Monday, December 31, 2012

The Syrians Flee in Fear

Today I read 2 Kings 7 where the Lord delivered the Israelites out of the hands of the Syrians.  The Lord caused the Syrians to hear a large host and so in their fear they fled before the host of armies they thought was coming to snuff them out.  They left behind their food and their clothes and money and everything they had brought with them.  This was prophesied by Elisha that it would happen and a man near the king scoffed that it could happen.  For his disbelief he was slain by the people at the order of the king.

I kind of have a problem with this.  I mean, killing a man just because he doubts something is going to happen?  It's almost tyrannical to me.  Of course the Lord can do as He wishes, but I think there was more of a conversation that took place here other than a "I doubt that" or "Maybe if food rained down from heaven" as is recorded in the scriptures.  It just seems like a very harsh penalty for such a natural reaction to tell a starving people that food will be so plentiful that the price of it will come back to normal.  I mean if someone told me that the price of gas tomorrow would be only $.50 per gallon I'd tell them they were crazy!  Even if the Prophet said it, I'd still have my doubts.  I would hope but I would not be confident that it would happen.  That's human nature.  So much of the Old Testament seems out of sorts with what I know of Heavenly Father and His nature.  I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around it sometimes.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

They that be with Us are More than They that be with Them

Today I read 2 Kings 6 which contains some fun stories and also some sad stories.  In this chapter Elisha and some men of Israel are chopping down trees when the axe head fell off into a pool of water.  When Elisha heard it, he grabbed a stick and threw it into the water and the axe head started to float.  I have often wondered what kind of a stick it was to cause the density of the water to change so that the axe head floated.  I am very intrigued by it and wish it was written so we can know. 

This chapter also contains the very cool story of Elisha and his servant.  They are surrounded by the armies of the host of Israel and Syria.  When the servant of Elisha sees it, he fears and asks Elisha what they can do.  Elisha then teaches a principle which every Christian should take to heart.  He tells his servant that "they that be with us are more than they that be with them."  The servant is then shown how they are surrounded by chariots of fire and angels.  It is a great lesson to learn.  While we are not always surrounded by angels and chariots of fire, we are always watched over and protected by Heavenly Father and those who serve Him.  We are never alone, a wonderful lesson to learn!  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Naaman the Leper is Healed

Today I read 2 Kings 5 which contains the story of Naaman the leper who came to Elisha to be healed of his leprosy.  Most know the story that Elisha sent a servant to Naaman telling him to go wash himself in the River Jordan 7 times and he would be clean.  Naaman becomes very upset by this request and leaves Elisha's presence.  Naaman's servant however is a very wise man and reminds Naaman that if Elisha had asked him to perform a huge task he would have done it without question, how much simpler is it to just wash himself in a river.  Fortunately for Naaman, he does it and is healed.

The rest of the chapter is about Naaman wanting to pay Elisha for healing him.  Elisha states that he will take no payment and send Naaman on his way.  Elisha's servant however, runs after Naaman, lies to him by telling him that Elisha sent him to get some money and clothing for some men who were coming and took payment.  For his lie and his greed he was struck with leprosy.  I have given a lot of Priesthood blessings for the sick and for the comfort of the person receiving the blessing and I cannot imagine taking a payment for doing so!  It is always an honor to serve my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and to take a payment for doing it is just silly in my mind.  While I think Elisha was harsh to curse his servant's children with leprosy, I do think it is fitting that his servant himself should be struck with it.  Taking payment for doing the work of the Lord is just unthinkable.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Elisha Raises a Child from the Dead

Today I read 2 Kings 4 and it is wonderful to find such a gem of faith in all this rubbish of unbelief in the rest of the Old Testament.  This chapter contains a story of a Shunammite woman who has great faith and a tender heart.  She and her husband made friends with Elisha and always made sure to feed him when he was passing by their way.  After doing this for awhile, they set up a spare room for Elisha to stay with them as he journeyed to where he was going.  As best I can tell, she did not expect anything from this kindness, she just recognized that he was a prophet and so wanted to care for him.

Eventually the woman does ask Elisha for something, she asks for a son since she was barren.  The Lord blesses her with a child, but as the child gets older it dies, I'm not really sure how, it doesn't say that I saw.  However, Elisha is granted the ability to bring the child back to life.  It is wonderful to see this good woman's faith in the Lord rewarded and all her selfless acts repaid in kind.  I know not every story gets a fairytale ending, but it is nice and heartwarming when it does in fact happen.  Until tomorrow. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Elisha Sought Out by the Kings

Today I read 2 Kings 3 where Elisha is asked by Jehoram if he will be successful in going to war against the Moabites.  I can certainly understand the idea of asking the prophet if your efforts in warfare will be successful or not.  It would be a very large temptation for sure to have someone whom God will speak to on your behalf. 

It is a shame that the people in these scripture stories don't actually use the prophets for something good and to know how they can best serve the people.  But not everyone is concerned about others like they should be.  Even in our age it is a fading principle.  I mean, how many people around the world, or even in our own country, could we have fed for the amount of money we spent on Christmas presents?  And I am not innocent of this either, I could do more for those around me.  And in our time, we don't have to ask our prophets what we should do, we have a conference every 6 months where we are told exactly what God would have us do!  It's wonderful.  Now if we could only follow it and do what they say.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Elisha is the New Prophet

Today I read 2 Kings 2 and I have to say that the more I read the Old Testament, the less I feel I know about God and the Gospel in general.  This is the chapter where Elijah is translated and even though I have read this chapter before, I don't recall before today that the reason Elijah was translated in such a fashion, a chariot of fire going into heaven, was in answer to a request that Elisha made to have a double portion of the Spirit of the Lord.  I did not remember that at all, Elijah told Elisha that if he saw himself, Elijah, translated then his request would be granted.  I'm not sure why I never picked up on that before today.

The rest of the chapter is establishing Elisha as a prophet of God.  He parts the river Jordan, just as Elijah did in the early part of this chapter.  He heals brackish waters.  And in what is probably one of the most surprising stories in all of the scriptures, he kills 42 teenagers who make fun of him.  This is yet another story where I maintain that there just has to be more to the story than what is written here.  What is written is that while Elisha is walking, some youths come out and say, "Go thou up bald head."  So essentially they are making fun of the fact that Elisha is bald.  So Elisha turns back and curses them.  In response, 2 female bears come out and kill 42 of them!  Talk about your anger management issues.  And God allows it!  So like I said, I have always felt there has to be more to this story than what we are told.  It just doesn't make sense otherwise.  Everything I know about Heavenly Father just tells me that He would not allow even His prophet to wantonly slay 42 people, youths even, just for being mocked.  This story has always seemed strange to me in that regard.  Like so many other things in the Old Testament, I'm sure we'll know one day.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Elijah Slays His Enemies

Today I read 2 Kings 1 where Ahaziah the king fell down through his roof and got sick.  He sent some messengers to ask the priests of Baal-zebub if he would recover and Elijah intercepts them and tells them that the king will die.  When the king hears that Elijah is the one that made the prophecy he sends a captain and his company of fifty men to apprehend Elijah.  Elijah calls down fire from heaven to consume the men and then calls down fire again to consume the second company of men that come to Elijah.

I understand that Elijah is just doing as the Lord would want him to do, or he would never have the sealing power, however, I can’t understand why the Lord would want 102 innocent men to be killed just to prove a point?  Although, I suppose if they were truly innocent then their deaths would not be a tragedy.  But still, why would Elijah just wantonly kill them like that?  Surely there was another way he could have proved his point.  I have always thought that Heavenly Father would think like was precious and so would want to preserve it as much as was possible, but perhaps that is not the case.  I truly don’t know.  It’s one of those questions I will have to ask Heavenly Father when I see him.  Whatever the reason, when the third captain approaches with his company and shows proper humility, Elijah lets him live when the angel of the Lord appears to Elijah and tells him to go down with the man.  I’m sure I would have reacted the exact same way as that third captain.  Obviously Elijah was a prophet so why provoke him?  And yet so many did.  It just makes no sense.  The people have very short memories it would seem.  I wonder if such a thing were to happen in our day and age how people would react to it?  Maybe it’s a good thing I won’t find out, I hope.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ahab Dies

Today I read 1 Kings 22 where Ahab continues his war against Siria.  It is so interesting to me, Ahab, despite everything he has seen Elijah do, still has priests of false gods hanging around.  He is trying to decide if we should go up to war or not, and so he asks his false priests if he should and they all say yes.  However, despite all his false priests, he still has at least a small spark of what is right because he also asks Micaiah, a prophet of Heavenly Father.  Micaiah, despite all that the other priests have said, tells Ahab not to go up or he will die.

Instead of taking Micaiah's advice however, Ahad gets upset stating that Micaiah never has anything positive to say and goes up to war anyway.  Sure enough, he dies in battle.  I almost wish it had recorded his last thoughts to see if he saw the irony that I see in the fact that he died, or if in fact he died cursing God.  It doesn't really matter but I sometimes feel that some people's entire lives are a huge warning to other people on what NOT to do with themselves.  At the very least we can learn from Ahab's life to follow the prophets and listen to what they say.  We certainly know what happens when we don't!  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ahab and Jezebel Wrongfully Acquire a Vineyard

Today I read 1 Kings 21 where Ahab desires a vineyard of one of his subjects.  The man does not wish to give Ahab his vineyard or even sell it.  So, Jezebel, Ahab's wife, has the man killed, much like David did with Uriah.  And so the man is slain by false witnesses at her orders, and just like with David, the murder is attributed to her.  As it should be, she is the Queen and she ordered it. 

