Psalms 130-131

Psalms 130-131

Chapter 130: O, Lord… hear us.

A Song of degrees

                “…there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” (Psalms 130:4) Those who fear the Lord and do wrong in His eyes, can be forgiven quicker.

Chapter 131: Be Like Little Children

A Song of degrees

                “…my heart is not haughty (arrogant), nor mine eyes lofty (proud): neither do I exercise myself in great matters… I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother…” (Psalms 131:1-2)

Be like little children and do not be arrogant or proud.

 

Psalms 126-127

Psalms 126-127

Chapter 126: The Lord is great

A Song of degrees

                The Lord has done great things for the children of Israel. The children of Israel were glad because of this.

Chapter 127: Children of God

A Song of degrees of Solomon

                “…children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalms 127:3)

The children are very important and from the minute blood enter into a fetus; there is no doubt that we have HUMAN LIFE. Abortion is not an option.

The Church came out with an official statement regarding Abortion:

“The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.”

Ezra 1-2

Ezra 1-2

Chapter 1: Jews go back to Jerusalem to Build a Temple

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah came to be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying; “The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem”. (Ezra 1: 2-4)

Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. And those who were with them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.

King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods; and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. This is what was taken out: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem.

Chapter 2: Children of Captivity

These are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah. Those who came with Zerubbabel were; Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.

The number of the men of the people of Israel:

The people of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two;  the people of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two; the people of Arah, seven hundred and seventy-five; the people of Pahath-Moab, of the people of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve; the people of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; the people of Zattu, nine hundred and forty-five; the people of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty; the people of Bani, six hundred and forty-two; the people of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-three; the people of Azgad, one thousand two hundred and twenty-two; the people of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-six; the people of Bigvai, two thousand and fifty-six; the people of Adin, four hundred and fifty-four; the people of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety-eight; the people of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-three; the people of Jorah, one hundred and twelve; the people of Hashum, two hundred and twenty-three; the people of Gibbar, ninety-five; the people of Bethlehem, one hundred and twenty-three; the men of Netophah, fifty-six; the men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight; the people of Azmaveth, forty-two; the people of Kirjath Arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three; the people of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one; the men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two; the men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred and twenty-three; the people of Nebo, fifty-two; the people of Magbish, one hundred and fifty-six; the people of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; the people of Harim, three hundred and twenty; the people of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-five; the people of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five; the people of Senaah, three thousand six hundred and thirty.

The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three; the sons of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two; the sons of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven; the sons of Harim, one thousand and seventeen. The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodaviah, seventy-four. The singers: the sons of Asaph, one hundred and twenty-eight. The sons of the gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-nine in all. The Nethinim: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, the sons of Keros, the sons of Siaha, the sons of Padon, the sons of Lebanah, the sons of Hagabah, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hagab, the sons of Shalmai, the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, the sons of Reaiah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, the sons of Besai, the sons of Asnah, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephusim, the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, the sons of Bazluth, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Tamah, the sons of Neziah, and the sons of Hatipha. The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Peruda, the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth of Zebaim, and the sons of Ami.

These were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer; but they could not identify their father’s house or their genealogy, whether they were of Israel: the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, and the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and fifty-two; and of the sons of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Koz, and the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name. These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but they were not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled. And the governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.

The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, besides their male and female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven; and they had two hundred men and women singers. Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules two hundred and forty-five, their camels four hundred and thirty-five, and their donkeys six thousand seven hundred and twenty.

Some of the heads of the fathers’ houses, when they came to the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God, to erect it in its place: According to their ability, they gave to the treasury for the work sixty-one thousand gold drachmas, five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred priestly garments.

One interesting thing I found in this chapter: I believe this is the first time Genealogy is named in the Bible, yet it is so important!

1 Samuel 1-2

1 Samuel 1-2

Chapter 1: Hannah Bares Samuel

                There was a man who lived in Ramathaim-zophim of the mount Ephraim, his name was Elkanah and he was the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu who was the son of Zuph, who was an Ephrathite.

                Elanah has two wives; Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children but Hannah had none. Elkanah still loved Hannah even though she could not have children, but Hannah was very upset about this. So Hannah starts to starve herself and gets very sad, her husband asks her why she won’t eat, and tells her “…am I not better to thee than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8). Hannah decides to go up to the priest in the temple and starts praying to God, except she made no noise, from what I can see is that she was saying a prayer in her heart. The priest tells her to go and to be no more sad, because the Lord would grant her petition.

 

                Hannah conceives a child and names him Samuel. Hannah waits until Samuel is weaned and is more of a child than a baby and takes him to the temple and there they make a sacrifice to God; with three bullocks, one ephah of flour and a bottle of wine (remember back to the previous books that talked about sacrifices).  Samuel shall be from here on out an instrument in the hands of God.

