Posts Tagged 'Worship'

2 Chronicles Chapter 1

Second Chronicles is a continuation of a record of the children of Israel from the creation until the time when they would be allowed to return to their lands, after many were taken into Babylon. The beginning of the second book of Chronicles, starts with the reign of Solomon. Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 12 teaches that, “he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him.” (see 2 Samuel 12:24) Solomon was chosen by the Lord to be king, before his birth. In 1 Chronicles 22:9 we read the word of the Lord to David. “Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.” This chapter begins:

1 And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly.
2 Then Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers.
3 So Solomon, and all the congregation with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation of God, which Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the wilderness.
4 But the ark of God had David brought up from Kirjath-jearim to the place which David had prepared for it: for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem.
5 Moreover the brasen altar, that Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, he put before the tabernacle of the Lord: and Solomon and the congregation sought unto it.
6 And Solomon went up thither to the brasen altar before the Lord, which was at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it.

The kingdom of Solomon was blessed by the Lord. Solomon was magnified by the Lord as well.
Then, Solomon gathered the leaders of Israel to the tabernacle in Gibeon, where the brasen altar was and he offered 1,000 burnt offerings on the altar.

7 In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee.
8 And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead.
9 Now, O Lord God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.
10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?
11 And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king:
12 Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.

That night, The Lord appeared to Solomon and told him he would give him what he asked of the Lord. After recognizing the mercy shown to his father, Solomon asked that the promises made to his father David would be fulfilled. Solomon asked the Lord for wisdom and knowledge, to be able to rule over and judge the children of Israel who were so great in number. It would seem that, like so many others who are called to lead, he did not feel he was adequate for the calling he had received. God blessed Solomon for such a righteous desire, and because he did not ask for personal riches, wealth, honor, or a long life. He gave him wisdom and knowledge, as well as riches, wealth and honor. God blessed him to be greater than any king who had lived or who would ever live.

13 Then Solomon came from his journey to the high place that was at Gibeon to Jerusalem, from before the tabernacle of the congregation, and reigned over Israel.
14 And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.
15 And the king made silver and gold at Jerusalem as plenteous as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the vale for abundance.
16 And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price.
17 And they fetched up, and brought forth out of Egypt a chariot for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so brought they out horses for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, by their means.

Solomon returned to Jerusalem and reigned in Israel. His kingdom was blessed with a great number of chariots and horsemen, silver and gold in large amounts, cedar trees in abundance, Egyptian horses, linen yarn, and a chariot and horse from Egypt, as well as horses for the kings of the Hittites and Syria. His kingdom was truly blessed with wealth and riches.

Wisdom and knowledge are Godly attributes that all men should aspire to have. Solomon was not without them in total, because he knew to worship the Lord and pray for the guidance he needed, which other men would not have done. God blessed him for his goodness and his desire to lead in a manner that was pleasing to Him. Our Father in Heaven is not a respecter of persons and He desires to bless us as well. If we approach Him in prayer, with an honest heart and a desire to do what is right, He will help us as he helped Solomon in his need.

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1 Chronicles Chapter 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Chronicles Chapter 23

Solomon was the son of king David and his wife, Bathsheba. He was raised knowing that he was chosen to follow David. He was prepared from a young age, to build the temple of the Lord. He was taught to walk in the ways of God. David made it his purpose to prepared Solomon as much as possible before he, David, was too old or died. This chapter begins with the following:

1 So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel.
2 And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.
3 Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand.
4 Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the Lord; and six thousand were officers and judges:
5 Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the Lord with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith.
6 And David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi, namely, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

When David was very old in age and he knew he would not live much longer, he made Solomon king of Israel. (see also 1 Kings 1) He gathered the princes, priests and Levites. Those levites who were of the age to serve in the work of the Lord, totaled 38,000. 24,000 of those men were appointed to work with the house of the Lord. This left 6,000 as officers and judges, 4,000 as porters, and 4,000 as musicians to praise the Lord with instruments commissioned by David. David divided the sons of Levi into the groups based on the patriarchs of the Levites, which were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The work of the Lord is best done, with order and purpose. Throughout the history of the gospel, those who served in the priesthood have been organized into groups to better serve the Lord, just as David divided the men at this time.

David had a history of making music an important part of his life and of worship. When he was young, he played for Saul. Several times in the description of his rule, music is mentioned as a part of praise to the Lord. Music is an amazing tool for expressing the feelings of the heart, and for inviting the spirit of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 136:28 we read, “If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.” It should not be a surprise that many musicians were given the duty or calling of playing in the tabernacle and temple of the Lord.

7 Of the Gershonites were, Laadan, and Shimei.
8 The sons of Laadan; the chief was Jehiel, and Zetham, and Joel, three.
9 The sons of Shimei; Shelomith, and Haziel, and Haran, three. These were the chief of the fathers of Laadan.
10 And the sons of Shimei were, Jahath, Zina, and Jeush, and Beriah. These four were the sons of Shimei.
11 And Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second: but Jeush and Beriah had not many sons; therefore they were in one reckoning, according to their father’s house.