I don't know how I would react if I were ordered by someone in power over me to do such a thing.  I would like to think that I would refuse, and feel quite strongly that I would.  However, how would such an act be viewed by Heavenly Father I wonder?  We do believe in being subject to kings, rulers, magistrates and the governments of the world.  But murder is wrong unless so ordered by God Himself.  So which would be the greater sin?  To kill someone unjustly by order of a King/Queen or President?  Or to refuse such an order and most likely go to jail or be slain myself?  Truthfully I don't know and pray I will never be in a situation to find out.  One thing I think would happen though, I think the Spirit would guide me in such a situation.  I think I would know in the moment what the right choice to make would be.  Honestly though, I hope I am never in that kind of a situation to begin with!  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ahab Makes War on Syria

Today I read 1 Kings 20 where Ahab goes to war against the king of Syria.  It never fails to amaze me how the leaders of men will get an idea in their head or get offended and suddenly that is a just cause for hundreds of thousands of men to die.  I suspect that anyone who has ever started a war will have a lot to answer for when the time of judgment comes.  It's just another reason that I don't really want to be a leader of men.  You are responsible for so much more than your own actions.  I know it will all be according to the plan of God, but that is how I feel if I have a say in it.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Elijah Hears a Still Small Voice

Today I read 1 Kings 19 where Elijah flees from Jezebel's wrath.  She was unhappy that Elijah had killed all the priests and had proved that Heavenly Father was God.  And as he was fleeing for his life, he came to Horeb.  While on the mount he heard a great wind, followed by an earthquake and then a fire.  The writer of the book of Kings makes a point of showing that Elijah did not hear the voice of God in any of these things, but rather heard the voice of God as a still small voice.  This is one the favorite scriptures General Authorities and others like to use to show we need to be listening for God's voice in the right places.

As I have said before, Joseph Smith taught that we must have a correct understanding of God's nature if we are to have faith in Him.  If we are to serve Him, we must have faith.  So in other words if we are to serve God, we must have a correct understanding of His character.  The General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are correct.  We must be ready to look for the voice of God in the right places and circumstances.  If we are not prepared for it, we might miss it completely.  No one else will prepare us, so it is up to us to understand God and get ready to hear the still small voice when God decides to talk to us.  The scriptures state if we are prepared we shall not fear.  Likewise I say that if we are prepared, we shall not miss our opportunity to serve!  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Elijah Challenges the Priests of Baal

Today I read 1 Kings 18 which is perhaps the most funny chapter in all of the scriptures.  Elijah shows himself again to King Ahab and tells him to gather all the people of Israel and all the priests of Baal.  When they all arrive Elijah chastises them for being wishy-washy.  He tells them that if God is God to worship Him, or if Baal is God, to worship him.  So he proposes a contest.  They each build an altar and put a sacrifice on it and pray to their God to send down fire and accept the sacrifice.

The priests of Baal spend all day calling to their god without success.  And in a move that always makes me laugh out loud, Elijah starts to mock them.  He tells them to call out louder that perhaps their god is asleep and needs to be woken up or maybe he is out on a journey.  It is sometimes hard to reconcile Elijah as a prophet of God, but this is obviously ok with Heavenly Father or Elijah would not have been allowed to do it.  Still, it is a very funny episode indeed. 

Elijah has left no doubt that Heavenly Father is God.  The way he went about that contest was masterful.  We are not told if God told him to do it that way, or if Heavenly Father just honored Elijah's request for it to be that way, but either way we can know that God was pleased as He honored Elijah's request for fire from heaven.  He proved without a doubt that Heavenly Father is the God in Israel.  I wonder if all those people in that crowd stayed true to Heavenly Father the rest of their lives, or if like so many others they fell away once the magnitude of that miracle had worn off?  How would I have reacted?  I guess we'll know one day.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Elijah Enters the Scene

Today I read 1 Elijah 17 which introduces us to Elijah.  Elijah is one of my all time favorite prophets.  If I had been a prophet back in the ancient days I imagine I would have been like Elijah.  My favorite scene is not in this chapter, but we'll get there.  This chapter lets us know that Ahab was not favored of the Lord as He sent Elijah to tell Ahab that He was sending a drought.

After Elijah had lived near a brook for 3 years being fed by ravens sent by the Lord, he left and went to a town where God told him to search out a widow He had prepared.  Elijah found the widow and asked her to make him a cake for him before she made one for herself and her son to share before they died.  You know, growing up I was always impressed by the faith of this good sister, feeding a stranger before she fed herself and her son, but now, I have to wonder, what was her thought process?  I mean, if it had been me, I'm not sure I could have stopped myself from thinking, "Well, I'm going to starve anyway.  Maybe what this guy says is true and maybe it isn't, but since it really won't make a difference if I eat this cake or not, sure, why not?"

Now, I could be doing this good sister a HUGE injustice.  It does say that she was prepared of the Lord to receive Elijah, so maybe she knew he would ask this of her and she already had the faith necessary to take him at his word.  Most likely she did.  I imagine she was prepared much like Amulek in the Book of Mormon was, who saw and angel who told him to feed a man of God who had fasted much and was hungered.  Perhaps the widow knew she would have to feed Elijah and so it wasn't a matter of despondence but rather of faith, of believing what God told her.  We will know one day.

The last few verses of this chapter contain one of the greatest miracles of all time!  The widow's son dies while Elijah is there at the house and Elijah raises him from the dead!  To my knowledge this has only been accomplished by a few others in all of history.  The only ones I know of are Nephi at the time of Christ's Resurrection, Jesus Himself, and Elijah.  There might be more in the scriptures that I am forgetting about, but it is a rare occurrence for Heavenly Father to allow someone who has died to come back to this earth.  I once heard that Heavenly Father is very concerned with how people enter this life, and how they leave it, and everything I have seen and learned since that time I heard that statement has only confirmed it.  After the unpardonable sin, the two worst sins a person can commit are murder and then adultery/fornication.  Life is sacred and only Heavenly Father can decide who leaves this life without consequence and while we have been allowed to help participate in the creation of life, it needs to be on God's terms, not ours.  Anything else will earn us His wrath.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We Cannot Escape Justice

Today I read 1 Kings 16 which continues telling us the story of the kings of Israel and of Judah.  What is interesting to me is how the Lord will use the wicked to punish the wicked.  The number of times that the scriptures record that someone killed the king to take over the kingdom and it was because of the word of the Lord is quite frequent.  The Lord will use the wicked to punish other wickedness.

Now, just because it was according to the word of the Lord does not absolve the person of the wicked deed they did.  Just because Jesus Christ had to die to save the world does not mean Pilate is blameless for killing Him.  We are responsible for our actions, prophecy or not.  But the one thing I take away from this, is even if we feel our actions are justified because the person we are doing it to "deserves it", we will still be punished and held accountable for those actions.  There is no escaping our actions.  Just as the second Article of Faith states that man will be punished for our own sins and not for Adam's transgression, so we will be punished for our own sins and not because it was done to someone who was wicked.  We cannot escape justice.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Diamond in the Rough

Today I read 1 Kings 15 which chronicles the life and death of several different kings.  Not surprisingly, most of them are wicked.  What IS surprising however, is one or two of them are righteous.  How hard it must be to be a righteous prince in a wicked world.  What would it be like to want to do what is right but to have a father who does what is wrong?  Abraham would know, he lived that life. 

I would like to think that no matter how I was raised I would have been a righteous man, but how can I know for sure?  For all I know if I had grown up with some of the problems that some people do that I read about, I could have grown up to be a criminal!  That is why it is so nice to see some people make it, even when they are surrounded by evil.  It is wonderful to know that some people will be righteous no matter what situation they are put in.  It gives me great hope.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Reason We Obey

Today I read 1 Kings 14 where the words of Doctrine and Covenants 82:10 are proved.  Jeroboam seeks a boon of the Lord for his son who is sick.  However, Jeroboam was not a righteous man, he did not follow the commandments of God at all.  As such, when he came to ask the Lord for help, the Lord did not help him.  And I do not view this as the Lord being cruel, when we don't follow the commandments, the Lord can choose to bless us or not.

There are a myriad of reasons to follow the commandments of God, and wanting blessings is certainly one of them.  It is not the best reason to do what God says, that would be because we love Him, but it is not the worst reason for choosing to obey either, fear of punishment.  It is the same with following our parents or our bosses at work.  We can follow the rules for fear of punishment, because we are promised rewards or because we respect/love them.  All three ways will accomplish the same result, we will be obedient, but if you were the parent or the boss, wouldn't you rather your children/employees respect you rather than fear you?  I'm sure it's the same with God.  He'd much rather have our love, than our fear.  I think the blessings might be the same either way, but the relationship we build with our Heavenly Father isn't and neither is the outpouring of the Spirit.  It is MUCH better to obey out of love.  Try it and see!  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Prophet Visits Jeroboam

Today I read 1 Kings 13 where a prophet of God is sent to chastise Jeroboam and convince him of the error of his ways by showing him a sign.  Unfortunately, Jeroboam does not believe the sign he is given and as soon as he is made whole again he goes back to the error of his ways.  Signs cannot give a person faith, the faith has to come first.  That fact was proven over and over again in the early days of the church in this dispensation.  Signs are used to confirm faith, not give it in the first place.

