Posts Tagged 'Prophets'

1 Kings Chapter 22

Jehoshaphat was the son of Asa, both of whom followed after the Lord and ruled in righteousness over Judah. On the other hand, Ahab had ruled in wickedness in Israel, along with his wife Jezebel. Earlier in his reign, Ahab had fought against the Syrians and defeated them twice (see 1 Kings 20). Then, he made a deal with the leader of Syria. The king of Syria promised to return all the lands that had been taken from Israel, and Ahab allowed him to go free, against the will of the Lord. This had brought the promise of destruction upon Ahab’s people. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.
2 And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.
3 And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?
4 And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramoth-gilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.
5 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day.
6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
7 And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?
8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
9 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.
10 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.
12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the king’s hand.
13 And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.
14 And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.

Three years of peace followed the fighting between Israel and Syria. Ahab saw that the Syrians still held a place called Ramoth, which belonged to Israel. He met with Jehoshaphat and asked him to combine forces against Syria. Jehoshaphat told him his people and army were the same people as the Israelites, so he would join with him. Jehoshaphat wanted to know the will of the Lord, so Ahab turned to the prophets and asked if they should go to battle against the Syrians. The prophets returned with the response, which was to go to battle and the Lord would deliver the land of Ramoth-gilead into their hands. Jehoshaphat asked Ahab if there was a prophet of the Lord, who could pray to ask the Lord. Ahab told him of Micaiah, whom he hated for not prophesying of anything good about Ahab and only the bad. Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from the prophet still, so Ahab called for him and the kings sat and heard the prophesies of the prophets. A prophet named Zedekiah gave them iron horns and said that the Lord said they would help them defeat the Syrians. The many prophets continued to say that the Lord would deliver the Syrians into their hands. The servant who had been sent to get the prophet Micaiah, told him to speak only that which was good to the king, but Michaiah told him that he would speak the word of the Lord.

There are many who hate those that would tell the truth, if the truth is not pleasing to hear. I think there are few who have the integrity to tell the truth when it is hard for others to hear. Micaiah was a man of integrity, who clearly feared or honored God more than man. Even though it might be difficult to hear, the truth is always the better way and it will keep the faithful on the path that God wants for them, if they hearken to it.

15 So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?
17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?
19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
20 And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.
22 And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
23 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.
24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee?
25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;
27 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.
28 And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.

The king asked Micaiah if they should go up against the Syrians at Ramoth-gilead. Micaiah told him that the Lord would deliver it into his hand. The king wanted to know more. Micaiah told him that he had a revelation that Israel was scattered without a leader, and that they should return to their homes in peace. Ahab told Jehoshaphat that he knew Micaiah would prophesy of something bad and not good. Micaiah said that he had seen a vision of the Lord with the host of heaven about him. The Lord asked who would persuade Ahab to go against the Syrains and fall. After some discussion, a spirit stood and said that he would go and convince (or had gone and convinced) the prophets to tell him to go fight the Syrians. The Lord allowed the spirit to go and persuade Ahab, because Ahab had sinned against the Lord. So, Micaiah told Ahab that the Lord had allowed his prophets to persuade him. Zedekiah smote Micaiah, asking why the Lord would do this to him, and yet speak to Micaiah. Micaiah told him he would know this was true when he went into a room to hide. Ahab commanded that Micaiah be put in prison until he returned, but Micaiah said the Lord had not said Ahab would return in peace. Micaiah told all the people to listen or be a witness to his word.

29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.
30 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.
31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.
32 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.
33 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.
34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
35 And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.
36 And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.

The kings went to Ramoth-gilead. Ahab decided he would disguise himself and enter the battle, while Jehoshaphat remained as he was. The captains of the Syrians were commanded to fight only with Ahab. They thought Jehosahphat must be the king of Israel, so they went to fight him. Jehoshaphat yelled, and when the captains figured out that he was not the king of Israel, they turned from fighting him. Meanwhile, another man wounded Ahab in the battle, and he told the driver of his chariot to take him away from the battle. While the battle went on, Ahab was propped up and in his chariot and died. Word was sent to the host, for the men to return home.

37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.
38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the Lord which he spake.
39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.

Ahab’s body was taken to Samaria, where he was buried. His chariot was washed and the dogs licked up the blood, as was prophesied by Elijah (see 1 Kings 21:19). This was according to the word of the Lord. The rest of the actions of King Ahab, were recorded in another record of the kings, including the building of an ivory house. Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, reigned after him.

41 And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.
42 Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
43 And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.
44 And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.
45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.
47 There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king.
48 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber.
49 Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.

Jehoshaphat, who had started his reign four years after Ahab when he was 35 years old, reigned for 25 years in Jerusalem. He ruled as his father had ruled, and reigned in righteousness. However, he had not removed the places where the people made offerings and burned incense. Jehoshaphat had made peace with the king of Israel, Ahaziah. All the rest of his actions were recorded in the record of the kings of Judah. He had been a mighty man, and had removed the sodomites from the land. A deputy was the king of Edom at the time. Jehoshaphat had made ships to get gold, as Solomon had done, but the ships were broken before they could get to their destination. Ahaziah asked if his men could go along with the men of Judah, but Jehoshaphat refused.

50 And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.

Then Jehoshaphat died and his son Jehoram reigned.

51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.
52 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in the
way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin:
53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

Ahaziah ruled over Israel from Samaria during the reign of Jehoshaphat. He ruled for two years in wickedness, serving Baal and provoking God to anger.

