Posts Tagged 'Worship'

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.

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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.

The Eleventh Article of Faith

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

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

We believe in the personal freedom of religion. We believe in being able to worship God how ever we feel is right in our life with the same privileges as anyone else may have. In Alma 21:22 we read, “And he also declared unto them that they might have the liberty of worshiping the Lord their God according to their desires, in whatsoever place they were in, if it were in the land which was under the reign of king Lamoni.” As long as the god-given rights of one are not stopping another from worshipping, there should be no interference from anyone else. In Doctrine and Covenants 134:4, a further explanation is given. “We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.”

We do not believe in any type of force when it comes to how one chooses to worship. Lately there has been a lot of public attempts to stop allowing people to worship freely. Even going so far as not allowing people to say Merry Christmas and such, when it is an outward expression of their beliefs. The way of the world, is to take away the freedoms of worship, so that those who choose not to worship do not have to see that anyone else does worship. This takes away the privileges of those who choose to worship. In effect, these decisions in the public sphere are causing the devout to be forced into hiding their own methods of worshipping God. There is so much good to be found in so many of the religions today, and this comes from a desire to worship God. There is a great need for religious tolerance in our world today. We believe that we are all spiritual sons and daughters of God, and as such, it is our privilege to worship, believe in, communicate with, and praise Him, how we see fit.

I am so grateful to live in a country where religious freedom has been established for so long. I know that there are places in the world where this freedom is not realized by many. I look forward to the day when the oppressions of unrighteous leaders will no longer exist and all people will have the ability to worship God freely.

D&C Section 93

It feels like forever since I posted on a section of the Doctrine and Covenants. I guess that is what happens when kids are out of school for the holidays. I am glad to be back.

This section was received through the Prophet, Joseph Smith, while in Kirtland, Ohio in 1833. At this time, the saints were hopeful for Zion to be established, but also suffering from persecution both outside of the church and within it. It was a difficult time, and this revelation came as a source of strength to the saints.

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
2 And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;
3 And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one—
4 The Father because he gave me of his fulness, and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men.
5 I was in the world and received of my Father, and the works of him were plainly manifest.

There is hope in living righteously, no matter what we may be facing in our lives. This hope comes from the mission of our Savior, Jesus Christ. All those who are faithfully, are promised to see the face of our Lord and to know that He is the Christ.

6 And John saw and bore record of the fulness of my glory, and the fulness of John’s record is hereafter to be revealed.
7 And he bore record, saying: I saw his glory, that he was in the beginning, before the world was;
8 Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation—
9 The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men.
10 The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him.
11 And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.
12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;
13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
14 And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.
15 And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son.
16 And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;
17 And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.
18 And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John.

Here there is reference to a John, an apostle of Jesus Christ during his ministry on the earth. When the Savior came to them as the resurrected Lord, John said that there were many things that the Savior did, which were not recorded at that time (see John 20:30). Our record in the New Testament, is the testimony of John, the apostle. He gives us a record of seeing the glory of the Lord, which we have so that we can have faith on his testimony and be blessed for believing it. It is my understanding that John, the apostle, promises the faithful will have the fullness of the record of John, the Baptist, revealed to them. As far as I know, these have still not been revealed to us, but I am sure that the prophesy will come to pass, and with his testimony we will find a greater faith and knowledge of the Savior.

This witness from John, teaches or reminds us of some of the things the Savior has done. First, I think it is important to see that as a resurrected Lord, the Savior was in the fullness of His glory. At the time of our own resurrections, we will receive our own glory and it will be a fullness according to our own works of righteousness. John tells us that the glory showed him that the Lord was there in the beginning and that he had created the world under the direction of God, the Father. It is interesting to read that Jesus Christ was not immediately given all the glory of God, the Father. He was given His glory over time, until he had received the fullness. We progress in the same fashion, one step at a time, and we have the promise that if we are faithful and live as the Savior lived, we too can receive the fullness of Glory. This comes a little at a time, as we do good works and are obedient to the will of God.

19 I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.
20 For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.

We should know from this, that we are to worship the Son of God, Jesus Christ. We are to follow His example and to live as He lived. We should be striving each day to do one more thing that will bring us closer to Him. When we do this, we will receive the grace of God a little at a time, and we will become more like the Savior.

21 And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn;
22 And all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn.

I think that this means that those who are baptized in the name of Christ are of His church, but I am a little unsure on this. If anyone reading this has further insight, I would love to read it.

23 Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;
24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.
26 The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth;
27 And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.
28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.

