Posts Tagged 'Prosperity'

1 Chronicles Chapter 4

A Family Tree

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1 Kings Chapter 10

Solomon was a king of great wisdom and reknown. His wisdom, riches and honor, were gifts from the Lord. This chapter begins:

1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions.
2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.
3 And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not.
4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built,
5 And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her.
6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom.
7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.
8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.
9 Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.
10 And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.
11 And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.
12 And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the Lord, and for the king’s house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.
13 And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.

The Queen of Sheba learned of Solomon and his fame, she went to visit him and ask him questions. She told him all that was in her heart. Solomon, in his wisdom, spoke to her of all the things that were on her mind, even those she had not said herself. After seeing his wisdom and the many great things he had, she told him that the things she had heard of him were true. She couldn’t believe it until she saw it with her own eyes, and then she realized that she had not heard of half of his wisdom and prosperity. She noted that even his men and servants, were happy. She recognized that his greatness was a blessing from the God of Israel, and that Solomon was a blessing from God to Israel, because God loved them. The Queen of Sheba, gave Solomon gifts and treasures. Additionally, Hiram’s navy brought gold, the best Almua timber and treasures to Solomon. Solomon gave Sheba gifts as well, and all that she desired, then she returned home with her servants.

It seems that this story is included in the scriptures, to show an additional witness to the wisdom and prosperity of Solomon, and therefore another witness of the goodness of God.

14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold,
15 Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country.

A great amount of gold and spices were brought to Solomon, which again shows of his prosperity.

16 And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target.
17 And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.

Solomon made breastplates and shields of gold, and kept them in his house.

18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.
19 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays.
20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.

He made a great throne of ivory and gold, that was like no other on earth.

21 And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.
22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.
23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.

All of Solomon’s cups and dishes were made of gold. Every three years, the navy of Hiram and Tharshish would bring Solomon treasures. Solomon was the richest and wisest king of all the earth.

24 And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
25 And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.

People from all over the earth, sought out the wisdom of Solomon, and brought him the treasures of the world.

26 And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem.
27 And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycomore trees that are in the vale, for abundance.

Solomon had chariots and horsemen that were in the cities set a side for chariots, while he was in Jerusalem. He had much and the best things were had in abundance, so he gave them to be used in Jerusalem and in the valley.

28 And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price.
29 And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.

Solomon had some of the best horses and chariots brought from Egypt. Many were bought for the Hittite and Syrian kings.

Solomon’s experience with the Queen of Sheba, was a testament to how great a man he had become. The Lord had blessed Solomon with these things, so that the world would have a witness that Israel was blessed by the true and living God. I am sure that this same experience and knowledge occurred with many of those who sought him from all over the earth. The Lord continues to give great blessings to those who follow Him, so that the world can know that He is the God of this earth.

1 Kings Chapter 4

King Solomon had been blessed with wisdom and wealth by the hand of the Lord. Due to his wisdom, which had been shown as he judged the people, he was revered throughout the land. In this chapter, he continues the establishment of his kingdom. It begins:

1 So king Solomon was king over all Israel.
2 And these were the princes which he had; Azariah the son of Zadok the priest,
3 Elihoreph and Ahiah, the sons of Shisha, scribes; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud, the recorder.
4 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the host: and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests:
5 And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer, and the king’s friend:
6 And Ahishar was over the household: and Adoniram the son of Abda was over the tribute.

The princes, scribes, recorder, captain of the army, priests, and other officers of Solomon and his kingdom were listed here. They included Azariah,Elihoreph, Ahiah, Jehoshaphat, Benaiah, Zadok, Abiathar, Azariah, Zabud, Ahishar, and Adoniram. Zabud is named not only as an officer, but the friend of Solomon. It seems that he may have been a man whom Solomon trusted to be by his side as he ruled.

7 And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, which provided victuals for the king and his household: each man his month in a year made provision.
8 And these are their names: The son of Hur, in mount Ephraim:
9 The son of Dekar, in Makaz, and in Shaalbim, and Beth-shemesh, and Elon-beth-hanan:
10 The son of Hesed, in Aruboth; to him pertained Sochoh, and all the land of Hepher:
11 The son of Abinadab, in all the region of Dor; which had Taphath the daughter of Solomon to wife:
12 Baana the son of Ahilud; to him pertained Taanach and Megiddo, and all Beth-shean, which is by Zartanah beneath Jezreel, from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah, even unto the place that is beyond Jokneam:
13 The son of Geber, in Ramoth-gilead; to him pertained the towns of Jair the son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead; to him also pertained the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, threescore great cities with walls and brasen bars:
14 Ahinadab the son of Iddo had Mahanaim:
15 Ahimaaz was in Naphtali; he also took Basmath the daughter of Solomon to wife:
16 Baanah the son of Hushai was in Asher and in Aloth:
17 Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah, in Issachar:
18 Shimei the son of Elah, in Benjamin:
19 Geber the son of Uri was in the country of Gilead, in the country of Sihon king of the Amorites, and of Og king of Bashan; and he was the only officer which was in the land.