Ahab had been enticed to go and take back the land that belonged to Israel, since the king of Syria had promised to return all of the land to him. This was at the time that Ahab made a deal with the king of Syria, when the will of the Lord was that the Syrians be destroyed. Ahab had been promised that his own demise would come because of this choice, and so it was. The Lord allowed him to be enticed and counseled to go forward with it, because this was the curse he had for going against the will of God previously. Because Ahab allowed their king to go free, his own life was taken in another fight against that same nation.

Ahab chose not to listen to the prophet of the Lord. His own prophets told him those things he wanted to hear, and he was willing to listen to their words, but was angered by the words of the prophets of God. Elijah and Micaiah were prophets who told Ahab the truth, and if he had listened to their words of warning, he would not have been led into this destruction. Those who willing turn away from the words of the prophets, set themselves us for their own personal destruction. This was true then, and it is true for us today, because we have living prophets of the Lord, who are given revelation that applies to us in this day. I am grateful for the living prophets and the blessing of continuing revelation from God.

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.

1 Kings Chapter 13

Jeroboam had become the leader and king of ten of the tribes of Israel. He had been among those who revolted against Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. Jeroboam had been told that he would rule, by a prophet. He had also been promised continual reign and support of the Lord, if he would remain faithful to God. However, early in his reign, he turned to the worship of false idols, in order to keep his people away from the temple in Jerusalem and from returning to Rehoboam. Jeroboam had quickly become a wicked leader to the people of Israel, leading them into apostasy from the Lord.

1 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Beth-el: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.
3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the Lord hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.
4 And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Beth-el, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
5 The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.
6 And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Entreat now the face of the Lord thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.
7 And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.
8 And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:
9 For so was it charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.
10 So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Beth-el.

A prophet came to Jeroboam from Judah. Jeroboam was an the altar of one of the temples. He prophesied that there would be a man called Josiah, of the house of David, who would offer or sacrifice priests and men upon the altar. The prophet said that the altar would be broken down and the ashes upon it would be scattered. Jeroboam heard what had been said, and with the direction of his hand, told his men to grab the prophet. When he did this, the hand he used became dried up and he could not pull it back toward himself. The altar was broken and the ashes were scattered. Jeroboam told the man to ask the Lord to restore his withered had. The prophet prayed and the hand of Jeroboam was restored. Jeroboam asked the prophet to go with him and be refreshed and rewarded. The prophet said that he would not go with him, even if he had been offered half of the king’s house. He refused even the slightest offering of bread or water as well. He told Jeroboam that the Lord had commanded him that he should not eat or drink there, or even go back the way that he came. Then, the prophet left another way, as he had been commanded.

11 Now there dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Beth-el: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.
12 And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.
13 And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon,
14 And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.
15 Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.
16 And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:
17 For it was said to me by the word of the Lord, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.
18 He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.
19 So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.

In Bethel, where the prophet had come to deliver his message from God, there was an old prophet. This old man’s sons told him of the prophet from Judah, and directed their father as to which way he had gone. The old prophet rode after the prophet from Judah, finding him sitting under an oak tree. He asked him if he was the prophet from Judah and the other said that he was. He offered him bread, but the other refused him just as he had refused Jeroboam. The old prophet told him that he too was a prophet and had revelation from an angel that he was to offer him bread and water. Verse 18 says that this was a lie, which causes the thought that the old prophet was attempting to deceive him. However in the Joseph Smith Translation of this verse it reads, “Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water[, that I may prove him; and he lied not unto him]. This translation leads us to see that the Lord intended on testing the prophet from Judah, who gave in and went to his house to eat and drink. (see footnote 18b)

20 And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the Lord came unto the prophet that brought him back:
21 And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, and hast not kept the commandment which the Lord thy God commanded thee,
22 But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the Lord did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.

As they ate, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet, and he told the prophet from Judah that because he did this thing and disobeyed the Lord, his dead body would not return to the resting place of his family.

23 And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.
24 And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.
25 And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.
26 And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the Lord: therefore the Lord hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake unto him.
27 And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.
28 And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass.
29 And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.
30 And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!
31 And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:
32 For the saying which he cried by the word of the Lord against the altar in Beth-el, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.

After the prophet from Judah had finished eating and drinking there, he left and was met by a lion along his path. The lion killed the prophet and stood by the body of the man, along with the donkey he had ridden there. Men who passed by the body and lion, told the old prophet what they had seen. The old prophet went and found the body, which had not been disturbed by the lion. The lion had also not eaten the donkey. He took the body, laid it on the donkey, and went back to the city, where he buried the prophet from Judah in his own grave and mourned for him. He told his own sons to bury him along with this man when he died, because he knew the dead prophet’s prophecy would come to pass.

33 After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.
34 And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.

Jeroboam still did not repent of his wickedness, but continued to worship false gods. He continued to raise people to be priests, who were not of the line of Aaron. Because of this sin, Jeroboam and his line were cut off from the Lord and would eventually be destroyed.

