,
35 And Joel, and Jehu the son of Josibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel,
36 And Elioenai, and Jaakobah, and Jeshohaiah, and Asaiah, and Adiel, and Jesimiel, and Benaiah,
37 And Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah;
38 These mentioned by their names were princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly.

Then, there were the families of Simeon, the second son of Jacob. His sons were Nemuel (Jemuel) the father of the Nemuelites, Jamin the father of the Jaminites, Jarib (possibly Ohad or Jachin, the father of the Jachinites), Zerah (Zohar) the father of the Zarhites, and Shaul, the son of a woman from Canaan and father of the Shaulites. (see Genesis 46, Exodus 6, and Numbers 26) Shaul was the father of Shallum, Mibsam, and Mishma. Mishma was the father of Humuel, Zacchur, and Shimei. Shimei was the father of sixteen sons and six daughters, while his brothers did not have many children. The family of Simeon did not multiply significantly and were nowhere near the size of the tribe of Judah. The tribe of Simeon lived in Beer-sheba (where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had lived), Moladah, Hazar-shual, Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag (a city that was transferred from the tribe of Judah), Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susim, Beth-birei, and Shaaraim. The lived in these placed until the reign of king David. They had five villages or cities: Etam, Ain, Rimmon (also originally of Judah), Tochen, and Ashan. They also had the land around those cities, which belonged to their families.

The princes of Simeon were Meshobab, Jamlech, and Joshah the son of Amaziah. Also, Joel, Jehu the Josibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel, Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah. It is written to read that Jehu was the son of Josibiah who was the son of Seraiah who was the son of Asiel; and Ziza was the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah; but both of these lines seem unclear. In any case, these princes increased the house of their fathers greatly.

39 And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks.
40 And they found fat pasture and good, and the land was wide, and quiet, and peaceable; for they of Ham had dwelt there of old.
41 And these written by name came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the habitations that were found there, and destroyed them utterly unto this day, and dwelt in their rooms: because there was pasture there for their flocks.
42 And some of them, even of the sons of Simeon, five hundred men, went to mount Seir, having for their captains Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi.
43 And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.

The families of Simeon went to the entrance of Gedor, at the east side of the valley, in order to find pasture for their flocks. While there, they found good and fat plentiful pasture, where the land was wide and peaceful. It was where Ham had dwelt long before. In the days of Hezekiah of Judah, the families and their homes were destroyed for the pasture. Five hundred of the sons of Simeon, went to mount Seir. Their captains were Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah, Uzziel, who were the sons of Ishi. They destroyed the Amalekites there and made mount Seir their new home.

I love that, almost hidden in this chapter, there is a story of Jabez. It is a little story that shows us once again, that the Lord will keep his word when we are faithful. In Deuteronomy 19:7-9, the Lord gave instruction regarding the cities of refuge, which applies to the increase of the borders of the land. “Wherefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt separate three cities for thee. And if the Lord thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers; If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the Lord thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three.” This was a promise of growth and in a sense prosperity, to those who kept the commandments of the Lord. This promise is ours as well, as it has been to all people throughout history. In Mosiah 2, we read the words of King Benjamin to his people. He said, “And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.” We can follow the example of the honorable men of the scriptures, such as Jabez, by striving to keep the commandments and praying for the blessings of prosperity to be upon us and our families.

2 Kings Chapter 20

Judah was the remnant of Israel in the promised land, when the rest were taken captive into other nations. Hezekiah was their king, and he led Jerusalem in righteousness. He had focused much of his leadership on removing the temptations of idolatry and strengthening the temple. Because of the faith of the people and Hezekiah, the Lord had delivered them from their enemies. This chapter begins as follows:

1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.
2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying,
3 I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying,
5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord.
6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.
7 And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.

Hezekiah was nearing the end of his life, due to illness (see also Isaiah 38 and 2 Chronicles 32). The prophet Isaiah came to see him and told him that the Lord wanted him to set his life in order because he would soon die. Hezekiah turned and prayed to the Lord, pleading for the Lord to remember how he had lived in a manner that would please Him. He cried sorely. Isaiah had left his room, and was on his way into the middle court, when revelation from the Lord came to him. He was told by the Lord to return to Hezekiah and tell him his prayer was heard and his tears were seen. He would be healed. On the third day, Hezekiah was to go to the temple according to the commandment God. The Lord would extend his life for another fifteen years. He would also deliver them out of the hands of their enemy, the Assyrians. The Lord would defend the city for his own purposes and because of the promises given to king David. Isaiah told him these things and then told his servants to use a lump of figs to cure Hezekiah. They did and he recovered.

