Matthew 5

Matthew 5:

The Sermon on the Mount: Part 1

                Jesus preaches the famous, Sermon on the Mount. After seeing a multitude of people, Jesus goes to the top of a mountain and began to teach his disciples. In this one chapter, which comprises only 1/3 of the Sermon on the Mount, we learn a vast amount of important doctrine.

Jesus begins his address by addressing those who are blessed;

Blessed are…

  • “…the poor in spirit…” (Matthew 5:3)
  • “…they that mourn…” (Matthew 5:4)
  • “…the meek…” (Matthew 5:5)
  • “…they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…” (Matthew 5:6)
  • “…the merciful…” (Matthew 5:7)
  • “…the pure in heart…” (Matthew 5:8)
  • “…the peacemakers…” (Matthew 5:9)
  • “…they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matthew 5:10)
  • “…ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Matthew 5:11)

“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which before you.” (Matthew 5:12)

What is Jesus saying here? He is saying that as a disciple of Jesus Christ you WILL be persecuted, and you will mourn. These things are just part of life. However, those who are meek, pure in heart and are persecuted for righteousness’ sake will be rewarded. It wasn’t easy for Jesus, he was persecuted, and so were the prophets after him. Where good prevails, evil will always follow behind in jealousy. Good men and women suffer, so that they might understand what the true joys of the world are. For you cannot have comfort, without pain. For how would you know the difference? The same is with the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must be tried, so that we can be corrected and put on a straight and narrow path.

Jesus continues his address by saying; “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick… let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

As disciples of Jesus Christ we are the salt of the earth, if we lose our flavor, what are we good for? Nothing! Therefore it is important that we set the example for the rest of the world. We need to show the world our good works and do as Jesus would do. The popular Christian “WWJD: What Would Jesus Do?” fits perfectly in this scenario. OR perhaps we can use the LDS version of “CTR: Choose the Right”. Either way, we need to Choose the Right, and do, as Jesus would do! We should never set our talents aside. We need to shine brightly before all men, doing good and representing Jesus as our savior.

Jesus continues his address, by altering some of the most basic LAWS of MOSES. At the time of his Sermon, I can imagine people confused and possibly upset by the words of Jesus. After all he was contradicting some of the most basic laws of the time.

Jesus says that whoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of judgment. Those who commit adultery will be judged, but the same is also applied to those who look after women to “…lust after her…” (Matthew 5:28), this is also committing adultery in your heart.

Jesus also contradicts the common “eye for an eye” and a “tooth for a tooth” law of the time, by stating; “…whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39)

Jesus teaches about compassion and love for not only your neighbor, but for your enemy; “…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

Jesus taught that we should be compassionate and not worry about the wrongs of others. If someone wrongs you, we are not to judge them. We should try to love those that hate us, use us or persecute us. We should try to help those in need and if necessary turn our other cheek to those who wish to smite us. In the end, we are here on the earth to become more like our Father in Heaven. We are not perfect, but our goal is to strive to be perfect; “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48)

Proverbs 11-12

Proverbs 11-12

Chapter 11: We Need to Save Souls

The works of good vs. the works of evil and their respective rewards are contrasted in this chapter.

“An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.” (Proverbs 11:9)

                Those who have no knowledge or very little knowledge will easily become a hypocrite. However, the righteous will overcome the hypocrite with knowledge.

“He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbor; but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.” (Proverbs 11:12)

Someone who is uneducated and completely lacking any class or wisdom will hate his neighbor, but the man who is righteous, with knowledge and class will just hold it inside.

“…he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30) When it really comes down to everything in this life, the most important thing is to save your soul and the souls of those around you. Spread good will and be GOOD to everyone around you. Do as Jesus would.

Chapter 12: The Way of the Fool is Right… in his OWN EYES.

This chapter opens up with the simple “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge, but he that hateth reproof is brutish.” (Proverbs 12:1) Essentially this is saying that those who love knowledge and instruction love criticism, because they know it will make them better. Those however who hate criticism and don’t want to be corrected are like savages and beasts.