When reading this story, one could focus on those things that happened with Jeroboam, as well as those that happened with the prophet from Judah. With either one, their is a lesson in the consequences that come from disobedience to the Lord. Jeroboam was cursed for his actions against the man of God, and eventually chose to be cut off because of sin. The prophet, who had done a portion of what he had been commanded, did not follow the commandments of God with strictness. He was then cursed for his choices as well, and served as an example to others in Israel. Both were given an opportunity to return through obedience to the word of the Lord, and both chose to follow their own path and find ultimate destruction. There is a verse in the book of Alma, that teaches an eternal principle relating to wickedness. In Alma 41:10 it reads, “wickedness never was happiness”. There will be no reward of happiness for those who choose to sin and wickedness. The consequences of sin may be immediate, as was the consequences to the prophet along his journey home. On the other hand, they might not come until we have lived a long life of wicked choices, basking in the glory of men and earthly treasures. The point is, that the consequences will come to the wicked and the reward will not be happiness, but eternal misery. I know that if more people realized just how small the time we have in our earthly life is when compared to the span of eternity, they would not choose to live for eternity in misery to have false happiness in this life. This is the reason for my hope in Christ. We all make mistakes. We all give into temptations of some kind. And we all will have the opportunity, to turn to Christ and receive forgiveness and mercy from Him who gave everything for us.

2 Samuel Chapter 12

David had done a lot of good things for the kingdom of Israel, and had led the people to becoming a strong nation in his day. In the previous chapter, we learn of his selfish choice to take the wife of Uriah for himself because he had given into the temptation of sleeping with her. This choice was not acceptable to the Lord.

1 And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

The Lord called upon his prophet, Nathan, to go and speak to David. He told him a parable of two men, a rich man and a poor man. The rich man had been blessed with many animals in his flocks and herds, while the poor man had only been blessed with one ewe lamb. He loved the lamb and treated it as he would treat a daughter. A traveler visited the rich man, and the man wanted to prepare a lamb for his guest. He did not want to use one of his own flock, so he took the lamb of the poor man and prepared it for the visitor. Upon hearing this story, David was angry and he told Nathan, that because the man had done this thing, he should die. Additionally, he felt the man should make restitution four times over, for taking the lamb without a thought for the poor man. The law of restitution had been laid out by the Lord, in the law of Moses, specifically giving four sheep for each lamb taken.

7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
11 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

Nathan told David that this parable was about him. The Lord had blessed David to be king of Israel. He spared him from Saul, and had given him a great home and many wives. If that had not been enough, the Lord would have provided more for David, but it should have been enough. Instead, David had done evil in the sight of the Lord. He executed the plan to have Uriah killed by the hands of the children of Ammon, in order to have Bathsheba as his wife. The Lord cursed David, that the sword would never depart from his house, which I think means that his line would never have peace from fighting their enemies, or that he would never see the end of it in his own lifetime. In fact, the Lord cursed him, that he would have enemies in his own house and that his wives would be taken from him and given to his neighbor. While David kept his transgression secret from the people, the Lord would curse him for all of Israel to see.

David confessed his sin to Nathan, which was good, but he should not have waited to confess until he had been caught. David was not cursed to die right then, which could have been the expectation for his plot to murder Uriah had he been any common man in Israel. However, because of the effects of what he had done, the Lord cursed him and said the child of David and Bathsheba would die. The death of this child would stand as an example to the House of Israel forever. Moreover, David would not be allowed the eternal reward that the righteous hoped for, because of this choice. As mentioned in my previous post, we learn of the reward, or the outcome and the eternal consequence of this choice. It reads Doctrine and Covenants 132:39, “…in none of these things did [David] sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.”, which in effect is a kind of eternal separation from God (spiritual death).

15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
17 And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.
18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.
21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

After Nathan left, the child became very sick. David fasted and prayed, laying upon the ground. The elders in his household went to him and tried to pick him up from the floor, but he wouldn’t get up and he wouldn’t eat his meals as usual. On the seventh day of his child being sick, the child died. His servants were afraid to tell him that the child had died, because of how he might react to the news. David saw the servants whispering and asked if his son had died. They told him that he had. David got up, cleaned himself up and changed his clothes. Then he went to the house of the Lord and worshipped. After that, he went home and ate. The servants asked why he had fasted and prayed for the child while weeping, but was going about as usual after his son had died. David told them that he fasted and prayed because he didn’t know if the Lord would be gracious and allow the child to live. Since his child had died, he could not bring him back by fasting, because he was gone.

24 And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him.
25 And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord.

David went to Bath-sheba and comforted her. She became pregnant again and had a son named Solomon, who was loved by the Lord. I think the verse 25 means that Nathan was called to bless the child, as was a tradition in ancient Israel. Nathan called the child Jedidiah.

26 And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.
27 And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters.
28 Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I take the city, and it be called after my name.
29 And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it.
30 And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.
31 And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.

David sent his men, under the leadership of Joab, to fight the children of Ammon in their royal city. Joab reported that they had nearly taken the city, but that David should gather the rest of his men and go against the city, so that the honor of taking the city would be his. David gathered men and took the city of the Ammonites. David took the crown of the king for himself, and brought a great amount of spoil out of their royal city. The Ammonites were taken from the city and killed, and after the cities of Ammon were emptied, the Israelites were able to return to Jerusalem.

Sin and transgression do not go unnoticed by the Lord. If necessary, God will inspire his chosen priesthood leaders to do and say things when others need correction, chastisement, or, as was the case of David, a greater consequence for the things done. I am sure that this was not something that Nathan enjoyed doing. No man wants to be the bearer of such sad news, especially the curse that came to David for his actions. His heart must have been heavy, but he knew he had to give the message of punishment to David, that God had sent him to give. I believe that this was not a punishment to the child of David and Bathsheba, because he had done no wrong and was innocent in all of this. Instead, I believe that the child received all the rewards available to those who are able to live a full life, including being able to live with God again.