Here is a basic truth of the plan of salvation. All of us were there, in the beginning. We do not know exactly when the beginning was, but we can know from this that our spirits were with God before we came to this earth. The spirits of the pre-existence, are spirits of truth. I believe that we all had true knowledge and we knowingly chose to come to the earth and follow Jesus Christ. I believe that as we seek for truth in this life, that the veil which covers our mind is lifted little by little. I think that when the spirit testifies to us of truth, we are just having a reminder of what we already know to be truth. This knowledge is what is truly going to be or what really has happened. The power that comes from learning the truth of things, is uplifting and gives us strength to endure. The spirit is the only one who can give us these reminders of what is true, by touching our hearts and minds. We can only have the influence of the spirit, if we are being obedient to the commandments of God. Therefore, our obedience to the commandments will bring us truth and knowledge of things as they were, as they are, and as they will be. Eventually, we will have the ability to know all things, just as the Lord knows all things.

29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.
32 And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.

Man was with God, as I said above. Intelligence is eternal. This concept is hard for the understanding of mortal minds. I think we can have a very basic idea or what that means, but I don’t think anyone will truly understand and know the concept of an eternal intelligence until we have passed on from our mortal state. I think that I understand these verses to mean that all of us have truth, or knowledge of what is true, available to us. We have the ability to choose to search for it and recognize it as part of our agency. If we choose not to search for it, and therefore do not receive it, we will be judged for it. The manual I am studying, gives a great quote that basically points out that we choose what things in this life to being knowledgable about by studying and testing the laws and principles of that thing. It stands to reason then, that we must study and test the laws and principles of God and religion, in order to gain a true knowledge of it. We do this by trying to be obedient to the commandments of God. (see “Absolute Truth”, Ensign Sept. 1978.)

33 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;
34 And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.
35 The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.

Our eternal nature is spiritual. We were spirits before we came to this earth. When we came to the earth, we gained our mortal bodies. Our spirits and bodies are only separated by death. If they are separated we cannot inherit all that God wants to give us, or we cannot have a fulness of joy. Through Jesus Christ, the resurrection has been made available to us so that we may receive that fulness. If we choose to destroy the temple that God has given us, or our bodies, by living a life of sin which abuses our bodies in many ways, we will be held accountable to the destruction from God.

36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
37 Light and truth forsake that evil one.

This intelligence is more than just being smart or having knowledge. Those who are truly intelligent have knowledge and use it to do the will of the Lord. Intelligence is being able to apply knowledge to the eternal perspective that is according to the plan of salvation. This is what we all should be striving for, because the glory of God is intelligence, and we are trying to become like Him.

38 Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.
39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.
40 But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.

There are many out in the world, who do not understand that we are not to be held accountable for the fall of Adam. The Savior has paid the price for that sin through the atonement. The Lord has freed us from paying the price for the sins of those who come before us. We are therefore, only responsible for the sins which we commit. When we come to the world, as little children, we are innocent, because of the atonement. Our innocence is only lost through disobedience to God’s laws once we are accountable. It is the responsibility of parents, to teach children the plan of salvation, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The modern prophets have counseled us time and time again, that the way to keep families together and to keep our children on the straight and narrow path, is to teach them in the home. I believe that this is truth. I know that the more effort I make to teach my children the gospel, and to show them how to live it by my word and example, I will help them to have a stronger foundation and to be able to withstand the temptations that will come their way.

41 But verily I say unto you, my servant Frederick G. Williams, you have continued under this condemnation;
42 You have not taught your children light and truth, according to the commandments; and that wicked one hath power, as yet, over you, and this is the cause of your affliction.
43 And now a commandment I give unto you—if you will be delivered you shall set in order your own house, for there are many things that are not right in your house.
44 Verily, I say unto my servant Sidney Rigdon, that in some things he hath not kept the commandments concerning his children; therefore, first set in order thy house.
45 Verily, I say unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., or in other words, I will call you friends, for you are my friends, and ye shall have an inheritance with me—
46 I called you servants for the world’s sake, and ye are their servants for my sake—
47 And now, verily I say unto Joseph Smith, Jun.—You have not kept the commandments, and must needs stand rebuked before the Lord;
48 Your family must needs repent and forsake some things, and give more earnest heed unto your sayings, or be removed out of their place.
49 What I say unto one I say unto all; pray always lest that wicked one have power in you, and remove you out of your place.
50 My servant Newel K. Whitney also, a bishop of my church, hath need to be chastened, and set in order his family, and see that they are more diligent and concerned at home, and pray always, or they shall be removed out of their place.
51 Now, I say unto you, my friends, let my servant Sidney Rigdon go on his journey, and make haste, and also proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the gospel of salvation, as I shall give him utterance; and by your prayer of faith with one consent I will uphold him.
52 And let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Frederick G. Williams make haste also, and it shall be given them even according to the prayer of faith; and inasmuch as you keep my sayings you shall not be confounded in this world, nor in the world to come.
53 And, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures, and to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.