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is a rottenness in his bones” (Proverbs 12:4) I think this is a great verse, first we learn that women and men should be “virtuous, which is defined as: 1. with moral integrity: having or showing moral goodness or righteousness and 2. chaste: not having sexual intercourse with anyone except a partner in marriage, especially a husband.

So we learn that we need to be morally clean and have sex only in the bounds of marriage. If a woman is morally clean and generally a good person, a man should seek her out and desire those traits. When found, that man should hold his wife to high esteem and consider her precious and of great worth. However if a woman (or man for the ladies) comes a long and is not one of those things, then it really is like a rotten cancer that has no place in that person’s life.

In this chapter we also learn of the value of animal life; “A righteous man regardeth the life of the beast…” (Proverbs 12:10) Does that mean that we can’t kill animals? No, we most certainly can… if it is for food. In modern scriptures we read; “For behold the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment , and that he might have in abundance.” (Doctrine and Covenants  49:19) So like this Proverb states, we should regard the life of the animal and only kill when it is necessary.

Finally this Proverbs ends nicely with a great reminder to those who like to hear their own voice… “A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness” (Proverbs 12:23) Those who claim to know it all and keep talking like they know it all will eventually (if not immediately) spew foolishness from their mouths.

Job 5-6

Job 5-6

Chapter 5: Happy is the Man that God Corrects

 “Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn? For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one…” (Job 5:1-3)

Eliphaz (friend of Job) begged his friend to listen to reason and agree with common wisdom.

 “I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation. His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them. Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance. Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:3-7)

                Eliphaz tells Job that he had to have sinned for such things to have happened to him, it proves that they were foolish.

 “I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number: Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields: To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety. He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong. They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night. But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty. So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.” (Job 5:8-16)

Although Eliphaz said it tactfully, he still said that Job was not seeking God, and because of that he was in affliction. Eliphaz essentially calls Job out and tells him that he needs to repent and maybe the afflictions would go away. He doesn’t recognize that Job has done nothing wrong.

“Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword.

                Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee. And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin.

Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth. Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season. Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good.” (Job 5:17-26)

Eliphaz tells Job that the reason God is correcting him/punishing him is because he corrects His sinful children. Again, Eliphaz is telling Job that he is a sinner. 

Chapter 6: The Right Words

“But Job answered and said, Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together! For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up. For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me. Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder? Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg? The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat. (Job 6:1-7)

                Job’s friends were kind enough to sit with him in sympathetic silence for some seven days (Job 2:13). Job broke his silence with a rant (Job 3), and Eliphaz responded with a poetic call to repentance (Job 4-5). Now Job answered the words of Eliphaz the Temanite.

Job’s first response to the words of Eliphaz were to complain about the greatness of his suffering, because Eliphaz only made his suffering worse, with his well-intentioned but wrong analysis of Job’s problem.

                “Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off! Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One.” (Job 6:8-10)

Job returns to the theme of his complaint from Job 3, where he mourned the day of his birth and believed he would be better off dead, though Job never seems to have contemplated suicide, he wished God Himself would end his life.

                 “What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass? Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me?” (Job 6:11-13)

Job reflected the sense of hopelessness of the severe and chronic sufferer. Sensing no inner strength to meet the present and future challenges, he felt no hope at all

“To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty. My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away; Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid: What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place. The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish. The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them. They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed. For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid. Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance? Or, Deliver me from the enemy’s hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty? (Job 6:14-23)

Job makes his most basic accusation against Eliphaz, that he should have shown him kindness even if he had forsaken the Lord by sinning.

“Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove? Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind? Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend. Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie. Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it. Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?” (Job 6:24-30)

Job believed that Eliphaz was harsh in his reply and failed to see that his Job’s rant recorded in chapter 3 was made up only of words from a desperate one.

Essentially Eliphaz (a friend) did not support Job in his time of trial. Instead he ridiculed him and told him that he was a sinner. We can learn from this; when we or someone we know is faced with sin, we can lend and hand and help them get back up, instead of pushing them down for something that had already done and was in the past. We can also learn that often times we pass judgment without truly knowing what has happened or what is happening.