It is sad to the story of David and Uriah. To see someone fall from favor with God, who had been blessed to become a great man and leader, is a heartbreaking thing. While David did make this mistake and make a horrible decision in order to cover up his sin, it is not recorded that he cursed God for what had happened. When the consequence came, he turned to God for help. When he did not receive the desired answer to his prayers, he again did not turn against God, but picked himself up and went back to doing the work that was expected of him. He continued to lead and protect the people of Israel, as he had been anointed to do. If we read Psalm 51 also, we can see that after this meeting with Nathan, David desired forgiveness from God, because he knew that he had done wrong. I think we live in a time, when more people blame God for the bad things that happen in their lives instead of looking at their own responsibility in their trials. It would be a completely different world, if more people would recognize their mistakes and faults and move on, instead of holding things against others, especially against God.

2 Samuel Chapter 7

David was established as the king over Israel. At some point after this, he had the ark of the covenant brought into the city of David, where he lived. David had desired to do the things that God had wanted him to do. With the Lord supporting him, David had helped Israel to defeat the Philistines and keep the land safe from their enemies. This chapter begins:

1 And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee.

David told the prophet, Nathan, that he felt the home he lived in was better than the home of the ark, which was made of curtains and not some kind of permanent structure. The ark had been moved from place to place and placed inside the tabernacle, which was like a large tent, as the Lord had commanded during the time of Moses. Nathan told him that he could go and do what he felt he should, and that the Lord was with David.

4 And it came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying,
5 Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?
6 Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.
7 In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?
8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
9 And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.
10 Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime,
11 And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house.

The Lord instructed Nathan, to tell David that the ark had gone all these many years without a house built for it. In all that time, the Lord had been able to give guidance and direction to Israel, but He never asked them to build a house for Him. Nathan was to tell David that He had blessed him to become the great king he had become, and that He had established Israel in this land and kept them safe from enemies. The Lord had built a house for David.

12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.

Eventually, David would pass on and lie with his forefathers, and the Lord would set up a kingdom from the line of David. Then, the Lord would have a house built for him. He promised that a son in the lineage of David would have a kingdom established forever, and that he would have mercy with him. He would not be removed, as Saul had been. The kingdom of David would go on forever. Nathan went to David and told him all that the Lord spoke.

We can read later, of the literal son of David, Solomon, being established as the king, and then raising a temple of the Lord. The line of David would continue to rule in the kingdom of Israel. More importantly, through the lineage of David a Son full of mercy was born. He did not have a kingdom on earth in the time of His life, because of the circumstances of the land of Judah, but He has a kingdom that has been established forever. Jesus Christ was that son of David’s line.

Jesus-Portrait

18 Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?
19 And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?
20 And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord God, knowest thy servant.
21 For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.
22 Wherefore thou art great, O Lord God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
23 And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?
24 For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, Lord, art become their God.
25 And now, O Lord God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said.
26 And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.
27 For thou, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.
28 And now, O Lord God, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:
29 Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.

David prayed to God. David recognized that he was blessed by God to have his house established in Israel. He recognized that God knew him and had done these things according to His will. He prayed about the greatness of God and the good things God had done for the nation of Israel, to make them greater than other nations and to bless them to be His people, especially bringing them out from Egypt and from the influences there. No other being could do those things that God had done for them. David accepted the promises of the Lord towards his house, and prayed that his house would be before the Lord forever. He asked for a blessing upon his house.

David gives a good example of what prayer should be. He begins by acknowledging God’s hand in his life and the life of those around him, especially those he loves. He shows gratitude for these things in praise to God. He accepts the will of God in his life, offering himself to the will of God. And then he asks for the blessings he and his family need. These are parts to good communication with God, our Father in Heaven.

David’s desire to build a house for the ark, was a sincere desire to do what he could to show reverence and honor to the Lord. He did not want to be treated better than the Lord. His motives were pure, but it was not the will of God for David to be the one to do this. God would have his house built by someone of the line of David. God has His reasons for doing things, even righteous things, at different times and in different places than we may want or understand. He has wisdom far greater than any man and in his infinite wisdom and love, He will do those things that are best for all His children, when it is the right timing for it to be done.

What a blessing it was for David, to have a prophet and spokesman for the Lord, to help him to know what he should or should not do as the king of Israel. The Lord was not upset with David for having a desire to do good for Him, but instead blessed him with the knowledge that his family would be blessed forever. I can only imagine what an awesome feeling David must have had to hear these words from the prophet of the Lord. Then David, continued to be a great example to the world, in the importance of expressing gratitude to the Lord for his blessings.

When we have good intentions and are striving to do what is right, the Lord will direct us to do the good that He would have us do. The Lord has a plan for each of us in this life and we, like David, will be blessed greatly if we strive to follow that plan. Likewise, our blessings will be great, if we recognize God’s hand in our own lives and show gratitude through prayer and praise.

1 Samuel Chapter 9

The people of Israel had tired of their system of judges, and desired to have a king. The Lord consented, allowing the Israelites full use of their agency, even though it could bring the people to turn away from Him. Samuel preached to them on the consequences that would come with a wicked king. The establishment of a king over Israel, begins with the following:

1 Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.
2 And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.
3 And the asses of Kish Saul’s father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses.
4 And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and there they were not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not.
5 And when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us.
6 And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go.
7 Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?
8 And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way.
9 (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)
10 Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come, let us go. So they went unto the city where the man of God was.