8 And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the Lord the third day?
9 And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?
10 And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees.
11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.

Hezekiah asked Isaiah how he would know that he would be healed and be able to go to the temple on the third day. It is normal to wonder how a miracle may happen, when everything we know says otherwise. To show him a sign, Isaiah asked Hezekiah if his shadow should move forward or backward by ten degrees. Hezekiah replied that the movement of his shadow to go down ten degrees was simple, because that was the natural course when the sun moved, so it should return ten degrees from where it was at that time. Isaiah prayed and the shadow was moved ten degrees back from where it had been on the sundial of Ahaz.

There is no other thing in nature or made by man, that can turn back the time, the way that the Lord did for Hezekiah. This event may have inspired a confidence in Hezekiah, that had been weak in his state. It may have even been the reason that his body was able to completely heal from this experience, because attitude is a large part of recovery from phyisical problems with the body. Faith in the Lord brought healing to Hezekiah.

12 At that time Berodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.
13 And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.

At some point after he was well, Beradach-baladan of Babylon sent gifts to Hezekiah thinking he was still ill. (see also Isaiah 39) Hezekiah received the gifts and then showed the Babylonians all the precious things and treasures of the kingdom. This seems to have been a moment of pride and boasting in his own greatness, which is not something that we should do. The faithful should praise the Lord and should not seek the glories and honors of men.

14 Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country, even from Babylon.
15 And he said, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.
16 And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord.
17 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.
18 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
19 Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?

Isaiah went to Hezekiah and asked what the men had said and where they were from. After Hezekiah told him, Isaiah asked what he had shown them in his house. Hezekiah told him that he had shown them everything. Then Isaiah prophesied that all that had been shown to them, would one day be carried away captive into Babylon. His sons would be carried away into Babylon and become servants or officers in the palace of the king. The word of the Lord was good, but in truth, the prophecy was not good for the people of Judah.

This must have been a hard prophecy to hear, knowing that Isaiah was a true prophet and his words had been fulfilled in the past. Hezekiah was personally aware of the fact that the Lord kept His word and that Isaiah was speaking the word of the Lord about the destruction of his people.

20 And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
21 And Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.

Hezekiah did other things for Judah, like create an aqueduct or conduit system that brought water to the city. The other things that he did were kept in the record of the kings. Eventually he died and his son Manasseh reigned.

The story of Hezekiah being healed, is an example of the power of the prayer of the faithful. Hezekiah had lived a good life and he desired to continue it. He prayed in faith, and was blessed to be healed and live. This does not mean that every prayer of the faithful will result in a trial being removed or in something being healed, but it does mean the prayers of the faithful are heard. If it had been the will of God for Hezekiah to die at that time, being the thing that would be a greater blessing in the eternities, he would have been allowed to die. A sweet and tender message is given to us in this chapter. Not only does the Lord recognize the words of our prayers, but he sees our tears. He knows when we are sad or mourning. The Lord knows of the moments of deep sorrow, sadness, and sickness in our lives and they do not go unnoticed. We are not alone.

Another lesson learned from this chapter, is that it is always important to keep our pride in check. Pride is, in my opinion, the root of so many other sins. It creeps into our lives in ways that are hard to recognize and it sinks into our hearts so quickly. The only way to be sure to avoid this, is to keep living the gospel as best as we can, striving to keep the commandments at all times, and repenting as soon as we recognize our mistakes. The protecting guidance of the Spirit, is the only sure way to avoid pride and its dangerous consequences. Blessings come when we live faithfully and pay attention to our weaknesses with a willingness to become more.

2 Kings Chapter 19

Hezekiah was a righteous king of Judah, who lived at the time when the children of Israel were scattered and the tribe of Judah was nearly all that was left of them in the promise land. He had worked to remove all the idols found in the temples of the land. The Assyrians had captured much of the land surrounding Jerusalem, and were prepared to fight to take the capital from Hezekiah and the Jews. Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, had sent men to speak with Hezekiah and his people: to convince the Jews that they could not rely on Hezekiah or the God they believed in. The servants of Hezekiah represented him at the meeting place, and were not moved by their enemies words. Likewise, the Jews that were present did not listen to their words. The story continues with the following:

1 And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord.
2 And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.
3 And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.
4 It may be the Lord thy God will hear all the words of Rab-shakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the Lord thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.
5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.