Unfortunately for the prophet, he does not stay true to his charge.  He was told by God not to eat or drink any food in that part of the land.  However a false prophet tells him that God has charged him with feeding the prophet that met with Jeroboam and so the real prophet eats and drinks and is slain because of his disobedience.  It is sad really, how harsh the punishments were in those days.  I mean, where's the chance for repentance?  I know Heavenly Father knows the hearts of men and He is perfect, but the way some of these stories are written just makes me wonder.  I'll be glad when I know the whole story and I'm confident it will all make sense.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Rehoboam Throws His Kingdom Away

Today I read 1 Kings 12 where Solomon's son, Rehoboam is crowned and takes over being king.  The people come to Rehoboam and ask him to relieve the burdens that Solomon his father placed upon them.  Rehoboam then does one of the dumbest things I've ever read about in scriptures, he not only denies their request, he flings it back in their faces and mocks them saying that not only is he not going to lessen their burdens, he is going to add to them.  It's one of the most bone headed moves I have ever heard of.

Now, the scriptures state that it was according to the word of God, and I believe it, but I do not think that God influenced Rehoboam to do this.  I think he did it all on his own.  I honestly think the man was an idiot at this point and had no idea what power was and what it meant.  He learned really quickly however.  He sent a tax collector to the tribes of Israel after this and they killed him.  The only tribe that stayed around Rehoboam was Judah, and personally I think the only reason they stayed is because they didn't want to leave their homes in Jerusalem.  Just my thought but I can't think of another reason why they would have stayed with such a tyrant. 

The rest of the chapter is about Jeroboam, who was crowned king over the 10 tribes that left Rehoboam.  In an effort to hold onto power, he urged his people to not go up to Jerusalem to worship in the temple, but rather built 2 golden calves and offered them to the people for their worship.  The worst part is that the people do it.  It seems that these people never learn their lessons.  They just keep making the same ridiculous mistakes over and over again.  I don't think I could have been around such people, they would have driven me crazy.  I'm glad that I didn't live in those days, I couldn't have handled it.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Solomon Loses His Kingdom

Today I read 1 Kings 11 where Solomon loses favor of the Lord and is told his kingdom will be taken away from him for marrying non-Israelite women and for worshiping false gods.  I cannot imagine having 700 wives and 300 concubines!  What a mess that would be!  Every time one of my friends finds out I am a Latter-day Saint and asks me if I can have more than one wife I always ask them the same question, "Would YOU want more than one wife?  Because I can barely handle my one wife."  And every time the person smiles, laughs and admits that I have a point. 

Now, that answer makes it sound like being married is a chore, but that is not the case.  I love my wife more than anything in this world.  The only thing/person I love more than my wife, is God Himself.  However, I could not imagine having another woman in my life.  I make mistakes and my wife makes mistakes and she frustrates me sometimes, just like I frustrate her.  I could not imagine having to go through that with two women at once.  And then there is the challenge of having the multiple wives get along.  It seems like a big headache that I don't need.  If plural wives ever comes back to the church, I will really struggle with it.  I would have to pray long and hard to be certain it was what God wanted of me.  I don't think I will have to deal with that in my lifetime, but if so, I will cross that bridge when I come to it.  For now, I will focus all of my attention on my wife and making her happy, and that is enough for me!  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Danger of Wealth

Today I read 1 Kings 10 where the Queen of Sheba comes to meet Solomon and test his wisdom.  I am a curious how kings and those with lots of money seem to always buy lavish things and spends lots of money just showing off how much money they actually have.  How much better could he have improved the lives of his people if Solomon had used that money to help his people?

The old saying goes that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  I think it should include that money corrupts also.  There is a reason that Jesus stated it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into heaven.  Most people do not seek for riches with the intent to do good.  But rather to have the riches themselves.  To hoard it.  The other day I saw the movie Bruce Almighty, where a common man is given the power of God.  After a week God appears to him and asks what he has done to help other people.  Bruce replies that he has been righting a few wrongs in his own life first.  That's how most people who suddenly come into money would react too.  They would only focus on their own lives.  Which is fine at first, but after a point, you need to use your blessings to help those around you.  That is why most of us cannot handle a lot of money, we don't know how to use it.  We can handle being poor, just not being rich.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

God Appears to Solomon Again

Today I read 1 Kings 9 where the Lord appears again to Solomon.  The Lord is pleased with Solomon and with the temple that he has built to God.  He accepts it and makes Solomon a promise, however the promise is two way.  The Lord tells Solomon that He will accept the temple forever if he and his children will serve Him always.  However, if he or his children go after strange gods then God will reject the temple, even destroy it, and the Jews will be scattered and become a byword.  With the blessing of hindsight, we all know which one of those happened. 

We have talked about how temples are the pinnacle of society.  Our purpose on this planet can only be fulfilled through temple worship.  It is good that Solomon's temple was accepted by God, that means he built it for the right reasons.  It is very possible to do the right thing, such as build a temple, for the wrong reasons.  With Heavenly Father, why we do something is just as important as if we did it or not.  You can pay your tithing all year long, but if you do it grudgingly or upset that you have to do it, then you might as well not pay it at all.  The best thing to do if you have trouble following a commandment for the right reasons, is to pray.  Heavenly Father can help you change your nature so that you will live the commandments with the right attitude.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Solomon Offers a Prayer

Today I read 1 Kings 8 where Solomon puts the Ark of the Covenant inside the new Temple.  Afterwards Solomon offers up a prayer to God.  Prayer has been on my mind a lot lately.  I have read several Ensign articles about it and I have have several talks in church focus on it.  I think most of us don't focus on prayer like we should.  I know personally I have not had very good prayers recently.  I wish I could pray like I did as a missionary.  Part of the key I think is to pray when I'm not so tired, so I can really focus on what I am saying and what I want to say and pray for.

If you think about it, prayer is really spectacular.  We have a direct link to God that we can use at any time.  Whenever we want, we can tell Him what is happening with us and tell Him all about our day.  We will never get a busy signal and He will never be too busy to listen to us.  It's really amazing that the God of the entire universe is interested in me, and all of us.  If we take the time to speak to Him, He will listen and will answer us.  Why would we squander such a resource?  We owe it to ourselves to take advantage of prayer.  Just remember that sometimes the answer might be "no" for what we ask.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Solomon Finishes the Temple

Today I read 1 Kings 7 which finishes up the building of the temple of Solomon dedicated to Heavenly Father.  The one part that I was most interested in was the molten sea, or as we would call it in our day, the baptismal font.  This chapter describes in great detail how the baptismal font was made and how it was placed on the back of 12 oxen.  This is the same way our baptismal fonts today are made.  It does not state in this chapter that the baptismal font was placed under the ground, but I will wager that it was.

Baptism for the dead is one of the most sacred ordinances available to mankind.  To my knowledge Latter-day Saints are the only religion today that explains how God can be Just and yet millions if not billions of people have died without ever having a chance to hear about Jesus Christ.  Through our understanding of the Gospel and vicarious work for the dead, we know that all who have lived on this Earth at any point will have an opportunity to hear and accept or reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  What other religion can promise that?  All religions have their good parts and portions of truth, but as I stated, to my knowledge, Latter-day Saints are the only ones who have any kind of answer other than damnation for those who died without baptism or knowledge of Christ.  And it is wonderful to have that knowledge!  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Solomon's Temple

Today I read 1 Kings 6 where the details of the temple of Solomon are laid out.  Now this I can completely understand going over the measurements in great detail.  Temples are the most important buildings in the world and need to be built just right by those who are authorized to do so.  Not only that, but Solomon's temple is extremely important to the Jews, the House of Israel, and will need to be rebuilt one day as I understand it.  These details will be the key to making sure that happens. 

Temples are the pinnacle of any civilization.  When God asks a civilization to build Him a temple, that means they are ready for the saving ordinances, the highest ordinances, and to act as Saviors on Mount Zion.  Anyone who has ever been to a temple before knows the peace that comes with helping those who cannot help themselves.  It is a feeling beyond compare and one that I wish could be shared with the entire world.  Maybe someday they will be given the opportunity to know what that feels like.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Solomon Starts Construction on the Temple

Today I read 1 Kings 5 where Solomon makes a trade agreement with Hiram for timber to build a temple.  It must have been a very pleasing experience for Solomon to get permission from God to build a temple for his people.  I imagine it was a similar experience to when President Hinckley received the revelation to build small temples.  That was very exciting news and I imagine President Hinckley was just bursting at the seams to tell the good news to the Saints. 

Temples are perhaps the most wonderful thing in all of creation.  To have a place where Satan's influence cannot penetrate and where saving ordinances can be performed for those who have passed on it nothing short of remarkable.  Growing up in the church I took it for granted and always knew about the temple, but I can only imagine the wonder someone must feel when they find out about temples for the very first time.  Just like Solomon does in this chapter, only the finest materials are used in temple construction, this is of course out of reverence for Heavenly Father, for it is His house.  When you walk inside of one and feel all your cares and worries just melt away, it is truly wonderful.  I wish everyone in the entire world could feel that peace.  Maybe someday they will, in the Millennium.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Wisdom of Solomon

Today I read 1 Kings 4 which lists out all the princes in Israel as well as all the places that provide provisions to Solomon.  Again, probably good information to have if you are a historian, pretty worthless from a Spiritual point of view.  Chapters like this make me wonder just what plain and precious truths were taken out of the Bible?  It is reading these type of chapters that make me realize that only including the spiritual matters into the Book of Mormon was the right thing to do for sure.  It makes me very grateful to Mormon for all his hard work in abridging it for us.