Those who provided food for the king and those in his household, or who were in charge of the gathering and giving of food, were also listed. There were twelve of them, I believe for the different parts of Israel.

20 Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.
21 And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.

The number of people in the land, were numerous. They were a merry people, and they served Solomon and gave him gifts.

22 And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,
23 Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl.
24 For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him.
25 And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon.

He was blessed with prosperity and peace during his entire reign, which meant his people were also blessed with these things. Every man was able to be safe and secure in his own home. The kingdom of Solomon was great.

26 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.
27 And those officers provided victual for king Solomon, and for all that came unto king Solomon’s table, every man in his month: they lacked nothing.
28 Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge.

He had a huge number of horses and chariots, and those who served him had all they needed, even with all that was necessary to take care of the king and all his household and belongings.

29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.
30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.
32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.
33 And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.
34 And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.

Solomon was blessed with wisdom and understanding, just as the Lord had promised. Largeness of heart, seems to be something like great love for his people. His wisdom was so great, that it exceeded all men. He was famous in all the nations around them. He spoke in proverbs and songs, some of which are recorded in the scriptures, and he spoke of many things about nature and animals. People and leaders of all nations, went to hear him.

This chapter causes me to think about the amazing nature of gifts of the spirit. The scriptures teach us that everyone is born with a gift (see 1 Corinthians 7:7 and Doctrine and Covenants 46:11) and that we can seek for more gifts (see Doctrine and Covenants 46:8). In this case, Solomon sought after the gift of wisdom, so that he could be the leader that Israel needed. He is a great example of seeking after those gifts that would benefit those who we have a stewardship over. This is what the Lord wants us to desire and I believe that he desires to bless us with those things. Personally, I am a mother, and have a stewardship over 6 sweet children. I sometimes, and probably not often enough, think of my calling as a mother to children who belong to my Father in Heaven. They are not mine alone. They are His and He wants them to have the best earthly mother possible. He has blessed me with gifts that can help me in this calling, and it would be better for me, if I would seek after, and pray for, those gifts of the spirit, that would help me in this great work. God wants me to succeed in raising righteous, healthy, happy children that will be prepared to make good choices when they go out into the world on their own. Gifts of the spirit will give me the best tools for this success.

Solomon’s gift of wisdom, was grand and caused him to remain well-known throughout the world from his life to present day. We may not be known in the history books or even well-known in our time, because of the gifts that we have been given by God, but our gifts can be a legacy in our own lives is we use them for good. The scriptures teach us about gifts of the spirit and that the are to be used “for the benefit of the children of God“. If we hide our gifts or use them for things that are not uplifting and good, they will eventually be taken from us and given to another. I am so grateful for the gifts that God has given to me and I hope to be able to use them well, leaving a legacy for my posterity to learn from and to follow.

Judges Chapter 4

The Israelites were living under the leadership of judges, whom the Lord had raised up to deliver His people. Ehud had delivered the people from the oppression of the Moabites when he killed their king, Eglon. This was possible because, while under oppression, the people had remembered the Lord. The cycle of rebellion against God, continues in this chapter, with the following:

1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead.
2 And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.
3 And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

Once Ehud, judge of Israel, had died, the Israelites returned to their ways of wickedness. The Lord allowed them to fall into the hands of king Jabin of Canaan. They were oppressed for twenty years and the Israelites remembered the Lord and prayed for deliverance. Each time the Israelites turned to worshipping false gods and doing evil, the Lord withdrew his blessing of protection from their enemies. In their weakness, the Israelites were oppressed by the nations surrounding them. They never seemed strong enough on their own, but needed the Lord on their side in order to prosper in the land.

4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.
5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Beth-el in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?
7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.
8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.
9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

A prophetess named Deborah, judged Israel. The Israelites went to her for leadership. She talked to a man named Barak, about leading ten thousand men of the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun, to go up against their enemies. The Lord had promised to deliver Sisera, the captain of the Canaanites, and his army into their hands. Barak would only go if Deborah would go with him. She agreed and told him this would not be for his honor, but that Sisera would be sold into the hands of a woman by the Lord.

We are not always expected to do the things that we want to do. Sometimes it is easier to do hard things, when we have the support of others with us. In this case, Barak wanted the support of Deborah. I think that he trusted that with Deborah there, they could have the Lord’s strength and would win the fight.