Hezekiah went to the temple in morning and decided to send his servants and the elders to find the prophet Isaiah. Hezekiah wanted to know how to save the people of Jerusalem because they were too weak to bear the burden in front of them. They asked Isaiah to plead to God in their behalf.

6 And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.
7 Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.

Isaiah told them to return to Hezekiah and tell him that the Lord told him not to fear the words of the Assyrians that were blasphemous to God. The Lord told him that the leader of the Assyrians would be caught up in a blast, which is something that comes like a windstorm, and hear a rumor which would cause him to leave and return to Assyria. In Assyria, Sennacherib would die.

8 So Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.
9 And when he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee: he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, saying,
10 Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
11 Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered?
12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar?
13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah?

When Rabshakeh, the servant and messenger of Sennacherib, returned to his king, he had left Lachish and was at war against Libnah. Tirhakah of Ethiopia, was heard to be coming against him to fight, so he sent messengers to Hezekiah. Again, the message was that they would be deceived by God it they were led to believe that He would save them from the Assyrians who had captured so much of the surrounding lands. The kings of those lands had been unable to defeat the Assyrians.

Rabshakeh and his master, Sennacherib, did not know the Lord. Had they known God, they would have known that the Lord is a living God of truth. God is not a liar or a deceiver. Those who live in faith, know this to be an eternal truth. God could not be God, if there was any deceit in Him. The reason those other nations were unable to defeat the Assyrians, was because their gods were not real gods. Their gods were false and fake idols, made only because men had been influenced by the adversary to find another source to turn to, instead of the true God of men.

14 And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord.
15 And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.
16 Lord, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, Lord, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.
17 Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands,
18 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.
19 Now therefore, O Lord our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even thou only.

Hezekiah received the word of Sennacherib and after reading it, went to the temple to pray. He placed the letter before the Lord, before the mercy seat of God, praying that the Lord would hear the words that Sennacherib had spoken against God. Hezekiah realized that the words in the letter about all the other nations, was in fact truth. The lands had been destroyed and their false gods were cast into the fire. This was because they were not gods, but just wooden and stone idols made by men. He prayed for deliverance from the Assyrians, so that the nations would see and know that the Lord was the only God.

20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.
21 This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
22 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel.
23 By thy messengers thou hast reproached the Lord, and hast said, With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, and into the forest of his Carmel.
24 I have digged and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of besieged places.
25 Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps.
26 Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.

The prophet Isaiah sent word to Hezekiah, which told him the word of the Lord. The Lord had heard his prayer against Sennacherib. Prophecy was then given by Isaiah, which said that Sennacherib had spoken against God. Sennacherib had used his messengers to boast proudly of the victories he had in the land: bringing his army into the land, destroying the mountains and forests, drying up the rivers, besieging cities. But the Lord had been the creator of these things in ancient times, not the Assyrians. The people had been weak and destroyed before their time.

This brings to mind the importance of going to the temple because it is a house of prayer. Hezekiah knew this communication with the Lord was needed and so he took his plea to the temple. What would it have been like, to have had a prophet tell him that his prayer was heard, and specifically what that prayer was about? It is something of wonder. It was a blessing because of the faith of Hezekiah and evidence that the words that followed were the words of the Lord. This answer was of great importance to the preserving of the Jews, and so, the answer came through the prophet.

27 But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.
28 Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
29 And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such things as grow of themselves, and in the second year that which springeth of the same; and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruits thereof.
30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.
32 Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.
33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord.
34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

The Lord knew the Assyrians. He knew when they went in and out of their home. He knew the rage they had against the Lord. The Lord would reign them in and turn the Assyrians around back to where they came from. As a sign that He was the Lord, He said that they would harvest and eat food for three years. The people of Judah who had escaped, would build themselves up again. A remnant of the people of Jerusalem would escape with the zeal of the Lord. The king of Assyria would not enter their city, or even come against it with arrow or shield. Rather, he would return the way he came. The Lord would defend the city of Jerusalem for his purposes and for the promise made to David.

35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
37 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.

The word of the Lord was then fulfilled, when that night, an angel went to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers. This was the ‘blast’ sent upon the Assyrians. When Sennacherib and his army woke the next morning, they saw the dead and went back to their homes. Defeated by the Lord, Sennacherib went to Nineveh, and as he was worshipping in the temple of his god, Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him. They escaped to Armenia and his other son, Esarhaddon became the king of Assyria. In studying the history of ancient civilizations, including Assyria. I have read about this miracle that saved the people of Jerusalem and destroyed so many of the Assyrian army. It is interesting to see records of history show the effects on the world, of an event recorded in the bible.