The tail end of this chapter however once again remarks on the wisdom of Solomon, the wisdom that God granted him because of his request.  It would be really nice to be that wise and to have the understanding of people that God has.  I am pretty sure that is how God granted Solomon his wisdom.  Although we can easily pray and cultivate the ability to make righteous judgments.  Heavenly Father may not appear to us or send us an angel, but we still have an open line of communication to Him and we can ask Him for the wisdom to see what is best and right in life.  If it is in our best interest, He will grant it to us, if He knows He can trust us with it.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Solomon Gains Wisdom

Today I read 1 Kings 3 where the Lord appears to Solomon in a dream and asks him what he would that God would do for him.  Solomon asks for the wisdom to judge righteously so that he can give proper judgements for Israel.  Later in the chapter the famous dispute between the two harlots comes before Solomon with the dead baby and the living baby.  Now that I am a father, this story has much more weight with me.

But I must say, what kind of sick and twisted individual is that second harlot?  I mean, it make perfect sense that the mother of the child would do just about anything to keep her child alive when Solomon said he would kill it, but the other woman, being perfectly fine with slaying an infant?  What is wrong with that woman?  If I were somehow in this position and such a thing were said to me, I don't care if it was the king, I think I would have to ask if the person was insane!  I really don't see how this would work with two rational human beings.  What person in their right mind is ok with killing a baby just to avoid being proved wrong?  Absolutely crazy.  Although, perhaps God knew this woman's heart that it was black as coal and so gave Solomon the idea.  I truly don't know, but I look forward to knowing the full story one day and perhaps talking with God about it.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Solomon Slays His Brother and Two Other Men at David's Behest

Today I read 1 Kings 2 where David dies and gives final counsel to Solomon.  I have to say that this read through of the Old Testament has given me new insights into David's character.  In this chapter he counsels and tells Solomon that he should have 3 men killed, one of them Solomon's own brother.  It is crazy to me, David tells Solomon that Joab had slain innocent blood, and maybe he had, but whatever happened to vengeance is the the Lord's?  Who is Solomon that he should take revenge on those men without the Lord expressly telling him to do so?  I have to say indeed that I am quite disappointed with David as I have been re-reading the scriptures.  He was a great man, until he became king.  It sure seems to me that power corrupted this once great man.

And for Solomon to slay his own brother and two other men at the beginning of his reign.  He is starting his reign as king in bloodshed, that is not a good sign.  Vengeance is mine, said the Lord, I believe he meant it.  The only one who can authorize a life be taken unnaturally is the Lord Himself.  Now, perhaps David and Solomon were following some part of the Law of Moses that I don't know about, but if that were the case, why wouldn't David have said something about it to Solomon?  Why would he just say don't let them die a natural death?  And why wouldn't David have told Solomon that the Lord had told him to slay those men if in fact He had done so?  No, this was nothing more than David helping Solomon to secure his kingdom through bloodshed.  At least that is how I read it.  And if I am wrong, then I will accept it, but I would have to be shown proof in the scriptures or revelation from God.  Because otherwise it is pretty clear to me already in the scriptures what happened.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Solomon is Crowned King

Today I read 1 Kings 1 where David's son, Adonijah, tries to take the kingdom because David has not appointed anyone to be king after him.  Apparently, Adonijah was not a very just man, because Nathan the prophet was very afraid of him taking the kingdom, so he plotted with Bath-sheba to have Solomon inherit the throne.  They went to David and had him acknowledge Solomon as the new king and had him crowned.  When the supporters of Adonijah heard it, they were all afraid and stopped plotting immediately.

Solomon was an interesting king and we will spend the next few days and weeks reading about him.  I hope and pray that the Spirit will be with me as I do so, so that I may glean the lessons from these chapters that God would have us all learn.  Solomon was called the wisest king of Israel and his wisdom was great.  I hope we can apply that wisdom to ourselves in our day so that we can know what God would have us do, and then do it.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Lord Slays 70,000 Men

Today I read 2 Samuel 24 where David takes a census of Israel which for some reason I cannot figure out, angers God.  I think it has to do with David overstepping his authority, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why taking a census of his people is something that would anger God.  I cannot help but feel that this is yet another example of us not having the full story.  Because of David angering the Lord, over 70,000 people in Israel were slain. 

I once met a man on my mission who stated emphatically that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament had to be two different beings.  The more I read the Old Testament, the more I am inclined to agree with him.  The Heavenly Father I know just doesn't seem capable of slaying 70,000 men because one man angered Him.  That is kind of like me getting angry at my daughter for something my wife did.  It makes no sense to me at all.  Maybe one day I will understand it, I can hope because it really does bother me.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

David Talks about His Army

Today I read 2 Samuel 23 where David numbers his household and his men at arms, listing their great deeds out in detail.  It is chapters like this that make me question the Old Testament.  There are good things to be found in the Old Testament for sure, the book of Isaiah with all his prophecies about Jesus and His life is wonderful.  The creation and the exodus of Israel are fantastic, but why on earth do we need an entire chapter of David listing out his captains or men at arms or whoever they are?

History is a great thing and I am personally fascinated by it, however I have never been intrigued or wanted to know all the minute details of things.  I am not an accountant that gets giddy over numbers or a military man that is intrigued by battles.  I want to hear about the history defining moments.  And when I read the scriptures I want to hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I want to know how I can be a better man and better serve my God and my family.  I don't want to hear about David of old's family and his mighty men that slew so many Philistines.  It's chapters like this that in the past have made me give up on reading the Old Testament.  I do not get any spiritual strength from it.  Maybe with prayer I can have Heavenly Father help me as I read it and give me ideas on how to use what I am reading in my own life.  I can hope anyway.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 30, 2012

God's Way is Perfect

Today I read 2 Samuel 22 where David sings a Psalm of praise to Heavenly Father for all He has done for David.  It is good and proper to praise our God and recognize all He does for us.  This chapter also teaches us a few things as well.  In Verse 31 David states that God's ways are perfect and that He is a buckler to all that obey His words.  Heavenly Father truly does protect us when we obey Him and if calamity befalls us while doing His will we can be certain that it is for our benefit and that we will be protected and nothing we can't handle will befall us.  When we do what is right, we can have peace of mind that God is on our side.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Gibeonites Slay Seven of Saul's Descendants

Today I read 2 Samuel 21 where a famine came to the land because Saul betrayed the trust of the Gibeonites.  The thing that really is so strange is the fact that God allowed the Gibeonites to kill seven innocent people because of their father and grandfather's mistake.  The Gibeonites did not want gold, they demanded seven of the progeny of Saul so they could kill them to make restitution.

This is really crazy to me.  The second article of faith states that we believe men are responsible for their own sins and not for Adam's transgression.  To me this states that we are not responsible for the sins of our parents, and yet in this very chapter, God is allowing seven men to be killed because of something their near ancestor did.  Now, there could be more to this story than we know.  Perhaps these seven people were horrible and murders or would have done something in the future. Whatever the reason, knowing God as we do from the scriptures, we can assume He would not just allow seven innocent people to be killed without a reason.  Someday we will know what the reason is but for the time being, I trust in Heavenly Father.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Joab Ends a Rebellion

Today I read 2 Samuel 20 where a man named Sheba who worships Belial tries to rebel against David and against Israel.  He leads 10 of the tribes away from David and starts a war.  Joab, who had been dismissed by David, comes to find Sheba and end the war.  This chapter makes wonder if Joab was like Teancum in the Book of Mormon who slew 2 men in what some would say was cold blood in order to end a war and save hundreds of thousands of lives. 

I wonder what David thought when he heard it was Joab, who he had dismissed as one of his advisers, who ended this war for him.  Was he like Lamoni who marveled at the faithfulness of Ammon?  We are not told, but Joab seems to me to be one of those unsung heroes of life who just quietly goes about his life doing what is right.  A man to be modeled after I think and emulated.  Not for his prowess with war, but in his serving of his king, his ruler.  We live in a time when the country is divided and about half if not more of the country does not like our President.  However, he is still the President and deserves our loyalty, even if we do not like the way he is doing things.  As Latter-day Saints we believe in honoring and sustaining the laws of the land and that means honoring our rulers as well.  If we don't we will be called to account for it one day.  Until tomorrow. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Joab is Dismissed

Today I read 2 Samuel 19 where David reclaims his throne and several people come to swear fealty to him.  This chapter also gave me good respect for the man, Joab.  Joab is the man that slew Absalom despite the kings orders and when the king went into mourning, Joab is the one that stood up to David and chastised him for the way he was acting.  Stating that from all appearances it seemed that David would have been happier if Absalom had lived and all of them had died.  For his honesty and not shying away from speaking his mind, David replaces him as one of his advisers.