Saul was a choice, goodly young man that stood taller than others around him. Saul was sent by his father, to look for his father’s donkeys, which had been lost. He searched through the land, but was not finding them. When it seemed they had been away from his father’s house for too long, Saul decided to return so that his father did not worry about him. The servant told Saul of a man of God, Samuel, who was a seer and could, by the power of God, reveal to them where they should go. Saul did not have anything to offer, but his servant was willing to offer his own money in order to know where to go, and so they went into the city to find Samuel.

11 And as they went up the hill to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, Is the seer here?
12 And they answered them, and said, He is; behold, he is before you: make haste now, for he came to day to the city; for there is a sacrifice of the people to day in the high place:
13 As soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice; and afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up; for about this time ye shall find him.
14 And they went up into the city: and when they were come into the city, behold, Samuel came out against them, for to go up to the high place.

As they approached the city they asked some young women, who were headed to draw water, if they knew where the seer was. The women told them that the seer was there, just ahead of them, and if they hurried they would catch up with him before the sacrifice was going to be made in the high place of the city. As they went into the city, Samuel came out to meet them.

15 Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying,
16 To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.
17 And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.
18 Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer’s house is.
19 And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to day, and to morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart.
20 And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father’s house?
21 And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?
22 And Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the parlour, and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, which were about thirty persons.
23 And Samuel said unto the cook, Bring the portion which I gave thee, of which I said unto thee, Set it by thee.
24 And the cook took up the shoulder, and that which was upon it, and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, Behold that which is left! set it before thee, and eat: for unto this time hath it been kept for thee since I said, I have invited the people. So Saul did eat with Samuel that day.

The Lord had previously revealed to Samuel that a Benjamite, whom he saw that day, was to be anointed captain and king of the Israelites. This man would deliver the Israelites from the Philistines, in an answer to the prayers of the people. When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord revealed to him that Saul was this man. Saul approached Samuel to ask where the seer was. Samuel told him that he was the seer and asked them to join him for their meal and to stay with him, then he would send them on their way the next day with the answers that Saul sought. As if to prove himself a true seer, or better yet, to show Saul that he could indeed receive revelations from God, Samuel told him to forget about the lost donkeys because they had been found. Samuel also told him that he, Saul, was the answer to the desires of the Israelites. Saul could not understand why this would be said, because he was from a family, which was the least among the smallest tribe of the twelve tribes of Israel. Samuel took Saul into the meal and sat him in the seat of honor among a gathering of people. Then Samuel told his cook to bring the portion of meat that had been set aside, and he gave it to Saul. Samuel had been prepared to entertain Saul as his honored guest for the meal, since the time he invited the others to come.

25 And when they were come down from the high place into the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house.
26 And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad.
27 And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God.

After they left the gathering, Samuel had Saul and his servant stay with him. In the dawn of the morning, Samuel called for Saul to meet him on the rooftop, and Samuel told him that he could be on his way. Samuel was leaving the city as well, and as they were about to go out of the city, Samuel told Saul to have his servant go on ahead so that he could have some time to share the word of God with Saul. Samuel had told him that he would tell him all that was in his heart, or perhaps all that he desired to know, and this is what he was about to do.

The character of Saul is shown in this story, when not only are we told that he was a choice young man, but that he was humble and would seek the word of the Lord through a seer, in order to know what he should do or where he should go. I am sure it was a bit of a shock and a surprise, to be told that he had been chosen to lead Israel. And then to follow it with being treated by Samuel as a true leader would have been treated, among a gathering of many people. Nevertheless, Saul was treated this way, because the Lord had chosen him to be the king of Israel. It is a wonder that God would select a king, when we can learn from the previous chapter, that God had not wanted Israel to have a mortal king. However, because God made the selection, it was a man who had the character of being the right king for Israel. This is because God can look on the heart of an individual, where others will only see what is on the outside. The right king would not have been a man that had the appearance of a king, but a man that had the character of a good king. God continued to care for the people of Israel, by helping them to have a good king.

The Lord called his ancient leaders, even kings, through inspiration received by His holy prophets. This is not a pattern that was done away in ancient times. In the restoration of the gospel, the Lord continued to follow this pattern. The modern prophets and apostles of the church of Jesus Christ, are called by inspiration to lead the people of the Lord. Just this previous weekend, I watched as three new modern apostles were called to serve as special witnesses of Jesus Christ, and the spirit confirmed to me, that these men are indeed called of God. It is such a blessing to live with a knowledge of revelation from God.

Something else to learn from this story, is that when we feel impressed upon to find help, especially from those who we know to be people of God, we should not let other things stop us. Saul and his servant did not have a gift or offering to bring to the seer, and because of that, they may not have entered the city to get the help they needed. In the exchange between Saul and Samuel, the money or gift he and his servant had decided to bring, was not mentioned again. It seems that it was possibly unnecessary in the circumstances. I am sometimes guilty of trying to excuse the promptings I feel, because I know that there has to be some reason why God would not want to help me. I have nothing to offer Him. Or my reasoning teaches me that it would not work, but these thoughts are not right. We can always offer the Lord a willing heart and mind. The Lord would not inspire us without some reason that will bless us eventually. And as we read in 1 Nephi 3:7, “the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” God would not prompt us to do something that would then be impossible for us to do. When we recognize inspiration and promptings of the spirit, we should follow through with them, so that we can be the instrument that God needs us to be. From these things, we can grow and be blessed beyond anything we can now imagine.

