Posts Tagged 'Service'

1 Chronicles Chapter 6

A Family Tree

Levi was the third son of Jacob after Reuben and Simeon. He was the son of Leah, Jacob’s first wife. He and his brother Simeon had killed the Shechemites for the actions of Shechem against their sister Dinah. Because of this they were cursed to be divided and scattered in Israel. The family of Levi are listed in this chapter, beginning with the following:

1 The sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
2 And the sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel.
3 And the children of Amram; Aaron, and Moses, and Miriam. The sons also of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

Levi had three sons named Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. (See also Genesis 46:11, Exodus 6:16, and Numbers 3:17) Levi’s son Kohath, was the father of Amram (Amramites), Izhar (Izeharites), Hebron (Hebronites) and Uzziel (Uzzielites). (See also Numbers 3:27) Amram, married Jochebed and became the father of Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. (see also Exodus 6:20 and Numbers 26:59) Aaron was called to assist Moses and he became his spokesman. Moses was the prophet whom the Lord called to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt and lead them to the promised land. Miriam, their sister, was a prophetess who was humbled by the Lord when judged Moses for his choice in his wife. (see Exodus 3, 4, 15, and Numbers 12) Aaron was the father of Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. Nadab and Abihu died without sons, because they offered strange fire against the commandment of the Lord. (see Leviticus 10:1-2) The line of Aaron, was then continued on through Eleazar and Ithamar. Eleazar was given the duties of Aaron after he died. (See also Numbers 3:2, 26:60-61, Deuteronomy 10:6, and 1 Chronicles 24:2)

4 Eleazar begat Phinehas, Phinehas begat Abishua,
5 And Abishua begat Bukki, and Bukki begat Uzzi,
6 And Uzzi begat Zerahiah, and Zerahiah begat Meraioth,
7 Meraioth begat Amariah, and Amariah begat Ahitub,
8 And Ahitub begat Zadok, and Zadok begat Ahimaaz,
9 And Ahimaaz begat Azariah, and Azariah begat Johanan,
10 And Johanan begat Azariah, (he it is that executed the priest’s office in the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem:)
11 And Azariah begat Amariah, and Amariah begat Ahitub,
12 And Ahitub begat Zadok, and Zadok begat Shallum,
13 And Shallum begat Hilkiah, and Hilkiah begat Azariah,
14 And Azariah begat Seraiah, and Seraiah begat Jehozadak,
15 And Jehozadak went into captivity, when the Lord carried away Judah and Jerusalem by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.

Eleazar was the father of Phinehas. He saved Israel from the curse of a plague, and was blessed with a covenant of peace and the priesthood for his posterity. (see Numbers 25 and Psalm 106) He became the high priest. Phinehas was the father of Abishua, who was the father of Bukki. Bukki was the father of Uzzi, who was the father of Zerahiah. Zerahiah was the father of Meraioth, who was the father of Amariah, who was the father of Ahitub. Ahitub was the father of Zadok, who was one of the priests for King David and later Solomon. He remained faithful to David during rebellion in Jerusalem. Zadok was the father of Ahimaaz. Ahimaaz was assigned to deliver messages to David during the rebellion, and at one point was even hidden in a well. (see 2 Samuel 17 and 18) He was the father of Azariah. Azaraiah was a prince in Solomon’s court. Azariah was the father of Johanan, who was the father of Azariah. Azariah was the priest at the time when Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem. He was serving when king Uzziah trespassed against the Lord by burning incense in the temple, and was then cursed with leprosy.

Azariah (possibly the same as already mentioned) was the father of Amariah, who was the father of Ahitub, who was the father of Zadok. Zadok was the father of Shallum, who was the father of Hilkiah. He was the priest who found the book of the law, which was given to Josiah, who then restored the knowledge of the law to the people of Judah and made covenants with the Lord. Hikliah was the father of Azariah, who was the father of Seraiah. Seraiah was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar’s captain of the guard, and slain by the king. He had been the father of Jehozadak. When Judah and Jerusalem was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar, Jehozadak went into captivity. (see also 2 Samuel 8, 1 Kings 1, 2, 4:2, 2 Kings 22, 25, and 2 Chronicles 26)

16 The sons of Levi; Gershom, Kohath, and Merari.
17 And these be the names of the sons of Gershom; Libni, and Shimei.
18 And the sons of Kohath were, Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel.
19 The sons of Merari; Mahli, and Mushi. And these are the families of the Levites according to their fathers.

Again, Levi had three sons. Gershom became the father of Libni and Shimei. Kohath became the father of Amram, Izhar, Hebrom, and Uzziel (mentioned above). Merari became the father of Mahli and Mushi. These were the patriarchs of the tribe of Levi.

20 Of Gershom; Libni his son, Jahath his son, Zimmah his son,
21 Joah his son, Iddo his son, Zerah his son, Jeaterai his son.

Libni was the father of Jahath, Zimmah, Joah, Iddo, Zerah, and Jeaterai.

22 The sons of Kohath; Amminadab his son, Korah his son, Assir his son,
23 Elkanah his son, and Ebiasaph his son, and Assir his son,
24 Tahath his son, Uriel his son, Uzziah his son, and Shaul his son.
25 And the sons of Elkanah; Amasai, and Ahimoth.

Kohath was the patriarch of Amminadab, Korah, Assir, Elkanah, Ebiasaph, Assir, Tahath, Uriel, Uzziah and Shaul. Korah rebelled against Moses and Aaron, believing they were not the leaders for them called by God, and he and his family were destroyed when the Lord opened up the ground beneath them. (see Numbers 16) Elkanah was the father of Amasai and Ahimoth by his wife Peninnah. Elkanah was also the husband of Hannah, who was barren and prayed to God for a child, while she was in the temple. Her prayers were answered and she bore Samuel, who was given to the Lord by Hannah. (See also 1 Samuel 1)

26 As for Elkanah: the sons of Elkanah; Zophai his son, and Nahath his son,
27 Eliab his son, Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son.
28 And the sons of Samuel; the firstborn Vashni, and Abiah.

Elkanah was the patriarch of Zophai, Nahath, Eliab, Jeroham, and Elkanah. Samuel, the son of Elkanah mentioned above, was the father of Vashni (Joel) and Abiah. They became judges over Israel, but they were not righteous judges and so the people turned against the Lord, and asked for a king to be over them instead. (See also 1 Samuel 8)

29 The sons of Merari; Mahli, Libni his son, Shimei his son, Uzza his son,
30 Shimea his son, Haggiah his son, Asaiah his son.
31 And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the Lord, after that the ark had rest.
32 And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order.

