Posts Tagged 'Talents'

1 Kings Chapter 7

King Solomon lived in Jerusalem, where his father David had built a home before Solomon was born. Solomon had been commanded to build a temple, which was written of in the previous chapters. Around the same time, I believe, he built his own home in Jerusalem. This chapter gives some of the details of his palace, as well as additional descriptions of the temple.

1 But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.

It took Solomon thirteen years to build his house.

2 He built also the house of the forest of Lebanon; the length thereof was an hundred cubits, and the breadth thereof fifty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits, upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars.
3 And it was covered with cedar above upon the beams, that lay on forty five pillars, fifteen in a row.
4 And there were windows in three rows, and light was against light in three ranks.
5 And all the doors and posts were square, with the windows: and light was against light in three ranks.

In the building, he used wood from cedar trees. The size of the home is detailed here.

6 And he made a porch of pillars; the length thereof was fifty cubits, and the breadth thereof thirty cubits: and the porch was before them: and the other pillars and the thick beam were before them.

There were pillars on the house or palace. Other pillars had been previously raised in places of great importance to the Israelites, much like monuments. I have the feeling that pillars were not a common thing to the people of those days and it showed the importance of the palace of Solomon.

7 Then he made a porch for the throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment: and it was covered with cedar from one side of the floor to the other.

There was an area built for Solomon to judge the people. It was also build of cedar.

8 And his house where he dwelt had another court within the porch, which was of the like work. Solomon made also an house for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had taken to wife, like unto this porch.
9 All these were of costly stones, according to the measures of hewed stones, sawed with saws, within and without, even from the foundation unto the coping, and so on the outside toward the great court.
10 And the foundation was of costly stones, even great stones, stones of ten cubits, and stones of eight cubits.
11 And above were costly stones, after the measures of hewed stones, and cedars.
12 And the great court round about was with three rows of hewed stones, and a row of cedar beams, both for the inner court of the house of the Lord, and for the porch of the house.

Solomon made a home, or an area in his palace, set aside for his wife, the daughter of Pharaoh. There were many costly materials used to make these buildings, as well as the building of the temple.

13 And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre.
14 He was a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.
15 For he cast two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high apiece: and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about.
16 And he made two chapiters of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars: the height of the one chapiter was five cubits, and the height of the other chapiter was five cubits:
17 And nets of checker work, and wreaths of chain work, for the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars; seven for the one chapiter, and seven for the other chapiter.
18 And he made the pillars, and two rows round about upon the one network, to cover the chapiters that were upon the top, with pomegranates: and so did he for the other chapiter.
19 And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch, four cubits.
20 And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was by the network: and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows round about upon the other chapiter.
21 And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz.
22 And upon the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.

Hiram of Tyre, was hired to make two brass pillars and the tops of the pillars with nets and chains. They were decorated with pomegranate and lily work. The pillars were called Jachin and Boaz.

23 And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
24 And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast.
25 It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.
26 And it was an hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies: it contained two thousand baths.

Hiram also made what was called a molten sea, which was a baptismal font. It was laid on twelve oxen, which were facing outwards from the font.

27 And he made ten bases of brass; four cubits was the length of one base, and four cubits the breadth thereof, and three cubits the height of it.
28 And the work of the bases was on this manner: they had borders, and the borders were between the ledges:
29 And on the borders that were between the ledges were lions, oxen, and cherubims: and upon the ledges there was a base above: and beneath the lions and oxen were certain additions made of thin work.
30 And every base had four brasen wheels, and plates of brass: and the four corners thereof had undersetters: under the laver were undersetters molten, at the side of every addition.
31 And the mouth of it within the chapiter and above was a cubit: but the mouth thereof was round after the work of the base, a cubit and an half: and also upon the mouth of it were gravings with their borders, foursquare, not round.
32 And under the borders were four wheels; and the axletrees of the wheels were joined to the base: and the height of a wheel was a cubit and half a cubit.
33 And the work of the wheels was like the work of a chariot wheel: their axletrees, and their naves, and their felloes, and their spokes, were all molten.
34 And there were four undersetters to the four corners of one base: and the undersetters were of the very base itself.
35 And in the top of the base was there a round compass of half a cubit high: and on the top of the base the ledges thereof and the borders thereof were of the same.
36 For on the plates of the ledges thereof, and on the borders thereof, he graved cherubims, lions, and palm trees, according to the proportion of every one, and additions round about.
37 After this manner he made the ten bases: all of them had one casting, one measure, and one size.

Hiram made ten brass bases ornamented with lions, oxen and cherubs. Each base had wheels and plates of brass. The plates were ornamented with cherubs, lions and palm trees.