However, unlike Absalom's advisers, Joab does not kill himself when he is dismissed.  He has more understanding of his worth and who he is.  At least that is how it seems to me.  And despite not liking his advice, David still takes it and sees the wisdom in it.  I personally think the reason Joab was dismissed is because he was the one who slew Absalom and disobeyed the kings orders.  But it does not say that in the scriptures so I am not for sure.  But it is nice to see someone in that culture know who they are and not do something foolish when things don't go their way.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Absalom is Slain

Today I read 2 Samuel 18 where David goes to battle against Absalom.  It's very neat how much detail the historians who wrote these histories have put into things.  For example, they put in that Absalom was riding a mule during the battle and got his head stuck in an oak tree and couldn't get down.  That is a detail that is very humorous and in this particular case does in fact have to do with the story since his enemies found him in that predicament and so slew him because he could not flee, but normally it would not be included.

Poor David is spending the rest of his life paying for his mistake.  He did not want his son killed despite the fact that his son stole the kingdom from him.  But his retainers killed his son which caused him much grief.  I could not imagine having my child turn against me like that and wanting my death.  I think that would be worse than anything.  I can only imagine the grief and pain Heavenly Father must feel that a full third of all His children have turned against Him led by His son, Lucifer.  What a horrible feeling that must be.  I hope I am lucky enough that all of my children stay true to the Gospel and develop their own testimonies, I'm not sure I could handle it otherwise.  But God knows what I am strong enough to handle and He will give me the trials I need to grow.  That I can count on!  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Absalom Seeks to Kill David

Today I read 2 Samuel 17 and I have to day, I do not understand Israel's culture in the time of David at all.  At least I assume it is the culture and not just these individuals that are acting so peculiarly.  In this chapter, one of Absalom's advisers wants him to pursue after David and overtake him and his company so that they can kill David, the king.  When his advice is not taken however, he goes and hangs himself.  That makes no sense to me at all!

To me, if I give a suggestion to my boss at work, and he doesn't take it, I move on with my life.  I get over it.  Same when I was an Executive Secretary for the Bishop in my previous ward.  I watched the counselors and clerks and even myself give advice to the Bishop and it wasn't always taken.  We didn't take it personally, he is the Bishop, the final say was his.  I can't imagine being so distraught that my advice was not taken that I would decide to kill myself over it.  Perhaps this is one of those situations where there is more to the story than we have recorded in the scriptures.  I do not know but I do know that the way it is recorded now is quite ridiculous.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Don't Let Insults Get You Into Trouble

Today I read 2 Samuel 16 where David is fleeing for his life from his son Absalom.  With David are many of his retainers and followers.  As they are traveling away from Jerusalem they are greeted by a man with provisions.  The man was sent by Mephibosheth, Saul's last remaining heir.  David receives the provisions and thanks the man and continues on his way.  He then comes across some villager who mocks David saying he is getting what he deserves because he stole the kingdom from Saul's line.  One of David's followers, Abishai, wants to kill the man for mocking David.  David stops him however.

I have never understood men, and women, who could not keep control over their emotions.  I mean to want to kill someone over an insult in words is ridiculous.  I can understand your emotions getting out of control when something truly momentous happens to you like a loved one is killed or a similar injustice is given by someone to your family, but to want to kill someone because he is mocking you with words?  How fragile does your self-esteem have to be that you cannot suffer someone saying things about you that you don't like?  It is a condition that plagues many people still today.  How many men get into fist fights because someone said something they don't like, or were called a coward?  As if someones words could alter the truth of what you are and what has happened.  Why do we care about what those we do not even like or associate with think about us? 

Now, I do think it is important as Latter-day Saints to keep a good image so that we are well thought of by others.  This is because people judge the entire church on one Latter-day Saint all the time.  It is not right but it happens.  So if you are the only Latter-day Saint they know, they will judge the entire church based on you and how you behave yourself.  But if someone misjudges you, it is still not a reason to fly off the handle and do something rash.  It's as bad as claiming to be offended and leaving the church.  I'm a firm believer that anyone who leaves the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does so because of sin.  There may be other factors in it too, but if you dig deep enough, it is always sin that the person feels guilty over because they can't shake it or don't want to, but sin is always there.  It is very sad and such people I think don't fully understand the Atonement.  At least that's my opinion.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Absalom Steals the Kingdom

Today I read 2 Samuel 15 where Absalom shows just how ungrateful he is to his father, David, the king.  Although 40 years is a long time and memories do not last overly long.  As the story reads, Absalom spends 40 years standing outside where the Israelites come for a judgment of the king and telling them that if he were king he would do things a certain way.  Basically he is campaigning to be king.  However, it works and he manages to pull the hearts of the Israelites over to him.

Honestly, I do not understand why so many people want to be king.  This chapter has completely changed my opinion of Absalom.  He was filled with righteous anger over his sister's rape, but now he has stolen the kingdom away from God's anointed.  If he were a righteous man, he would know that God will not let that stand.  Although, this should not be surprising to David in a way.  When he had Uriah killed God told him that his house would know war continually.  Still, to rise up against your own father like that?  I couldn't imagine it.  And it's not even like David was an evil king making his subjects to sin, from all we know, the only thing David ever did wrong as king was Bath-sheba and Uriah.  Just as Jesus said Himself, power makes most men corrupt and they abuse it almost as soon as they get it.  It's sad really because power is so fickle.  Better to strive for things of the Spirit than earthly honors.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Absalom Returns to Jerusalem

Today I read 2 Samuel 14 where David's servant Joab devises a way for Absalom to return to Jerusalem without David slaying him.  Apparently I was wrong yesterday when I said that David did not fault him.  Apparently David was very upset with Absalom and would have had him killed if he could have so Absalom had fled.  But Joab had a woman disguise herself and plead her case of her two sons who one killed the other and now justice demanded her other son, her only son now, which would have ended her line forever.  David states he will protect her son and the woman promptly asks why he is willing to do it for her, but not for his own son, Absalom.  So David relents and allows Absalom to return to Jerusalem, but not to see his face for 2 years.

It is always good to have compassion, however, the law of God is very clear.  A murderer must be punished, in fact the way I understand it, giving up your life if you have committed murder is part of the repentance process.  There is no way to make restitution for a life that is taken except to repay with your own life.  It will not bring the dead back to life, but making restitution is part of the repentance process and so to fully repent of his sins, Absalom would need to give up his life.  I am thankful that I am not Heavenly Father and have to make such judgments, I happily leave all of that up to Him!  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rape and Incest Plague David's House

Today I read 2 Samuel 13 where David's son rapes his half-sister.  It is sad that people have so little self control.  In the story David's son, Amnon lusts after his half-sister Tamar.  He tricks her into coming into his room claiming he does not feel well and then makes his desires known.  The really disgusting part is, Tamar is not opposed to having sex with him and marrying him, but she wants him to do it right and ask their father, David to let them get married, but Amnon cannot or will not wait and so forces himself upon her.

The ridiculousness of his lack of self control astounds me.  The fact that she was willing to marry him and yet he rapes her anyway is nothing short of vile to me.  Rape of any kind is horrible and something only people of a sick mind would even contemplate.  For me, I could not even imagine having sex unless I was in love with the woman in question.  The idea of having sex with someone I am not in love with and doesn't even want to have sex with me just horrifies me.  Especially now that I am married and have a daughter of my own.  It is no wonder that when another of David's sons, Absalom who is Tamar's full blooded brother, kills Amnon David does not do anything to him or fault him at all, at least not the way the scriptures read.  Truly horrifying to read about and contemplate.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

David is Punished by the Lord

Today I read 2 Samuel 12 where the Lord reveals His deep displeasure for what David has done.  The Lord sends Nathan to tell David a parable which I think is so much more effective than if he had just said that the Lord was displeased.  By the way Nathan approached David, David was able to realize the true iniquity of what he had done.  Even David was horrified by what he had done when it was put into other terms, in terms of stealing.

The Lord expects us all to obey His commandments.  When we don't there is a consequence.  Sometimes it is a natural consequence.  When we disobey God's command to avoid drugs, we will bring sickness upon ourselves that will ravish our bodies.  However, sometimes there is no natural consequence that follows a sin and so God may choose to impose a consequence of His own choosing.  He does so here.  He takes the child that was created from David and Bath-sheba's adulterous romp.  I highly doubt it was a natural consequence because later they are able to have a child whose name is Solomon.  I think this was a direct punishment from God.  And God will do that sometimes to help drive home a lesson.  The best way to make sure that we are kept safe from any consequences we don't want to have, is to live the commandments and live the kind of life that God wants us to.  If we live a good and righteous life, we can't go wrong.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2012

David Murders Uriah

Today I read 2 Samuel 11 the chapter which lost David his exaltation.  There is so much that can be said about this chapter and so much has been said already about it.  David of course committed adultery, lied about it, tried to cover it up and then committed murder by ordering one of his men to commit murder in his name.  Sex is a powerful motivator and if you have a weakness for it, it can very, very difficult to overcome your temptations in that area.  However, something was fundamentally wrong with David I think.

Most people when they commit a sin and they get caught they fess up and then come clean, David instead tried to lie and then committed murder to hide it.  And who exactly was he trying to hide it from exactly?  Certainly not God because He sees everything and to even think one can hide things from him is ridiculous.  So he must have been trying to hide it from his subjects, which doesn't really make sense to me either because he is the king.  He makes the rules and is above reproach, supposedly.  But whatever the reason, David fell and he fell hard. 