All those belonging to the Gershonites were the family of Ladan and Shimei. The sons of Ladan, were Jehiel, their leader, Zetham and Joel. The sons of Shimei, were Shelomith, Haziel, and Haran as leaders; and Jahath, who was chief, Zina (Zizah), Jeush, and Beriah.

12 The sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four.
13 The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the Lord, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever.
14 Now concerning Moses the man of God, his sons were named of the tribe of Levi.
15 The sons of Moses were, Gershom, and Eliezer.
16 Of the sons of Gershom, Shebuel was the chief.
17 And the sons of Eliezer were, Rehabiah the chief. And Eliezer had none other sons; but the sons of Rehabiah were very many.
18 Of the sons of Izhar; Shelomith the chief.
19 Of the sons of Hebron; Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth.
20 Of the sons of Uzziel; Michah the first, and Jesiah the second.

The sons of Kohath, the second son of Levi, included Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. Amram was the father of Aaron, the spokesman for his brother, Moses. Aaron was singled out, or rather set apart, to be over the most holy things in the house of the Lord, including burning incense and ministering to the Lord. The sons of Aaron, were those who served with the priesthood. The men of the family of the Levites, assisted the sons of Aaron. Moses was the father of Gershom and Eliezer. Gershom was the father of Shebuel, who was the leader. Eliezar was the father of Rehabiah only. Rehabiah had many sons. The second son of Kohath, Izhar, was the father of Shelomith. The third son, Hebron, was the father of Jeriah, Amariah, Jahaziel and Jekameon. Finally, the forth son, Uzziel, was the father of Michah and Jesiah.

21 The sons of Merari; Mahli, and Mushi. The sons of Mahli; Eleazar, and Kish.
22 And Eleazar died, and had no sons, but daughters: and their brethren the sons of Kish took them.
23 The sons of Mushi; Mahli, and Eder, and Jeremoth, three.

Finally, the sons of Merari, youngest son of Levi, were Mahli and Mushi. Mahli was he father of Eleazar and Kish. Eleazar died without having any sons, but did have daughters who married the sons of Kish. Mushi was the father of Mahli, Eder and Jeremoth.

24 These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; even the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number of names by their polls, that did the work for the service of the house of the Lord, from the age of twenty years and upward.
25 For David said, The Lord God of Israel hath given rest unto his people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem for ever:
26 And also unto the Levites; they shall no more carry the tabernacle, nor any vessels of it for the service thereof.
27 For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above:
28 Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the Lord, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God;
29 Both for the shewbread, and for the fine flour for meat offering, and for the unleavened cakes, and for that which is baked in the pan, and for that which is fried, and for all manner of measure and size;
30 And to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at even;
31 And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the Lord in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the Lord:
32 And that they should keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the holy place, and the charge of the sons of Aaron their brethren, in the service of the house of the Lord.

This listing was those who were called to serve with the temple as soon as they came of age. David told the people that God had given rest to those who lived in Jerusalem and with the building of the temple, the Levites would not have to carry the tabernacle any longer. Some of the responsibilities of the Levites included serving in the courts and chambers of the temple, purifying the holy things, taking care of the shewbread, flour for the offerings, and all the unleavened cakes. They were tasked with expressing thanks to the Lord both morning and night, offering burnt sacrifices at all the times required by the Lord. They were also in charge of the tabernacle of the congregation and the holy place. They were to help the sons of Aaron with their duties of the priesthood, as they served the Lord.

The work of the temple is such an important duty, that an entire tribe of Israel was set apart for it. That duty continued from the tabernacle established by the Lord, to the temple that Solomon was to build during his reign. Temples have been important from ancient times, as designated places of worship and making covenants with the Lord. This work continues to be an important duty today in the temples that dot the earth. I am sure that all those who have served in the temples, in any capacity they were called to serve, have been greatly blessed for their service.

2 Kings Chapter 12

While Jehu ruled in Israel, Joash began his reign in Judah. Joash, according to the header in this chapter, was also known as Jehoash. He was annointed to be the king, by the high priest Jehoiada. Jehoash made covenants with the Lord to be the ruler of the people of the Lord, and he began his rule in righteousness, at the age of seven. This chapter begins as follows:

1 In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba.
2 And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.
3 But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places.

Jehoash was king for forty years. He was a righteous leader, and did all the things that Jehoiada instructed him to do. Even so, the places where the people could worship other false gods, were not taken from the people. So, the people continued to use those places to worship with sacrifices and burnt incense.

4 And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the Lord, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the Lord,
5 Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found.
6 But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house.
7 Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house.
8 And the priests consented to receive no more money of the people, neither to repair the breaches of the house.
9 But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the Lord: and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord.
10 And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the Lord.
11 And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the Lord: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the Lord,
12 And to masons, and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the Lord, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it.
13 Howbeit there were not made for the house of the Lord bowls of silver, snuffers, basins, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of the Lord:
14 But they gave that to the workmen, and repaired therewith the house of the Lord.
15 Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully.
16 The trespass money and sin money was not brought into the house of the Lord: it was the priests’.