38 Then made he ten lavers of brass: one laver contained forty baths: and every laver was four cubits: and upon every one of the ten bases one laver.
39 And he put five bases on the right side of the house, and five on the left side of the house: and he set the sea on the right side of the house eastward over against the south.

Hiram made ten brass lavers, for washing in the temple. The location of the bases and font are mentioned here: five bases to the right and five to the left, with the font on the right to the south-east.

40 And Hiram made the lavers, and the shovels, and the basins. So Hiram made an end of doing all the work that he made king Solomon for the house of the Lord:
41 The two pillars, and the two bowls of the chapiters that were on the top of the two pillars; and the two networks, to cover the two bowls of the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars;
42 And four hundred pomegranates for the two networks, even two rows of pomegranates for one network, to cover the two bowls of the chapiters that were upon the pillars;
43 And the ten bases, and ten lavers on the bases;
44 And one sea, and twelve oxen under the sea;
45 And the pots, and the shovels, and the basins: and all these vessels, which Hiram made to king Solomon for the house of the Lord, were of bright brass.
46 In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarthan.
47 And Solomon left all the vessels unweighed, because they were exceeding many: neither was the weight of the brass found out.
48 And Solomon made all the vessels that pertained unto the house of the Lord: the altar of gold, and the table of gold, whereupon the shewbread was,
49 And the candlesticks of pure gold, five on the right side, and five on the left, before the oracle, with the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs of gold,
50 And the bowls, and the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and the censers of pure gold; and the hinges of gold, both for the doors of the inner house, the most holy place, and for the doors of the house, to wit, of the temple.
51 So was ended all the work that king Solomon made for the house of the Lord. And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated; even the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, did he put among the treasures of the house of the Lord.

Additionally, Hiram made the lavers, shovels and basins, which were all the vessels of the temple. The were all ornately decorated and made of brass. The brass work was unmeasured because there was so much made. The altar and table within the temple, were made of gold, as well as the candlesticks, lamps, tongs, bowls, snuffers, basins, spoons, censers, and the door hinges within the temple. The same items in the tabernacle, had been made of gold as well. All the treasures and things, that had been dedicated to the Lord, by King David, were placed with the treasures of the temple.

The building of the temple and the palace of Solomon, were costly. It seems that no expense was spared, especially with the inside of the temple as it is described. It seems that Hiram, and any who might have helped him, were great at their craft. I am sure many hours and more, were sacrificed to provide all that was needed in building the temple. This is an example of using the gifts that we have been blessed with, to help build up the kingdom of God. Also, in this chapter we continue to see the type of man that Solomon was. He was the king, and probably could have done what he wanted to with treasures and great things, but he honored the dedications that his father had made, and put them with the temple. He was an honorable, upright and loyal man, who fulfilled his duty to the Lord and built the temple, so that the Israelites could worship the Lord in His house.

1 Samuel Chapter 23

King Saul continued to seek for the life of David. David fled from him, going from place to place. At this point, David had gone to the forest of Hareth, which was in Judah. In his anger, Saul had killed a priest who had helped David. Saul made an example of the priest as well, by destroying his family and the entire city of Nob, where David had hidden. Still, David had gained followers as he went. His story continues:

1 Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.
2 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the Lord said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.
3 And David’s men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?
4 Then David inquired of the Lord yet again. And the Lord answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand.
5 So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
6 And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand.

David learned that their enemies, the Philistines, were robbing the Israelites in Keilah, which was a city in the land of Judah. David prayed to the Lord to know if he should go and fight the Philistines. The Lord told David to go and save the people of Keilah. Those who had gathered with David, were afraid to go and fight the Philistines. David prayed again, and the Lord gave him the command to go, with the promise that the Philistines would be delivered into his hand. With faith in the Lord, David took his men and they saved Keilah. Abiathar, who had also escaped the hand of Saul, and was the son of the priest who had helped David, went with David to Keilah. He was prepared with a ephod of the priesthood.

7 And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars.
8 And Saul called all the people together to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men.

Saul learned that David was in Keilah, and he was pleased. He felt that David had been delivered to him, because the town was closed off and could be besieged by the king and his men. Saul commanded his men to war against Keilah and David.

9 And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod.
10 Then said David, O Lord God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake.
11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O Lord God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the Lord said, He will come down.
12 Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the Lord said, They will deliver thee up.

David knew the desires of Saul. He asked Abiathar to bring the ephod to him, which I think means that he wanted the priest to perform the duties of the priesthood in his behalf. David prayed to the Lord because he knew the town of Keilah was in danger because he was there. He asked if they would deliver him into the hand of Saul. The Lord told David that Saul would come to the town. Then David asked if the people there would turn him over to Saul, and the Lord told him that they would.