Yesterday was Stake Conference for my area and my home teachers came by also.  In both instances the idea that we need to be doing the small things in our lives to keep us safe came up.  By small things I mean reading our scriptures, saying our prayers and attending church.  Those are small things and only take a little bit of our time when we do them, but the benefits are immeasurable.  If David had asked God for help, I know for a fact that God would have given David all the help he needed.  He loved David and would have helped him overcome this challenge, namely lusting after a woman who was another man's wife.  Even after the sin he could have repented.  God always stands at the ready to help us and assist us.  We need to trust in him and do whatever it takes to get His help because we are lost without it.  This world is too bad and too evil to make it on our own.  We need the protection that the scriptures, temple service and church worship offers.  We will only get it if we ask and if we do our part.  God is always willing and ready to help us.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Israel Goes to War

Today I read 2 Samuel 10 where David sends some of his servants to the king of the Ammorites to comfort him with the loss of his father.  The king thinks that David's men are spies and so humiliates them in public which of course causes a military response from the Israelites.  I can certainly understand David's anger, he sends men on a peace mission and to have them treated like that would be very frustrating and make a person pretty angry I would imagine.

However, war has always baffled me and this is a perfect case.  Why do we send hundreds of thousands of men to go and fight and probably die, just because a few men were insulted?  Can you imagine if we behaved like that in every aspect of our social life?  We used to, duels were fought and men died over the most trivial of things, but that is still better than having other men die because you feel your honor has been sullied.  I can certainly understand having your blood boil and getting upset with someone else over things that happen, but to go to war over such things is very crazy to me.  And I don't understand having hatred for someone you've never even met.  To think that just because your government hates another people that all of its people share the same feeling is crazy to me.  I can understand American people fearing Russian people during the Cold War, but hating Russians, I'm not so sure.  There are times when it is appropriate to fight, such as defending ones home and family, but most of the time, I think the leaders who instigate wars are going to have a lot to answer for.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

David Cares for Saul's Grandson

Today I read 2 Samuel 9 where David wants to know if there are any of Saul's household left so he can show kindness to them since he was friends with Jonathan.  One of his servants mention that Jonathan had a son that was lame on his feet that is still alive.  David then takes the man under his wing and cares for him for the rest of his days. 

This is true compassion.  I know that David loved Jonathan like a brother, however to take care of the grandson of the man who wanted him dead is truly spectacular.  The more I read about this account however, the more I think that David never hated Saul.  He didn't want to die so that is why he fled, but I don't think there was any resentment in David's heart towards Saul.  I think he regretted that Saul kept trying to kill him, but I think it was more of confusion and sorrow than hatred towards the man who was his king.  I think that is what Jesus meant when he said to love your enemies and do good to them that hate you.  David is a very good example of that and one we an all follow.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 16, 2012

David Goes to War

Today I read 2 Samuel 8 where David goes to war and kills many different men from many different countries.  I think i t would be very sad to have lived in those times.  It seems like there was always a war to be had and someone to kill.  I don't know how they could do it.  I guess you eventually become used to it, however would you want to become used to such a thing?

I suppose if the Lord commanded it, such as with Nephi killing Laban I could stomach it then.  However, just being in the army like that and constantly going to war, never knowing if you are going to come back, never knowing why you are going up against a certain people or country except your king told you to, I couldn't do it.  I don't have it in me to blindly hate just because my leader doesn't like someone.  It makes me glad that we live in a time of relative peace.  I would not want to live in a time of war and strife, although I fear that such a time is coming.  Now is indeed the time to prepare.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

David is Told Not to Build a Temple

Today I read 2 Samuel 7 where David wants to build a temple, or a house to the Lord.  The Lord does not like this idea and has Nathan the prophet tell David to not build Him a house for the Ark.  It is interesting to me that God did not want David to build a house, or a temple, but then He has Solomon build one.  My curiosity can't help but wonder why God didn't want a temple built at this time but a little later it was ok.  The most logical answer is that the people were not ready at this time.

As in so many things where God seemingly has changed, the truth of the matter is the people and situation have changed, not God.  God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He does not change at all.  So most likely the people were not prepared to have a house for the Ark, a temple, for whatever reason.  The answer really isn't all that important.  It is just an idle curiosity.  The other interesting part to me is that David was focused on the things of the Lord.  It is really interesting to be able to see pretty much his entire life and see how he was behaving at any given point in his life.  He really did only make 2 mistakes as far as the Lord was concerned.  He was always on the strait and narrow path otherwise.  A good role model for the most part.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Uzzah Slain for Steadying the Ark

Today I read 2 Samuel 6 where David moves the Ark of the Lord.  This chapter has always puzzled me.  This is the chapter where a man named Uzzah put his hand on the Ark to steady it because it was wobbly.  For his efforts, the Lord slays him which angers David.  I have often wondered if there was more to the story than him just putting his hand out to steady the ark but I truly don't know.  It is true that the Ark was something that was holy and only certain people had the Lord's permission to touch it, however it still seems rather harsh to think that a man was killed only because he was trying to stop the Ark from tipping over.

The rest of this chapter has David celebrating the return of the Ark and his wife, Micah disapproving how much skin he apparently showed while dancing.  David gets angry in return stating he was worshiping the Lord and he doesn't care who saw him.  I can certainly understand not caring how you are perceived by others, especially when it comes to how one is worshiping the Lord.  While on the one hand worshiping the Lord is something very private, there are also certain ways which I would consider inappropriate.  And sometimes an appropriate form of worship becomes inappropriate if done in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Temple worship comes to mind for a good example.  So I don't know if Micah was right, or David was right.  But the lesson I take away is that there is a time and a place for everything and when your wife comes to you with a concern the best way to handle it is with sincerity and openness.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

David is Crowned King

Today I read 2 Samuel 5 where David is anointed king over all of Israel.  He had already been king over Judah but with the death of Saul's son David was accepted as king over all of Israel.  I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have a king.  I suspect that it would not make a big difference in the average person's everyday life.  However, it would mean that whatever the whims of the king, or queen, would happen no matter what.  He could take your wife to be his lover if he so desired.  He could have you killed for no other reason than he wanted to.  An unrighteous king could cause a lot of destruction.

I am very grateful to George Washington.  George Washington, after he won the Revolutionary War, had all the power in America.  He had suffered multiple indignities by his government, the Continental Congress.  He had suffered hunger, fatigue, extreme cold and no pay all because of the government he served.  There were some that wanted George Washington to retain his power and replace the Continental Congress.  I sometimes wonder if George Washington was tempted to set himself up as a king.  However, he believed in creating a new country based on equality and so on December 23, 1783 he gave up his power and submitted himself to his government, even though they could not have stopped him if he so desired.  What would this country be like if he had been allowed to keep his army and become king?  Lots of war and blood that is for sure.  I am very grateful to him and his desire for peace that he was able to submit himself to those he had little or no reason to.  He was a great man and I am grateful to him that we enjoy a president in this country and not a king.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, November 12, 2012

David has Murderers Slain

Today I read 2 Samuel 4 where David continues to reveal his true nature.  Some men snuck into Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul's, house and killed him while he slept.  They then took his head and came over to David's house and showed it to him thinking they would be rewarded.  David reminds them that he had the man who boasted that he killed Saul, killed for slaying the Lord's anointed.  He then has them both slain for killing a righteous man in cold blood.

At first I was a little shocked when I read this chapter, but then as I thought about it, David was following the Law of Moses.  Moses was told by Heavenly Father that if anyone slays another person in cold blood that their blood is required in turn.  An eye for an eye essentially.  So not only was David following the law of Moses, he was also probably personally disgusted with these men who committed murder in his name.  I can understand his reaction, I would have been horrified if I were in his position also.  To have someone killed and expect you to be happy about it would disgust me and be revolting for sure.  I'm glad David was a good man and reacted the same way.  It makes me happy and like he and I have something in common in a good way.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

David Sets a Good Example

Today I read 2 Samuel 3 which chronicles the continuing the war between David's house and Saul's house.  The one thing that stood out to me about this chapter is how good a man David is.  David mourns the death of Abner when he is killed.  Because of his compassion the kingdom was pleased with him.

Recently I had a discussion with my Dad while on vacation on whether or not it is ok to do the right thing for the wrong reasons.  He and I maintained that it was not good to do the right thing for the wrong reasons.  Scriptures and prophets tell us that the reason for doing something is just as important as doing it in the first place.  I don't think David was mourning the death of Abner because he knew it would improve his situation with the people, but rather because he truly mourned him and his passing.  When we do the right thing for the right reason, we can't go wrong.  And sometimes, people will follow suit and that is a nice feeling.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

David is Crowned King

Today I read 2 Samuel 2 where David is crowned king over most of Israel but some of them rebel and crown Saul's son as their king.  In light of this past week's election I can certainly understand how not everyone would just fall in line with a new king and would in fact desire their own king to be had.  People feel very strongly about their government and who is at the head of it.  I am very glad however that no one in America has been so upset as to propose a new President be created or some kind of a rival government.

