Tag Archives: Old Testament

The Lord’s Anointed Speak

As I have been studying the Old Testament these past few weeks, I have been struck recently with the faith of David and His purity.  Even as Saul sought to destroy his life over and over again throughout 1 Samuel 18-26, David remains true to His Lord and does not harm Saul when He is given the opportunities.

As I have been studying the Old Testament these past few weeks, I have been struck recently with the faith of David and His purity.  Even as Saul sought to destroy his life over and over again throughout 1 Samuel 18-26, David remains true to His Lord and does not harm Saul when He is given the opportunities.

David had a great friendship with Saul’s son Jonathan, which helped him to remain safe from Saul’s javelin.

Here are some of the characteristics I listed of Saul, Jonathan, and David from 1 Samuel 18-26:

David

Jonathan

Saul

-Wise

-With the Lord

-Plans

-Trusting

-Kind

-Patient

-Tender

-Charitable

-Prayerful

-Obedient

-Forgiving

-Charitable

-Loving

-Honest

-Reasonable

-Trustworthy

-Jealous

-Fearful

-Has evil spirit

-Bitter

     
     

Friends

Jonathan loved David as his own flesh as it says in 1 Samuel 18:1-3.  He helped to save David’s life numerous times even when it went against the trust of his own father.  I believe that David and Jonathan had such a wonderful friendship because they were both followers of the Lord and wanted to do His will.  Jonathan knew the Lord was with David and that the Lord would protect him.  It is definitely a wonderful thing to have friends who will support and protect you.

I know in my life as I have leaned on my friends for support and they have been there for me, it has helped me to come closer to the Savior and gain His attributes.  These attributes include trust and love.  It is great to be close to those who have the same values and concerns as you do as was the case with Jonathan and David.

The Lord’s Anointed

Saul treated David very poorly because of jealousy.  After David slayed Goliath and the people chanted that David slayed his tens of thousands and Saul slayed thousands of Philistines, Saul was full of jealousy towards David.  He would not let go of it and it led him to hunt down David wherever he went.  Saul sought to take David’s life when David did nothing wrong to deserve this.  While Saul sought to do this, David treated Saul with forgiveness and mercy.  Saul was given to David twice to be able to kill, but David did not take his life or harm him.

I think 1 Samuel 24:17 sums up how Saul treated David and vice versa:

“And he (Saul) said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me agood, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.”

David did not harm Saul, because Saul was the Lord’s anointed.  He did not want to go against the Lord’s will.  Similarly, we have an opportunity to hear and know of the Lord’s will for us through heeding a prophet’s counsel and listening to the Lord’s anointed.

Prophets and apostles of the Lord will speak to us, each of us on March 30 and April 1.  I hope you will be able to listen and apply some of the counsel and direction they share with us.


Would You?

If you were asked by your preacher or by the prophet of God or by God to move to Africa in a month, would you do it?  If you were asked by one of these would you do what they told you to do?  Why?  Why not?

Many of us are willing to make big sacrifices in our time and in our resources or to obey in the ‘big things’ that require immediate action, but few of us really realize the importance of following in the little things and with ‘exact obedience.’

Saul in the Old Testament in 1 Samuel 12-15 was an example of someone who did not obey with exactness.  He also overstepped his bounds as king when he told the people to bring sacrifices to him, even when he did not hold that authority (Samuel did) (1 Samuel 13:9).

Authority

It is a sad thing when people overstep the authority they are given, but it happens often.  In Doctrine and Covenants 121:39 it expounds on this:

“We have learned by sad experience that it is the anature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little bauthority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercisecunrighteous dominion.”

Are you like Saul in the Old Testament and overstep your authority that is given to you?  We have been counseled as to how to not fall into this same mistake that Saul did in Doctrine and Covenants 121:34-36 and 121: 41-42.

  1. Do not set heart upon the things of the World.
  2. Live with principles of righteousness.
  3. Meekness
  4. Long-suffering
  5. Gentleness
  6. Love unfeigned
  7. Kindness
  8. Pure Knowledge
  9. Without Hypocrisy
  10. Without Guile

Can we live in the way listed above?  I know that with the Lord and that as we obey, especially in the little things we can live a Christ-like life and implement the list above into our daily lives.

Obey is Better than Sacrifice

Truly, ‘to obey is better than sacrifice’ as Samuel states in 1 Samuel 15:22.  Sacrifice does not do any good unless the people are righteous and hearken unto the Lord their God.  Obeying with exactness helps to make us happy and have peaceful lives.  The Lord does love us.  He is there to help us.  He will help you learn to obey and desire to obey.  Pray to Him.  He is there, and He does help.

Remember

The Lord wants us to remember Him.  Do you remember Him?  Do you remember and reflect upon all that He has done for you personally?

In Deuteronomy chapter 4 Moses discusses the statutes and judgments of the Lord, or His ordinances.  People are promised life, wisdom and understanding, and inheritance to possess the land as they keep these ordinances.  The ordinances of the Lord are to help us REMEMBER Him and to bring us to Him.  Conversion happens through REMEMBERING the Lord, just as apostasy begins as we forget Him.  Parents have a great responsibility to teach their children to REMEMBER Christ and to pray and walk uprightly before the Lord.

