2 Nephi 13

2 Nephi 13: Judah and Jerusalem are Punished

                Judah and Jerusalem shall be punished for their disobedience; this text can also be fund in Isaiah 3.

“For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen, because their tongues and their doings have been against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory.” (2 Nephi 13:8) Whenever people rebel against God and speak against Him, the Lord will not be happy.

“The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom, and they cannot hide it. Wo unto their souls, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves!” (2 Nephi 13:9) The sins of the people in ancient Jerusalem and Judah were like that of Sodom, which is why they were destroyed.

The women were dressed with fine linen and jewelry; it is also likely that people were very promiscuous, much like how sex is considered “normal” outside of the bonds of marriage in our modern societies.  Isaiah mentions a few of the things going on during this period of history, which really have similarities to our modern societies. Notice it mentions body modifications with nose rings, wearing of fine linen… etc.

“In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments, and cauls, and round tires like the moon; The chains and the bracelets, and the mufflers; The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the ear-rings; The rings, and nose jewels; The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping-pins; The glasses, and the fine linen, and hoods, and the veils.

And it shall come to pass, instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle, a rent; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a stomacher, a girding of sackcloth; burning instead of beauty. Thy men shall fall by the sword and thy mighty in the war.” (2 Nephi 13:18-25)

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Romans 1

Romans 1: The Power of the Gospel unto the Salvation of God’s Children

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ and called as an Apostle and being separated unto the Gospel of God; writes to the Romans. Paul testifies of Jesus Christ, being the Son of God and that through the faith on His name [Jesus Christ] the Saints can overcome. Paul explains that he is in debt with not only God, but the Greeks, Barbarians and the Romans themselves. Paul explains that he is “…not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

Paul explains his desires to come to Rome. He exhorts the Saints in Rome to live their lives by Faith. He reminds them to not boast in their abilities, for their fathers of old; “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:22) They became fools, by changing the glory of God. They turned the simple truths of God into something more corrupt, like men. Because of this corruption, God sent sufferings to all men who despised His name.

Paul warns of those who change the natural order of the role of men and women (homosexuality). He warns of those who participate in “…all unrighteousness, fornication [Sex outside of Marriage], wickedness, covetousness [eagerness to possess something, not belonging to yourself], maliciousness [the need to see others suffer]… envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity [wishing evil to others]; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents…” (Romans 1:29-30)

Proverbs 7-8

Proverbs 7-8

Chapter 7: “La Diabla”: Her house is the way to hell

Again, Proverbs 7 carries on a similar message from Proverbs 5. A “strange woman” will lead you to hell. Sex outside of the bonds of marriage is sinful.

                “…keep thee from thy strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.” (Proverbs 7:5) The author goes on to say that they witnessed from their window “…a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house.” (Proverbs 7:8)

The author then describes the characteristics of the ‘strange woman’.

“…the attire of a harlot… loud and stubborn… lieth in wait at every corner…” (Proverbs 7:10-12)

The author then tells us that this ‘strange woman’ “…she caught him and kissed him…[and tells the young man] …I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come let us take our fill of love until the morning… For the goodman is not at home, he is gone on a long journey… with flattering of lips she forced him.” (Proverbs 7:13-21)

                Essentially this could very well have been a story of something that actually was seen through the eyes of the author. But we can also assume that this could just very well be a metaphor for sexual sin. Notice how she deceives him like the devil would. She sweet talks him and flatters him with her clothing, her smell, her sweet lips and assures the man that he won’t get caught because the ‘good man’ is gone on a long journey. This good man could be her husband or could be God. If the devil deceives someone, he will tell them that what they are doing is ok, and that God or anyone else that might look down on them or get them in trouble will never know.

“Let not thine hear decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” (Proverbs 7:25-27)

I think it is safe to assume that “her” or the “strange woman” is a metaphor for sexual sin and the devil. OR while I was serving in Spanish Speaking Honduras I liked to call this chapter “La Diabla” meaning the devil, but more specifically the “female devil”. Because after all the devil can take on many forms of influence. We need to refrain from the lustful desires that the devil will place before us. This author has warned that if we participate or even loiter near her house we will be on the path to hell. Notice how it says that she has slain even the strongest of men? I don’t believe that it was talking about physical strength. I believe it was talking about how even the strongest willed man, can fall into the trap of sexual desires and lust. But going back to the last few chapters, if we marry we can avoid those lustful desires, because we will have the sexual satisfaction from our spouse and he or she will keep us from sin.