Chapter 2: Hannah has more Children

                Hannah rejoices in the Lord and his great Salvation. She is completely filled with joy! In verse 3, I came across a very interesting verse;

                “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed” (1 Samuel 2:3)

                This verse hit me hard. For several reasons that are very specific to LDS (Mormon) doctrine. Joseph Smith once taught that men could not be saved by ignorance. By your ACTIONS God will essentially weigh your salvation. So when I hear people saying things like “accept Jesus into your heart and you are saved”, it makes me very sad. Because is it really that simple? Absolutely not. Was it simple for Jesus to suffer in the Garden of Gethsemane? Bleed from every pore of his body? OR Die on the Cross for the sins of everyone? No, absolutely not! So to say that you are saved for just accepting Jesus into your life is not enough. You have to live by his teachings and follow his commandments. That is why this verse struck me, because someone who is ignorant has an overbearing sense of pride with a superior manner towards people who are “less than themselves” or inferiors. So essentially those people who say “accept Jesus and be saved” and then openly make fun of people and other religions that teach and practice “good works” to be seems a bit ignorant to the actual truth of the matter, that you cannot be saved in ignorance, but your good works. It is kind of like the WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelets that are usually worn by people who think that accepting Jesus is all we have to do. I wish it were so, but it is not.

                So let us remember that it is not by FAITH ALONE that we are saved. (See James 2:26)

Joshua 15-16

Joshua 15-16

Chapter 15: Judah Gives Inheritance

Judah gives inheritance in Canaan. Jebusites dwell with Judah at Jerusalem. This chapter goes into the detail of the land given to the tribe of Judah, except the land of Hebron which was only given to Caleb.

Joshua 15:13-19 – outlines a story about Caleb when he was conquering the land, he came to Kiriath Sepher and promised his daughter’s (Acsah) hand in marriage to anyone who could attack and capture it. Othniel was able to do it and he received Caleb’s daughter’s hand in marriage. Othniel or Acsah later asked Caleb for more land (an additional field) where they could have additional springs of water, so Caleb gave it to them.

In verse 15:63– tells us that men of the tribe of Judah were unable to remove the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem.

Chapter 16: Children of Joseph

Children of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh receive their inheritance some Canaanites continue to dwell among Ephraimites.

Deuteronomy 23-24

Deuteronomy 23-24

Chapter 23: The Congregation

Moses speaks to the congregation and outlines who can and cannot enter into the congregation and more importantly the Tabernacle of Israel. This of course from previous chapters and books includes all unclean things, including those who disobey and do not follow the commandments of God.

Moses also outlines the laws of servants/slaves, usury and vows.

Moses states that if a slave comes into the midst of the children of Israel and the slave master comes to claim his slave/servant that the children of Israel can give refuge to the servant/slave that has escaped. (verse 15-16) and he states that they (the children of Israel) should not oppress the slave, or in other words the slave is now free among them.

Then in verses 19-20 Moses speaks about Usury, and that among strangers it is ok to have usury. Now I interpreted what Moses said, as the children of Israel were to not have interest rates, or very low interest rates among themselves on people who borrow money. But among outsiders whom were not part of the family that they would offer money to borrow at higher interest rates. Essentially helping out those who were family to you.

Chapter 24: Laws of Moses

Moses outlines the law of divorce, saying;

“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house” (Deuteronomy 24:1)

                Essentially stating that only in unfaithfulness or any other sin against the holy matrimony shall divorce be permitted.

Moses also speaks to the congregation regarding newly-weds, stating;

“When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken” (Deuteronomy 24:5)

                If we took this literally, everyone who gets married would go on a 1 year honey moon, which I don’t think would be very practical. But we can take from this, that everyone who gets married should ensure that they start their marriage off strong and make sure that a huge focus is placed on each other and the development of that beautiful relationship. If this is done, we can see a higher percentage of happy marriages.

Moses then ends this chapter off, by stating that;

 “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deuteronomy 24:16)

                The second Article of Faith of the LDS church states; “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression”

                Again we see a very clear principle in the Bible that is not followed by mainstream Christianity, for example many religions believe in the “original sin”, that we are “naturally sinful” because of the transgression of Adam and Eve, and that is why some religions (the Catholic church for example) baptize infants, because they are “born with sin”, this however, in my personally opinion is an abomination! Jesus himself said that

“…Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little once which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:3-6)

                Jesus spoke out about offending the children, because they were part of heaven, and we must become like a child to enter into the kingdom of heaven. If that is true, how can a baby, completely innocent and incapable of committing sin, needs to be baptized to be cleansed of sin?

The Book of Mormon has an entire chapter on the abomination of this practice. Moroni, who was ancient prophet who lived in the Americas spoke out about this;

“…little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism! Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell… For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism and the other must perish because he hath no baptism.” (Moroni 8:12-14), see also Moroni Chapter 8 in its entirety.