Hezekiah trusted in the Lord. He was able to be saved, because he had devoted himself to following after the commandments of the Lord. He was a righteous king and he knew to pray to the Lord for help, and to turn to the prophet for guidance. His people and city were protected by the hand of the Lord, without any of his people doing anything. This was a witness of the strength and power of the Lord in behalf of the faithful. The prayer of the faithful in our day, will not go unheard. If we follow after the example of Hezekiah, keeping the commandments, improving our lives, then turning to prayer and the words of the prophets in our times of difficulty, the Lord will hear our prayers. Blessings will come to the faithful followers of the Lord.

2 Kings Chapter 6

Elisha was the prophet in Israel, and had been blessed with the power and authority of God to do many miracles among the people. He had the authority to receive revelation for Israel and to guide and protect the people according to the will of the Lord. He had with him several men who are called the sons of the prophets. I imagine that these were much like the men today, who serve with the prophet each day, to carry out the work of the Lord. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.
2 Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye.
3 And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go.
4 So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.
5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
6 And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.
7 Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.

The sons of the prophets were not able to continue living where they were because they were cramped in a narrow space, so they asked Elisha if they could go to Jordan, so that they could work together to make a new home for them. Elisha told them to go, and when they asked that he go along he said he would go. They cut wood near the Jordan and while doing this, one of the men dropped the head of the axe he was using. It fell into the water, and he was upset because he had borrowed it. It was not his ax to loose and moreover, in the law of Moses, which they followed, anything borrowed was to be returned and held a weight of responsibility to take care of that thing or great consequences would follow. Elisha asked where it had fallen. Elisha cut down a stick and threw it into the water where the axe head had gone down. Then the iron floated to the surface. Elisha told him to pick it up, which he did. This thing does not make logical sense, but it was another small miracle to be witnessed.

8 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.
9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.
10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.
11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?
12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.

The Syrians were prepared for war against Israel again, and their king counseled with his servants to decide where they would camp. Elisha sent word to the king of Israel, and warned him not to go to a certain part of the land, where the Syrians were coming down to fight. The king of Israel had reason to go to the place twice, but did not go because of the words of Elisha. The king of Syria worried about why his plan was not working, and asked his servants to reveal who had gone against them and told the Israelites where they would be. One of the servants told the king of Syria, that none of them had betrayed him, but that there was a prophet named Elisha who revealed the king’s secrets to the king of Israel.

13 And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.
14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

The servant of the Syrian king was told to find out where Elisha was so that he could be brought to the king. They told him that he was in Dothan. The king sent a large group of men with chariots and horses, and they encircled the city by night. When Elisha’s servant woke in the morning, he saw that they were surrounded by horses and chariots. He told Elisha and asked what they should do. Elisha told him not to fear, because they had more in number than those against them. Then Elisha prayed to God that the eyes of his servant might be opened to see what he meant. The servant’s eyes were opened by the Lord, and he saw that Elisha was surrounded by horses and chariots of fire. When the Syrians came down to take Elisha, he prayed that the Lord would cause them to be blind, and his prayer was answered by the Lord.

19 And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.
20 And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.
21 And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?
22 And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.
23 And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.

Elisha told the blind men that they were in the wrong place, and the man they sought was not there. He led the blind men to Samaria. Then Elisha prayed for the eyes of the host to see where they were, and the Lord opened their eyes. They saw that they were in Samaria. The king of Israel asked Elisha if they were to smite the Syrians, and he said they were not to smite them. They were like those who surrender to captivity in war, and Elisha told them instead to feed them and send them away to their master. They ate and left, and the Syrians bands did not come against Israel.

24 And it came to pass after this, that Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria.
25 And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.
26 And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.
27 And he said, If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?
28 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.
29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.

Ben-hadad gathered his army and besieged Samaria. A famine hit the land of Samaria, and things got so bad that the price of simple things became great. At one point, the king was walking when a woman cried to him for help. The king said he could not help if the Lord was not even there to help her. He asked what was wrong with her and she told him that a woman had come to her and begged her to sacrifice her son for food, and promised her that they would do the same to her own son the next day. The first woman sacrificed her son, but when they went to the woman the next day, she had hid her son.

30 And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh.
31 Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.
32 But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?
33 And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the Lord; what should I wait for the Lord any longer?