Chapter 8: The Truth: The Great Missionary

I absolutely love this Proverb! It expresses that wisdom is to be greatly desired and that we possessed this wisdom in the pre-mortal life.

“O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward [difficult] or perverse [unreasonable] in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward [difficult] mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.” (Proverbs 8:5-14)

                This is the GREAT MISSIONARY, a missionary who has a simple yet easy to understand message. Those who have a desire to know the truth will hear that message. The message is more valuable than gold, silver, rubies or diamonds. The Lord does not like to deal with evil, he hates pride and arrogancy. Those missionaries, who have been called to serve, must remember that they have the knowledge and the strength to complete their mission.

This proverb helps us to understand the great purpose of our eternal life. The Lord has had a plan from the beginning and we were there with him before the world was. (Proverbs 8:23)We were there with the Lord before the heavens! (Proverbs 8:27) We were with the Lord from the beginning (Proverbs 8:30)

 

Proverbs 5-6

Proverbs 5-6

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

Both Proverbs 5 and 6 have a very clear message that is directed towards men, but can easily be applied to women. That message is pretty simple; 1: Don’t fornicate or commit adultery; 2: Be careful who you marry or who you trust in general. People can deceive and have lying lips that appear to be sweet as ‘honey’ but once you partake the ‘sweet honey’ turns ‘bitter’; 3: Once you are married is important to stay married and ensure that both partners feel a strong connection on all levels that includes a very healthy sexual intimacy.

I believe that all too often (especially in the LDS Church) that sex is talked about as something evil and perverted. Which is true if done outside of marriage, but in marriage it should be something that both husband and wife can have sexual fulfillment that will keep them from lust and sin. Eternal Marriage goes one step beyond traditional marriage in the sense that being married to someone who you can trust with your physical and spiritual life. Husband and wife should be a check and balance system to ensure that both return to our Heavenly Father and dwell in the Celestial Kingdom. God knew that man was weak, so he gave man the woman to keep man in check and ensure that we will return to live with him. Mankind in general is weak, and men and women sin. But if man and woman are bound together in Holy Matrimony they become ONE, just like God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are ONE, one in purpose.

Chapter 5: Don’t Divorce

In this proverb we learn a lot about the importance of marriage to the right person. We also learn about the evils of the world and the ways that man can be tricked into evil ways.

“…the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:” (Proverbs 5:3)

Essentially this is a warning to men who may get caught in the trap of lusting after a woman who may appear to have “lips of honey” and someone who is a “smooth” talker. She may appear to be sweet, but… “…her end is bitter… sharp as a twoedged sword… her steps take hold on hell… her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.” (Proverbs 5:4-6)

The counsel given in this proverb is very clear: “Remove thy way far from her…” (Proverbs 5:8)

But the proverb continues to tell us who we should marry “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” (Proverbs 5:18-19)

Something very important to remember and take away from this Proverb… sex is not evil. Sex outside of marriage is evil. Those who are married should enjoy sexual intimacy between one another and if a healthy sexual relationship is balanced with all other activities of being married, spending time together, working through problems together, having children etc… then the marriage will be successful and filled with love. God does not want us engaging in sexual relations before marriage and wants to make sure that once we are married, WE STAY married. God does not like divorce.

Chapter 6: Seven things the Lord Hates

This proverb lists seven things that the Lord hates (in my version of the Bible, which is the King James Version it tells me that there are ‘6’ things the Lord hates, I like to classify them as 7.

  1. 1.       “A proud look…” (Proverbs 6:17)
  2. 2.       “…a lying tongue…” (Proverbs 6:17)
  3. 3.       “…hands that shed innocent blood.” (Proverbs 6:17)
  4. 4.       “An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations…” (Proverbs 6:18)
  5. 5.       “…feet that be swift in running to mischief.” (Proverbs 6:18)
  6. 6.       “A false witness that speaketh lies…” (Proverbs 6:19)
  7. 7.       “…he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:19)

God does not like sin, period. The laws don’t change, we either choose to follow them or we don’t. “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:” (Proverbs 6:23)

Essentially the law is light, we can choose how much light we want in our lives by adjusting the amount we follow the commandments (our lantern), if we chose to not follow the commandments it is like not putting any oil (or batteries) in our lamp. If we chose to follow the commandments and fill our lantern with fresh oil or batteries then we can have more of the light. If we go against this WE WILL be left in the dark. We also have to understand that criticism and even chastisement is part of life and it occurs for our own learning.