10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.
12 And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor.
13 And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon.
14 And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.
15 And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.
16 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.
17 Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.

They gathered their men and went towards their enemy. Deborah told Barak when he was to go, according to when the Lord had delivered Sisera into their hands. Sisera was delivered into their hands by the Lord. Sisera, himself, ran away, while his men were destroyed by the Israelites. Sisera took refuge with Jael the Kenite, who’s family was aligned with king Jabin of Canaan. She was the woman, who Deborah had foretold of taking Sisera.

18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle.
19 And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.
20 Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and inquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No.
21 Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.
22 And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples.
23 So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.
24 And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.

Jael met Sisera and asked him to come unto her in her tent. He did and then asked for water to drink. She gave him milk, which I think caused him to fall asleep. He told her to stand watch and if anyone asked if a man had come to her, she was to say no. Then she snuck up to him while he slept and killed him with a nail from her tent, which she drove into the ground. When Barak arrived at her tent, looking for Sisera, she showed him what she had done. Jabin and the Canaanites, had been subdued by the Lord and the Isrealites were able to destroy them and prosper again.

This chapter focuses on the ability for women to be able to deliver the people, which was not common among the scriptures. These women were heroes for the Israelites. Jael had great courage to do what she did to Sisera. Deborah was indeed a prophetess of the Lord, because the things which she foretold came to pass. She was blessed with the ability to deliver the Isrealites and show them that the Lord was their God. Women can be great leaders of courage and faith today, as these were in ancient times. In order for us to stay strong, the world we live in now needs women to be more courageous, faithful, and righteous. I may not be required to lead an army to battle, but I am raising children who need a righteous and faithful mother in their home.

The Lord was the strength of Israel. Even when facing their enemy with chariots, which they could not fight alone as men, they were victorious. The Lord can be there for us in our battles, if we will heed the words of our modern prophets and leaders. If we will keep the commandments, He will strengthen us and help us to overcome the world.

Genesis Chapter 39

Joseph is one of the younger sons of Jacob (Israel). He had eleven brothers. He had been blessed with dreams by the Lord, which his brothers saw as a threat. There were also feelings of envy due to his being their father’s favorite. In response, they cast him into a pit and then sold him to some Ishmeelites on their way to Egypt. The story of Joseph continues:

1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.
2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.
6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.

Joseph was bought by Potiphar and he prospered, even as a servant in Egypt. Joseph was righteous and had the Lord’s blessings. Potiphar recognized that Joseph was blessed by God and he made him his overseer or ruler of all his house and belongings. Potiphar was blessed for having Joseph in his household. I find it interesting that the footnote for the word “goodly”, references talents. I think this means that Joseph was a talented man who was able to help Potiphar to be more prosperous.

7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.
11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.
12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,
14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:
15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out.
16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home.
17 And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me:
18 And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.
19 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.
20 And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

Potiphar’s wife made advances towards Joseph, which he refused both because it would be wrong to do to Potiphar when he had made him ruler of his house, and because it would be a sin against God. Potiphar trusted Joseph and I don’t think he even watched over the things Joseph did in his house, because of the level of trust. She continued her advances towards him, until one day when no one else was around. She took hold of him and asked him again to be with her. He ran away, leaving part of his clothes that she held on to. She decided to use this to her advantage and called in other servants to tell them that Joseph had tried to take advantage of her. It takes a bold and unrighteous woman to be the kind of person to want to cheat on her husband and then can turn around and ruin the reputation of a man that has been so trusted and is known to be a righteous man. Potiphar’s wife repeated this story to Potiphar, who believed her and was angry with Joseph. Joseph, was then taken and put into prison with the prisoners of Pharaoh.

21 But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.
23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.

Joseph was an innocent man and still favored of the Lord. The Lord blessed him to find favor with the guards of the prison. The keeper of the prison, made Joseph in charge of all the prisoners. The Lord blessed the prison for Joseph’s sake. It is interesting to note that some of the best of men in the scriptures, are often cast into prison. With each of them that are righteous, the Lord continues to bless them and be with them.

This is a great example of standing up for our own virtue in the face of great adversity. Joseph was a righteous man, who loved God and would not commit this awful sin against Him. I am sure that he had a love for his master, Potiphar, and that losing that position in his household was extremely difficult. Because of his integrity, he was blessed and others were blessed because of him. I know that we will also be blessed if we hold fast to our own virtue and strive to have integrity. In Mosiah 2:41 we read, “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.” The Lord will take care of us, when we stand firm in our faith and are obedient to His commandments.