13 Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth.
14 And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.
15 And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood.

David took his men and left Keilah, going anywhere just to get away. Meanwhile, Saul learned that David had escaped, so he decided not to go to Keilah. David stayed in the strong holds of Ziph. Saul hunted for him, but God protected David and Saul was not able to find him. David knew that Saul was looking for him. He hid in the woods of Ziph.

16 And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.
17 And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.
18 And they two made a covenant before the Lord: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.

Jonathan, Saul’s son, met with David in the woods, and strengthened him. Jonathan gave David comfort by telling him that his father would not be able to find him, and David would be the king of Israel. He told David, that his father knew that Jonathan would be there to support David. The renewed their covenant of friendship with one another and then Jonathan returned home. David stayed hidden in the woods.

19 Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?
20 Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king’s hand.
21 And Saul said, Blessed be ye of the Lord; for ye have compassion on me.
22 Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he dealeth very subtilly.
23 See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah.
24 And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon.
25 Saul also and his men went to seek him. And they told David: wherefore he came down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon.
26 And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them.

David was hiding in the woods of Ziph, and men of the area went to Saul in Gibeah and told the king that David was hinding there, in the hill Hachilah. The men of Ziph told Saul that they would deliver David into their hands, if he desired to come to them. Saul was glad and told them to prepare for this by searching him out and finding exactly where he was staying at the time. Then, they were to tell him once they knew with certainty, and he would go with them until he found David. The men went to Ziph, while David was in the wilderness of Maon. When David heard that Saul was looking for him, he had left the woods of Ziph and went to Maon. Saul heard and went looking for him there. Saul and David were on opposite sides of a mountain. David wanted to get away from Saul and his men because they were preparing to take David and his men.

27 But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land.
28 Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth.

When they were very close to capturing David, Saul received word that the Philistines had invaded the land. He left his plan to pursue David and turned his attention against the Philistines. The mountain between them, became known for this near battle between Saul and David.

29 And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at En-gedi.

David escaped again, to the strong-holds of En-gedi.

I cannot truly imagine what a life on the run would have been like for David. I can guess that it was not easy being forced to flee and hide so many times. And yet, David was still willing to devote his talents to helping those in need if the Lord wanted him to do it. Knowing that word of his helping would reach the king, David still fought for others. The Lord had blessed him with strength and wisdom, and he was committed to being an instrument for the Lord. Something I learn from this chapter, is the importance for us to sacrifice for the Lord. We are all blessed with talents. Some have a few and some are blessed with many talents. If we are doing what is right, we can know how to use our talents, just as David was able to know these things. When we have a willing heart, the Lord will not only allow us opportunities to use our talents, but he will also bless us greatly in other areas of our lives. I cannot help but think that the Lord continued to watch over David as he fled from one place to another, even possibly allowing the Philistines to come into the land, just so that David could once again flee from Saul and his men. I am so grateful for talents and I believe in the need for us to use them to further the work of the Lord, to uplift others, and to do good continually.

Exodus Chapter 37

Through Moses, the Israelites received the instructions, or blueprints, to the tabernacle of the Lord. Specific details as to the building and crafting of this structure, were given to Moses (see Exodus 25-30). In this chapter, we are seeing the work of the Israelites to complete these commandments of the Lord. Bezaleel, was a man of great skill, who had been called to craft the items for the temple and to teach others how to make things that were needed. This chapter starts as follows:

1 And Bezaleel made the ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half was the length of it, and a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it:
2 And he overlaid it with pure gold within and without, and made a crown of gold to it round about.
3 And he cast for it four rings of gold, to be set by the four corners of it; even two rings upon the one side of it, and two rings upon the other side of it.
4 And he made staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold.
5 And he put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, to bear the ark.

Bezaleel crafted the ark of the testimony (or covenant) according to the design from the Lord.

6 And he made the mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half was the length thereof, and one cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
7 And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy seat;
8 One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
9 And the cherubims spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy seat, with their faces one to another; even to the mercy seatward were the faces of the cherubims.

Next he made the mercy seat, which would sit on top of the ark. This was again made according to the instruction from the Lord.

10 And he made the table of shittim wood: two cubits was the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof:
11 And he overlaid it with pure gold, and made thereunto a crown of gold round about.
12 Also he made thereunto a border of an handbreadth round about; and made a crown of gold for the border thereof round about.
13 And he cast for it four rings of gold, and put the rings upon the four corners that were in the four feet thereof.
14 Over against the border were the rings, the places for the staves to bear the table.
15 And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold, to bear the table.
16 And he made the vessels which were upon the table, his dishes, and his spoons, and his bowls, and his covers to cover withal, of pure gold.