The rest of the chapter follows someone who I will be honest I have no idea how he ties into David or the rest of the story but it has a battle as well as someone else who is killed in cold blood.  It might be very good for a historian to have, but I personally do not see the value in having it recorded for all to read and see.  But that is just me.  I do not really relish reading about people being murdered and battles being fought, especially if I cannot connect them to anything in the main history, in this case, David being king.  The Old Testament writers sure did make sure they kept good records however, and for that we can be very grateful, whether they are meaningful to us or not.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 9, 2012

David Learns Saul Has Died

Today I read 2 Samuel 1 where David finds out that Saul has been killed.  David goes into great lamentation and has the Amalekite who claims to have killed Saul slain.  It is interesting to see David mourn for Saul, a man who desired, and tried, to kill him for what at this point is probably most of his life.  He is a true subject to his king and knows that it is wrong to lift his hand against the Lord's anointed.  The statement of what the Lord has joined let no man sunder certainly applies to more than just marriage.

It gives me great hope for our day.  As a nation we have just re-elected President Obama and I certainly don't mind saying I'm not happy about it.  However, he is the President of the United States and I will support him as best I can as an everyday citizen.  He may not be the Lord's anointed but he is the chosen leader of our people and the Lord would have us be good citizens.  David is a great example of that and of not harming a leader you don't get along with.  We can certainly learn a lot from him.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Saul Dies

Today I read 1 Samuel 31 where Saul and his sons are killed.  Despite what we read in the scriptures about Saul, I am sure that he was still a good man at the end and it is always sad when someone dies a violent death, no matter how it occurs. Even David was sad when he heard, which we will read about in the next chapter.

It is rather sad that we don't know more of what Saul did that was good in his reign as king.  We don't know anything beyond his obsession with killing David.  I often wonder what else he did and made of his life.  The man was king for quite a while, at least around 20 years, surely he did some good in that time, at least I would like to hope he did.  Very few men or women in this life are 100% good or evil.  They will all shift and do things that agree with their moral conscience.  As I have said many times in the past, it will be very interesting when we die and know the full story.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

David Rescues His Wives and Other Women

Today I read 1 Samuel 30 where David's wives and many other women were taken captive by the Amalekites.  David prays to God to find out what He would have him do and God tells David to overtake the Amalekites and get the women back.  It is very nice to see people in the scriptures have such a strong relationship with God that aren't priests.  Back in the day most of the people approached God through His priests and you don't read many stories of people talking to God themselves.

In our day and age, we don't need to approach God through anyone.  We are able to pray and receive revelation for ourselves and our immediate family.  That is a comforting thought to me.  I don't know what I would do if I had to rely on someone else to tell me God's will for me.  That would not make me happy or excited at all.  Fortunately though, I live in a time where the Priesthood has been restored and the conduits of Heaven are open for all!  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

David is a Good Citizen of the Philistines

Today I read 1 Samuel 29 where David proves how great a man he is.  I have always felt that if you were going to do something, do it wholeheartedly.  David went to the Philistines, his enemies, to hide from Saul.  Now, some who went to his or her enemies would try and hide in the shadows and not really be seen and not live an upstanding life.  However, David did not do that. 

From the way Achish reacts to the other princes and how they treated David, David was a good upstanding citizen of the country he was living in.  The other Philistines were worried that since they were going to fight against Israel David would turn against them and fight FOR Israel instead of against it.  Achish argued that David had been with him for 16 years and had been upright and an outstanding citizen those long years.  Achish would only have felt that way if David had been a loyal citizen for this entire time and had been upstanding in all aspects. 

When my siblings and I were teenagers, my parents were always so happy to hear that whenever we left a job, first of all it was almost always on our own terms, that our employers were sad to see us leave.  They felt pride in their children that they had listened to their teachings and become good, hard workers.  They really did teach us well.  I remember I myself had one employer tell me he wished he had three of me instead of just one because he could count on me to get the job done.  This is the kind of man David apparently was in the land of the Philistines too.  You should always be a good citizen of the government in which you reside, which we have talked about before.  This is what God expects of us, and isn't that the most important factor?  Until tomorrow.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Saul Visits the Sorceress

Today I read 1 Samuel 28 where Saul goes to see the woman who practices sorcery.  This chapter has caused a lot of fear and controversy over the years among Latter-day Saints.  People wanted to know how a women who practices sorcery can have power over a righteous spirit like Samuel.  Joseph Fielding Smith gave an answer to this in his book Answers to Gospel Questions.  He stated that such people can have no power over the righteous spirits and that all she did was summon one of Satan's followers, a spirit, who masqueraded as Samuel.

It has been said by many that the devil will tell a thousand truths to get you to believe one lie.  I believe this is one instance of him telling the truth to deceive.  To my knowledge everything the spirit who posed as Samuel told Saul was true.  However, by telling him the truth, he caused Saul to despair and told him the date of his own death which would cause any person to freak out!  I remember I had a friend once who was with some of his friends and came upon a fortune teller and he absolutely refused to have anything to do with her because he remembered the experience of Saul.  I personally believe that strange happenings that seemingly can't be explained, such as fortune tellers, voodoo and others are the work of the devil. 

The devil has great power if we will let him into our lives.  However, if we follow the teachings of Jesus and stay away from those things that are connected to him, he can have no power over us.  He is impotent with his inability to do anything to us.  We just have to stay on the straight and narrow, follow what Jesus and Heavenly Father has taught us, listen to the prophets and do the primary answers and we will be safe.  Temple attendance is another really big way to keep us clean and safe from those very real forces that would harm us.  Make no mistake, he is real, remember the experience of Joseph Smith and the first vision.  But just like Joseph Smith, we can overcome it by calling on God and remaining true and faithful to our covenants.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

David Flees to Gath

Today I read 1 Samuel 27 where David goes to the Philistines in the land of Gath, where Goliath was from, to escape Saul.  Personally I don't understand why David did not do this in the first place.  I can understand not wanting to live with your enemies, but why didn't he just go someplace else that Saul would not come after him?  Most likely it was pride, the thought process of this is my home, why should I leave?  But such thoughts will quickly get a person killed.

Of course I do not know what it is like to be hunted by someone else who wants to kill you, especially not a king or person of power.  I would think that like David however, I would not be willing to kill that person to save my own life.  To protect my own family perhaps but I do not think I could kill in cold blood.  I pray that I never have to find out what I am capable of in such circumstances.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

David Spares Saul Again

Today I read 1 Samuel 26 where David again has a chance to kill Saul and does not take it.  He does however steal Saul's spear and his container of water to show that he had the chance and did not take it.  Saul once again acknowledges how much more righteous David is than he is.  However, as I was reading this I could not but help draw similarities between this story and when Teancum kills Amalickiah in the Book of Mormon.

All of David's men keep telling him that the Lord has delivered Saul into his hands and yet David does not slay Saul.  However, in the Book of Mormon, Teancum slays Amalickiah by sneaking into his tent late at night and killing him in his sleep.  However, the difference is that Saul was trying to kill David only.  Yes it was an unrighteous desire but at this point Saul has not really done much destruction beyond seeking to kill David, that we are told.  Amalickiah however had started a war and had been responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children. 

Teancum was trying to stop a way when he slew Amalickiah in cold blood and I think that is why he was justified in the Lord's eyes.  At least I have always assumed he was justified since the scriptures talk about how righteous Teancum was.  If David had killed Saul however, he would only have been trying to save his own life, not anyone else's.  So I think David was right to spare Saul's life.  Now if Saul had attacked David, I could see himself protecting his life but to kill them man in his sleep, yes I don't think he would have been justified in doing it.  Lucky for him he didn't.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Abigail Saves Her Household

Today I read 1 Samuel 25 and I got to say, it would appear that David has quite the temper.  The story of this chapter is that David came across a man named Nabal's shepherds in the field and protected them for a few days.  He then sent some servants out to Nabal himself to ask for some provisions to aid them since Nabal was very wealthy.  When Nabal rebuffed them, David prepares to kill every man in his household as revenge.

This is a horrible thing to do and I can't understand why David is wanting to kill so many for one man's folly.  It just makes no sense when he is so kind and upright about not hurting Saul.  But the only reason he does not carry out his plan is because Nabal's wife hears what happened and comes out with provisions to placate David.  I just don't understand it.  Even if he was furious with Nabal, why would David want to kill all the men in his household?  Why not just Nabal?  Thank goodness for a good upright woman like Abigail, Nabal's wife, who put her life in the hands of God to try and forestall David.  To me this story is really about Abigail and the strength and faith she had to go out and meet these men, because if we focus on the other aspect of the story, it is just sad and depressing that David had so little control over his temper.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

David Spares Saul

Today I read 1 Samuel 24 where Saul and David sleep in the same cave by accident.  Understandably so, David's men encourage him to kill Saul saying that the Lord has delivered him into his hands.  And truly he had been delivered into David's hands.  However, David personified the teachings of the Savior of doing good to them that hate you.  It is easy to be nice to those that are nice to you, but if you have someone who is rude or mean, or even trying to kill you, it is a lot more difficult to be nice and polite to those people. 

Customer service people have this challenge almost daily.  We have people being rude to us almost all the time and it is really easy, and would be fair and just, if we were rude and mean back, because most of the time it is unjustified.  However, to follow the Savior's teachings, we are supposed to be polite and good to those who are mean to us.  It is part of turning the other cheek.  When we choose not to retaliate and choose instead to reward evil with good, we are doing as the Savior commanded His people when He walked upon the earth.  Imagine if everyone followed that counsel.  What a wonderful world it would be.  I daresay that eventually we would get to the point where no one was mean or impolite to one another.  It would certainly become uncommon.  I imagine that is how the millennium will be.  It is certainly how the Celestial Kingdom will be.  I look forward to those days and times.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Saul's Obsession

Today I read 1 Samuel 23 where David is still fleeing Saul.  It's sad because I don't think Saul has a grateful bone in his body at this point.  He hears that David saved one of the cities from the Philistines and instead of being grateful that his people are safe, he rejoices because David is now trapped and will fall into his hand.  Saul almost seems incapable of rejoicing in the good anymore.

