2 Peter 3

2 Peter 3: The Second Coming

                Peter explains that in the Last Days many men and women will come saying; “…Where is the promise of his [Jesus Christ] coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:4) These same people will question other things like; ‘Why does God permit suffering?’ However, in order to understand all of this we must acknowledge that God lives, and that by His power the earth has been “…kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:7)

We may not understand the ways of our God, however we must remember that time unto God is not the same time unto us. In fact, trying to understand eternity and time outside of the linear time we acknowledge is very difficult. Peter uses an example to explain how time is different for God; “…one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8). This does not mean that one day is exactly one thousand years for God, but rather to be used as an example of how different time is viewed by God. We as human beings are used to time in the linear form; that is, point A to point B… with terms like past, present and future. However, time in eternity is more like past present and future with no point A to B. My only guess would be that the past, present and future are all one.

Peter reminds us that; “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise… the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…” (2 Peter 3:9-10) We will not have warning of His coming, but He WILL COME. Peter explains that “…some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned…” (2 Peter 3:16) Because of this, education is important; we need to be educated in all things both spiritually, mentally, and physically. Those who are unlearned may be “…led away with the error of the wicked…” (2 Peter 3:17) We should grow in grace and knowledge, so that we will not be led away by the devil.

Ecclesiastes 9-10

Ecclesiastes 9-10

Chapter 9: Time and Choice Happens to All Men

Solomon believed in enjoying life as a gift from God. The world is finite, and sin has twisted life, making it something other than what God intended. Society honors many things above wisdom such as attractiveness, wealth, popularity, and success. Solomon believed that wisdom is the greatest asset even though it often goes unrecognized.

                “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity [prideful, meaningless life]…” (Ecclesiastes 9:9) – (See Proverbs 5:18-20)

                Life is about getting married and having children… it is about spending your short life with someone that can enlighten you and make you a better person.

                “…Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.” (Ecclesiastes 9:16)

                You don’t need money or fame to make you powerful and wise… even the simplest man can be filled with knowledge. This means that we need to listen to everyone and value their input.

Chapter 10: Fools Are Full of Words

By describing circumstances that are unfair or don’t make sense, Solomon is saying that wisdom alone can’t bring justice. Everything we have is nothing without God. But when he uses what little we have, it becomes all we could ever want or need. If you lack skills, you should sharpen them through training and practice. This will make you more effective for God’s work.

One particular verse really caught my eye… “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.” (Ecclesiastes 10:2) I am not going to say it, but there is something political about this verse.

 

Psalms 89-90

Psalms 89-90

Chapter 89: Christ’s Throne shall be established

Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite

                Ethan tells us that the Lord is merciful and that no one can be compared to Him. We learn that in the assembly/congregation of the saints, the Lord is greatly feared. This Psalm is essentially about the: mercy, greatness, justice, and judgment of the Holy one of Israel. Ethan tells us that David’s seed (through Christ) will be established forever.

There is one thing that really caught my eye “He [Jesus] shall cry unto me [God the Father], thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my first born, higher than the kings of the earth.” (Psalms 89:26-27)

                This tells us a few very important gospel truths:

  • Jesus is the son of God the Father (Elohiem)
  • Jesus is the first son of God “…that he might be the firstborn among many bretheren.” (Romans 8:29)
  • Jesus is separate from God the Father (the Trinity: God the Father, His Son [Jesus] and the Holy Ghost). The Three are separate and individual beings.

Chapter 90: Man’s days, compared to God’s

A Prayer of Moses the man of God

                This is a Prayer of Moses where we learn that God is everlasting. Man’s life is meant to be “three score years and ten”; three score was a term used to say “60” and “10”= “70” so in other words humans are meant to live to age “70” according to Moses’s prayer.

Moses tells the Lord that He “…hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance” (Psalms 90:8). Moses is essentially confessing his and his peoples sins. Although I strongly feel that the Lord already knows our sins. Our sins are not secret from Him. Moses asks the Lord for his kindness in blessing the people.

 

Job 23-24

Job 23-24

Chapter 23: After Trials, We are Refined

Job answers his friends, yet again; “Even to day is my complaint bitter… and fill my mouth with arguments.” (Job 23:2-4). The wisdom and counsel of Eliphaz and others was of no relief to him, and just made his mental and spiritual agony worse. Job felt separated from God. He had found comfort and solace in God in previous times, but in this catastrophe he felt he could not find God.

“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:8-9)

Job explains to his friends that he indeed did look for God, but felt that He could not be found anywhere! Job tried with all sincerity to find God, but felt that God remained hidden. Even so, Job knew that God was still watching him, even if he couldn’t see or feel his presence. Job understood that even without seeing God, he knew that God was there and that what he was doing was for his own good. Job knew that this was a trial, even though he hated it and was suffering greatly deep down Job knew that this had to be, so that he would come forth as “gold” or in other words come forth stronger and more refined.

“My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined” (Job 23:11)

                Even after being accused of sin and abandoning God, Job proudly and boldy tells his friends that he has indeed kept the ways of God and had been and is continuing to be righteous.

Chapter 24: The Wicked Often Go Unpunished

“Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?” (Job 24:1) This is a fairly difficult verse to understand, but we might look at it in a different way; “Since God knows and will judge everything, why are the godly kept in the dark about His ways?” This also adds more application to the question of why God allows the prosperity of the wicked.