When the king heard her story, he tore his clothes in a sign of mourning and paraded himself in front of the people. The king wanted Elisha dead. Elisha was in his house when the king sent a messenger to him. Elisha told the elders that the king sent this man to take his head. He told them to shut the door when the man came, and hold onto the man at the door. The messenger came down and said that the famine was caused by the Lord, so why should they wait upon the Lord any more. He had no hope in the Lord and felt strongly that Elisha was to be blamed for this, or be held accountable for it.

Things learned from this chapter include that their are blessings in doing those things that the prophet asks of us, even if they don’t make sense to us, or may seem to go against those things that we believe because of our own learning and wisdom. Plus, I love that this thing was such a small thing and yet it is a story that we can read in the bible. There have been many times in my life, where I have broken or misplaced something and it seems such a little thing, of little or no importance to anyone else, but it means so much to me personally. The Lord knows this and if we ask in faith, He will help us because He loves us and wants us to have happiness. There is nothing of importance to us, that is too small or insignificant for the Lord.

Additionally, we all have an army around us, waiting to help us fight the good fight. When we are faced with great opposition, there are loved ones cheering for us and helping us from the ‘other side’. In Doctrine and Covenants 84:88, the Lord speaks to the faithful, saying, “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” I am certain that if we, like the servant, had our own spiritual eyes opened to see, we would be overwhelmed by the things that are there to help us, but that we just can’t see with our mortal eyes. I believe that in our own times when the opposition is upon us, we can pray for our eyes to be opened to find the way to safety, and that they Lord will answer that prayer according to His will and our faith in the Savior.

Finally, even though the last part of this chapter is not a finished story at this point, it teaches that in our moments of desperation, we might turn to those things that are wrong and against all that is good. This story is a bit horrifying to me, as a mother who loves her children beyond what seems possible. I believe that in the deepest parts of our trials, the adversary may cause us to believe there is no hope and that the only way out is to give in to the darkest parts of the natural man within us, but there is always hope. I know that there is always a better way, and that way is to turn to the Lord and rely on Him. I know that the answer will not always be a miracle to be saved, but I believe that it will always be the way to a better, more amazing blessing. I believe that we can turn to the Lord in our trials and always, and eventually through these things, we will become like Him.

2 Kings Chapter 4

Elisha was the prophet of the Lord, who followed after the prophet Elijah. As a prophet, He had performed miracles of parting the Jordan (see 2 Kings 2:13-14) and healing waters (see verses 21-22). He had prophesied of success to the host of Israel against the Moabites (2 Kings 3). He had been a witness that the Lord was the only true God, and many had seen that he had the power of God with him to do mighty things. Chapter four begins with the following:

1 Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.
3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.
4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.
6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.
7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.

A widow came to Elisha and told him that her sons were going to be taken as bondmen, by the creditor to their family. Elisha asked her what he could do for her, followed by asking her what she already had in her house. She needed something that she could give for money to the creditor. She told him that the only thing she had was a pot of oil. Elisha told the woman to gather several empty vessels from her neighbors. When she came back, she was to close her door and then pour from her pot into each of the vessels, setting them aside as they were filled. The woman followed the instructions of Elisha and filled all the vessels brought to her. She went back to Elisha and told him what had happened. He told her to sell the oil to pay her debt, so that she and her children could live in peace.

8 And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread.
9 And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.
10 Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.
11 And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there.
12 And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him.
13 And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.
14 And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old.
15 And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door.
16 And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.
17 And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.

There was also a woman whom Elisha would pass on his way. She would tell him to eat, so each time he passed her, he would eat. She told her husband that she thought Elisha was a holy man of God, and she wanted to make a room for him in their home, so that he would have a place to stay with a bed, table and chair. One day, Elisha went into the room to rest. He told his servant to bring the Shunammite woman to him. The servant was to ask her what could be done for her, since she had done so much to take care of Elisha. He asked if she wanted them to talk to the king about her, or the captain of the host, but she was fine where she was. Elisha asked his servant what he thought could be done for her and the response was that she did not have any children and her husband was old by this time. Elisha asked her to come to him. She came to the door and Elisha told her that in the time it takes to carry a child, she would have a son. The woman told Elisha not to fool her with lies, which seems like she could have been telling him that it was too good to be true. However, she had a son just as Elisha had said.

18 And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers.
19 And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother.
20 And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.
21 And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out.
22 And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.
23 And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.
24 Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee.
25 So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite:
26 Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.
27 And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.
28 Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?
29 Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child.
30 And the mother of the child said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.
31 And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked.
32 And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.
33 He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord.
34 And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.
35 Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
36 And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son.
37 Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.