Mahli, the grandson of Levi through Merari, became the patriarch of Libni, Shimei, Uzza, Shimea, Haggiah, and Asaiah. These were the men of the Levites, who were assigned to be over the service of song in the tabernacle, once the ark was placed there. They served in front of the tabernacle of the congregation by singing. They did this until Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, where they served according to the order of their office.

33 And these are they that waited with their children. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman a singer, the son of Joel, the son of Shemuel,
34 The son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliel, the son of Toah,
35 The son of Zuph, the son of Elkanah, the son of Mahath, the son of Amasai,
36 The son of Elkanah, the son of Joel, the son of Azariah, the son of Zephaniah,
37 The son of Tahath, the son of Assir, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah,
38 The son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, the son of Israel.
39 And his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand, even Asaph the son of Berachiah, the
son of Shimea,
40 The son of Michael, the son of Baaseiah, the son of Malchiah,
41 The son of Ethni, the son of Zerah, the son of Adaiah,
42 The son of Ethan, the son of Zimmah, the son of Shimei,
43 The son of Jahath, the son of Gershom, the son of Levi.
44 And their brethren the sons of Merari stood on the left hand: Ethan the son of Kishi, the son of Abdi, the son of Malluch,
45 The son of Hashabiah, the son of Amaziah, the son of Hilkiah,
46 The son of Amzi, the son of Bani, the son of Shamer,
47 The son of Mahli, the son of Mushi, the son of Merari, the son of Levi.
48 Their brethren also the Levites were appointed unto all manner of service of the tabernacle of the house of God.

Those that waited with their children, were Heman, a singer of the Kohathites, his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand, and the son of Merari, Ethan who stood on the left hand. They played the cymbals in David’s choir. (see 1 Chronicles 15) These were each descendants of Levi, the son of Israel. Heman’s descendancy included by parentage, Joel, Shemuel, Elkanah, Jeroham, Eliel, Toah, Zuph, Elkanah, Mahath, Amasai, Elkanah,Joel, Azariah, Zephaniah, Tahth, Assir, Ebiasaph, Korah (mentioned above), Izhar, Kohath (mentioned above), and then through Levi to Israel. Asaph’s descendancy included by parentage, Berachaih, Shimea, Michael, Baaseiah, Malchiah, Ethni, Zerah, Adaiah, Ethan, Zimmah, Shimei, Jahath, Gershom, Levi. Ethan’s descendancy included by parentage, Kishi, Abdi, Malluch, Hashabiah, Amaziah, Hilkiah, Amzi, Bani, Shamer,Mahli, Mushi, Merari (mentioned above), and also through Levi. The Levites were given all kinds of duties in and with the tabernacle.

49 But Aaron and his sons offered upon the altar of the burnt offering, and on the altar of incense, and were appointed for all the work of the place most holy, and to make an atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded.
50 And these are the sons of Aaron; Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son, Abishua his son,
51 Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son,
52 Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son,
53 Zadok his son, Ahimaaz his son.

Aaron, who was ordained a priest by Moses, and his line, were annointed and specifically given the duty of performing offerings on the altar of burnt offerings and the altar of incense, and the responsibilities of the holy of holies, and the making of atonement for Israel, just as they were directed by Moses, under the direction of the Lord. As mentioned above, the line with these duites consisted of the Aaron, along with his sons and grandsons: Eleazar, who became chief over the chiefs of the Levites, Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, and Ahimaaz. (There is more family to the line mentioned in verses 9-15 above. See also Exodus 28, Leviticus 8 and Numbers 3)

54 Now these are their dwelling places throughout their castles in their coasts, of the sons of Aaron, of the families of the Kohathites: for theirs was the lot.

The sons of Aaron of the Kohathites lived in these designated areas of the different tribes of Israel, which were given to them by lot.

55 And they gave them Hebron in the land of Judah, and the suburbs thereof round about it.
56 But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
57 And to the sons of Aaron they gave the cities of Judah, namely, Hebron, the city of refuge, and Libnah with her suburbs, and Jattir, and Eshtemoa, with their suburbs,
58 And Hilen with her suburbs, Debir with her suburbs,
59 And Ashan with her suburbs, and Beth-shemesh with her suburbs:
60 And out of the tribe of Benjamin; Geba with her suburbs, and Alemeth with her suburbs, and Anathoth with her suburbs. All their cities throughout their families were thirteen cities.

From Judah, they were given the cities of Hebron (which was well-known because of Abraham and later became the location for David’s original reign over Judah), the city of refuge, Libnah, Jattir, Eshtemoa, Hilen, Debir, Ashan and Beth-shemesh (once the location of the ark) with all the land and suburbs, except for the fields and villages of Hebron, which were given to Caleb, the son of Jephunneh. Then, from Benjamin, they were given Geba, Alemeth, and Anathoth, which included thirteen cities. (see also 2 Samuel 5 and 1 Samuel 6)

61 And unto the sons of Kohath, which were left of the family of that tribe, were cities given out of the half tribe, namely, out of the half tribe of Manasseh, by lot, ten cities.

The rest of the family of Kohath, were given ten cities by lot, from half of the tribe of Manasseh.

62 And to the sons of Gershom throughout their families out of the tribe of Issachar, and out of the tribe of Asher, and out of the tribe of Naphtali, and out of the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, thirteen cities.

The family of Gershom, were given thirteen cities by lot, from Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and Manasseh.

63 Unto the sons of Merari were given by lot, throughout their families, out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities.

The family of Merari, were given twelve cities by lot, from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.

64 And the children of Israel gave to the Levites these cities with their suburbs.
65 And they gave by lot out of the tribe of the children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the children of Simeon, and out of the tribe of the children of Benjamin, these cities, which are called by their names.
66 And the residue of the families of the sons of Kohath had cities of their coasts out of the tribe of Ephraim.
67 And they gave unto them, of the cities of refuge, Shechem in mount Ephraim with her suburbs; they gave also Gezer with her suburbs,
68 And Jokmeam with her suburbs, and Beth-horon with her suburbs,
69 And Aijalon with her suburbs, and Gath-rimmon with her suburbs:
70 And out of the half tribe of Manasseh; Aner with her suburbs, and Bileam with her suburbs, for the family of the remnant of the sons of Kohath.