He made the table for the shewbread and all the dishes and utensils that belonged with it, just as the Lord commanded.

17 And he made the candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work made he the candlestick; his shaft, and his branch, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, were of the same:
18 And six branches going out of the sides thereof; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side thereof, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side thereof:
19 Three bowls made after the fashion of almonds in one branch, a knop and a flower; and three bowls made like almonds in another branch, a knop and a flower: so throughout the six branches going out of the candlestick.
20 And in the candlestick were four bowls made like almonds, his knops, and his flowers:
21 And a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches going out of it.
22 Their knops and their branches were of the same: all of it was one beaten work of pure gold.
23 And he made his seven lamps, and his snuffers, and his snuffdishes, of pure gold.
24 Of a talent of pure gold made he it, and all the vessels thereof.

He also made the golden candlestick, specific to the Lord’s design. It had seven lamps and all necessary accessories of pure gold.

25 And he made the incense altar of shittim wood: the length of it was a cubit, and the breadth of it a cubit; it was foursquare; and two cubits was the height of it; the horns thereof were of the same.
26 And he overlaid it with pure gold, both the top of it, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns of it: also he made unto it a crown of gold round about.
27 And he made two rings of gold for it under the crown thereof, by the two corners of it, upon the two sides thereof, to be places for the staves to bear it withal.
28 And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold.

He made the golden altar for incense according to the design given to Moses.

29 And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary.

Additionally, he made the holy anointing oil and incense, which were to be made solely for this sacred purpose.

I’m not exactly sure if he did this alone, of if he was the one overseeing the work. The Lord surely blessed this man with great talents or gifts of the spirit, in which he was able to craft beautiful and sacred items for the tabernacle. I think that someday we will learn how all thing are sacred to God. I believe that everything has its purpose, and therefore all our talents and gifts have purpose as well. How do we use these gifts from God? Do we treat them as sacred gifts? I am sure there will come a time when I will be held accountable for the things I did not do to develop and use gifts the Lord has given me. I know that it is important for us to search our hearts and find our own gifts. We are probably not going to be set apart to do some great thing as Bezaleel was for the Israelites, so we need to ask for the Lord to help us discover our gifts. I am grateful for the gifts I have been given, and I hope to discover and use them well and according to the design the Lord has for me.

Exodus Chapter 36

By this point in the book of Exodus, the Israelites have been given direction on building the tabernacle of the Lord, through the prophet Moses. All those who were inspired and had a willing heart, gave of precious and fine things, for the building. Certain men were called to serve as craftsmen and were to teach others how to craft the beautiful things for the tabernacle. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the Lord had commanded.
2 And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it:
3 And they received of Moses all the offering, which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the sanctuary, to make it withal. And they brought yet unto him free offerings every morning.
4 And all the wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they made;

The Israelite men, who had been called of God, used their talents just as they were commanded. The offerings of the people, were received for the building of the tabernacle. These people left their regular work to do the work of the Lord.

5 And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make.
6 And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing.
7 For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.

The people were bringing free offering every day, and it got to be too much for the work they could do. Moses commanded the people to stop bringing their offerings because they had enough for what they needed.

8 And every wise hearted man among them that wrought the work of the tabernacle made ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work made he them.
9 The length of one curtain was twenty and eight cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: the curtains were all of one size.
10 And he coupled the five curtains one unto another: and the other five curtains he coupled one unto another.
11 And he made loops of blue on the edge of one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling: likewise he made in the uttermost side of another curtain, in the coupling of the second.
12 Fifty loops made he in one curtain, and fifty loops made he in the edge of the curtain which was in the coupling of the second: the loops held one curtain to another.
13 And he made fifty taches of gold, and coupled the curtains one unto another with the taches: so it became one tabernacle.

The items for the temple were made to the specifications that the Lord had given them. One connected tabernacle was made for the Lord.

14 And he made curtains of goats’ hair for the tent over the tabernacle: eleven curtains he made them.
15 The length of one curtain was thirty cubits, and four cubits was the breadth of one curtain: the eleven curtains were of one size.
16 And he coupled five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves.
17 And he made fifty loops upon the uttermost edge of the curtain in the coupling, and fifty loops made he upon the edge of the curtain which coupleth the second.
18 And he made fifty taches of brass to couple the tent together, that it might be one.
19 And he made a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering of badgers’ skins above that.

They made the outer coverings for the tabernacle as they were commanded.