Other translations of the Bible read; in the NIV “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? The New Living Translation says “Why doesn’t the Almighty open the court and bring judgment? Why must the godly wait for him in vain?”

“Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them” (Job 24:12)

Why does God permit suffering? Job goes on to explain a little bit about WHY, but I want to share a little more insight into this question;

WHY does God PERMIT SUFFERING?

In the Book of Mormon we can find a story about a man named Jacob, Jacob was the first born of a man named Lehi. The story goes that Lehi (who was ancient prophet in Jerusalem) received divine inspiration to leave the city, before it was destroyed. Lehi and his family depart into the wilderness and while on their journey they encounter many hardships. Lehi explains to his first born son that “…God…shall consecrate thine affliction for thy gain” (2 Nephi 2:2), he goes on to explain a little about the plan of salvation (and the free gift of Salvation), agency and the sacrifices of Jesus Christ. But the most important part for us to understand take from this story is that there is opposition in all things.

“For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not… righteous could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad…” (2 Nephi 2:11)

Lehi knew that in order to have good, we must also have bad. Sometimes people wonder, why do commandments exist? I would respond that they exist for the very purpose that laws exist, for our protection. For if you “…shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness… if there be no righteousness there be no happiness… no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery… if these things are not, there is no God… if there is no God, we are not, either the earth…” (2 Nephi 2:13)

So, why does God permit suffering? I would argue that we live in a world of good and evil, for our own understanding. If we have never felt joy, we cannot understand it. However, if we feel pain and then feel joy we can truly understand what joy is, while at the same time learning what pain is. “Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself…” (2 Nephi 2:16). God gave us agency, and part of that agency means that we can truly act for ourselves, which means people can do bad things to others. If God were to interfere, we would not have agency.

With this agency, we can choose to be free and to “…choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of  all men, or to choose captivity and death according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27)

But we know that God wants only the best for us, “Adam fell that men might be’ and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25)

We are meant to enjoy this life, learn from it and repent of our wrong doings, while still in the flesh.

Job continues to say that those who commit these atrocious acts of murder, robbery or who commit adultery and all other manner of wickedness will see the morning and to “…them even as the shadow of death…” (Job24:17). Those who are wicked may be prosperous in this life, but in the end, when the morning comes, the judgment will befall them.

At times, we may fall on our knees in despair, and even usher up a prayer… “Heavenly Father, I hope you know, I am having a hard time”. Have you ever felt this way? I know I have, maybe you feel that God has abandoned you, or that He is nowhere to be found. The truth of it all? God is there. He is always there. Sometimes we are left to suffer, that we might know the joy, and we can feel the everlasting glory of his light.

Job 7-8

Job 7-8

Chapter 7: What is our time on earth?

“Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? …As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work: So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me. When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day. My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome.” (Job 7:1-5)

Job saw that his suffering was like discouraging work of a servant. He felt that there was no hope or reward for what he was going through. He suffered from a skin condition and long nights of insomnia.

“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope…mine eye shall no more see good… As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.” (Job 7:6-10)

Job, at this point was seeing life as meaningless and worthless.

“Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me? When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint; Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions: So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life. I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity.” (Job 7:11-16)

Job cried out to God, wondering if he was some sort of monster, like that of the sea. Job is telling God to stop or end his life, because he hates what he is going through.

 “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment? How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle? I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself? And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be” (Job 7:17-21)

Job is mad at God for not curing him of his pain. He asks God if he had sinned, and then asks why he is being punished.

Chapter 8: Our time on earth is short

Bildad makes the argument; if Job was righteous, God would bless and defend him.

               “Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice? If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression… If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.” (Job 8:1-4)

Bildad did not understand or take into consideration the pain that Job was experiencing. Instead Bildad chastises Job and makes it seem like it is his fault for the way he is and feels… obviously he had sinned.

“For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:” (Job 8:8)

Bildad suggests that Job inquire of wisdom from the past and make things right with his sin. Essentially he is saying; Job, obviously you have sinned… now confess and make things right. But the truth is that Job did nothing.

                “(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart? Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water?” (Job 8:9-11)

                Here we learn something very important that we can apply in our own lives… We are human, we have come to this earth to learn. But in reality, even with all the science breakthroughs and knowledge we have gained over last few thousand  years… we ultimately know…nothing! God knows all.
I normally do not like the New International Version of the Bible (mainly because I believe it is not as accurate and certain means can be lost), but the NIV might make a little more sense;

“for we were born only yesterday and know nothing,  and our days on earth are but a shadow. Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding? Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water?” (Job 8:9-11, NIV)

                The scripture goes on to say…

“Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb. So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish” (Job 8:12-13)

                While the advice that Bildad was giving was not appropriate for Job, having done nothing wrong. We can learn from this advice! We don’t know everything; we are constantly learning new things daily… so for someone to say that God does not exist is absolutely absurd. Perhaps science has yet to discover him? Don’t get me wrong, I believe in science and I love science. I believe in EVOLUTION, but I also know that science had to come from somewhere… God created science and all the rules of nature. We still have a lot to learn, and having just been born and with such a short time on this earth… our life is but a shadow… and in that shadow we can choose our path. However, if we choose a path that forgets God… we will perish.