Even the prophet and his counselors are not perfect in all things. The Lord chastened the prophet, Joseph Smith, and other prominent men of the early church, because they were not teaching their families all that they should. The gospel is centered around families. It is of the most importance that we do what is needed to keep our families strong and free from the temptations and traps of Satan. If we do this in our homes, our influence in other areas of our lives will be for good. In verse 49, we are given a key to doing what is right, and that is to pray. We need to pray privately as well as with our families. We need to learn to have more sincere and honest prayers. We must always have a prayer in our heart. It is important to remember that as parents, we cannot make our children choose the right. They have their agency and must be allowed to choose for themselves, but if they are not taught at home, we will be held accountable for the wrongs which they do.

I am so grateful for the hope that can be found in the gospel. I am grateful for the impressions of the spirit which teach me what is true. The Savior has paid the price for my sins and has given me an example of how I should be living. I love to learn of these things in the scriptures. I understand the importance of teaching my children the gospel. I hope and pray that my teaching and my example will help them to choose the right when they are faced with temptations. I know that if more parents understood the weight of their own responsibility to teach what is good, the world would be a better place. I know that prayer is vital to the success of parents and families.

The Sabbath Day

To view the entire lesson go here: The Sabbath Day

The Meaning of the Sabbath Day

What is the Sabbath day?

The Sabbath day is the day set aside to worship and devote ourselves to the Lord and his purposes. It is the day of rest just as God had a day of rest during the creation. We learn of this in the ten commandments given to the Lord’s people, in Exodus 20.

10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

The Purpose of the Sabbath Day

How would you explain the purpose of the Sabbath day to someone who does not know about the Sabbath?

God gives us six days of the week to work, create, play, and do the everyday things that are necessary to get by. He expects in return that we will use the seventh day to focus on His plan, His work, and His Son, Jesus Christ. This gives us an opportunity to draw closer to God and to help to teach and save other souls. Modern revelation to the prophet, Joseph Smith, has taught us the purposes for the Sabbath. In Doctrine and Covenants 59 we read the following:

9 And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;
10 For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;
11 Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;
12 But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.
13 And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.

The Sabbath is designed for us to rest from our work, pray, partake of the sacrament, confess our sins, and fast, so that we will be clean of the sins of the world.

The Lord’s Day

Why was the Sabbath changed from the seventh day to the first day?

Before the death of the Savior, Jesus Christ, the Sabbath was observed on the seventh day. This was a likeness to God resting on the seventh day. Then the Savior died and was risen on the first day of the week. To keep the remembrance of the resurrection of the Savior, the Sabbath was changed to the first day of the week for the Christian world. In Acts 20:7 we read the following:

7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

How can the remembrance of the Resurrection influence our worship on the Sabbath?

I think if we recognize that this change was made to stand as a reminder of the Lord’s resurrection, we may be more inclined to focus on Him. We should realize that we need to remember the saving power of the resurrection and how Jesus Christ has freed every person who has lived or will ever live, from the bonds of death. Because of His resurrection, we all will be resurrected.

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

What does it mean to keep the Sabbath day holy?

To keep the Sabbath day holy, we need to refrain from our typical daily work and play. The Sabbath is kept holy when we go to church, worship and focus our thoughts on the Lord, serve others through teaching and visiting them, study scriptures and words of the prophets and other church leaders, spend time strengthening our family relationships, and so on. Even though it is the day of rest, this does not mean that we should literally rest all day. It means that we rest from the typical and work on the spiritual. When we have to work to provide for our families, we need to continue to keep it holy, by remaining in the spirit of worship and reverence for the Lord.

Blessings for Observing the Sabbath

What are some blessings we receive when we keep the Sabbath day holy?

As mentioned above, one of the blessings is that we will be kept clean from the ways of the world. The Sabbath offers us the blessings of the spirit, which come from partaking of the sacrament worthily. We are blessed with stronger relationships with our families and friends. I often feel the blessing of renewed strength from going to church on the sabbath day. It feels like taking a deep breath so that I can face the challenges of the week with a renewed spirit. I am so grateful to have a day to focus an even greater attention on the Lord and to put my life into the eternal perspective. I am so glad that our family has been fortunate enough to never have to work on Sundays and that we have been able to truly set aside that day. I am grateful for my Savior, His life and ministry, the atonement, and His death and resurrection.


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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