Genesis Chapter 31

Jacob is the father of a large family of eleven sons and one daughter, at this point in the bible. He has been living near his father-in-law, Laban, who is his uncle. He has four wives, Leah and Rachel who are sisters, and their two handmaids. Chapter 31 begins:

1 And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory.
2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
3 And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.
4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock,
5 And said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me.
6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.
7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.
8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked.
9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.
10 And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled.
11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.
13 I am the God of Beth-el, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house?
15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.
16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.

Laban’s sons are envious of Jacob, who has become wealthy through his working for Laban. Laban no longer favors Jacob as he had before, probably because he has become well-off from working for him. The Lord tells Jacob to return to Canaan, where his own family is. He also tells him that he will be with him, and Jacob had faith in God’s promise. Jacob tells his wives of his plan to leave, because Laban has been deceitful and is envious that God has blessed Jacob with his cattle. Jacob knows that he has been blessed for being a righteous man and doing all that he had committed to do, both to God and to Laban. He told them that the Lord told him to go back to Canaan and they decided to go with him because all they had was with Jacob and no longer with their father.

17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels;
18 And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padan-aram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.
19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s.
20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.
21 So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead.
22 And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.
23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.
24 And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.

Jacob and his family left in secret. Rachel stole the idols of Laban. Laban found that they were gone and when he learned that Jacob’s family had gone also, he took his men and went after them. They caught up to Jacob’s family, but the Lord told Laban that he should not be confrontational with Jacob.

25 Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead.
26 And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?
27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?
28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.
29 It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me.
32 With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.
33 And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent.
34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.
35 And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images.

Laban spoke to Jacob and asked why he had kidnapped his daughters and fled like a thief in the night. Laban told him that the Lord had spoken to him, so he would not be confrontational, but he asked him why he had stolen his things. Jacob, having experienced years of deceit at the hand of Laban, told him that he felt his wives would be taken from him. Not knowing that Rachel had taken the images, Jacob said that they could search his people and whoever took the images would suffer for it. Laban went searching for his idols, but Rachel had hidden them in her seat and sat on them. Using the excuse that she could not get up because of her personal female issues, she remained there and he could not find the idols.

36 And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?
37 Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both.
38 This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten.
39 That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.
40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.
41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.
42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.

Jacob was upset that they had chased after him, when he had done nothing wrong. He told him to show him what had been stolen so that they could be judged by those who were with them. Jacob pointed out all that Laban had done against him, and all that he had suffered at the hand of Laban. Then he reminded him that God had just rebuked Laban for what he has done to him.

43 And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?
44 Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.
45 And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.
46 And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.
47 And Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.
48 And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;
49 And Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.
50 If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee.
51 And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee;
52 This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm.
53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.
54 Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.
55 And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.

Laban claimed that all that Jacob had in his wives, children and cattle, were his. He decided to make a covenant of peace with Jacob. With God as witness of their covenant to one another, Laban said that Jacob was not to hurt his daughters or have any other wives. He also said that neither of them was to cross that point to harm one another. They had made a resolution to their problems in peace. They ate together that night and Laban left in peace the following morning.

God truly blessed Jacob and his family for his righteousness and devotion to being a man of integrity. Jacob is a great example of patience to me. He allowed Laban to take advantage of him for many years, and waited faithfully on the Lord. The Lord had promised to be with him while he was not in his own land, and the Lord had fulfilled that promise by keeping him safe and prospering him in the land. Now, it was finally the Lord’s time for Jacob and his family to return to his family and be delivered out of the bondage of Laban. I am sure that this was a time of great gratitude to the Lord for Jacob and his family.

Continual Call to Repentance

This morning I read the book of Jarom, which is one chapter in the Book of Mormon. I think the majority of this chapter teaches us that finding strength in the Lord, will bring us prosperity and protection from our enemies. It is a confirmation of the promise given to Nephi when they reached the promise land. This promise said that if they would be righteous they would prosper in the land. The thing that stuck out to me the most today, is the need for a continual call to repentance.

The Nephites at this time, were living righteously and prospering because of it. Jarom writes the following:

10 And it came to pass that the prophets of the Lord did threaten the people of Nephi, according to the word of God, that if they did not keep the commandments, but should fall into transgression, they should be destroyed from off the face of the land.
11 Wherefore, the prophets, and the priests, and the teachers, did labor diligently, exhorting with all long-suffering the people to diligence; teaching the law of Moses, and the intent for which it was given; persuading them to look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him to come as though he already was. And after this manner did they teach them.
12 And it came to pass that by so doing they kept them from being destroyed upon the face of the land; for they did prick their hearts with the word, continually stirring them up unto repentance.