This proverbs ends by re-addressing what we learned from Proverbs 5; that is “…whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.” (Proverbs 6:32)

Committing adultery, or fornication (sex outside of the bonds of marriage) will be wounded and dishourned and will carry that sin for life (Proverbs 6:33)

We must remember that “…jealousy is the rage of a man…” (Proverbs 6:34)

 

Deuteronomy 7-8

Deuteronomy 7-8

Chapter 7: The Mercy of the Lord

When the Israelites go in among the nations of the; Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and the Jebusites the Lord commands them to not be afraid. All seven of these nations are much mightier than the Israelites. But the Lord commands them to not marry outside of their tribes and especially not to anyone from these nations. The Lord commands them to destroy the nations as he places them in their hands.

The Lord reminds the children of Israel that they were chosen for their actions, even though they numbered very few.  (see verse 7). Verses 3-4 talk about the importance of marriage within the covenant, because marrying outside of the covenant can lead to a loss of faith and is not approved by God.

The Lord promises that if the Israelites obey and are faithful to his commandments that he will show mercy on them, bless them and love them. He will also cure their diseases and make them prosperous. (Deuteronomy 7:12-15)

Chapter 8: Don’t Forget God

The Lord speaks to the Israelites regarding the 40 year experience in the wilderness and desert. The children of Israel wondered for over 40 years, and the purpose of this was to humble and prove the congregation of Israel whether they would follow the commandments or not. (verse 2)

“And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

We learn that the Lord wanted to prove the worthiness and dedication of his chosen people, by teaching them this principle. Someone can be fat and have plenty of food and wealth, but that person can only live so long without the Lord. The Lord, our Heavenly Father is just like our earthly father or parents. Sometimes they do things that upset us.

Children often get upset with their parents for limiting their ability to be free, because they want to protect them. For example a parent will try and prevent their child from touching a hot stove, because they know that it will hurt them. But what happens? The child will usually do it anyways, and then when they do it they cry and think why do I have to suffer? The parent of course will come in and love them and make things better, but sometimes the parent will let them learn from their actions by not taking away the consequences.

“…that as a man chasteneth his son, so shall the Lord thy God chasteneth thee” (Deuteronomy 8:5)

Chasten means; to discipline or correct by punishment. Punishment doesn’t always have to be of a physical nature, it can be done in a variety of ways; including shame. For example, a parent can punish their child just be letting them know that they are disappointed in them for something that they knew was wrong, but did it anyways. The Lord, is our Heavenly Father he disciplines us, because he knows what is best for us and wants to give us anything that we need. Sometimes however he has to step back and let us learn from our own mistakes, just like a good parent. When God doesn’t offer his helping hand in our life, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love us. I am sure he is saddened and upset because he knows that he needs to step back, when really he wants to step in and make everything ok.

I look at the current situation of the world, not only from a distance, but also right in my own backyard. I see people complain and say that God cannot exist if he were to permit such violence and misfortunes in the world. But hasn’t God warned us about all of this? He has, and he continues to warn us. But like a good parent he steps back and lets us learn from our own mistakes. Think about it, let’s use the example of pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases. God has warned us about the dangers of sex outside of marriage.

                “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2)

If everyone waited until marriage to have sex, and were faithful to their husband or wife than we would not have teen pregnancies, homes with single parents, sexually transmitted diseases or abortion issues. I would even say that we would have less crime and more productivity in the world. Think about it, if everyone came from a loving family with a loving father and mother, who chose to have children to love them and nurture them, would we have so much crime? I think not. Would we have so many emotional problems in the world? A lot less.

God, just like our earthly parents, warned us to not touch the stove, but we have and we continue to do it. There is only so much God can do, because after all we are free and able to make our own decisions. God gave us our agency and we must live with the consequences of not listening to his warnings.

The chapter ends with a warning, that if we do not follow the commandments of God and forget about him, then we will perish.  Look at the world today… and we can see why we are “perishing”.