1 Samuel Chapter 3

Eli was the high priest, in the Israelite temple in Shiloh. Samuel was a young boy, who had been given to Eli, into the service of the Lord. From a very young age, Samuel served the Lord in the temple. Eli’s sons had dealt unrighteously with their own service in the temple, and because of that, and how he had chosen to deal with it, Eli had been told that his posterity would not continue to serve in the temple. The story of Samuel and Eli continues as follows:

1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;
4 That the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
6 And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.
8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.
9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

At this time, the Lord had not been leading his people through visions and revelations, but through His words alone, which had already been given by the prophets long before. There have been many times throughout the history of the world, when the Lord has removed his prophets from the earth. Whether this is done to test the people, because the people become too wicked, or some other reason, it is a test of the faith of the people of the Lord. This had been one of those times for the Israelites, who had not had a prophet among them since the days of Joshua.

Samuel was serving the the temple of the Lord. Eli became old and his vision was weak, he was in bed, and it says the lamp of God went out. The instructions of the Lord had been, that the lamp of the Lord was always to be lit. It seems that Eli was unable to perform the duty of keeping the lamp lit. At that time, Samuel had laid down to sleep. The Lord called him and he answered, assuming that it was Eli who had called him. He went to Eli, but Eli told him he had not called him, and that he should return to his bed. The Lord called Samuel again, he answered and returned to Eli to see why he had been called. Eli told him again, that he had not called him, and that he should return to his bed. Samuel was young and had not been taught all the things about the Lord. He was not yet familiar with the word of the Lord, or possibly the ways the Lord spoke to men. He did not recognize, for himself, that the Lord was speaking to him. The Lord called Samuel for the third time, and when he went to Eli to ask why he had called for him, Eli recognized that it was a calling from the Lord. He told Samuel to return to his bed, and if he was called again, he was to answer the Lord and say that he was ready to hear the word of the Lord. He went back to bed and when the Lord called him for the forth time, Samuel answered the Lord as Eli had instructed.

It is blessing to learn how to hear the Lord speak to us. The spirit of the Lord can touch the hearts and minds of all men and women. When we learn to listen, and are obedient to the commandments, we can feel and hear God speak. A child, as Samuel, is unlikely to know and recognize this on their own. It is important for those who know, to teach the youth of the world these things. I think it is one of the most important thing parents and leaders of youth can teach them. There is great power and safety in learning to recognize how the Lord speaks to us personally. If we want the youth of today to have greater strength and courage to do what is right, we need to teach them this principle.

11 And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
12 In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.
13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
14 And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.

Samuel was told that in the day when his promise to Eli was to be fulfilled, the ears of every one who heard it, would tingle. The witness of the spirit, would come to the Israelites, and they would be able to know that the Lord had been true to his word regarding the house of Eli. The Lord told Samuel that Eli had been told of the judgement which was to come upon his house because of the wickedness that he was aware of in his family, which he did nothing to stop. His family would no longer be purged by sacrifices and offerings.

I think that the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord, was such that He knew the sons of Eli would not somehow become an example of righteousness, but would instead be a stumbling block to the House of Israel. They could no longer be counted among the worthy, and therefore could no longer serve in His holy house. Additionally, they could not bring their own sacrifices and offerings to the temple, to be made clean by them. In punishing the house of Eli in this way, the Lord was setting (or resetting) a standard for worthiness in serving in the temple. There are times, when a few must be stopped or even destroyed in their wickedness, so that a great number more might be saved. This reminds me of a Book of Mormon story of young Nephi. He had been sent to get sacred records from Laban, who dealt wickedly with his family. The Lord gave the following instruction through the voice of the spirit, “Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.” (see 1 Nephi 4:13) This was the wisdom of the Lord for the family of Nephi and the future nation that would come from them. Likewise, the punishment of the family of Eli, needed to be this strong for the benefit of the souls of many others.

15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.
16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.
17 And he said, What is the thing that the Lord hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.
18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good.

Samuel stayed in his bed until the next morning, got up and opened the temple doors. He was afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had told him. It would have been natural for a young boy to be worried about telling his master that the Lord was prepared to judge the master for something he had done. I imagine that Eli spent the night considering what the Lord was sharing with Samuel as well, and possibly because of that, Eli called Samuel for him. Eli asked Samuel what the Lord had said, so Samuel told him everything and Eli knew it would be as the Lord had said.

19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.
21 And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

Samuel grew up and was recognized throughout all of Israel, as the prophet of the Lord. All the words of Samuel were fulfilled and he had the Lord, or the spirit of the Lord, with him. The Lord showed himself unto Samuel in Shiloh, and He showed revelations unto him, because Samuel was the prophet of the Lord.

Judges Chapter 18

In the last chapter of Judges, we read about a man named Micah, who had a house of idols. He had also consecrated his own priests, including his son and a Levite. The book of Judges continues as follows:

1 In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.
2 And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land: who when they came to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there.
3 When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here?
4 And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest.
5 And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.
6 And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the Lord is your way wherein ye go.

At this point in time, the tribe of Dan had need of an inheritance in Israel. Since there was no king in Israel for them to approach about it, they went seeking for their inheritance on their own. Five men of valor eventually came to mount Ephraim where Micah lived. They found the Levite there, and recognized him. They asked how he came to be there and he told them that Micah had made him his priest. Being a priest, they asked him to ask God where they could find land. He told them to go on in peace, possibly directing them, and it sounds like he gave them the blessing of the Lord.