Jehoash commanded the priests of the temple, to use the offerings brought to them, to repair the breaches of the temple, instead of taking the offerings for themselves. This money was like the tithing of their day. In doing so, the temple walls would be strong again. The priests would not take money from the people to repair the walls, but Jehoiada took a chest and drilled a hole in the top of it. He put it to the side of the altar at the entrance of the temple. Those priests who welcomed people into the temple, were to put all the money from those who came into the temple, into the chest. The volunteer donations of the people of God, would go towards the repair of the temple. When the chest was full, they gathered the money and gave it to those who would do work on the temple, and it was given out to carpenters, builders, masons, stone workers, and others who would do this work. The priests were faithful with the donations, and anything brought as offereings specifically for trespass money or sin money, was given to the priests for their own.

17 Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem.
18 And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and in the king’s house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem.

Gath, which was a city that had been taken by the Israelites in the time of David, was taken by Hazael of Syria. Hazael prepared to go against Jerusalem. Jehoash gathered all the items that had been hallowed and set aside by the kings of Judah, his own consecrated items, as well as all the gold remaining in the treasuries, and he sent it to Hazael. Hazael went away from Jerusalem, and their safety was maintained. Jehoash had done what he could to protect the people and land from their enemies.

19 And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
20 And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla.
21 For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

The servants of Joash conspired against him, and killed him in the house of Millo. His son Amaziah became king of Judah.

One of the things that this chapter leads me to think about, is the need to follow the Lord with exactness. It is not the main idea of this chapter, and I may be off in my interpretation of these verses, when reading the first few verses, I think about this. The king of Judah was a righteous leader himself, but he left the high places in the land. This is based on the use of the word “but” in verse 3. These places that were left would possibly be an opportunity for wickedness to continue in the land. I can think of a few reasons for doing this. First, is that he may have felt that the people were subject to the Lord and would not turn to other gods, or simply was not mindful of these places. Second, is that he may have wanted to give the people the ability to choose for themselves, if they would follow after the Lord. In ancient times, God commanded that all these other temples with their idols and groves and such, be destroyed out of the land and so leaving the temples was not the king’s best choice for his people. On the other hand, I do wonder if the places of worship that he left, were those that were still used to worship the Lord, just not with the level of commitment as was done at the temple. This is not entirely clear to me. In either case, it is important for us to be strict with our obedience to God. This is how we can stay safe from the traps that Satan will most certainly leave for us. In the case of ancient Israel, they needed to remove any temptation to worship in any other way than what the Lord had instructed them. That is the only way they could have remained the people of the Lord. The Lord had told the people to go to His temple, and to worship by making sacrifices and offerings there. There are many who choose for themselves their own way to worship God, rather than doing it in the manner that God has instructed us to do so. This does not mean that they will definitely be led astray, but it does give greater opportunity for the adversary to sneak in and lead good people away from God. Obedience with exactness provides the best ways for safety and success in this life.

1 Kings Chapter 14

Jeroboam was the idolatrous leader of the ten tribes of Israel after the nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms. Ahijah was a prophet of the Lord, who had prophesied that Jeroboam would become the king of the ten tribes. The prophesy also contained the promise of maintaining the kingdom, if Jeroboam was faithful to the Lord, but he had not been faithful. When the threat of loosing subjects was a possibility, he turned to false gods. Another prophet had told of death and destruction that would come at the altar of a temple of Jeroboam, to which Jeroboam was offended. The Lord had cursed him for trying to stop that prophet, and he still did not repent of his wicked ways. In the southern kingdom, Rehoboam ruled. Rehoboam had been the ruler of all of Israel, but in his pride and foolishness, he had tried to place greater burdens upon the people. His people had revolted and he had the majority of his kingdom taken from him. Rehoboam was left to rule over Judah. He did not rule in righteousness. This chapter begins a follows:

1 At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.
2 And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people.
3 And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child.
4 And Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age.

The son of Jeroboam became sick, so he sent his wife in disguise, to the prophet Ahijah. He sent her with a gift offering of bread and honey, and she was to ask what would happen to their son, Abijah. She went to Ahijah, but he was blind in his old age.

5 And the Lord said unto Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shalt thou say unto her: for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman.
6 And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings.
7 Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel,
8 And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;
9 But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back:
10 Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.
11 Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the Lord hath spoken it.
12 Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die.
13 And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.
14 Moreover the Lord shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now.
15 For the Lord shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the Lord to anger.
16 And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.

The Lord revealed to the prophet, that the wife of Jeroboam was coming to ask about her child, but that she would be in disguise. He was told to tell her he knew who she was. So when he heard her footsteps, he said to come in, announcing her as the wife of Jeroboam, then asked her why she hid her true identity, as he was a prophet who had heavy tidings to tell her. She must have recognized this was a man of God, since he was able to know who she was even though he could not see her and she was in a disguise. Ahijah told her to tell Jeroboam that God had chosen him to rule over his people, but instead of following after the Lord, he had made false idols. Since he had been an unrighteous leader, the house of Jeroboam was cursed to be cut off and taken away from Israel, or rather, destroyed completely. He was promised that the dead of his family would be eaten by the animals, possibly as a curse that showed they would have no respect given to their dead. The wife was told to return home, and as she did, her child would die. Also, that the people of Israel would mourn and bury him. This child would be the only one, or the last one of their family to be buried in a grave, because there was good in him. The prophecy continued, saying that a new king would rise up and cut off the house of Jeroboam, and the Lord would smite Israel and scatter them from the promised land, because they had done evil with their false gods and places of worship. The Lord would do these things to Israel, because Jeroboam had been a wicked ruler who led his people into this great sin.