What kind of a man is that?  What is it like to be so obsessed that you lose sight of everything else?  To be so consumed with hatred like that?  Funnily enough, I watched a movie based on the novel "Moby Dick" last night and it reminds me of Captain Ahab.  Ahab was so consumed with hatred of Moby Dick, or the white dragon in this version, that nothing else mattered to him.  He lied to his crew, he killed those who did not share his vision, and in the end it destroyed him.  His own obsession was his downfall.  At least in the version last night, if he had not been so consumed with hate he could have been a very rich man and lived comfortably for the rest of his life, but he threw it all away for his hatred.

How much did Saul throw away for his hatred?  Did he stop enjoying life because of his obsession with killing David?  I am almost positive that he did.  I don't think someone that is that obsessed with something can take pleasure in almost anything.  I think they are so consumed that if it isn't their obsession then they take no pleasure in it, which is not how God wants us to live our lives.  Heavenly Father has told us that we are meant to have joy in this life.  True it needs to be joy in the proper way, but joy nonetheless.  We need to find joy and happiness in this life and take true pleasure in it.  At least that is how I view it and what I think.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Saul Slays 85 Priests

Today I read 1 Samuel 22 and oh how the mighty have fallen!  Poor Saul is losing his mind to madness and power lust.  He heard that the priests showed kindness to David and gave him food and a sword.  When he inquired of the priest why he did that the priest gave him an honest answer and I for one love it!  The priest asked Saul who among his men and servants was as loyal as David?  Who performs their duty as well as David does?  How should the priest know that Saul was upset with him?

This answer must have infuriated Saul.  It was simple honest truth but it was no doubt the last thing that Saul wanted to hear.  This simple, honest answer must have laid Saul's soul bare and I will wager that he did not like what he saw one bit.  My evidence for such an assumption is that Saul commands his soldiers to slay all the priests.  Fortunately for the soldiers, they refuse.  However, unfortunately, in this world there is always someone willing to do evil for evil's sake.  Saul finds someone who is willing to do his dirty work for him and they slay 85 priests, for no other crime than speaking the truth and showing kindness to someone in need.

Of all Saul's crimes against God, I personally think that this one is among the most heinous.  Perhaps the worst in fact.  To slay 85 innocent men for your own pride, I shudder to think what kind of an answer he could have given Heavenly Father when asked why he did such a thing.  The horror of his crimes when laid bare before him must have been terrible indeed.  If Alma's experience is anything to go by, poor Saul probably wanted to cease to exist, but we all must stand before God and be judged for what we have done, good or bad.  That is why you never want to do anything that you wouldn't want repeated, because it WILL be repeated sooner or later.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, October 29, 2012

David Flees Saul to Gath

Today I read 1 Samuel 21 where David flees Saul's wrath and eats the hallowed bread.  I cannot even imagine what life must be like for David right now, to have to literally flee for your life and not knowing if anyone you meet will be trying to kill you or want to help you.  It honestly sounds like something out of a story book.  I also have to wonder about David lying to the priest.  He told the priest that Saul had sent him on a special assignment which is not the truth at all.  The commandments are very clear and don't say while you shouldn't lie, it's ok in certain circumstances.  I am not the judge for David or anyone thankfully, it's just interesting to me.

When I read this story of David fleeing Saul I often wonder why he doesn't just flee into the wilderness like Elijah did.  Why does he keep going to various cities where people might tell Saul where he ran off to?  Why not just go hide out until Saul dies?  That's what Elijah did and no one found him for several years.  I'm sure that David had his reasons, however, it just doesn't make sense to me.  I'm sure we'll be told one day.  I wonder if David had fun when he was pretending to be a madman in Gath?  It seems like that would be fairly enjoyable to play the madman and pretty much do what you want.  Although to be in fear of being caught and found out you are not insane, that must be pretty harrowing.  I hope I never have to find out.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jonathan Protects David from Saul

Today I read 1 Samuel 20 where David and Jonathan make a pact with each other.  It must have been very hard on Jonathan.  I am sure he loved his father and yet he was watching the man become a blood thirsty monster.  That could not have been easy for him.  And to have his own father throw a javelin at him to slay him simply because he challenged Saul about killing David asking him what David had done to deserve death, truly terrible. 

Saul's big mistake was pride.  He was upset at the mistakes he had made and upset that he saw a better man in David.  He was proud to the point of blindness.  He was furious that David was a better man than him.  It is really sad that it happened to him because of becoming king.  As we have stated before now, Saul was a goodly man before he was made king and he could not handle the power of being king.  It is one of the reasons I do not desire authority at all.  Heavenly Father Himself said that almost all men abuse power when they get it, I do not want to be that man.  I do not wish to abuse authority or power or any kind so I avoid it when I can.  If I am called however, in a church calling I will of course serve.  But worldly power, I want nothing to do with it, not at all.  I don't want to end up like Saul, or even David.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saul Continues to try and Kill David

Today I read 1 Samuel 19 where Saul continues to try and kill David.  It always amazes me to see or hear about kings doing evil things and their servants and armies helping them do it.  Yes, they may be the king but what they are doing is wrong.  I wonder if it would be worse to help a king do something that is wrong like that and the sin be upon the head of the king because he commanded his servants to do it, or to disobey the king and try and dethrone him? 

The Twelfth article of Faith states that we believe in being subject to kings and governments, I'm paraphrasing of course.  So if one were to go against their mortal sovereign even though the commands that they were commanded to do were evil and against God, would it be worse to follow the command or go against the tyrant?  I know that in World War II Latter-day Saints were told to obey the Nazis if they were German, at least that is what I have been told.  I don't really have the answer but I would think that if ever I were in the position the thing to do would be to pray and ask God for direction and guidance.  I think that is all anyone can really do in such a situation.  Until tomorrow. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Saul Tries to Kill David

Today I read 1 Samuel 18 where Saul starts to suspect, fear and eventually hate David.  It is sad when petty jealousy destroys a good friendship.  Jealousy is a nasty thing and is hard to control at times, but letting it get in the way of friendship is not a good thing.  This chapter always made me sad because it shows just how far Saul has fallen.  He gets upset and jealous of David because of the rhymes that the women make up about David and himself. 

He is so far gone with jealousy that he tries to kill David, even though he knows for a fact that one of his daughters and his son, Jonathan, love David.  At this point in Saul's life it would seem the Spirit of the Lord has left him completely.  And yet when Saul was chosen as king he was described as a goodly lad and well loved and full of the Spirit.  And yet he fell so far and so hard.  It is a good lesson to learn how badly power can hurt someone and corrupt them.  Once again I can't help but wonder if Saul had not been made king how he would have turned out?  Would he still have become such a tyrant?  Would he have remained a good person at heart instead of turning into this paranoid monster?  We will never know.  Perhaps that is a mercy too, not knowing.  It is a very good lesson however on just how dangerous earthly power can be.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

David Beats Goliath

Today I read 1 Samuel 17 which contains the famous story of David fighting Goliath.  This is one of those stories that depending what you need to learn you can pull out so many lessons from it.  For example, as a child I would always be in awe at the fact that David was able to beat such a big man as Goliath.  I was fascinated by the way David was able to overcome such a challenge.

As I have gotten older, I am intrighed by the faith in God that David had.  David had perfect faith that God would help him overcome the challenge, and David was right.  God did in fact help him win the battle.  David's faith was rewarded by God doing exactly as David had planned.  When we have perfect faith in God, faith as a grain of mustard seed as Jesus put it, we can move mountains, or defeat giants.  It is not easy to have that kind of faith but if you can achieve it, you can do anything.  The thing to remember however is if you have that kind of faith, you will not ask anything that is contrary to God's will.  That is what God told Nephi and someone with a correct understanding of God will know.  Because to have perfect faith, we have to have a correct understanding of God and His character.  And if we have that, we can have do anything!  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

God Looks Upon the Heart

Today I read 1 Samuel 16 where Samuel is told to go annoint a new king.  He is sent to Jesse's house to annoint one of his sons to be the future king.  Samuel is taught a valuable lesson while doing this.  He is so impressed with the physical appearance of the sons of Jesse that he thinks each of them should be king.  The Lord taught Samuel that the Lord does not look on the physical appearance of men but on their heart. 

Recently I watched a movie called Courageous which I highly recommend actually.  The point of the movie is several men decide to be better fathers.  At one point of the movie one of the men is talking about how God is a good judge.  The reason God is a good judge is because He looks on our hearts and judges us according to our intent as much as He does our actions.  Nothing is hidden from God.  Our entire lives are laid bare before Him.  What we can hide from other men, He sees perfectly.  I was always taught that we are never alone, because God is always watching us, so don't do anything you wouldn't want Him to see you do.  Would it change how you behave "in private" if you knew you were actually being watched?  Would you be a better person?  Because you are always being watched, even if you don't know it.  Until tomorrow.