All these cities and suburbs were given to the Levites. The tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, gave cities by lot. The rest of the family of Kohath, was given cities in the border of Ephraim, including the cities of refuge and Shechem (a portion of mount Ephraim was given to Phinehas, the son of Eleazar). Shechem was an ancient town, mentioned when Abram (Abraham) first went to the promised land. (see Genesis 12) They also were given Gezer, Jokmean, Beth-horon (where the lord had brought a deadly hailstorm down upon the Amorites), Aijalon, and Gath-rimmon. Then from the half of Manasseh, they were given the city of Aner and Bileam. (see also Joshua 10)

71 Unto the sons of Gershom were given out of the family of the half tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan with her suburbs, and Ashtaroth with her suburbs:
72 And out of the tribe of Issachar; Kedesh with her suburbs, Daberath with her suburbs,
73 And Ramoth with her suburbs, and Anem with her suburbs:
74 And out of the tribe of Asher; Mashal with her suburbs, and Abdon with her suburbs,
75 And Hukok with her suburbs, and Rehob with her suburbs:
76 And out of the tribe of Naphtali; Kedesh in Galilee with her suburbs, and Hammon with her suburbs, and Kirjathaim with her suburbs.

The sons of Gershom were also given cities from half of the tribe of Manasseh. They were Golan and Ashtaroth. From Issachar, they were given Kedesh, Daberath, Ramoth, and Anem. From Asher, they were given Mashal, Abdon, Hukok and Rehob. From Naphtali, they were given Kedesh in Galilee, Hammon, and Kirjathaim.

77 Unto the rest of the children of Merari were given out of the tribe of Zebulun, Rimmon with her suburbs, Tabor with her suburbs:
78 And on the other side Jordan by Jericho, on the east side of Jordan, were given them out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer in the wilderness with her suburbs, and Jahzah with her suburbs,
79 Kedemoth also with her suburbs, and Mephaath with her suburbs:
80 And out of the tribe of Gad; Ramoth in Gilead with her suburbs, and Mahanaim with her suburbs,
81 And Heshbon with her suburbs, and Jazer with her suburbs.

The remainder of the family of Merari, were given the cities of Rimmon and Tabor from the tribe of Zebulon. From Rueben, on the Eastern side of the Jordan, they were given the cities of Bezer, Jahzah, Kedemoth, and Mephaath. From Gad, they were given Ramoth in Gilead (a very important Israelite city of refuge, where Ahab fought against Syria and died), Mahanaim, Heshbon and Jazer. (see also 1 Kings 22)

This chapter includes a record of the family who was responsible for the discharge of the duties relating to the tabernacle, and later to the temple of the Lord built by Solomon. Some did the work of the priesthood, while the remainder of the tribe of Levi, were called upon to serve the priests and care for the tabernacle. I think it would have been such a privilege to serve the Lord in this way. They were not perfect men, and they were not even all worthy to hold their office or do their duties, as seen in some of the stories of those who served the Israelites in the temple, but those who did their best to serve the Lord, would have had great opportunities in their work. I think that we can grow by leaps and bounds, when we are given ways or called to serve the Lord. (see more about the blessings of priesthood service in Doctrine and Covenants 84:18-34) Their lives were not the easiest of the tribes of Israel, especially seeing as they had no inheritance in the land, and were sustained by the tithes and some of the offerings given by the children of Israel. Additionally, because they were given cities out of all the other tribes, in which to live, they were spread out among all of Israel and never living gathered together the way each of the other tribes were gathered geographically. However, one of the significant blessings of the tribe of Levi, is that they had and continue to have an important role to play in the work of the Lord, all the way to the end the mortal world. In Doctrine and Covenants 13, the prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were ordained to the priesthood. The words of the ordination were, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” It is an honor and privilege to be ordained to the priesthood of Aaron, and those of the children of Levi who honored their priesthood or even those related duties done by those who served the priests, were surely blessed.

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2 Kings Chapter 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Samuel Chapter 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Samuel Chapter 2

Hannah, the barren wife of Elkanah, had prayed for a son with a promise to lend him to the Lord. She was blessed by the Lord to become the mother of Samuel, whom she gave to Eli, the priest. Eli gave Hannah and Elkanah a blessing. Their story continues as follows:

1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
2 There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
7 The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.
9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.
11 And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest.

Hannah praised the Lord in song. In her praises, she told of the strength and greatness of God. God has the power to do what cannot be done, and undo what has already been done. God will bless the saints and destroy the wicked adversaries of His righteousness. I believe that these are true things about the nature of God. He is all-powerful. He blesses the lives of his saints in ways that seem impossible by our understanding. I believe that one day, we will all stand before him to be judged, and the saints will be blessed for their righteousness, while His adversaries will be destroyed for their wickedness.

Elkanah (and Hannah, I believe) returned to his home, while Samuel remained with Eli and served the Lord.

12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord.
13 And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand;
14 And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.
15 Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw.
16 And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force.
17 Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.

Eli had sons, but they had become men who followed after the ways of the world. His sons should have served faithfully with him in the temple, but they did not know the Lord. The custom of the priests’ servants in the temple, was that they would claim the portion of the sacrifices, which would go to the priest for his service. But by adapted custom, this servant would also ask the person giving sacrifice for a portion of the raw meat for the priest. If the individual refused to allow it to be taken raw, as they would to follow the pattern the Lord had set forward, the servant would say that it could be given to them or taken from them by force. This was a sin of the servant, because it was not how it should be done.

The servants in the temple had not been following the proper ways to serve, with regard to the sacrifices and portions which should have gone to the priest. Perhaps, they desired to take more than their share, to profit from those who went to the temple to make sacrifices. Whatever their reasons, the ways of men were going against the ways of the Lord, corrupting them for their own purposes.

18 But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.
19 Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

Samuel served the Lord in the temple, from his youth. The word but, causes me to think that because he was raised to serve the Lord in the temple, he was not out to gain from his service. I think that means, that Samuel did things according to the order that the Lord had established and not according to the customs of the men who had been serving there. He wore a temple garment, and Hannah would bring him a coat she made each year when she went to offer sacrifices with her husband.

20 And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The Lord give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the Lord. And they went unto their own home.
21 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord.

Eli, with the authority of a priest, gave a blessing to Elkanah and Hannah, that they would be able to have more children, because they had lent Samuel to the Lord. Hannah was blessed to have three more sons and two daughters. Samuel remained and grew up serving the Lord in the temple.