20 And he made boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood, standing up.
21 The length of a board was ten cubits, and the breadth of a board one cubit and a half.
22 One board had two tenons, equally distant one from another: thus did he make for all the boards of the tabernacle.
23 And he made boards for the tabernacle; twenty boards for the south side southward:
24 And forty sockets of silver he made under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons.
25 And for the other side of the tabernacle, which is toward the north corner, he made twenty boards,
26 And their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.
27 And for the sides of the tabernacle westward he made six boards.
28 And two boards made he for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides.
29 And they were coupled beneath, and coupled together at the head thereof, to one ring: thus he did to both of them in both the corners.
30 And there were eight boards; and their sockets were sixteen sockets of silver, under every board two sockets.

Then they made the boards, which I believe were for the walls of the tabernacle. All were made according to the directions they had been given.

31 And he made bars of shittim wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle,
32 And five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the tabernacle for the sides westward.
33 And he made the middle bar to shoot through the boards from the one end to the other.
34 And he overlaid the boards with gold, and made their rings of gold to be places for the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold.

The bars for the boards were made according to the commandment of the Lord.

35 And he made a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen: with cherubims made he it of cunning work.
36 And he made thereunto four pillars of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold: their hooks were of gold; and he cast for them four sockets of silver.

The veil was made according to the instructions from the Lord, as well as the golden pillars.

37 And he made an hanging for the tabernacle door of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, of needlework;
38 And the five pillars of it with their hooks: and he overlaid their chapiters and their fillets with gold: but their five sockets were of brass.

The door hanging for the tabernacle was made with fine needlework, as commanded, along with pillars.

I love that we see the fulfillment of the commandments which the Lord had given them. I think there must have been a reason that men were inspired to include this description of the actual building and crafting of the tabernacle, even though we already had a detailed description of how it was to be made. This way, we know that the Israelites followed the instruction of the Lord with exactness. The men who were to be called, accepted the callings and performed their duties away from their normal labor of the day. The people were willing to give more than was required of them. They worked and sacrificed as a way of showing their devotion to the Lord. This should stand as an example for us today. When we are called to perform duties and give sacrifices to the Lord, we need to devote all that we have to it. There are great blessings for those who are willing to do just that.

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.

Exodus Chapter 31

At this point in the book of Exodus, the Lord has given instruction, or commandments, to Moses regarding the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness. This was to be their mobile temple, where sacred ordinances and covenants would be made and performed to the Lord. Priests had been called to serve in the temple, who were Aaron and his sons. The instruction to Moses continues as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
4 To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
5 And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.
6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;
7 The tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle,
8 And the table and his furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense,
9 And the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot,
10 And the cloths of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office,
11 And the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.

A man named Bezaleel, had been given gifts or talents by the Lord, which would be useful for the building of the tabernacle. He was good in the art of metals and woods, which were needed for the structure of the tabernacle, as well as the things which would furnish it. Also, a man named Aholiab would be able to help. The Lord tells Moses that all those who have received gifts of the Lord, in wisdom, would be able to help him with building the tabernacle. I love that we learn how men from different tribes would be able to help build the temple and make the sacred clothing, showing that the work was to be shared among them and that the Lord had blessed many with the ability to make beautiful things and give service to build this wonderful witness of their devotion to the Lord.

We learned about gifts of the spirit in Sunday School this week. In 1 Corinthians 12 we read the following:

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Gifts of the spirit and talents are given to all who are worthy of the spirit and as a body of faithful people in the church, we are given these gifts to help all progress and further the work of the Lord. The children of Israel were no exception to this. They were given many gifts, to bless all with a beautiful tabernacle where they could worship and serve the Lord. When first given a calling from the Lord, I look at how unqualified I am to perform in it, and yet when I look back after moving on, I can see how the Lord has always blessed me with some gift to be able to do that work. I may never have that gift again, but for that time I am just what the Lord needs because of the person he helps me to be.

12 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.
14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

Again, the Lord commands the Israelites to keep the Sabbath day holy. The sabbath was provided to sanctify the people of the Lord. It was so important, that those who did not keep it holy, were to be put to death. Even worse, the Lord promises that those who break the sabbath, would be cut off from his people leading to an even greater death of the spirit. The Lord establishes the Sabbath as a day of rest, free from the common labor of the rest of the week. The keeping of the Sabbath, was a covenant with the Lord. We are reminded here, that our weekly Sabbath is as the seventh day in the creation, when the Lord rested from his labors. I love that it says that the Lord was refreshed, because one of the greatest things for me about the Sabbath, is that I feel refreshed and renewed for my week ahead. The strength that comes from keeping the Sabbath day holy, is a blessing I cannot do without in my life.