The child grew up and he went to his father as he worked in the fields. He started to complain about his head, so his father told him to be taken to his mother. The boy died while on his mother’s lap. The mother laid him on the bed of Elisha and left the room, closing the door behind her. She begged her husband for help to find Elisha. Her husband wondered how she would find him, but the woman had faith that all would be well. She left in a hurry to find him, telling her servant not to slow down unless she asked it of him. She found him in mount Carmel and Elisha sent his servant to talk to her. He went to her and asked her if everything was alright with herself and her family, to which she replied that all was well. When she got to Elisha, she fell at his feet and the servant of Elisha, Gehazi, pulled her away. Elisha told him to leave her alone, because he could see that she was distressed, but he did not know why. He recognized that only God was aware of the things on her mind that were causing her trouble. She said that she had desired a child and had told Elisha not to deceive her. Without telling him what had happened, Elisha quickly responded to her. Elisha told his servant to take Elisha’s staff and go place it on the child, without stopping to talk to anyone. He was been told to go without delay and to prepare the way for Elisha. Then, the woman vowed that she would not leave Elisha and Elisha left with her. The servant placed the staff on her son, but nothing happened. Elisha went to the house and found the child dead upon the bed. He went in and after closing the door, prayed to the Lord. After his prayer, he laid on the child, touching his hands to the child’s hands, his eyes to the child’s eyes, and so on. He made the skin of the child warm with his own warmth. He did this again, after walking around the house and the boy sneezed and opened his eyes. Elisha told his servant to tell the woman to come and take her son. She fell at the feet of Elisha and then left with her son.

I love that this story teaches us that Elisha prayed and then I am guessing his answer was to warm the child through touch. He followed the prompting of the spirit that was with him, and when he had faithfully done this, the boy was healed. We are able to have experiences like this in our own lives. We can pray for answers, and so long as we do this with real intent or the intention of doing whatever is expected of us, God will answer our prayers.

38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
39 And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.
40 So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.
41 But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.

Elisha went to Gilgal, where there was a lack of food, or a famine. He told his servant to put stew out for the prophets. The servants went out to gather food and one brought in wild fruit and vegetables, and put them in the food. The men began to eat and found the food was poisonous. Elisha told the servants to bring him meal, which he put in the pot and told them to serve it to the prophets again. The food was made harmless.

42 And there came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.
43 And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.
44 So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord.

On another occasion, a man brought Elisha bread, barley and corn for the people to eat. This was not uncommon, but it seems to have been a tradition in ancient times, to take a gift of things such as bread when going to see a man of God or a prophet. The gift he brought was not enough for then number of men they had, but Elisha told them to go ahead and give it to the people to eat, because the Lord said there would be enough for them to eat. The servant put the bread and grains in front of the people and they all were able to eat with food left over.

Why would it be important for us to have the stories of these miracles in our scriptures? They teach us things that can help us today. We can learn from Elisha, that God has the power to free us from bondage if we will humble ourselves and follow Him and his servants. It teaches us the importance of turning to our priesthood leaders and faithfully heeding the direction they give us. Who would imagine that being told to pour out the last of something you have, would been you would have more besides. It would have taken a lot of faith to follow through with that in a moment of being without. These stories teach us that we will be blessed for our service to those who serve us for the Lord. The woman was blessed with a child, even though it would have seemed that the time for bearing children had passed. There will be greater rewards after this life, for those who serve the servants of the Lord. These stories teach us of the healing power of the priesthood. If it is God’s will, we can see for these same blessings with our own trials and infirmities. We can ask for blessings upon ourselves or our loved ones, and God will bless us according to his will. God loves us and He will bless us according to our diligence and faith.

These miracles remind me of the stories of the Savior. The filling of the vessels reminds me of the story of the Savior turning water to wine. Both required the faith of those handling the vessels, in order to receive the miracle. The receivers had to gather the vessels together and believe that something would happen in doing so. Then, the raising of the child reminds me of the raising of Jairus’ daughter. In both, there was a parent who knew the power of the priesthood that could save their child. In both, that parent sought the man of God for help. Again, both required a great deal of faith in God, and belief in His servants on the earth and what they had the power to do. And finally, the story of multiplying the food reminds me of the story of the loaves and fishes. In both, all the food that was available, was placed before the people, and by the power of God, it was more than enough to provide for many. Both showed that the power of God can sustain people, even to the providing for physical needs. Those in the days of Elisha would not have realized that these stories made Elisha into a type of the Savior who was to come and save all mankind, but I am sure they recognized that the hand of God was in their lives. We can look at these stories and see that the power of God was made manifest. The miracles of Elisha point to the Savior and his power to make us more than we are, save us from all forms of death, and sustain us when it would seem that there is not enough in this world to do so.