In order for the righteous to continue in righteousness, they needed constant reminders of the commandments, the consequences of disobeying the commandments, and the need to repent. I think that we can get in a place where we feel like we know enough of what not to do, and we have heard all about repentance, so we don’t need to focus on those parts of the gospel. This is not so. If we want to continue in righteousness, then we need to listen every time the prophet and apostles speak. We need constant reminders of the ways that Satan is trying to trap us. We need our hearts to be pricked by the word of God, so that we will remember our need for repentance. We cannot become complacent or stagnant in the gospel. We need to be working continually to remain worthy of the blessings that God has promised.

D&C Section 97

The saints in Jackson County, Missouri, were suffering through great persecution and were being kicked out of their homes and the county. The prophet, who I guess did not know the severity of what was going on for them, received this revelation for the saints in response to asking the Lord for information about the Saints in Zion.

1 Verily I say unto you my friends, I speak unto you with my voice, even the voice of my Spirit, that I may show unto you my will concerning your brethren in the land of Zion, many of whom are truly humble and are seeking diligently to learn wisdom and to find truth.
2 Verily, verily I say unto you, blessed are such, for they shall obtain; for I, the Lord, show mercy unto all the meek, and upon all whomsoever I will, that I may be justified when I shall bring them unto judgment.

Those who are humble and seeking truth and righteousness, will be blessed for their faithfulness. Many of the saints in Jackson County, were trying to live faithfully and do what was right. The Lord sees all of our acts and He knows our hearts. I know that we will be blessed according to these desires. Sometimes, we may be living the best we can and doing all that we know to be right, but others around us are not. Zion as a whole could not have continued if there was any wickedness, so even though there were some totally righteous among them, Zion eventually did fall. The hope in this, is that there are still the promised blessings for those who remained faithful even as others were falling away around them. That hope is in the blessings that would come after the trials of this life. We may face the same kinds of things in this life. In fact, as the second coming draws closer, I believe there will be even greater wickedness from within the church which will test and try the righteous. But I also believe that the blessings that were promised to the faithful saints, are promised to those who remain faithful today.

3 Behold, I say unto you, concerning the school in Zion, I, the Lord, am well pleased that there should be a school in Zion, and also with my servant Parley P. Pratt, for he abideth in me.
4 And inasmuch as he continueth to abide in me he shall continue to preside over the school in the land of Zion until I shall give unto him other commandments.
5 And I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings, in expounding all scriptures and mysteries to the edification of the school, and of the church in Zion.

Parley P. Pratt had been called to teach in the school in Zion, for those who were going to serve missions, and he was promised blessings from the Lord for his service. It is my understanding that he was truly magnifying his calling and doing all that he could to sere the Lord. The Lord was pleased with this service so far. I think it must have been a great blessing to hear directly from the mouthpiece of the Lord, that He was please with how he was doing in his calling. I know that it would have given me great strength and encouragement, especially since the people were dealing with the awful persecutions.

6 And to the residue of the school, I, the Lord, am willing to show mercy; nevertheless, there are those that must needs be chastened, and their works shall be made known.
7 The ax is laid at the root of the trees; and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire. I, the Lord, have spoken it.
8 Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me.
9 For I, the Lord, will cause them to bring forth as a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit.

Even though the Lord was willing to show mercy on the saints in Zion, they had need to be chastened for the deeds that they had done. Mentioning that the ax laid at the root of the tree, was the Lord’s way of giving the saints a warning. Those who do wicked deeds will receive their reward, and those who are righteous and follow the commandments and covenants, will be accepted by the Lord. We all sin and we all need to be chastened from time to time, to remind us that God is king and we are to be instruments in His hands, for His good. Our sacrifice to the Lord, should be our time and energy. We should be willing to give of all that we can, to help His work to move forward. It is easy to get caught up in our own lives, and this is why we are chastened today.

10 Verily I say unto you, that it is my will that a house should be built unto me in the land of Zion, like unto the pattern which I have given you.
11 Yea, let it be built speedily, by the tithing of my people.
12 Behold, this is the tithing and the sacrifice which I, the Lord, require at their hands, that there may be a house built unto me for the salvation of Zion—
13 For a place of thanksgiving for all saints, and for a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of the ministry in all their several callings and offices;
14 That they may be perfected in the understanding of their ministry, in theory, in principle, and in doctrine, in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God on the earth, the keys of which kingdom have been conferred upon you.
15 And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;
16 Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God.
17 But if it be defiled I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there; for I will not come into unholy temples.

If the people were righteous, they would live to see the house of the Lord built in Zion. The tithing, or sacrifice, of the saints would build the temple. The temple is a place of learning. We go to the temple to be instructed, through the power of the spirit, in all things related to the kingdom of God. The knowledge and wisdom that is gained in the Temple, is never-ending. It is such a blessing to live in a time when there are so many temples around the world.