All men who are called to serve as priests in the Lord’s kingdom, are given the authority to bless others. They have the power and authority to call down specific blessings from heaven. This power, which Eli had, has been restored in our modern days. My life has been blessed greatly by men who hold the priesthood and honor it. I know that the faith of Elkanah and Hannah, as well as Eli who gave the blessing, was the key to the priesthood blessing allowing them to have more children. This faith, is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they all served by the righteous work done in the temple.

22 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.
24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress.
25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.
26 And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men.

Eli, in his old age, heard of wicked things his sons did, even to women who had come to be at the temple. He told them that he had heard that they were causing people to stray with their wickedness. They were probably directly influences some by what they did, as well as indirectly influencing others who would have been watching their example. They could have been influencing some to do what they were doing, as well as influencing others to falter in their faith. Moreover, Eli told his sons that they were not simply sinning against other people, but that they were sinning against God. The Lord would destroy them if they did not listen to Eli’s words. Samuel, on the other hand, grew in favor with God, as well as men.

27 And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?
28 And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?
29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?
30 Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.
32 And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.
33 And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age.
34 And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.
35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.
36 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests’ offices, that I may eat a piece of bread.

A man of God, an angel of the Lord, appeared to Eli with a message from the Lord. He reminded Eli that the house of his fathers had been chosen by the Lord, to serve as His priests in the tabernacle. They had been given the authority of His holy priesthood. All of the offerings made in the tabernacle (or temple) had been given to the priests. And yet, Eli was not taking these sacrifices seriously, and was allowing his sons to do what they wanted with them. Eli was profiting, or becoming fat off of, the choices which his sons were making. The Lord was no longer going to allow the family of Eli to dishonor the Him in this way. Eli was given a promise that his house would not continue to have the honor of serving in the house of the Lord. The Lord would no longer recognize the promises made to Eli’s ancestors, that his family would always serve there, but instead they would be cut off. The Lord, told Eli that He would give him a sign, that his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas would both die on a day. The Lord would raise up a priest who would serve Him faithfully. The family of that priest would be blessed for generations, while the house of Eli would not live to see old age, and would no longer have the Lord’s blessing. They would instead, become beggars of the worthy priest.

There is a cycle and pattern over time on this earth. The Lord establishes his people and gives them his laws and statutes. Then, the Lord takes a step back and allows men to use their agency to decide how they will live. At first, men remember the promised blessings, choose the right and prosper accordingly. Then as time passes, and men live in their prosperity, they begin to forget the strictness of the ways of the Lord. Sacred things become common place and pretty soon the Lord is mocked and forgotten. Each time this cycle comes to this point, the Lord steps in again to remind men that His ways are not to be treated lightly. Man has agency, and because so, they may choose if they will adhere to the commandments and directions given by the Lord, but they do not have the ability to choose what will happen as a result. The Lord will not allow men to continually disrespect Him. He will punish those who treat sacred things lightly. He will bless those who are faithful and righteous. We should remember this pattern, and determine if we are becoming casual with the sacred things in our lives. We need to take the Lord seriously and reverence those things that he has established to bless and exalt the righteous. If we choose righteousness, we will be blessed.

Moreover, this was the error of a father with regards to his sons. Parents have a duty to teach their children what is right. Parents are responsible for helping their children to know how to keep sacred things sacred, and how to treat the blessings of the Lord. If a parent knows how to live righteously, and fails to teach their child to follow those things, the sin is upon the parent. When a parent learns of the wickedness of a child, they are responsible for lovingly calling that child to repentance. When necessary, a parent should discipline a child who is willfully disobeying the Lord. Eli did not follow through with any discipline of his sons. As mentioned above, they have their agency, but they do not have the ability to choose the consequences of that agency. If a parent does not do all that they can, to help a child correct the wrong they do, the parent is as at much fault, if not more than the child. This places great responsibility upon us as parents. We should make it a point to understand and know what is right and true, and then we should do our best to teach these things to our children. Otherwise, ultimately, we will be judged accordingly and the outcome will be along the lines of Eli, whose posterity was no longer blessed with the priesthood and opportunities that go along with it.

Ruth Chapter 3

Ruth was a young Moabite widow, who had left her family and home, to care for her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. In caring for her, she had gone out to glean from the harvest in the field of a man named Boaz. He had shown kindness to her as she worked in his fields. Boaz was family to Naomi and had the power to redeem them, and so Ruth had been encouraged by Naomi to continue working in his fields.

1 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?
2 And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
3 Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.
4 And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.
5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.

In an attempt to allow Ruth to have a better life than that of a poor widow, Naomi came up with a plan of marriage for Ruth. She told Ruth, that Boaz would work with the barley that evening. Naomi told her to prepare herself and secretly go to the threshing floor. When he had lied down for the night, she was to uncover his feet and lay at them, until he told her what she should do. Ruth agreed to do as Naomi had instructed her. Ruth honored her mother-in-law, by her service and her willingness to do all that Naomi asked of her.

6 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.

Ruth did as she had been told. I think the reason for laying at his feet, was possibly to make a symbolic gesture of service. I’m not sure if this was an Israelite custom, but I believe that any time one placed themselves at the feet of another, it was a sign of their humility. A servant or even a follower, would place themselves at the feet of their master, to show they were willing to serve or follow them. Ruth, was in a humble position at this time. She was bound to her position in Israel, because of the death of her husband and father-in-law. This seems like a plea to Boaz, to care for her, as a master would care for those willing to serve him. Had she done it publicly, there may have been some other outcome, especially seeing as she was a foreigner. Instead, Naomi suggested to do it privately, and the only way to do this, was to do it secretly in the night.

8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.
9 And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.
10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
12 And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.
13 Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the Lord liveth: lie down until the morning.

Boaz was startled by her, and when he saw that a woman was there, he asked who it was. She told him and asked that he provide for her as her near kinsman, meaning I think, that she asked him to offer her marriage. He called her blessed of the Lord, for her kindness. He told her that he would do all he could for her, because it was known that she was a virtuous woman. He was her near kinsman, but he knew of one who was closer in relation, and he wanted to allow that man the opportunity to do the service of a kinsman to her. If, in the morning, Boaz went to the man and he did not want the responsibility, then Boaz would take care of her as her husband.

14 And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.
15 Also he said, Bring the veil that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.
16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.
17 And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.
18 Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.