1 Kings Chapter 18

The prophet Elijah lived in the northern kingdom of Israel, where Ahab was king. Ahab had married Jezebel, and he and his wife led the people of Israel in the worship of Baal. The worship of Baal was a wicked practice and led to great evil among the Israelites. Elijah had the sealing power and had closed the heavens in the land, meaning the people were suffering in a time of drought and famine. During this time, he had been blessed and preserved at the hand of the Lord. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.
2 And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.
3 And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly:
4 For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)
5 And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts.
6 So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it: Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself.

Elijah was commanded to return to Ahab, and then the Lord would allow rain to fall upon the earth again. So, Elijah went to Ahab in Samaria, where the famine had become very sore. Ahab called for his governor Obadiah. Obadiah had secretly saved a hundred prophets who were going to be killed by Jezebel, hiding them in caves and giving them food and water. Ahab sent Obadiah to find a place with water in the land, where they could save the animals they had left. Obadiah and Ahab parted ways.

7 And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah?
8 And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.
9 And he said, What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me?
10 As the Lord thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not.
11 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.
12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the Lord shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the Lord from my youth.
13 Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the Lord, how I hid an hundred men of the Lord’s prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water?
14 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here: and he shall slay me.
15 And Elijah said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day.
16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah.

Obadiah met Elijah on the way, and recognizing him, fell down and honored him, asking if he was, in fact, Elijah. Elijah confirmed this and told Obadiah to tell Ahab that he was there. Obadiah was afraid that he would be harmed by Ahab if he returned to him saying that he knew where Elijah was. This was because Ahab had been hunting for Elijah the whole time he was in hiding, causing his people to make oaths promising that they did not know where Elijah was. If he returned saying he knew, Obadiah was worried that Elijah would not remain there, and then Ahab would kill him for it. Obadiah told Elijah that he had saved the prophets and that he feared the Lord, and he begged that Obadiah would not send him to do this. Elijah made a promise to him, assuring Obadiah that he would reveal himself to Ahab that very day, so Obadiah returned to Ahab and told him. Then, Ahab went to find Elijah.

Obadiah honored Elijah by falling on his face in a manner that showed great respect in their day. I wonder what it must have been like to be Obadiah in that moment. Clearly he had a love from the prophets of the Lord. He recognized Elijah and must have felt some awesome feelings at their meeting. In my own experience, I have had the opportunity to meet one who I believe to be a man of God. At the time, he was a member of the Seventy, and he came to our stake to call a new president. I attended a few meetings where he was present and the spirit he brought with him, was amazing. As the first meeting came to a close, I found myself having the desire to stay there and hold onto that spirit as long as I possibly could. Later, I had the opportunity to meet him personally and have a short conversation with him. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of respect and honor I had towards this man. I am sure that Obadiah felt some of these same feelings towards Elijah.

Obadiah’s role in this chapter, is a good example of trust in the Lord’s servants. Obadiah was able to put aside his fears of what the king might do to him, and trust in the promise from Elijah that he would remain to meet Ahab. He followed in faith, and although we don’t learn of anything more about him in this chapter, I am sure that he was blessed for his faithfulness.

17 And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.
19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.
20 So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.
21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
22 Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
23 Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:
24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
25 And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under.
26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.
27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.
28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.
29 And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.

Ahab saw Elijah, but did not honor him. Instead he blamed him for the troubles of Israel. Those who do not live as God would have them live, cannot recognize the blessings of God around them. Elijah’s presence there, was a blessing to Ahab, though he did not see it yet. Elijah said that the troubles they had were because of Ahab and his family, who had turned from the Lord and His commandments, and worshipped Baal instead. When people have come to know the Lord, and then reject Him and follow after their own heart, they bring troubles upon themselves. Elijah called for a gathering of Israel at mount Carmel, along with all the priests of Baal. Ahab obliged and a gathering was called. Elijah asked the people how they could continue to try to follow after both God and Baal, saying if they believed God was their God, they should follow after Him, but if they believed Baal to be their god, they should follow him. There was no response from the people. This is an eternal principle. There is no way to be devoted to God completely, and then do likewise towards anything else, because God expects all who serve Him, to put Him first in their worship, trust and faith. The people must have known that choosing to worship anything else, was pinning themselves against God. Over time, it would grow harder to try to split allegiance between the two and one would have to give out.