Physical Reminders

The Jews were taught to REMEMBER Christ and the ordinances they had made with the use of phylacteries and mezuzah.  This is what the footnotes to Deuteronomy 6:4-9 say about what these two things are:

Phylacteries:  passages of the law written on scrolls of parchment enclosed in tiny boxes, bound on the left arm and on the forehead, as an ordinance of remembrance of the Mosaic law, and worn by Jews during the morning prayer.

Mezuzot: passages of the law written on tiny scrolls, enclosed in a small container and nailed to the right door post or gate, as an ordinance of remembrance.

These two things were physical reminders for the people to REMEMBER the Lord, their God and all that He had done for them.  What physical reminders do you have in your life for you to REMEMBER the Lord and what He has done for you?

No Other Gods

It is extremely important for us to REMEMBER the Lord, because great curses and much unhappiness is the result of not doing so.  One of the results of not remembering the Lord is worshiping other gods and the Lord has commanded His people over and over again through scriptures and His word that they are to have ‘no other gods before Him.’

In some communities in the Old Testament, people were stoned to death for having other gods before the Lord (Deuteronomy 13:6-9).  There are serious problems that come when one resorts to serving other gods.  It usually leads to apostasy.

Today people serve other gods repeatedly when they serve the creature and not the Creator (Romans 1:25).  They do this by succumbing to addictions and appetites such as overeating, body image, pleasures, pride, prominence, wealth and power.  Beginning to worship these other ‘gods’ often starts with one’s desire.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks had this to say about readjusting one’s desires and how certain desires can lead to ones downfall:

“Readjusting our desires to give highest priority to the things of eternity is not easy. We are all tempted to desire that worldly quartet of property, prominence, pride, and power. We might desire these, but we should not fix them as our highest priorities.

Those whose highest desire is to acquire possessions fall into the trap of materialism. They fail to heed the warning “Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world” (Alma 39:14; see also Jacob 2:18).

Those who desire prominence or power should follow the example of the valiant Captain Moroni, whose service was not “for power” or for the “honor of the world” (Alma 60:36).”

Eternity

We must be careful in our lives to keep ourselves focused on the Lord by REMEMBERING Him.  This is done as we follow Him in all that He desires us to do.  This is done by aligning our desire with His desire.

In Deuteronomy the Lord forbade the Israelites from marrying outside of the covenant of the house of the Lord.  He did this because, He knew the result that would come as people married out of the covenant.  Which He explains in Deuteronomy 7:2-4 which states:

 “2 And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly adestroy them; thou shaltbmake no ccovenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

3 Neither shalt thou make amarriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

4 For they will aturn away thy son from following me, that they may bserve other gods: so will the canger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.”

The Lord wants us to REMEMBER Him and to be happy.  He has great blessings in store for us as we follow His commands and His ordinances.  As we marry in the covenant in His house, we can be sealed for time and all eternity.  We can become as He is.

Satan does not want us to remember this because he desires our souls.  He wants us to serve other gods.  He wants us to forget.  He wants us to forget our divine potential, he wants us to forget how we are happy when we do what is right, and he wants us to entirely forget our Lord.

Let us not follow Satan, but instead follow the Lord and REMEMBER HIM as we promise to do as we take His sacrament each week to ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM.

How do you live?

 

How does this video make you think about how you live your life?

I know I can improve…

Set Apart

Set Apart

What sets you apart from other people?  What sets you apart from the people you choose to surround yourself with?  How does it make you feel to be set apart?

The Nazarites

In Old Testament times, there were people who were also ‘set apart.’  They were called Nazarites. These people set themselves apart by consecrating their lives to the Lord.  They separated their lives to the service of God.  Nazarites promised to do certain things to set themselves apart.  These included:

  1. Obstain from alcoholic drink
  2. Obstain from cutting of hair
  3. Obstain from contact with the dead

This separation to the Lord was sometimes for a lifetime, while other times it was only for a specific, definite period of time.  What are some specific things that set you apart from others?

God’s People

The Lord has asked His saints to separate themselves from the world.  In Alma 5:57 in the Book of Mormon it says:

“And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the agood shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye bseparate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be cblotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people;”

We have a mandate to be separated from the ways of the world.  We want to become ‘His people.’  In order to do this we must separate ourselves from the world and become clean.  We must walk the way Jesus walks and do those things that He would do.  We must serve others and live virtuous and pure lives.

Our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ love us beyond comprehension.  Let us share that love with others, with everyone we meet.  This is part of setting ourselves apart.

Holiness to the Lord

Be Holy

I have been studying in the Old Testament for an online college class I am taking and have been amazed by Leviticus.  If I had to give a theme for the book I would say that it would be “Be holy, for the Lord is holy.”