Ruth remained with Boaz that night, and she woke early. Boaz asked that she keep her visit to him a secret. He gave her plenty of his harvest of barley and she left with it, to return to Naomi. Ruth told Naomi all that had happened. Naomi told her to patiently wait, because Boaz would not rest until he had done what he had promised her.

Boaz continued to show kindness to Ruth. He gave her a kind compliment, when he said that she was known as a virtuous woman. She was known for her standards or values, even being a foreigner in the Israelite land. I think that he was saying to her, that he would be honored to have her as his wife. Ruth and Boaz are examples of kindness, charity, selflessness, service and loyalty. I am grateful for examples such as these, because it shows that while Israel as a whole, may have been repeatedly turning from righteousness and living unworthy of the blessings of the Lord, there were good individuals among them, who were still striving to do good and live righteously. We may live in a time of great wickedness as well, but there is hope for continued blessings from the Lord, because there are still good, righteous people, who are striving to do what is right.

Numbers Chapter 8

When the tribes of Israel were organized as the camps of Israel, the Levites were set apart to serve with the tabernacle. They were to be given to Aaron and his sons, to assist them in their priesthood duties, attend to the physical needs of the tabernacle, and to carry the burden of the tabernacle through the wilderness. This chapter gets into further details regarding the duties in the tabernacle and the Levites, beginning with the following:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.
3 And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the Lord commanded Moses.
4 And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the Lord had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.

The lamps of the tabernacle were lit according to the direction of the Lord. And the candlestick itself, had been created and designed according to the instruction given by the Lord.

5 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
6 Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them.
7 And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.
8 Then let them take a young bullock with his meat offering, even fine flour mingled with oil, and another young bullock shalt thou take for a sin offering.
9 And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together:
10 And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites:
11 And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the Lord.
12 And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the Lord, to make an atonement for the Levites.
13 And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the Lord.
14 Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.
15 And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering.
16 For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me.
17 For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.
18 And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel.
19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary.
20 And Moses, and Aaron, and all the congregation of the children of Israel, did to the Levites according unto all that the Lord commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did the children of Israel unto them.
21 And the Levites were purified, and they washed their clothes; and Aaron offered them as an offering before the Lord; and Aaron made an atonement for them to cleanse them.
22 And after that went the Levites in to do their service in the tabernacle of the congregation before Aaron, and before his sons: as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did they unto them.

The Levites were separated from the tribes of Israel, and Moses was instructed to have them washed or purified. They were first sprinkled and dedicated for cleansing, then they were to shave, and wash all their clothing. Then the Levites were to prepare an offering for the Lord, and to be set apart by the laying on of hands, while in front of the host of Israel. Through the laying on of hands, they were ordained to their priesthood office, by the proper authority of God. After they were set apart, they were to give an atonement sacrifice for the Levites. With this, they would be dedicated to the work of the Lord. They were to be serving in the tabernacle in place of all the firstborn of the families of Israel. They were belonging to the Lord, and He gave them to Aaron and his sons, or to the Aaronic priesthood, in order to fulfill the commandments of service in the tabernacle.

23 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
24 This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation:
25 And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more:
26 But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge.

The Levites were to be in the service of the Lord in the tabernacle of the congregation, from the age of 25 to 50. After that, they were to continue to minister in the tabernacle of the congregation, without the same service duties of the priesthood.

The service in the tabernacle was necessary for the work of the Lord to be whole. There needed to be a way, for the people of God, to make covenants and perform necessary rituals to make themselves clean and righteous. It is a blessing for individuals to be able to serve, so that others may be saved by God. The Levites were called to help the work of God continue on this earth. We have the same blessings on earth today. The work of God goes forward, through the sacred ordinances and covenants of the priesthood. Through this work, individuals may receive salvation and families can be made eternal. Most of that work is performed in the temples of the Lord. There is a need for able and willing individuals to answer the call to serve in the temples, as temple workers, so that others can make these covenants and be sanctified through their own personal service. I have been blessed by my own family members, who have been able to fulfill callings in the temple. I am sure that the Levites who served, and their families, were greatly blessed for answering the call of the Lord and performing their priesthood duties.

Sharing the Sunshine

I was looking back through some drafts I had written in the past and I saw this one and wondered why I did not finish writing it. I think it may have been because I had a plan in mind for my study already. I am a planner. Sometimes I have an internal struggle with where I expect my study to take me, and where the spirit guides it to go. Right now I am trying to get through the Bible, but really that is a huge goal. And the way I study, it is going to take a while. A long while. So, today I am going to break away from it for just a moment.

There are many places throughout the scriptures, which teach us how we should live as saints. There is one in particular that stuck out to me a while back, because it describes basic principles of living the gospel. In 1 Peter 3:8 we read, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous”. What does this mean to me?

First, The Lord expects us to be unified. We need to be one, whether in our marriages, in our families, at church with other saints, or really anywhere else where we hope to have strength. We need to be working towards the same goal or at the least, walking in the same direction. In Peter’s epistle to the saints of his day, I think he was teaching how they should have been within the church. As saints and members of the church of Jesus Christ, we need to have the same goal in mind. That goal is the same goal of our Father in Heaven. We need to have a goal for the salvation of mankind. Do we desire for others to live with God again, as we desire it for ourselves? Do we knit ourselves together so that we can all reach that goal together? Mosiah 18:21 reads, “And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.” When I think of this, I imagine linking arms with the sisters in Relief Society. Knitting requires 2 needles to work. These two needles bring two sides of the work together. The work becomes one whole without separation. We can be one in our purpose when we meet together often as the yarn of our own work, and use our spiritual gifts and talents to link with one another. Then our hearts will become knit together and we will strengthen, enrich, and uplift one another. With that one eye, one faith, and one baptism, we can be strong enough to stand firm in the gospel.