Elijah called their attention to the fact that he was the lone prophet of God there, while there were hundreds of their prophets of Baal. So with that he challenged them, to choose two bulls for sacrifice. They could choose one for themselves and he would take the other. They would both prepare their sacrifice upon the altars, with the exception of any fire. Then both would call upon their respective gods, Elijah to the Lord and the priests to their gods, to answer with fire from heaven for the sacrifice. The people agreed to this challenge. The priests prepared their sacrifice and proceeded to call out to their gods for hours with no response. It says here that as a result, they leaped upon the altars themselves. Elijah mocked them saying things like, their god must have sleeping or on a journey somewhere. The priests cried and cut themselves, which was a custom forbidden by the Lord. They continued to do this and their prophesying all day, until the time of the evening sacrifice, and their was still no answer.

30 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.
31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:
32 And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.
33 And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.
34 And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
35 And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.
40 And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

So, Elijah gathered the people to him, repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been broken, by adding twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. He made a trench around it, prepared the sacrifice with wood, and then called for it to be covered in water. He had them pour water on the sacrifice and wood three times, and then cover the surrounding ground and fill the trench with water as well. Then, at the time of the evening sacrifice, he prayed to the Lord that he would be heard, so that the people would know that He was the God of this people. Elijah pleaded with the Lord, that there would be an opportunity for the hearts of the people to return to God. The Lord answered his prayer, and fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, and all that was at the altar, including the water. The people witnessed this and fell down to worship the Lord. Elijah commanded that all the prophets of Baal be killed.

41 And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.
42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees,
43 And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.
44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.
45 And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.
46 And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

Elijah told Ahab to go eat and drink, perhaps this was much like telling him to go about his day, and then the rain would come. As Ahab did just that, Elijah went to the top of mount Carmel and threw himself on the ground, much like a manner of worship. He told his servant to go look towards the sea, but the servant saw nothing. Elijah told him to return to look seven times. On the seventh time, the servant said that a little cloud of the sea arose. The servant was commanded to go to Ahab and tell him to prepare his chariot, go down and not to stop even because of the rain. While this was done, a great storm came. Ahab rode to Jezreel. Elijah started to run, and by the hand of Lord, reached the entrance of Jezreel before Ahab.

Ahab was in a position, where he would do anything possible to bring water to the land. He had hunted for Elijah to take the drought away. I think that the Lord’s timing was perfect and not only allowed for Ahab to be in a state of humility because of their troubles, but meant that Elijah’s life would be spared. I think that if the time had been any sooner, Elijah may have been killed as the prophets before him. However, just as Ahab was trying to save the last animals from starvation and thirst, he was able to find the man he felt had brought this upon him and his people. Then, Elijah was able to prove to Ahab and the people of Israel, that there is no other God save the Lord.

This was quite a miracle to witness. The priests of Baal were given every opportunity in a full day’s time to pray, but their answer did not come. Their worship of objects, could not provide relief to their suffering, because their gods were not real. Elijah on the other hand, did all that he could to show that the Lord was true. This was a much needed witness to the people of Israel. They had been in a spiritual drought and famine without seeing it for what it was. In recognizing that they were trusting in false gods, the people had the opportunity to have their spirits fed and renewed.

Likewise, opening the heavens was a miracle. It showed that the Lord was in fact able to take away and give to men, and that He would do great things through the voice of His prophets. This was a miracle that more of Israel would have recognized as a blessing, because their very lives depended on having water to drink and food to eat. The people of Israel were greatly blessed at this time, to have both their physical and spiritual beings saved by the Lord. Now would have been the time for them to repent and return to the Lord.

The miracles performed in this chapter, cause me to reflect on my own life experiences. I have not witnessed the fire of the Lord, or the heavens open quite so literally, but I know that I have experienced many small miracles from God. These small miracles should stand as a witness to me, that the Lord is the only true and living God. There is nothing in this life that should be placed before Him in my worship. The Lord is the source of all that I need to succeed and survive. I know that in my life, I have been sustained as Elijah was, and the heavens have opened to give me all that I have truly needed, when I have been willing to recognize God, listen to his chosen servants, and strive to keep His commandments.


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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