18 And, now, behold, if Zion do these things she shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very terrible.
19 And the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there;
20 And he hath sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation and her high tower.
21 Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion—the pure in heart; therefore, let Zion rejoice, while all the wicked shall mourn.

The prophets have said that Zion is on the American continent. I believe this to be true, because the spirit has been a witness to my heart and mind that it is true. The literal place of Zion is here. It is said many times in the scriptures, that Zion is the pure in heart. The city of God on earth, or Zion, must be a place of purity, obedience, love and peace. Because of the purity, God and His spirit are able to be there, and with Him, Zion cannot fall. But, when the people of Zion loose their way, the Lord cannot abide there, and the wicked will fall. The city of Zion, that was revealed to the early saints, did fall because of wickedness, but it will come again and those who are a part of Zion, will be pure in heart and will not fall. For now, Zion is where the pure in heart dwell.

22 For behold, and lo, vengeance cometh speedily upon the ungodly as the whirlwind; and who shall escape it?
23 The Lord’s scourge shall pass over by night and by day, and the report thereof shall vex all people; yea, it shall not be stayed until the Lord come;
24 For the indignation of the Lord is kindled against their abominations and all their wicked works.
25 Nevertheless, Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her.
26 But if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, with sore affliction, with pestilence, with plague, with sword, with vengeance, with devouring fire.
27 Nevertheless, let it be read this once to her ears, that I, the Lord, have accepted of her offering; and if she sin no more none of these things shall come upon her;
28 And I will bless her with blessings, and multiply a multiplicity of blessings upon her, and upon her generations forever and ever, saith the Lord your God. Amen.

Zion escapes the wrath and vengeance of the Lord, if the people are completely obedient. Otherwise, the sorrows and afflictions attack Zion, because of disobedience and wickedness. I hope that I will continue to live a righteous life. I know that I must constantly be on guard to avoid the traps of Satan. I know that if I can do what is right and be faithful in all of my callings and service, I will receive great rewards just as the saints were promised.

D&C Section 38 (Part 3)

This post is a continuation of the previous post (Part 2).

This revelation was received through the Prophet, Joseph Smith, at a church conference.

“If Ye Are Not One Ye Are Not Mine”

“But, verily I say unto you, teach one another according to the office wherewith I have appointed you (v. 23); And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practise virtue and holiness before me (v. 24). And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself (v. 25). For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just (v. 26)? Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine (v. 27).”

It was a unity among the people of Enoch, that caused the Lord to take them and save them. Unity in purpose and mind fosters love and respect, which brings peace, prosperity and joy. If we are following the way and gospel of Jesus Christ, we are one with Him and only the things that contradict that will bring disharmony. Unity will exist wherever the saints strive to follow the commandments.

“The Enemy . . . Seeketh Your Lives”

“And again, I say unto you that the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your lives (v. 28 ).” Those who stand on the side of Satan and do his work, whether they know it or not, will always be an enemy to those who are trying to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes they will make our lives difficult, sometimes they will take away our freedoms, and even sometimes they may take away our lives. We must have hope in the plan of salvation and the blessings of the eternities. The good will win in the end, but it will be a difficult journey before that win comes. This is a promise that has been given to the saints many times and I know that it is true.

“If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear”

“Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land (v. 29). I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear (v. 30).” We have scriptures that promise many hardships to come. In Matthew 24:7 we read, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” The scriptures don’t say that they may happen, but that they will happen. However, we have this promise. If we are prepared, we will not fear these things.

I understand the idea of having faith and not fear. They cannot coexist in the same heart at the same time. I find that as I read the scriptures, I may be sad that the world seems to be so wicked today, but I actually feel and excitement in knowing that the second coming is so close. I don’t know what the future holds for myself individually, but I am hopeful and excited for what it holds for my loved ones. I hope to continue trying to become prepared for the things that are to come.

Pride and the Riches of the Earth

The Lord told the saints, through the Prophet, that they need to be prepared so that they would be found among the righteous (v. 31). He told them that being prepared meant following His commandment to go to Ohio, where they would be given greater power from God (v. 32). This power would be the blessings of the endowment. The Lord would gather people from all over the world, to further His work (v. 33). There would be men called to go to these places to help the people and help the church in other places (v. 34-36). All things would be for the benefit of the church (v. 38 ).

“And if ye seek the riches which it is the will of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity; and it must needs be that the riches of the earth are mine to give; but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old (v. 39). And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a commandment, that every man, both elder, priest, teacher, and also member, go to with his might, with the labor of his hands, to prepare and accomplish the things which I have commanded (v. 40).”