7 Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man.
8 And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What say ye?
9 And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land.
10 When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth.

The men went to Laish, where the people lived a separated, quiet life, without a magistrate to lead them and tell them if how they lived was right or wrong. They went back to their tribe in Zorah and Eshtaol and told them to come with them to take the good land and possess it. They told them that they would find a good land where they would not want for anything in the earth.

11 And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war.
12 And they went up, and pitched in Kirjath-jearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjath-jearim.
13 And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah.

The Danites sent out 600 men of war and went to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah.

14 Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do.
15 And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him.
16 And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate.
17 And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war.
18 And these went into Micah’s house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, What do ye?
19 And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?
20 And the priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.
21 So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage before them.

The five who had seen the land already, told their brothers that Micah had treasures and idols. The army went to the house of Micah and waited at the gate. The five spies took the treasures and idols. The priest came to the Danites and asked what they were doing, and they told him to quietly go with them to be the priest to the entire tribe of Dan instead of being the priest to one man. He was glad for their offer and went with them.

22 And when they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah’s house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan.
23 And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company?
24 And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: and what have I more? and what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee?
25 And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household.
26 And the children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house.
27 And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people that were at quiet and secure: and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire.
28 And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Beth-rehob. And they built a city, and dwelt therein.
29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first.

After the priest had left with men of their tribe, the neighbors of Micah gathered together and caught the men of Dan. The men of Dan asked why Micah brought the gathering after them. Micah said they had taken his idols and his priests, which were all he had. They warned Micah that if he did not remain quiet, he might be killed by angry men, along with his household. The men of Dan continued their leave, and Micah, knowing that they were greater in power than he was, returned to his house. The men of Dan went on to the land of Laish and destroyed the city. Because the people there had separated themselves, they had no rescue. This became the city of Dan.

30 And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.
31 And they set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

The Danites set up idolatry in the city of Dan, with the idols they had taken from Micah. They also set up the sons of Jonathan as the priests. These remained during the time that the tabernacle remained in Shiloh.

The thing that I think about the most in this chapter, and the previous chapter, is the description of the time they lived in. It was a time without a king. It was a time when each man, or each family, did what was best for themselves, with no one to lead them. It seems that in addition to it being a time without a king, it was possibly a time without a prophet. I wonder if the reason that the Lord left them without a prophet or king, for so long, was because the people had their hearts drawn so far from him. The Israelites had been promised great blessings if they would remember the Lord and keep His commandments. They had become a wicked and idolatrous people. In general, the traditions of their fathers had led them away from the Lord. I can’t help but imagine that a time without leadership and without the blessings of the Lord, would have been a confusing time. I am very grateful to live in a time when the gospel is available on the earth. I am grateful to live in circumstances where the commandments of God can be known and followed. I feel so blessed to have a prophet of God on the earth today. I know that following guidance and commandments from the Lord, through His holy prophets, I can be truly happy and my family will be blessed.

Joshua Chapter 24

This is the final sermon of the prophet Joshua, to the Israelite people. Joshua had been one who had walked with Moses during the wanderings in the wilderness. He had remained to see and enter the promised land while the rest of his generation had passed away. He was a man of faith and courage, and was called to be the prophet to conquer and settle the promised land. He trusted the Lord, and the Lord was there to help him. His words to the Israelites follow:

1 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.
2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
4 And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.
6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.
7 And when they cried unto the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.
8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you:
10 But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.
11 And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand.
12 And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.
13 And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.

Joshua gathered the people to hear his words, and then called the elders of Israel and other leaders, to present themselves. He begins to speak to them of their history. The family of Abraham had lived in a foreign land and worshipped the gods of that land. Abraham was led away from the idolatry, by the Lord, to the land of Canaan and was blessed with his son Isaac. The Lord blessed Isaac with two sons, even Jacob and Esau. He told them how Jacob’s family went to Egypt, and that the Lord sent Moses and Aaron and gave plagues there. Then the Israelites were led out of Egypt by the Lord. Then when they were chased by the Egyptians, the Lord protected them and destroyed their enemy in the sea. Then they wandered in the wilderness, and the Lord led them into the land of the Amorites and delivered their enemies into their hands. The Lord stopped Balaam from cursing the Israelites, and caused that he should bless them instead. Finally, the Israelites were led into the land of Canaan, to Jericho, and the Lord delivered their enemies into their hands again. The Lord helped them to gain the promised land, where they had plenty, but they had not prepared it for themselves.

14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;
17 For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:
18 And the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God.
19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
20 If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.
21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.
22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.
23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel.
24 And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

Joshua called the people to honor and serve the Lord, and to put away the practice of worshipping false gods, or idolatry, as their ancestors had. He reminded the people that they were free to choose whom they would serve, but they needed to make their choice. Joshua, their prophet and leader, declared that he had chosen to serve the Lord. In response, the people spoke of the commandment God had given them to serve Him alone and to forsake other gods. The congregation of Israel recognized the hand of the Lord in bringing them out of bondage, and preserving them in their wanderings. They knew that the Lord had delivered their enemies into their hands and had driven them out of the land. The Israelites chose to serve the Lord as well. Joshua told them that if they would follow after other gods, they could not serve the Lord and would not be forgiven of their transgressions or sins. The Lord would destroy them if they turned against Him. The people wanted to choose the Lord still, and so Joshua said they were witnesses against themselves, which they agreed to. He called on them again, to put away other gods and turn to the Lord, to which they made a covenant to serve and obey the Lord.