17 And Jeroboam’s wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died;
18 And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by the hand of his servant Ahijah the prophet.
19 And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred, and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
20 And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.

So, the wife of Jeroboam went home and as she entered the threshold, her child died. Then, just as was foretold, he was buried and all of Israel mourned for him. Here it says that any more about Jeroboam is told in other records. He ruled for 22 years and then died, leaving his son, Nadab, to rule in his place.

21 And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
22 And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.

Rehoboam was king of Judah, the southern kingdom, for 17 years. The people of Judah were not righteous, but were worse in sins then any of their ancestors. The land was full of idols and places for worship of their false gods. They had also been influenced by wicked nations and all the gross sins, including prostitution, that existed in the land before it was cleansed for the Israelites, had returned through this generation.

25 And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:
26 And he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
27 And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king’s house.
28 And it was so, when the king went into the house of the Lord, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.

Solomon had built a grand and glorious temple and palace in Jerusalem. It was likely a tempting place for any other nation to attack. The Egyptians, under king Shishak, came against Judah, and took all the treasures of the temple and the king’s house. He took all of the golden armor that Solomon had made during his reign. So, Rehoboam made brass sheilds and gave them to the guards of the palace. They used them to protect the king.

29 Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
30 And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.
31 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead.

Again, these verses say that the rest of the actions of Rehoboam were recorded in the chronicles of the kings. In short, Rehoboam and Jeroboam fought one another for the rest of their days. Rehoboam died and was buried in the city of David, where his fathers were laid to rest. His son, Abijam, reigned after him.

This is such a depressing chapter to me. Two men who loved wickedness more than God, led their people into great wickedness. The entire land of promise, was full of wickedness and becoming ripe for destruction. The once strong and prosperous land of Israel, was divided and falling into the hands of other nations. Prophecies were made against the people, which were of destruction and death, and these prophecies were being fulfilled as the Lord withdrew his protecting hand from his people. The promise given to the children of the Lord was that they would prosper in the land so long as they worshipped the Lord and turned not from Him and His ways. Additionally, they had been promised that if they turned away, the Lord would allow others to remove them from the land of promise. There are similar promises made to the disciples of the Lord today. If we choose to follow the example of Christ, we will be blessed to prosper in our own promised land, and if we fall away into temptation, God will allow us to have the blessings removed from us. Greater things come to those who choose to turn their hearts towards the Lord.

1 Kings Chapter 12

Rehoboam was the son of Solomon, who began to rule once Solomon died. Solomon had been promised that his kingdom would no longer remain whole and under the rule of his family, but rather, that the kingdom would be split during the reign of his son, and ten of the tribes would leave to follow another ruler. That new ruler would be Jeroboam, who had been promised these things through the prophet. Those who ruled over the Israelites would be blessed if they were faithful to the Lord. This chapter tells of both Rehoboam and Jeroboam.

1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.
2 And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;)
3 That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,
4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.
5 And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.

Rehoboam went to Shechem to be made king over the people. Jeroboam, who had fled to Egypt during the reign of Solomon, heard of this and returned to be there. Jeroboam and the Israelites asked for a lighter burden upon them, then they had with Solomon. In return, they promised to serve Rehoboam. He told the people to leave him for three days, and so they did.

6 And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?
7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.
8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:
9 And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?
10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.
11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

Rehoboam sought the advice of the older men, or elders of Israel, that had served Solomon as his advisors. They told him that the people would remain loyal to him, if he would serve them and answer them with good words, which I think means to tell them he would do as they asked. Rehoboam ignored their advice, and then turned to the advisors of his own generation, who told him to say that he would be harder and harsher on them than his father had been.

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.
13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;
14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
15 Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord, that he might perform his saying, which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

Jeroboam and the people returned after the third day, and he told them that he would make their burdens heaver and harder. He did not listen to the request of his people and this would lead to the fulfillment of the words of the prophet to Jeroboam.

16 So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.
17 But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
20 And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.

The Israelites were upset with his decision, and returned to their own homes feeling separated from the king and disenchanted with his kingdom. Rehoboam continued to rule over those who lived in Judah (and those near it, which included those from the tribe of Benjamin). He sent out his servant to collect tribute from the rest of Israel, but the people of Israel stoned him. Learning of the revolt of his people, Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem. The ten tribes turned from the house of David and instead turned to Jeroboam to be their king.

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bc/images/03990_000_bible-map-3.pdf

21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
23 Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying,
24 Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the Lord, and returned to depart, according to the word of the Lord.

The tribes of Judah and Benjamin were gathered under Rehoboam (the southern kingdom), and he made an army to fight against the men of Israel, so that he could bring the kingdom back together under his rule. Shemaiah, a prophet, was given revelation to tell Rehoboam not to go up and fight against their brothers, the Israelites, because this fight was not acceptable to the Lord. They listened to the word of the Lord and departed.

25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.
26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
29 And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan.
30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Beth-el, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places which he had made.
33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Beth-el the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.