Pride and riches has been the downfall of many prosperous groups of people throughout the history of the world. God gives us prosperity to help us live happy lives, but as soon as we forget that He gives us these things for our good and to help further the work, we rely on our own strength and forget God. Pride and reliance on the things of the world will surely bring destruction just as was with the Nephites in the Book of Mormon. We should always be seeking the riches of the gospel, which we will be able to be blessed with through the eternities. Having wealth is not a bad things when it it used for good and when we remember that God gives us all things.

“Be Ye Clean That Bear the Vessels of the Lord”

“And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness (v. 41). And go ye out from among the wicked. Save yourselves. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Even so. Amen (v. 42).” We are told to live in the world, but not to be of the world. Those who are seeking to live righteously, need to avoid sin and wickedness so that they can remain clean and good. We will be blessed if we keep ourselves worthy and teach others the gospel as we live it.

Ether, Chapter 10

What difference does a king make?

We ended chapter 9 with the Jaredites becoming humble and repenting for their sins.  The last king we learned about at this time was Heth (see chapter 9 post).  In chapter 10 we read about a succession of kings who are either righteous or wicked and who provide examples that we can learn from.

“And it came to pass that Shez, who was a descendant of Heth—for Heth had perished by the famine, and all his household save it were Shez—wherefore, Shez began to build up again a broken people (v. 1).”  Heth had been an unrighteous king and his wickedness brought a famine to his people, which he died during.  Shez reigned while the people were repentant and starting to be blessed again by the Lord.  “And it came to pass that Shez did remember the destruction of his fathers, and he did build up a righteous kingdom; for he remembered what the Lord had done in bringing Jared and his brother across the deep; and he did walk in the ways of the Lord; and he begat sons and daughters (v. 2). . . . [he] did build up many cities upon the face of the land, and the people began again to spread over all the face of the land. And Shez did live to an exceedingly old age ; and he begat Riplakish. And he died, and Riplakish reigned in his stead (v. 4).”  Shez was a righteous king and because he remembered the lessons of his family history, and followed the ways of the Lord, he and his people were blessed.

Shez, did not always have it easy though.  “And his eldest son, whose name was Shez, did rebel against him; nevertheless, Shez was smitten by the hand of a robber, because of his exceeding riches, which brought peace again unto his father (v. 3).”  Shez (the younger) rebelled against his father and sought after riches.  A robber killed him for these riches.  When we seek after things of the world, we will not find true happiness.

Riplakish was the next king after Shez (the elder).  “And it came to pass that Riplakish did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines, and did lay that upon men’s shoulders which was grievous to be borne; yea, he did tax them with heavy taxes; and with the taxes he did build many spacious buildings (v. 5).  And he did erect him an exceedingly beautiful throne; and he did build many prisons, and whoso would not be subject unto taxes he did cast into prison; and whoso was not able to pay taxes he did cast into prison; and he did cause that they should labor continually for their support; and whoso refused to labor he did cause to be put to death (v. 6).  Wherefore he did obtain all his fine work, yea, even his fine gold he did cause to be refined in prison; and all manner of fine workmanship he did cause to be wrought in prison. And it came to pass that he did afflict the people with his whoredoms and abominations (v. 7).  And when he had reigned for the space of forty and two years the people did rise up in rebellion against him; and there began to be war again in the land, insomuch that Riplakish was killed, and his descendants were driven out of the land (v. 8 ).”  He was an unrighteous king.  We learn from this, that placing heavy burdens on others for our own gain is not righteous.  His people raised a rebellion against him and killed him.  Riplakish brought nothing but hardship and sadness to his people, and then his family were driven out after his death.  He left his family with nothing because he tried to have everything.

“And it came to pass after the space of many years, Morianton, (he being a descendant of Riplakish) gathered together an army of outcasts, and went forth and gave battle unto the people; and he gained power over many cities; and the war became exceedingly sore, and did last for the space of many years; and he did gain power over all the land, and did establish himself king over all the land (v. 9).  And after that he had established himself king he did ease the burden of the people, by which he did gain favor in the eyes of the people, and they did anoint him to be their king (v. 10).  And he did do justice unto the people, but not unto himself because of his many whoredoms; wherefore he was cut off from the presence of the Lord (v. 11).  And it came to pass that Morianton built up many cities, and the people became exceedingly rich under his reign, both in buildings, and in gold and silver, and in raising grain, and in flocks, and herds, and such things which had been restored unto them (v. 12).  And Morianton did live to an exceedingly great age, and then he begat Kim; and Kim did reign in the stead of his father; and he did reign eight years, and his father died. . . (v. 13).”  Morianton, was more kind to the people, but he also did not live righteously and was “cut off from the presence of the Lord”.  From his we learn that we can have unrighteous leaders who lead us to prosperity even in wickedness.