The word Holy in the Bible Dictionary is defined as ‘set apart for a sacred purpose.’  It also talks about how holiness comes from the personal character of the worshiper.  So, I thought to myself, “How do we secure holiness of character?”  How do we become holy?

It is more than just keeping the commandments that the Lord has set for us and more than just keeping the covenants we have made with Him.  It is a change of character.  It is conversion.

Sanctification is defined as the process of becoming free from sin; pure, and clean through the atonement of Christ.  Without Christ we can neither be sanctified or holy.  Elder D. Todd Christofferson describes sanctification as ‘purification from the effects of sin’ in his talk “The Divine Gift of Repentance.”

The Lord can command His children to become sanctified and holy because He is holy and sanctified.  He has provided a way through the atonement for us to fulfill that command.

I love the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 88:68 which states:

“Sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God.”

Is your mind single to God?

Keeping the Commandments

While keeping the commandments is not the only thing that needs to be done in order to become holy, it is still one of the vital ingredients.  The Lord asked the people in Leviticus to keep these commandments and they remain true for us today to keep.  Those that are bolded are ones that I believe the world has a particularly difficult time keeping today.

  • Obey father and mother
  • keep the Sabbath
  • Turn not to idols or other gods
  • not steal
  • no dealing falsely
  • no profaning the Lord’s name
  • not defrauding neighbor
  • no robbing
  • no cursing the deaf
  • no putting stumbling blocks before the blind
  • no unrighteousness in judgment
  • judge neighbor in righteousness
  • treat everyone equally, both the mighty and the poor
  • no gossip
  • no hate
  • no rebuking neighbor
  • no bearing grudges
  • love thy neighbor as self
  • no adultery
  • no cutting or putting marks upon body
  • reverence the Lord and His sanctuary
  • seek not after wizards
  • no homosexual or lesbian relations.

Which of these commandments do you need to work on?  One that I have picked out to work on is treating everyone equally.  I think as I pray for charity and for help to do this, the Lord will help me.  As I look for the good in others, this will be much easier to do.  I challenge you to choose one of the commandments the Lord gave the Israelites in Leviticus and work on it.  Perhaps you could share some ways with me that you plan on improving on the commandment and making it more a part of your daily life.

God Commands

Ten Commandments

Throughout the ages, God has commanded His children to do or not to do certain things.  The commandments He gave to Moses on Mount Sinai remain in full force today, even if the world does not live by them.  These are the ten commandments as stated in Exodus 20:3-17:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
  5. Honor thy Father and Mother.
  6. Thou Shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
  10. Thou shalt not covet.

Christ himself describes in Matthew 22:36-40 what the two great commandments are:

  1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, and mind.
  2. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

So how do all of the other commandments ‘hang’ on these two great commandments as the scriptures say.  I think each could fit with all of the commandments but more specifically, this is how I matched them up:

  1. (Love God) Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. (Love God) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
  3. (Love God) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. (Love God) Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
  5. (Love Neighbor) Honor thy Father and Mother.
  6. (Love Neighbor) Thou Shalt not kill.
  7. (Love Neighbor) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. (Love Neighbor) Thou shalt not steal.
  9. (Love Neighbor) Thou shalt not bear false witness.
  10. (Love Neighbor, Love God) Thou shalt not covet.

Living the Commandments today

I heard once that the hardest commandment to keep is the one in which we personally have problems keeping.  That is the one that we need to work on.  In the world today, it is hard to choose which ones are the ones that people neglect the most.  But, if I had to choose, these are the three I would choose:

1.  Thou Shalt have No Other Gods Before Me:  In today’s society so many people have things that they want or things they live for.  For some it is their physical appearance, for others it is a career, for others it is money, for others it is fame, and for others it is family.  There are so many things that people spend there lives ‘worshiping’ before they worship God.  He is to be number one in our lives.  He should be our first priority.  I believe every person on the earth could work on this.

2.  Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness:  So many people today lie, cheat, and steal.  So many people spread rumors or tell white lies and think nothing of it.  We must be completely honest.  We must be full of integrity and virtue.  This comes from not bearing false witness.

3.  Thou Shalt Not Covet:  I think people today have a very hard time being grateful for what the Lord has already blessed them with.  They always want more.  They see something and they want it.  We have been trained through marketing schemes and advertising that we deserve everything that we want.  We begin to not be happy with our lives because we do not have this or have that.  “We have gadgets and gizmos a plenty, but we want more.”  Surely, this thought process is not in line with keeping this commandment.

If all of God’s children would keep these commandments, it would make such a difference.  The world would be such a better place.  If we all just kept the first commandment to have no other gods before Him, we would be a more charitable nation.  We would live with hope and there would be no crime, stealing, cheating, lying, or coveting, etc.  The world would be completely transformed.

But there is opposition in all things, and we are here on this earth to learn and to become more like and closer to our Father in Heaven.  He loves us.  We can become all that He wants us to become.  We are His children.  Let us commit to working on the one commandment that is hardest for us.  Let us improve ourselves and come closer to Christ.