Jeroboam, who now ruled over the ten tribes of Israel (the northern kingdom), built Shechem and lived there. He also built Penuel. Jeroboam worried that those of his people who wanted to worship would go to Jerusalem and turn to the Lord and possibly back to Rehoboam. He worried that this might lead to his own death and loss of the kingdom. So after taking counsel, he built two golden calves for the Israelites to worship, saying that they were the gods who brought the people out of Egypt. He led the people into worshiping these false gods. He called false priests who were not Levites. Jeroboam established their own feast like the feast which the Lord had established, and made sacrifices and offerings on an altar. So, Jeroboam ruled with the practice of idolatry, over the children of Israel. In this, they became an apostate nation.

This is yet another example of two things. First, the negative effects from deliberately choosing not to follow the counsel of our elders in favor of those who might say more of the words that are easier for us to hear. In his case, Rehoboam lost the united kingdom of Israel and would spend the rest of his days against those in the kingdom of Jeroboam. Rehoboam could have avoided this, if he had listened to the elders. Those who have wisdom that comes with age and years of service, especially in a time or area where people are trying to do what is right, are more likely to advise us to do things that are good and better for us. People in my life that would be better to listen to are my parents, church leaders, and older people who have the same standards as I do. I am so grateful for the spirit, which allows me the gift of discernment, when there are many opinions and voices trying to be heard.

The second example is the bad that can come from following leaders who are not righteous. Unrighteous rulers will most likely lead their people into a life of unrighteousness. Idolatry has never been acceptable to the one true and living God, and it results in eventual destruction of the wicked. It is important for followers of Christ, to be watchful for those who say things that are pleasing to hear and those who tempt others to turn to false idols of all kinds.

2 Samuel Chapter 6

David became the king of Israel, combining Judah and Israel into one kingdom again. David was the Lord’s anointed king of the people and thus far, he had continued to seek the guidance of the Lord in his leadership. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.
2 And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.
3 And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.
4 And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.
5 And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.

David gathered 30,000 men of Israel and they brought the ark of the covenant out of the house of Abinadab, and many of the men played music as they moved the ark. In Doctrine and Covenants 136:28 we read, “If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.” Music is an important part of worshipping the Lord and David was traveling in the manner of worshipping God.

6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.
7 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
8 And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perez-uzzah to this day.
9 And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and said, How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?
10 So David would not remove the ark of the Lord unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.
11 And the ark of the Lord continued in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months: and the Lord blessed Obed-edom, and all his household.

Uzzah saw that the ark was shaking, and so he put his hand on it to steady it. No person, who had not been given authority from God, was to touch the ark or do anything with it, for it was the seat of the Lord. So, Uzzah was smitten immediately and died. David was upset with the death of Uzzah, and wondered how they could move the ark any further, when he had intended on it being placed in the city of David. Instead the ark was placed in the house of Obed-edom, where it remained for three months. Obed-edom and his family were blessed by the Lord, while the ark remained in their home.

As mortals, we will not and cannot understand all the workings of the Lord. In Isaiah 55:8-9, we read, ” For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The instruction that had been given in the days of Moses, was that no man was to touch the ark, and only Levites were to be involved in moving it. Uzzah, in a moment of weakness, felt that he needed to steady the thing that represented the Lord’s presence on the Earth at that time. With such a sacred item, I am sure that he had been taught of how they were to handle the ark and also how strictly they needed to obey the instructions. Additionally, it had not been too long since people, I believe philistines, had looked into the ark and brought death and destruction to entire cities. However, sometimes we forget the greatness of God. His ways are higher. Sometimes we must learn that the Lord can do all for Himself. He could have kept the ark from falling if that is what was meant to happen. Even the best of us, have much to learn. A lot of these things cannot be mastered while we live in this fallen state of mortality.

12 And it was told king David, saying, The Lord hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness.
13 And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings.
14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.
16 And as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.

David heard that Obed-deom had been blessed by the presence of the ark, so he decided to happily bring it into the city of David as he had planned. David had a sacrifice made and he danced before the Lord. There was great rejoicing among the house of Israel, and Michal saw king David dancing before the Lord in a linen ephod. She despised him for it.

17 And they brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.
18 And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts.
19 And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house.

David had a tabernacle set up and the ark was placed in the midst of it. He blessed the people and had a feast with them. Then everyone returned to their homes.

20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!
21 And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord.
22 And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.
23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.

David returned home, and Michal greeted him with a comment about how he thought himself great, as he shamelessly uncovered himself in front of other women. The footnote for this verse describes it in this way, “In his joyful dancing, more of his body was exposed than she believed proper.” David told her that he did these things for the Lord, who had chosen him to be ruler of Israel. He felt that those who saw him, would honor him, but he would never have a child with her, which I think means that he would never bless her with children, because he would not be with her. Her pride and her judgement of David in how he should act as the king and as her husband, caused their relationship to be damaged from them on.

