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.