The Lord wants us to have “compassion one of another”. We should care for the temporal and spiritual welfare of others. If one of us suffer, we all suffer. In 1 Corinthians 12:26 we read, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” This makes me think of family life. It is often said that a happy Mom, means a happy home. It is interesting to me, to watch how the attitude of one individual in the home, can determine if we all have a good attitude. Attending to the needs of others, benefits all of us. We should willingly give to the poor and needy. Paying tithes and offerings is one way which we can give to those in need. Also paying closer attention to the lives of others around us, we will be able to see and even discern needs that are there. The instruction given in these latter days can be found in Doctrine and Covenants 52:40, which says, “And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple. (empahsis added)” What else can we do? We can visit those who are alone, such as the widows. President Monson, our prophet today, has given us a great example of being there for the widows. When he was bishop, he made it a point to be there for the many women in his ward, and he remained loyal friends to them for the remainder of their lives. In addition, we can pray for others. As we pray and serve, we will feel deeply for those around us and the welfare of others will effect us in meaningful ways. That is the kind of compassion the Savior has for each of us. Compassion leads us to greater faith and service. It was recently my privilege to serve at a funeral for a gentleman in our church. I enjoyed doing the service, but even greater was the opportunity to watch as many gathered together in compassion one of another. I watched as every detail of the help was done with the upmost in care and consideration for what those in mourning would need. There was an incredible outpouring of love, even in the simplest things. This kind of compassion is so beautiful and is one of the best ways we can show the light of Christ to others.

Compassion leads to charity, the pure love of Christ. Disciples of Christ should love each other as brothers and sisters. The love I have for my siblings causes my mind to be focused on them often. I want them to have true happiness and joy. I want them to have peaceful family lives. I care deeply for how they are doing, even though I am far from all of them. We should love one another, whether our actual kin or not, with the desire to remain brothers and sisters in the eternities. Having a love like this will help us to fellowship one another continually. In Doctrine and Covenants 38:24, the instruction for us is to “let every man esteem his brother as himself…”. The Savior taught by example in this. In John 15:13, He said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He loved all people with the brotherly love, and He showed us that love, by giving His life for us.

To be pitiful is to be full of “the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others“. Followers of Christ should be tender hearted and compassionate. It is our duty to take on one another’s pains and burdens, or to make them lighter in whatever ways we can. We should be sensitive to others and easily moved to love when we see others in need. This epistle of Peter does not teach us to have a little pity for others, but to be full of it. Our hearts should be filled with care and concern for others who are having any kind of difficulties in life.

Finally, we are taught to be courteous to one another. Show others the honor and respect they deserve as children of God. Be genuinely polite to others. A difficult, but important way to remain courteous, is to refrain from gossiping. Our comments of others, should always be positive and uplifting. Showing others the kind of respect you would want them to give to you.

Being of one mind, having compassion one of another, loving as brethren (and sisters), being pitiful, and being courteous come with ease and grace when we have the light of the gospel active in our lives. A song which goes right along with this is “You Can Make the Pathway Bright”. I love the words, and often think of them in the mornings as I prepare for the day ahead.

You can make the pathway bright,
Fill the soul with heaven’s light,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
Turning darkness into day,
As the shadows fly away,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

I have experienced darkness in my own heart at times. There are many who suffer from deep depressions, feelings of hopelessness and much more. We can help them, by sharing our sunshine, which is the light of Christ in each of us.

You can speak the gentle word
To the heart with anger stirred,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
Tho it seems a little thing,
It will heaven’s blessings bring,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

There is so much power in kind words. Responding to others’ negativity in kind, does nothing to help any situation. If we choose to share our light with kindness, cold hearts will warm and hard hearts will soften.

You can do a kindly deed
To your neighbor in his need,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
And his burden you will share
As you lift his load of care,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

Thinking outside of our own lives is the key. When we serve others in need, we share the light of Christ. Small acts of kindness are not that hard to do if we just pay attention to others around us. Opportunities to serve are all around us.

You can live a happy life
In this world of toil and strife,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
And your soul will glow with love
From the perfect Light above,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

We will be happier, others around us will be happier, and life will seem easier, when we live and share the gospel light with others. Why? Because it is His light, the light of Christ. Everyone loves to have a little more sunshine in their life. I know I do. I hope that I can be less selfish and less focused on those things that do not matter in the grand scheme of things, so that I can serve Christ by sharing His gift that has blessed my life so much. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Leviticus Chapter 25

The book of Leviticus teaches us the law of Moses which was revealed by the Lord for the Israelite people. I’ve learned recently that it was typical in that day for a leader to give his people the laws covering all things from how to worship, celebrations and feasts they were to hold, to how to deal with one another on a daily basis. These laws have been sometimes the only things to have survived from the nations in that part of the world, because there was such value in them. This shows to me that it is a natural desire for people to have sets of laws to govern them. I don’t imagine that all the laws of other nations were the greatest laws, because I am sure there were many that were created by man and not inspired. It is awesome that we can have such simple access to the law of Moses. The blessing for us in having these recorded for us in the bible, is that we can know the laws of God to his righteous people. Life on the earth has changed over time, but the basic principals of the gospel remain the same. The laws in the book of Leviticus continue as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord.
3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
6 And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee,
7 And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.

As the Israelites still remained encamped at Mount Sinai, the Lord continued to give instruction to them through his chosen prophet, Moses. The Israelites were commanded to keep a year of sabbath each seventh year after they arrived in the promised land. For six years, they were to plant, reap and harvest their fields, orchards and vineyards. The seventh year was to be a year for the land to rest, and no planting or harvesting of the plants was to be performed. The animals of the land were to have all that came of the land. The sabbath is any seventh period which the Lord sets aside as a time of rest, either for the people or the land. Every week was to have a sabbath on the seventh day. There was to be a sabbath year every seven years, and we know that a great sabbath of a thousand years will come at the time of seventh thousand year, according to the Lord’s time. In Doctrine and Covenants 77:12 we read, “Q. What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelation?A. We are to understand that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years—the preparing of the way before the time of his coming.” (emphasis added) I love the reminder here that it is needful for every hard work to be followed by a period of rest and reflection. Sabbaths are sacred and blessed for mankind, and if kept, will bring us closer to God.

8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.
9 Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.
10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.
12 For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.
13 In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.
14 And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another:
15 According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee:
16 According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee.
17 Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the Lord your God.

After the seventh sabbath year, the Israelites were to celebrate and sanctify the fiftieth year with a jubilee. They were to sound the trumpets or a ram’s horn. This celebration was to be in the day of atonement. Everyone was to be free and all things returned to their owners. Anyone removed from his family, was to be returned. The fiftieth year was to be a holy year of jubilation. They were not to work in the fields and vineyards, but eat of the surplus. With the food, and selling and buying of all goods, price was to be based on the years of the fruits. No one was to take advantage of others just because they were not producing more foods and the fruits were more valuable. There was to be no oppression. The Israelites were to love one another, showing the same kindness as the Lord extended to them.