The main thing I take away from this chapter, is the importance of being strict in our obedience to God, especially with all things sacred. In Doctrine and Covenants 82 we read:

8 And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you;
9 Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.
10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

Commandments help us to understand what God wants of His people, in order for us to return to live with Him and to receive great blessings from Him. The Israelites had been given commandments and had not remembered to adhere to them. The result was destructive and immediate, in order to teach of the importance of being obedient. Likewise, we are given commandments and when we are disobedient to the commandments, the results can bring destruction to our souls. We are weak and we will make mistakes, and thankfully, we can humble ourselves and repent when we do wrong. I am forever grateful for the Savior and His atonement, which makes this possible.

Leviticus Chapter 17

In the book of Leviticus, the Lord gives instruction to the children of Israel. This portion of the law of Moses has included details about sacrifices, how the priests of Aaron were to officiate in their office, and what was considered clean or unclean. The Lord continues to give commandments and teachings to Moses as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, saying,
3 What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp,
4 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people:
5 To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the Lord, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the Lord.
6 And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the Lord.
7 And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.

There was only one acceptable place for sacrifices to the Lord, now that they had a tabernacle in their midst. Any sacrifice to the Lord, was to be given at the door of the tabernacle as the Lord had previously directed. In latter-days, the early saints were given similar commandment and instruction, with regard to temple work. We have been instructed on how to do baptisms for the dead, and the authority was given at first to perform those in the Mississippi river. Once the building of the temple was commanded, the Lord told the Prophet, Joseph Smith, that the saints were no longer authorized to perform baptisms for the dead in the river, but were to perform them in the font prepared in His holy temple.

Any Israelite, who chose to do otherwise, was to be cut off from the people of the Lord. The law included forbidding any sacrifices to anyone else. I have been studying ancient mesopotamia, and the act of sacrificing to all kinds of gods and rulers was extremely common among all the people of the world in that time. I am sure there was great importance for the Israelites to set themselves apart from the world, by worshipping the one true God. This feels to me like a repetition of the commandment not to worship any other Gods, or as mentioned here, devils.

8 And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice,
9 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the Lord; even that man shall be cut off from among his people.

Again, anyone who chose to make a sacrifice to God, and failed to bring it to the tabernacle, was to be cut off. The footnote in verse 8, references Doctrine and Covenants 132:9 which reads, “Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name?” If someone offered me a gift, but it had my sister’s name on it, would I feel like it was a gift for me? Why then, would God accept the sacrifices prepared for someone else? He had asked that all gifts be given in a specific way and those who desired to honestly show their love for Him, would have brought those offerings to the tabernacle as He had instructed.

10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.
11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.
13 And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.
14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.
15 And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even: then shall he be clean.
16 But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity.

They had already been commanded not to eat blood, but they are commanded again here. Genesis 9:4 reads, “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” No one of the covenant, or one who stayed among the people, was to eat blood. I find the phrase “set my face against that soul” to be one of interest. I looked up the word “against” to get a clearer understanding and the first way to define it says, “in opposition to”. This makes sense to me. The Lord would be in opposition to anyone who disobeyed this commandment. I’m pretty sure that having God against them, was not going to make their life happy and blessed. Likewise, we do not want God to be against us, either.

Blood holds the life of the body, or its mortality. God alone, is to have power over the mortality of any soul. The only use for blood, was for making atonement within the tabernacle of the Lord. Only with the blood, as with the blood of Christ, could an atonement be made for the souls of mankind. If they were to hunt animals, they were not to partake of the blood, but pour it on the ground and cover it with the dust of the earth. This reminds me of a scripture I read recently in the book of Isaiah. He was teaching of things that would happen at the time of the Lord’s second coming, when wickedness would be destroyed. In Isaiah 26:21 we read, “For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” No works are hid from the Lord. Any blood that has ever been spilt against the commandment of the Lord, is going to be known. All the works of unrighteousness will be revealed and the people will be judged for these sins against God. The reward for these works, will be an eternal separation from God. The Israelites were told here, that if an animal died on its own or by other animals, and they ate that animal, they were to wash their clothes and bathe. They would be unclean through that day. If he did not wash, or wash his clothes, he would have sinned.

Jesus-Portrait

I think the purpose of commanding the children of Israel these things, was to keep them focused on what sacrifices were really about. The world had taken sacred things and distorted them. Adam was given the first instructions about why men were to give sacrifices. In Moses 5 we read the following:

4 And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.
5 And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
6 And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
7 And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
8 Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.

The Lord commanded Adam and Eve to offer sacrifice to the Lord and the angel taught Adam that this was to remind them of the sacrifice of the Son of God. God never came to any man and said otherwise. All other sacrifices were created by men, through the temptations of Satan, that mankind would turn from God and become as he is. In commanding the Israelites these things, God was reestablishing His laws, so that His people would know who to look towards for salvation and eternal life. It is a great blessing to have the fullness of the gospel on the earth today, to know why and how we can worship God and have the promised blessings in the life to come.

Exodus Chapter 7

Moses and Aaron have been called by the Lord, to deliver the children of Israel out of bondage. Pharaoh has already refused the request once and increased the workload for his slaves. The Lord told Moses that he would show his power and Pharaoh would eventually let them go. The story of the deliverance of the Israelites continues as follows:

1 And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.
2 Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.
3 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.
4 But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.
5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.
6 And Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded them, so did they.
7 And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.