The more I study the scriptures, the more I am noticing just how often we are reminded to keep the Sabbath day holy. This is clearly an important commandment and covenant with the Lord. I think that part of the reason for its repetition, is that this is one of the easiest ways for Satan to slip his way into our hearts. People fall away from the gospel so quickly by just creating one simple habit on the Sabbath that is not in line with what God would have us do. Then it becomes increasingly easier to add more to the Sabbath and before we know it, we are no longer attending church, renewing our covenants, or worshipping the Lord at all. The Sabbath can quickly become a day of recreation instead of a day of rest unto the Lord. As followers of the Lord, we cannot afford to rationalize things that cause us to break this commandment. Whatever our circumstances may be, we need to follow the guidance of the spirit and learn for ourselves how we can keep this day, a holy day of rest.

18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

Then the Lord gave Moses the stone tablets which are so often portrayed in representation of the ten commandments from the Lord. On these tablets, the Lord wrote His words for the Israelites. We do not have the two tablets of stone to look at as a reminder, but we do have the law of God from the scriptures which we can reference often. Today, we are to keep these commandments written in our hearts rather than on tablets. In 2 Corinthians 3:3 we read, “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” If we have the commandments symbolically written in our hearts, we will live them day to day and they will become part of our personal character. Then, we will become like God as we draw nearer to Him.

Genesis Chapter 40

Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob (Israel), was sold into Egypt by his jealous brothers, because he was a favored son and had the gift of dreams. He had worked for Potiphar, and had prospered and was given charge over his household. He was propositioned by Potiphar’s wife, but refused her and so she lied and falsely accused him of taking advantage of her. Joseph was thrown into the Egyptian prison with the prisoners of the king. The prison prospered, and Joseph had been put in charge of the men he was with while there. This chapter continues the story as Joseph, beginning with the following:

1 And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt.
2 And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.
3 And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.
4 And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.

Pharoah had two men who worked for him, a chief butler and a chief baker. These men had landed themselves in the same part of the prison as Joseph.

5 And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison.
6 And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad.
7 And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that were with him in the ward of his lord’s house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day?
8 And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
9 And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me;
10 And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes:
11 And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.
12 And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days:
13 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.
14 But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:
15 For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.
16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head:
17 And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.
18 And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days:
19 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.

Both the chief butler and chief baker, had dreams. And Joseph found them the next day, in sadness over the meaning of their dreams. Joseph, explained that God would be able to interpret them for them and told them to go ahead and tell him what they had dreamed. The butler had dreamt about a grape vine with three branches, that brought forth fruit. He put the grapes in Pharaoh’s cup and made a drink for his master to drink. Joseph understood his dream and told him that in three days, he would be taken back by Pharaoh and he would serve him again. Joseph asked the butler to remember him when he worked for Pharaoh, so that he might be freed from the prison as well.

The baker heard the interpretation and its outcome, so he told Joseph of his dream as well. He had dreamt that he had 3 white baskets of baked goods on his head. The birds came and ate the bread from the top basket. Joseph told him that in three days, Pharaoh would have him killed and the birds would eat his flesh.

20 And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.
21 And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand:
22 But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.
23 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.

Three days later, Pharaoh remembered the chief butler and baker. Then he did as Joseph had interpreted. The butler was restored to his previous job and served Pharaoh his drink, while the baker was put to death. Even though it had happened just as they were told, the butler who had been forgiven himself, forgot about Joseph and did not tell Pharaoh about him.

Dreams have been a means of revelation from ancient days. In the scriptures we read of worthy men of God, being blessed to interpret dreams, or rather to learn the interpretation of dreams through revelation from God. This gift had been the reason that Joseph was sold into slavery. He could have taken that as a reason to deny this gift and held back from sharing the things that were revealed to him, but he was a man of great faith. Joseph continued to use this gift and the Lord was mindful of him. One of the things that I get from this chapter of scripture, is that we should not deny the gifts and talents we are given. They may not always bring about the results we expect, but they are a gift from our Father in Heaven. We need to use them and cultivate them, so that we can become instruments in the hands of the Lord.

Our Heavenly Family

This is the second chapter of the Gospel Principles manual for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To view the entire lesson, go here: Our Heavenly Family.

We Are Children of Our Heavenly Father – What do scriptures and latter-day prophets teach us about our relationship to God?

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. In my recent post on being a daughter of God, I quoted many of the scriptures which say that we are indeed children of God. We are his spiritual offspring. We lived with him in a pre-mortal existence and have the ability to become like our Father in Heaven someday. In God’s plan for His children, He has made it possible for us to return to live with Him again. (See How Do We Know We Are Spiritually Born of God? for more thoughts on this question.)