We have the same obligation to choose if we will strive to serve the Lord, or if we will serve other gods. We cannot stand on both sides of the fence, but if we choose to serve the Lord, we will be held to His standard. It is our privilege, to be able to stand and firmly say we will serve the Lord. When we make covenants of baptism, we promise to serve the Lord all our days. If after making covenants, we go against the Lord, destruction will eventually come upon us as well. I hope to be able to remain steadfast and firm all the days of my life, and continually serve God.

26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.
27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.
28 So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.

A record was made of these things, and a stone was raised as a reminder to the people, of the covenant they had made with the Lord. Then all the people were sent back to their homes.

29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.
31 And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel.

Joshua died at the age of 110. In the days of Joshua, the host of Israel had server the Lord, as well as in the days of all the elders that served with him.

32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.

The bones of Joseph were buried in the land that his father Jacob had purchased many years before. This was a fulfillment of the request of Joseph which he made while in Egypt, because he knew that God would one day deliver the people of Israel and led them to the land of promise. Then, Eleazar, the priest and son of Aaron, died and was buried in the land of his son, Phinehas.

Idolatry was a sin which plagued the children of Israel in their time. This is why there was a need to continually remind them to love and serve the Lord alone. In our time, we have idolatry of other forms, which plague our generation. We need to be continually reminded to live in the world, but not be of the world. I feel like the greatest reminder we have from our current prophets, is that our focus must be on the family or Satan will destroy us. The strength of the Lord’s people, as a whole, depends upon the strength of our family units. If we allow Satan to break down the family, we will each stand alone and we will fall. It was so important for the congregation of Israel to heed the words of the prophet Joshua, as they heeded the words of Moses before him. Is is just as important for us to heed the words of our own modern prophets, because they speak the word of the Lord for us today. I am so grateful for the prophets which the Lord has called in our day. I am grateful for times when I can hear their words and apply them to my life. I know that they are true and can help us to be strong and courageous in our day.

(If you are interested in listening to the modern prophets and apostles, you can watch or listen to the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Click here for more information.)

Joshua Chapter 23

The role of a prophet, in ancient times as well as today, has been to “act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will.” (see Bible Dictionary: Prophet) What we read of Joshua up to this point, includes the directions he gave from the Lord, to fight their enemies, and to settle the promised land. I am sure that along the way, Joshua was frequently delivering messages of doctrine to the Israelites as well, but those words would most likely be found in the laws and commandments given through the prophet Moses. In this chapter, I believe we receive the parting words of the prophet Joshua to the people. It reads as follows:

1 And it came to pass a long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.
2 And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age:
3 And ye have seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the Lord your God is he that hath fought for you.
4 Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward.
5 And the Lord your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the Lord your God hath promised unto you.
6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:
8 But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day.
9 For the Lord hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.
10 One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.
11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God.
12 Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you:
13 Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.
14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the Lord your God promised you; so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.
16 When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.

I believe that the tradition of the time, was for a man to gather his family together before he passed away, to deliver a final message to his posterity, and oftentimes to leave them with a blessing. It seems that this same tradition occurred with the prophets to the people of the Lord as well. Joshua grew old when Israel had received rest in the promised land. In his age, he gathered the elders and leaders of Israel together. First, he reminds them of the blessings from the Lord. It was the Lord, who had given them this land by subduing their enemies and delivering them into the hands of Israel. They are reminded that the land had been divided and given to them for an inheritance, and also, that the Lord would continue to dispel their enemies so that they might continue to gain the land of promise. However, this is not without an expectation of the people of Israel.

Joshua gives and exhortation to the elders, that they lead the people in righteousness. He tells them to be courageous and keep the commandments. He tells them that they need to avoid being part of the other nations that still remained in the land. They should not mention or worship the gods of those other nations, but they should continue to love the Lord by cleaving to Him. He reminds them, that they have been promised that the Lord would fight for them and make them mighty and strong. No nation could stand against even one man with God on His side. They needed to love the Lord wholly, or else they would turn to the false gods of other nations. If they did this, they would begin to marry people of these other nations, even those that remained among them. If they chose that path, the Lord would no longer fight for them. Instead, the Lord would allow those nations to be a temptation in their lives, until the Israelites were removed from the land. Joshua reminded the elders, that God had fulfilled all that He had promised them. All the good that they had been promised, had been given to them. Because they knew this, they could know that everything bad that had been promised if they would be disobedient, would also be given to them.

It takes courage to keep the commandments of God, especially when the ways of the world are so far from them. It takes courage to follow the prophets called to lead us today. I believe as time passes and we draw nearer to the second coming of the Savior and the millennium, that it will take greater courage than ever before. We are preparing for the day when all the wicked will be done away, and the Lord will reign on this earth. Only those who can live in this world, but avoid becoming part of the world, will be able to stand at that day. This message for the ancient Israelites, is the message that all of us need to hear. If we desire to be called the people of the Lord, we must be willing to give up the pleasures of the world and give our whole hearts to the Lord. If we do not follow His commandments and love Him, He will allow us to experience greater temptations. I think that I have enough temptation in my life now, and hope to be able to have the courage to do what is right, so that the Lord will help me to fight my personal enemies.


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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