The Lord told Moses (according to the Joseph Smith Translation) that he had made Moses as God, or a prophet to Pharaoh, and Aaron was his spokesman. I think that the Lord was reminding Moses that this was His work, and He had done what He said He would do. He reminded them that they would be given the words by God and therefore given God’s authority to do this work. The words here say that the Lord would harden the heart of Pharaoh, but the Joseph Smith Translation corrects this to say that Pharaoh would harden his heart, just as the Lord has said he would. The Lord continued to promise that He would show his mighty works and wonders in the land of Egypt, if Pharaoh would not allow them to go free by their request alone. The Egyptians would come to see that the God of Moses and Aaron, or of the Israelites, was indeed the Lord who had made all things. The Egyptians worshipped many false Gods and gave them credit for the things that the Lord had made and done for them. They would have a witness of who God really was, and I am sure that witness would stand against them if they denied it. Moses and Aaron obeyed the Lord. I love that they continue to go forward in faith that the Lord will provide they way for them.

8 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
9 When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.

The Lord knew that Pharaoh would want a sign, and so he would give them a sign to show they acted with the power and authority of God. He told Moses to have Aaron throw his rod and that it would become a serpent in front of Pharaoh.

10 And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the Lord had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.
13 And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

Aaron’s rod was thrown before Pharaoh and his servants, just as the Lord had commanded, and it became a serpent. Pharaoh’s magicians were able to do the same thing with the rods of every other man. These men were false priests who did many things by the powers of men and I am sure with the help of Satan. There tricks kept Pharaoh from recognizing the power of God where it truly was, but they were no match to the miracles of God. Aaron’s rod swallowed the serpents created from the other rods. Pharaoh remained unchanged and did not listen to them, just as the Lord had said he would.

14 And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.
15 Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river’s brink against he come; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand.
16 And thou shalt say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.
17 Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.
18 And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.

Moses was commanded to go again to meet Pharaoh as he went down to the water, and Moses would again tell Pharaoh to let the people go so they could worship God. Knowing he would not listen, the Lord commanded that Moses take the rod and smite the Nile river with a curse. It would turn to blood and all the fish would die and make the river smell. This was one of the plagues that would be brought upon the people of Egypt. I think it’s interesting that Pharaoh said Moses and Aaron had brought the burdens on their people by asking for them to be let go, and then Pharaoh is treated likewise. It was the pride and stubborn attitude of Pharaoh, which brought the plagues upon the people of Egypt.

19 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.
20 And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
21 And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
22 And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the Lord had said.
23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also.
24 And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river.
25 And seven days were fulfilled, after that the Lord had smitten the river.

I find it interesting that the Lord shows his power through the rod in the hand of Moses. His rod became a tool for great miracles of the priesthood. Today, the priesthood power is used through the laying on of hands, which is the way God has established it for man’s use. I am sure the power was in Moses and not in the rod itself, but the use of the rod was a tool of faith in action for Moses. Moses and Aaron obeyed and the water was cursed throughout the land, and was turned to blood. Pharaoh’s magicians did something like it as well, so Pharaoh again was not willing to listen to them. This curse of the water continued for seven days and the Egyptians had to find other ways to have something to drink.

In the time of Moses, the life of every individual relied heavily on the waters where they lived. Today, at least where I live, we have so many conveniences with water coming from other places, which they would not have dreamed of in ancient times. To put a plague on the water must have been a great curse to the people. The manual I am using along with this study, mentions that each plague was an attack on the false gods of Egypt. This first, being an attack on the god of the Nile. God will not take lightly the worship of others before Him. Anyone who knows the ten commandments, knows that this is one of the things that God values most. We have a duty to worship Him and none else. The higher law for us today, is that we must not worship any thing before God. Our lives must center around the Lord first and all other things will have their proper place. The world would have us put God last, or at least become so busy and active with things of this world (entertainment, media, recreation, addictions and so on) that we give less attention to Him who is most important. We could easily make the things of the world, the gods we worship. This is something that we must fight against each and every day of our lives. I think the most important thing to combat this, would be to remember Him. We need to say our prayers and keep the Lord in the front of our mind continually. This is not easy and takes a lot of work and effort on our part, but I am sure that in the bigger picture, we will receive the greatest blessings of all, if we do this.

How Do We Show Our Devotion to Jesus Christ?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar.

My next question in this series is, how do we show our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. Devotion is defined for some as love or strong affection, loyalty, dedication, worship, a willingness to serve, zeal, veneration, respect, or reverence (see online definitions). Devotion is love. The scriptures teach us ways that the Lord has taught us, to show our love to him. The first one that comes to mind is in John 14:15, which reads, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Doctrine and Covenants 42:29 takes that one step further and says, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments.” We show our love and devotion to Jesus Christ, by keeping his commandments and serving him. In Psalms 97:10 it says, “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil . . .”. This teaches us that to show our love and devotion to Jesus Christ, we must hate all that is evil. This must be the case, because anything that is evil is not acceptable to God. This tells me also, that if we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we must repent, because part of repentance is turning away from that which is evil.

The Savior taught his disciples what to do to show our love and devotion to him. In John 21 we read the following:

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

If we love the Lord, we must also feed his sheep. This means that we are to serve others and bring them to Christ by sharing the gospel with them. 1 John 4:21 continues this sentiment, “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” We need to be loving, kind, and caring towards others if we are going to truly show our devotion for our Savior.