“. . . And it came to pass that Kim did not reign in righteousness, wherefore he was not favored of the Lord (v. 13).  And his brother did rise up in rebellion against him, by which he did bring him into captivity; and he did remain in captivity all his days; and he begat sons and daughters in captivity, and in his old age he begat Levi; and he died (v. 14).”  Kim was not a righteous king.  His brother took him captive and he was never free again.  We see that with Kim, wickedness was not happiness.  If we are not physically held captive, we are held captive by the devil for our unrighteous choices.

“And it came to pass that Levi did serve in captivity after the death of his father, for the space of forty and two years. And he did make war against the king of the land, by which he did obtain unto himself the kingdom (v. 15).  And after he had obtained unto himself the kingdom he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord; and the people did prosper in the land; and he did live to a good old age, and begat sons and daughters; and he also begat Corom, whom he anointed king in his stead (v. 16).”  Levi was a good king, who fought his way out of captivity and led his people in prosperity and righteousness.  We can learn from him that even when we come directly from those who live in righteousness and sin, we are not the same.  We can choose for ourselves to live righteously.

“And it came to pass that Corom did that which was good in the sight of the Lord all his days; and he begat many sons and daughters; and after he had seen many days he did pass away, even like unto the rest of the earth; and Kish reigned in his stead (v. 17).”  Corom was another righteous king.  “And it came to pass that Kish passed away also, and Lib reigned in his stead (v. 18 ).”  I’m not sure what kind of king Kish was, but we’re not told that he was unrighteous, so he probably was a good king.

“And it came to pass that Lib also did that which was good in the sight of the Lord. And in the days of Lib the poisonous serpents were destroyed. Wherefore they did go into the land southward, to hunt food for the people of the land, for the land was covered with animals of the forest. And Lib also himself became a great hunter (v. 19).  And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land (v. 20).  And they did preserve the land southward for a wilderness, to get game. And the whole face of the land northward was covered with inhabitants (v. 21).”  Lib led the people righteously and they were greatly blessed for it.  They were finally able to hunt for the animals that had gone to the South, because the poisonous serpents were destroyed.  They began to trade with each other and make things out of all kinds of metals (v. 22-23).  They made all types of clothes, tools, weapons and more (v. 24-27).  “And never could be a people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord. And they were in a land that was choice above all lands, for the Lord had spoken it (v. 28 ).  And it came to pass that Lib did live many years, and begat sons and daughters; and he also begat Hearthom (v. 29).”  Again, the righteousness of the king brought peace and great prosperity to the people.

“And it came to pass that Hearthom reigned in the stead of his father. And when Hearthom had reigned twenty and four years, behold, the kingdom was taken away from him. And he served many years in captivity, yea, even all the remainder of his days (v. 30).”  Hearthom did not seem to be a bad king, but he was captured and was in captivity many years of his life.

“And he begat Heth, and Heth lived in captivity all his days. And Heth begat Aaron, and Aaron dwelt in captivity all his days; and he begat Amnigaddah, and Amnigaddah also dwelt in captivity all his days; and he begat Coriantum, and Coriantum dwelt in captivity all his days; and he begat Com (v. 31).”  Heth, Aaron, Amnigaddah, and Coriantum all lived in captivity for their entire lives.

Finally, Com became a king.  “And it came to pass that Com drew away the half of the kingdom. And he reigned over the half of the kingdom forty and two years; and he went to battle against the king, Amgid, and they fought for the space of many years, during which time Com gained power over Amgid, and obtained power over the remainder of the kingdom (v. 32).  And in the days of Com there began to be robbers in the land; and they adopted the old plans, and administered oaths after the manner of the ancients, and sought again to destroy the kingdom (v. 33).  Now Com did fight against them much; nevertheless, he did not prevail against them (v. 34).”  Com seems to have been a good king, who tried to stop the evil secret combinations in his land.

There were many different kings who chose whether they would lead in righteousness or lead in wickedness.  Those who were wicked may have enjoyed their lives for the most part, but in the end it did not bring them happiness.  Often the wicked kings were killed by their others.  Those who led in righteousness, may not have always been blessed in their lives, but they left a wonderful legacy for others.  Some experienced wonderful prosperity as a blessing from the Lord.  It is pretty incredible the effect of a righteous or wicked king can have on his kingdom.  I hope and pray that we can have a return to righteousness among our leaders today, so that we can be blessed with happiness in our lives.


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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