18 Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety.
19 And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety.
20 And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase:
21 Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years.
22 And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.

If they were to keep these commandments, they would have safety in the land. This is a promise that we see several times throughout the scriptures. It is, I believe, and eternal promise to those who are righteous, covenant people of God. The Israelites were told here, that they would be blessed in abundance on the sixth year, with as much food as three years would provide. Then when the time to harvest came in the eighth year, they would have food for the following year. This reminds me a lot of the blessing of manna from heaven, when they were told not to gather on the sabbath day. Instead, they would be able to gather twice as much on the sixth day, and it would miraculously keep until after the sabbath when they could gather again. I cannot help but think that part of the reason for this sabbath year, was to remind them of how they had been preserved, fed, and guided by the Lord all those years in the wilderness.

The footnote to command in verse 21, referenced 1 Nephi 3:7, which reads, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that 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.” This is an example of the Lord fulfilling this. He gave the Israelites a command to refrain from harvesting for a year. Then he told them he would given them a way to be able to keep this commandment. Likewise, we are commanded to keep the sabbath day holy. If we can be faithful, the Lord will give us a way to be able to keep this commandment.

23 The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.
24 And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land.

The Lord revealed, that all the land of promise would be his land. They were strangers, whom the Lord was taken into His land. Redemption was to be granted for the land. I understand that many cities in those days, would have land owned by the gods or as part of the temple and many people would live on the land with their farms and such. It sounds like the people of Israel were to buy land with the knowledge that it belonged to God and was to be used for God.

25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.
26 And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it;
27 Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession.
28 But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubilee: and in the jubilee it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession.
29 And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year may he redeem it.
30 And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubilee.
31 But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be counted as the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubilee.
32 Notwithstanding the cities of the Levites, and the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Levites redeem at any time.
33 And if a man purchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, shall go out in the year of jubilee: for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel.
34 But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession.

How they dealt with selling and returning of their belongings, was to follow the guidelines the Lord set forth. I don’t exactly understand how things were passed between one another, but I gather that this law was to be a reminder that their possessions were ultimately gifts from God. When the Lord expected them to be given to another, or returned in the year of jubilation, then that was to be done. It sounds like those things that had belonged to one and then were sold in order to get by, would be returned in the year of jubilee. I think there had to be some kind of payment made, but I am not sure. A home within the walls of a city could be returned in the first year of purchasing it, but after a year, it would belong to that person and would not be required to be returned in the jubilee. Homes that were not part of the city, would be returned in the year of jubilee. The Levites, who were the priests of the Lord, were able to redeem their possessions at any time, and their fields were not sold because they were to remain in their possession as their inheritance.

35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.
36 Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee.
37 Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.
38 I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.

Those who were poor and needy, were to be given help without holding it over them as a debt they owe. The Lord reminds them of their dependence on him when he brought them out of Egypt.

39 And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant:
40 But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee:
41 And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.
42 For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen.
43 Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God.
44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.

Any man sold to the Israelites, was to be a hired servant for them until the year of Jubilee. An Israelite was not to be sold into bondage. At that time, his family could leave with him, and return to their own families and lands. They were not to treat their servants too strictly, but treat them as God would have them treated. Any of a heathen nation, or gentiles of strangers in the land, could be purchased as bondmen and women. Any bondmen or bondmaids were their possession and were not required to be made free in the year of jubilee. The Israelites were not to practice usury with one another, that is they were not cause one another to be indebted greatly.

47 And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger’s family:
48 After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him:
49 Either his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself.
50 And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubilee: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him.
51 If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for.
52 And if there remain but few years unto the year of jubilee, then he shall count with him, and according unto his years shall he give him again the price of his redemption.
53 And as a yearly hired servant shall he be with him: and the other shall not rule with rigour over him in thy sight.
54 And if he be not redeemed in these years, then he shall go out in the year of jubilee, both he, and his children with him.
55 For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Any Israelite could be redeemed by another of his kin, even if purchased by a stranger. If he is able, he may also pay off his own debts. He would pay according to the years he was a sold man. If he was not able to be redeemed beforehand, then during the year of jubilee, he was allowed to leave with his family. This is because all of the Israelites were indebted to the Lord, as His servants, since he had delivered them out of captivity.

Being a “servant” is often seen as a negative thing, but I think reading this chapter reminds me that we all should strive to be servants of the Lord. We are indebted to the Lord for all that we have, even our very lives. He has every right to expect us to be in His service always. In his mercy and kindness, he allows us to choose if we will be His servant or not. When we choose to serve Him, he promises us blessings greater than anything we can imagine. That is more than we probably deserve. He does this because he loves us. In turn, we should extend that same love and kindness to those who serve us. If we can live with hearts full of gratitude to the Lord, as well as those who strive to serve us, being a servant will not seem like a bad thing, but will become the pattern of our lives.

Exodus Chapter 35

At this point in Exodus, I believe the Israelites are still encamped at Mount Sinai. Moses received instruction and commandments for the children of Israel, while speaking with the Lord in the Mount. They showed they were not able or willing to keep their covenants faithfully, by turing to ways of idolatry while Moses was not with them. After Moses pleaded on their behalf, the Lord covenanted with them again and gave them the lesser law to follow. The instructions for the building of a tabernacle have also been received. The book continues as follows:

1 And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the Lord hath commanded, that ye should do them.
2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.
3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.

Moses told the host of Israel, that they were to keep the Sabbath day holy and free from work. Any defilement of this holy day, was worthy of death according to the Lord. We are not told that we will be put to death for this today, but any breaking of the sabbath causes the spirit to withdraw from us and we have the greater risk of the death of our spirit, meaning separation from God eternally.

4 And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying,
5 Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord; gold, and silver, and brass,
6 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,
7 And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood,
8 And oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and for the sweet incense,
9 And onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breastplate.
10 And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the Lord hath commanded;
11 The tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches, and his boards, his bars, his pillars, and his sockets,
12 The ark, and the staves thereof, with the mercy seat, and the veil of the covering,
13 The table, and his staves, and all his vessels, and the shewbread,
14 The candlestick also for the light, and his furniture, and his lamps, with the oil for the light,
15 And the incense altar, and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the door at the entering in of the tabernacle,
16 The altar of burnt offering, with his brasen grate, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot,
17 The hangings of the court, his pillars, and their sockets, and the hanging for the door of the court,
18 The pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords,
19 The cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office.