Devotion is to have loyalty. There are many examples in the scriptures of those who have been loyal to Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and made sacrifices to the Lord with devotion. In Moses 5:6 we read, “And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.” One of my favorite scriptures is one of devotion and loyalty. In 1 Nephi 3:7 we read, “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.” The Lord taught us about loyalty as well. In Matthew 6:24 we read, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” This idea is also taught in the book of Joshua 24:15, which reads “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Devotion to the Savior is to choose to fully follow Him and do the things that he has commanded. It means to jump into His service with both feet, totally committed, and not just occasionally do what he asks of us. It means that even though we may be faced with great opposition, we will stand firm in support of Jesus Christ, just as Joseph Smith did in his life. He knew he has seen Christ and had been commanded to do great things for the Lord. He showed his devotion, by remaining firm in his testimony when he said, “I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it . . .” (see Joseph Smith-History 1:25).

Dedication is a form of devotion. To be dedicated to Jesus Christ is to make Him a priority in our lives. In Matthew 6:33 we read, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Throughout the scriptures there are many verses which tell us to be devoted by giving all that we’ve got to give. Doctrine and Covenants 4:2 reads, “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” Likewise, in Doctrine and Covenants 11:20 we read, “Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength.” To be dedicated to Jesus Christ, is to put aside our pride and allow Him to perfect us through the power of the atonement. In Moroni 10:32 we read, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ . . .”.

When I think of the word dedication, I think of the way that the leaders of the church dedicate churches, temples and other buildings to the work of the Lord. These places are built, designed, and intended for the work of the Lord and nothing else. They are places that are to be kept holy and worthy so that the Lord can fulfill his purposes for us. When we show our devotion through dedication, we give ourselves (our bodies, minds, talents, passions, time and so on) to the Lord for his work and purposes.

Devotion is worship. In Psalms 95:6 we read, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” To worship the Lord, we honor Him and give thanks for all that we have been given. I think of the wise men, who learned of the birth of the Savior. Matthew 2:2 reads, “. . . Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” They adored him on bended knee showing reverence, respect, and adoration to him as their king. We worship in our devotion to Jesus Christ, by believing in Him and recognizing his divinity and glory. We worship Jesus Christ specifically on the sabbath day, when we go to his house and partake of the sacrament. In Alma 15:17 we read, “Therefore, after Alma having established the church . . . seeing that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts, and began to humble themselves before God, and began to assemble themselves together at their sanctuaries to worship God before the altar, watching and praying continually, that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction—”. Our taking of the sacrament, is a formal expression of our reverence and gratitude for Him. We are devoted, if we have the same attitude as the Nephites who saw the Savior in person. In 3 Nephi 11 we read the following:

16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.

Being devoted to Jesus Christ, is also having a willingness to serve. As women in the gospel, we are asked to have charity and to do all that we can to serve. Sometimes this service comes in magnifying the callings that we are given. Other times it is when we go out of our way to meet the needs of others both inside and outside of the church. A really good scripture that relates to this is Mosiah 2:17 which reads, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”

Having zeal towards Jesus Christ, is to be devoted. I think that being zealous requires being actively willing and ready to do what the Lord wants you to. It’s the fire that you can see in a new convert to the gospel. Zeal is the energy and enthusiasm to seek for His light and then share it with others. In Alma 27:27 we read of the members of the church who had been converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It says, “And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.” Paul, who was a great disciple of Christ, and who wrote a lot of the scriptures we have in the new testament was a great example of being devoted and zealous. In Acts 22:3 we read, “I am verily a man which am a Jew, . . . taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.” The Savior taught us to have zeal towards him. In Revelation 3:19 we read, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” When we are willing to humble ourselves, recognize our imperfections and need to be better, and actively repent, we are zealous towards Jesus Christ. Also, Doctrine and Covenants 58:27 reads, “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;”. The phrase “anxiously engaged in a good cause” equates to a person of devotion. A devoted person looks for the good they can do and does not wait to be called upon by another.

Finally, devotion to Jesus Christ is to have veneration, respect and reverence towards him. I think that most of all, reverence towards the Lord is shown through our desire to pray and communicate with Him. We also reverence him and respect him when we do not take sacred things lightly. To be devoted is to recognize that there are solemn things that He has given us that we should honor and value above the things of this world. In Doctrine and Covenants 76 we read the following:

92 And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things—where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever;
93 Before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence, and give him glory forever and ever.
94 They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace;
95 And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.

Things of an eternal nature are to be treated as such. When we follow this, and recognize that it is through Him that all things are, we show our devotion to Jesus Christ.

As a member of the gospel and of the Relief Society, I am devoted to Jesus Christ, my Savior and Exemplar. I know that I am a work in progress and I am not perfect in this, but I am united with other women all over the world, who are striving to show their own devotion to Him. I have really enjoyed studying this topic this week. This feeds the flame in my soul, to be better and more firm in my faith. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He has made great and wonderful things possible for us. I am completely in debt to Him and I desire to give all that I can through my devotion to be worthy of the blessings that he has made possible.


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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