How does your knowledge that you are a child of God influence your thoughts, words, and actions?

There is not a day that goes by, that I do not think about how my choices affect my relationship with God. I have a testimony that I am a child of God and that my thoughts and actions in this life will determine the reward my Father gives me after this life. I think often about whether or not my choices will make God proud of me. I aspire to be the kind of person who finds favor with God, the way the great people in the scriptures did. I know that if I did not know or believe that God is my Heavenly Father, I would not try so hard to do what is right. This knowledge also helps me to have the will and desire to repent for the mistakes I make. I know that I am far from perfect, and in order to become more like Him, I need to be better, make changes, and be repentant for those things that take me away from Him.

We Developed Personalities and Talents While We Lived in Heaven – Think about talents and gifts you have been blessed with.

As a mother of three, I have witnessed the fact that infants come to this earth with their own distinct personalities and talents. Each of my children are different, even though they have familial similarities. One can see that these personalities are a part of our individual makeup. One of the things that I believe develops personalities and talents is the choices we make. In the pre-mortal existence, we had agency. We can know of at least one choice that we were willing to make, which was that we chose to follow the plan to follow the Savior rather than Satan. I am sure that our agency allowed us to make countless other choices which helped us to develop our individual personalities and talents before we came to the earth. We are taught in Doctrine and Covenants 138:56 that there was teaching in the pre-mortal world as well. In that verse we read, “Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.” We were learning about the kind of people we wanted to be long before we were born on the earth.

How have other people’s talents blessed you? How can your talents and gifts bless others?

I am so grateful that we are all different kinds of people with different personalities and talents. This makes life interesting and gives greater purpose to our being here in this preparatory state. I cannot begin to measure the blessings that I have received from the talents of others. So often they inspire me to work on my own talents, find ways to improve myself, and feel the inspiration of the Holy Ghost in ways I could not on my own. The talents of others make up for the areas I am lacking, while my talents make up for their own. When we work together, we can accomplish many great and wonderful things. I am a firm believer in the principle that all our talents can be used to further the work of God on this earth and I think we all can find ways to use what we have been blessed with for good. This is because all good gifts come from God. In James 1:17 we read, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” We show the greatest amount and quality of gratitude to the Lord, by using those gifts to do what he would have us do.

Our Heavenly Father Presented a Plan for Us to Become Like Him – How does earth life help prepare us to become like our Heavenly Father?

As a member of the LDS faith, I believe that God had and presented a plan for us, while we existed in the pre-mortal world. In Abraham 3:22 we read the following:

22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
27 And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.
28 And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.

The plan was for a world to be created for us to prove that we could follow the commandments of God and therefore gain our second estate, or eternal life. As I said above, this is a preparatory state we are in now. We are living this life, to prepare to become like our Father in Heaven, who is perfect. This is part of the plan of God, or the plan of Salvation. Through our life experiences, both good and bad, we gain knowledge we cannot gain otherwise. We can be told that kindness is godly, but we cannot learn that for ourselves without putting it to the test. This is the perfect testing ground for us. We couldn’t gain a true understanding by God making us be kind to others, or by Him taking us by the hand to do it either. We needed separation from him and a chance to truly use the gift of agency that He has given each of us. In addition, we could not learn how to be like God, if we were always spiritual beings. We had to come to earth and gain physical bodies in order to be able to become resurrected beings later. We could not learn how to have joy without pain and part of the pain had to be physical. Because we have the ability to experience all things spiritually and physically, we can gain the joy that Heavenly Father has promised us.

List some of Heavenly Father’s attributes. How does the plan of salvation help us develop these attributes?

The scriptures teach us the attributes of God. In 1 John 4:8 we read one, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Heavenly Father is loving. He is also charitable, wise, full of knowledge, full of joy, all-powerful, just and true, among countless other good things. Through the plan of salvation, we have the opportunity to learn to have this attributes in our own lives. We can gain knowledge by seeking for it and testing the principles of the gospel in our daily activities. We can learn to be just and true by discovering what is good, righteous, honest and fair in the way that God intended it. We can gain the attribute of being all-powerful, by becoming worthy of priesthood blessings which are from the power of God. The more we can gain from these blessings in our lives, the more power will be allotted to us from God. This is not the kind of power that men seek after in this life, but it is the power to be and act as God would himself. The plan of salvation allows us the opportunity to learn and grow to eventually become what God is and gain all that He has.