The Israelites are commanded to make a willing offering to the Lord, for the building of the tabernacle (see Exodus 25-30 for their instructions on the building of the tabernacle). Their offering was to be of the finest materials, such as gold, silver, fine linens, woods, precious stones, and so on. Then they were told that all who were willing, should give sacrifice of the time and talents to help in the building of the tabernacle. There would be a need for building the tabernacle itself, as well as all those things which they had been commanded should go inside it. We are also expected to make a willing sacrifice today. This is the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. As saints in these latter-days, we should willing come to the Lord with humility and a desire to change our hearts to follow the will of the Lord. When we willing give this sacrifice, the Lord can guide us through the promptings of the spirit. Only then, are we able to truly do our part to further the work of the Lord.

20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.
21 And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.
22 And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the Lord.
23 And every man, with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and red skins of rams, and badgers’ skins, brought them.
24 Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought the Lord’s offering: and every man, with whom was found shittim wood for any work of the service, brought it.
25 And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen.
26 And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair.
27 And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate;
28 And spice, and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense.
29 The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.

The people left, and when the willing returned, they offered service and their material goods for the building. I love that it says that all whose hearts were stirred up came to do this. Those who were open and willing to let the spirit influence them, did as they were instructed. True and worthy sacrifices take the influence of the spirit of God. I also love that it tells us that men and women came, because it is so great to see the influence of righteous women along with the men. We accomplish greater work, when we serve the Lord together. The women even took the time to spin threads of all types that were needed. I learn from this, that the people did more then just return with what they already had available, but that they went home and used their skills and talents to prepare gifts for the Lord.

I love to hear the stories of those in these last days, who have given all their precious things for building meeting houses and temples. Today, we rarely hear of that kind of sacrifice. I can’t help but feel that a house to the Lord would mean so much more to the people if they were required to give of their own belongings to accomplish it. I know that our tithes and offerings today, go towards building and maintaining our houses of worship, but there seems to be less of a connection directly to it this way. The closest I can understand this feeling, is from an experience that my husband had, which I shared in. When we lived in southern California, my husband helped to edit the photo of our temple president. That photograph was then put on canvas and hung inside the office of the temple. It was one which could be seen from one of the common areas in the temple, and every time we walked passed it, I felt that a part of our family was there everyday. It put a smile on my face every time I saw or thought of it. I can imagine that giving all their fine things and using their talents to create beautiful things, would have given the Israelites a personal and strong connection with the tabernacle. I think this would have drawn them closer to the Lord and his will for them. What a beautiful blessing this would have been for the children of Israel.

30 And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;
31 And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;
32 And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
33 And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.
34 And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.
35 Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.

The callings from the Lord were extended, which we learn about in the previous instruction given to Moses. Bezaleel was called to work specifically in building the things of the tabernacle and to teach others his craft. Aholiab was also called to craft those things needed for the tabernacle.

When I think of what this I learn from this chapter, I am reminded that the prophet today needs us. Our prophet has received a calling and a mission from the Lord. He has specific things he is inspired to do. Even being the great man he is, he cannot do it alone. The prophet needs us to sustain him. One of the greatest ways we can do this, is to answer our own call. When we are asked to serve, even in the smallest of ways in our own wards and homes, we help him to do his work. Giving of our time, talents, and energy, along with tithes and offerings, are ways that we can help the prophet to further the work. Moses had been commanded to build the tabernacle, but only with the support of the Israelites was he able to follow and fulfill that commandment.

Conference Questions – Service for a Better Life

Recently, I watched the 182nd Semi Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I watch conference, I am always filled with the spirit and a desire to be a better person and draw closer to the Savior. I love to take notes. When I first started being a note taker for learning in church settings, I would write everything I possibly could down. Including what the speakers said, as well as the little lessons the spirit would teach me during the talks. Once that became a habit, I learned that I should really be focused on writing down the things that I am personally taught by the spirit. So, with that as my focus for note taking, I found myself writing down questions that I should be able to answer. The thought then came to me that these are questions that I could attempt to study on this blog. To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

In my last post I posed a question that came to mind during a talk by Linda K. Burton, the Relief Society General President. Her talk was titled, “First Observe, Then Serve”. It was a great talk and really had me thinking a lot. She told a story from her own life, when she had wanted to go to the temple, but was feeling a bit too busy. She realized the need for her to go at that time and went, even though her mind was on how she would get back the time lost. She talked of how a younger sister sitting next to her had expressed feelings of nervousness and asked her for help. It was in that moment that she realized God knew that she needed the opportunity to serve and she felt blessed for it. The question that this story raised in my mind, was do I notice how much I really need to be able to serve others, so that my life can be better?

This question almost seems to contradict my previous question and answer from this series, which addressed the issue of serving for the Lord and not ourselves. It is not a contradiction, however. The ability to serve others is huge. I can’t count the number of times that I have heard people feel such a lack in their lives, when they are physically incapable of doing things for others. Our ability to grow to become like our Father in Heaven, depends on the things we choose to do in this life. I don’t think that anyone who studies the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, could say that his life was anything other than a life of service to others. We become like God, by living like His Son. The Savior taught us of this in Luke 22:27 when he said, “For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” The Savior served all people and He is no doubt the greatest. We have been told to use our time to serve. In Galatians 5:13 we read, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” There is greater freedom found in loving service to others.

On the other hand, we become like the enemy to God, when we have the capacity to serve and we choose not to do so. That is, we become damned in our own progression, which is the state that Satan is permanently in. He has been stopped and cannot go any further towards becoming like God. In 2 Nephi 9:27 we read, “But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!” Wasting our precious time in this life designed to learn and grow, will only bring the rewards that are like Satan’s rewards.

How do we recognize the importance of service in our growth and progression in this life? I think the only way to do this, is to make service a matter of faith. Do it. We will not learn the life lessons from strictly learning of service at church or at home. We need to take an active role and serve others in faith. That is when we will feel the improvement of self that surely comes from looking outside of our own selfish ways and seeing and filling the needs of others. If we do not have our own testimony of the importance of service in our lives, then we are not serving enough. We live in a time where the world pushes selfishness upon us. We cannot give in to the waste of this life that the world lures us with. I know that I have been greatly blessed when I have hit a rut in life, through service to others. I know that we can learn more and become better people when we strive to serve. I also know that we can make a great impact on the world around us, as well as the work of the Lord, if we faithfully look for ways to serve.


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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