We are children of God and as such, we have the ability to become like He is. This is what he wants for each of us. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have a Father of my spirit and that I can look to Him and His holy Son for examples of the person I want to become. I am glad that I am an individual with my own unique gifts and abilities. Being able to use these to help others and to draw nearer to my Father in Heaven, is an amazing gift. I hope that I will recognize the attributes of God that I have, as well as those that I need to work on, so that I can become more like He wants me to be.

A Charge From the Book of Mormon

In preparation for our Relief Society lesson this week, I read the Ensign article titled “A Witness“, by President Henry B. Eyring. This talk is a really good one about the charge that every member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been given. We find this charge in the words of the Book of Mormon. The charge has to do with being a charitable witness who endures to the end. The two ideas I am taking away from this article are first, we each have a way that is fitting for us to show our charity for others. I believe that charity, in its purest form is how we show the love and care we have for others. Not all of us do this the same way, but we have each been blessed with the ability to have charity. I think that I’ve always thought there was an exact way that everyone was to be charitable, but I am now thinking that it really can and probably should be different for each of us. Part of the learning process in this life, is figuring out how we as individuals can be more like the Savior in our own charity for others. Now is the time to discover how I can use the gifts and talents that have been given to me, to be charitable to others.

The second idea, is that we need to be ready each day to do the work of the Lord. This requires having a prayer in our heart and mind as much as possible, that we will be ready and willing to do the will of the Lord. It means being worthy at all times, so that we can hear the whisperings of the spirit. It means getting out of bed each day and getting dressed and prepared to do something, even if we don’t have anything planned. It means recognizing the needs of others around us and more. It is a charge to be alert, attentive, willing, and able to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, at all times. This is something that I feel I fall short in most days of my life, but we all have things we need to work on, and this is one of mine. I am grateful for the messages of the general authorities of the church, specifically the apostles and prophets of the Lord. Their words offer me great insight and encouragement in my own life. It is such a blessing to live in a time when these words are so readily available to all people. I hope that I will remember these things and try harder to have more charity and be ready to do the Lord’s work more often.

The Seventh Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

We believe in gifts of the spirit, meaning gifts that we can receive through the power of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians we read the following:

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

These gifts were received in new testament times, because the saints lived worthy enough for the spirit to bless them. We too can have the opportunity to gain the gifts of the spirit, depending on our own worthiness and desire to do righteous things. We believe also, that different gifts are given to different people, depending on how they will be able to use them for the good of all. In Doctrine and Covenants 46:11 we read, “For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.”

Our gifts are to be used for the work of God, in our homes, in the church, or in the community. In Doctrine and Covenants 46:26 we read, “And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.” We believe that if we do not use our gifts, they will be taken away from us. In Ether 12:35 we read, “Wherefore, I know by this thing which thou hast said, that if the Gentiles have not charity, because of our weakness, that thou wilt prove them, and take away their talent, yea, even that which they have received, and give unto them who shall have more abundantly.” It is best for us to discover these gifts and use them, so that we can learn and grow from them.

The gift of tongues is the gift to be able to speak in languages that are not natural to us. Most of the time I hear of this gift, it is missionaries who have gone to foreign lands and are able to teach the word of God to others. The gift of prophecy is most commonly given to prophets I think. I imagine that those who are called to be patriarchs are also given the gift of prophecy as well. This gift allows them the ability to tell people what can happen in their future depending upon their faithfulness. The gift of revelations is the gift that allows the prophets to receive guidance for the entire church, as well as the gift that allows us to receive direction for our own lives and for how to direct those who we have a stewardship over. The gift of visions is not one that we hear of outside of our scriptures very often. There have been many prophets who have had the gift of visions, and have testified of them to their people. This gift allows for more revelation of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. The gift of healings is amazing. This is a more obvious gift, which allows the ability to help another who is physically, emotionally, or spiritually sick. Often times this is used through the use of priesthood power, but I think that many others are blessed with this gift as a natural part of who they are and what they do with their lives. The gift of interpretations of tongues is the ability to understand languages that are not natural to us. This gift allows us to sometimes understand things that we would not normally understand, even so far as language that has not been understood for a very long time. I have read and heard stories of times when people have been blessed with the gift of tongues and the interpretations of tongues, and others have been edified and uplifted by these experiences. In my study, I read a warning that this gift is very easily used by the devil, to lead some away. We must be on guard to make sure those who claim to have this gift are doing it through the Spirit and nothing else. I think that mostly we must recognize if we are uplifted and edified through this gift, and if not, than it is not from the Spirit.

We believe that there are many other gifts of the spirit, which can bless our lives and the lives of others. These gifts and talents are given to us by God, through the Spirit. I am very grateful for the gifts that I have received. I hope that I am doing my best to recognize my gifts, so that I can do the will of God with what He has given me.


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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