Proverbs 3-4

Proverbs 3-4

Chapter 3: Trust in the Lord… Not your own Wisdom

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do not be wise in your own eyes. We need to trust the Lord and not our own understanding of things. How much do we really know? Everyone claims to know everything, yet we still fight over questions like the meaning of life. While those who don’t believe or trust in God are fighting over those questions… those who do believe in God and trust in him already have answers to those questions.

“For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” (Proverbs 3:12)

This is like the “Don’t touch the stove, or it’ll burn you” A parent loves their children, unfortunately sometimes the children must learn for themselves… they touch the stove even though they were warned not too… and now they are hurting. God is the same way, he lays out commandments and then when people break them they cry out in pain. For example, God commands that we get married and refrain from pre-marital sex, then people decide not to follow this commandment and we are now left with teen mothers, single mothers, broken families and sexually transmitted diseases.

Chapter 4: Wisdom

“Get wisdom, get understanding; forget it not; neither let it decline…” (Proverbs 4:5)

                “Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7)

As a father would instruct his kids, get as much knowledge as possible! Education is so important, life skills, experiences all these things that cannot be given to us… but they are the only thing that can be taken with us in the next life.

“Take fast hold of instruction… Enter not into the path of the wicked…Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it…the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day… Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:13-23)

                We need to take instruction when needed, listen to advice and respect those who go out of their way to give it to us. Don’t go down the path of the wicked, but follow the path that shines more and more daily. If we keep our heart clean, then we will know what is right and wrong.

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Psalms 124-125

Psalms 124-125

Chapter 124: Israel’s Help is the Lord

A Song of degrees of David

                If the Lord would not have been with the ancient Israelites, they would have been killed by their enemies, the Lord who created the heavens and the earth is their help.

Chapter 125: Trust in the Lord

A Song of degrees

                “They that trust the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever” (Psalms 125:1) If we put our trust in the Lord, we will be like a mountain… steadfast and immovable. None of our enemies can triumph over us.

Psalms 3-4

Psalms 3-4

Chapter 3: Salvation is of God

This is the first Psalm with a title: “A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son.”

Most of the Psalms (by chapter) have a Title. These titles are part of the Canon and therefore are part of the scriptures. They are not just added in later, they were (or so we know) part of the original text from whence they were translated.

“Lord, how are they increased that trouble me…” (Psalms 3:1) At the writing of this Psalm David was in a great deal of trouble. His own son led what seemed to be a successful rebellion against him. Many of his previous friends and associates forsook him and joined the ranks of those who “troubled” him (2 Samuel 15:13).

“…tho, O Lord, art a shield for me…” (Psalms 3:3)

David’s situation was so bad that men around him felt he was beyond God’s help. Though many said there was no help for him from God, David knew that God was his shield.

“I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people…” (Psalms 3:6)

With God sustaining him, David could stand against anyone.

“Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people” (Psalms 3:8)

David understood that salvation came only through God. No one or thing can give you your salvation. To be saved, one must go through the Lord Himself.

Chapter 4: Put Your Trust in God

To the Chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David.

“Neginoth – Hebrew for Stringed Instruments”

 “Hear me… O God of my righteousness” (Psalms 4:1)

There is passion in David’s cry. He doesn’t want to just ramble on to himself. He wants to make sure that his words reach the heavens for God to hear. David knew that his righteousness came from God, and not from himself.

“Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still” (Psalms 4:4) 

I think that David was reminding himself to NOT sin. However, I also believe that this is a reminder for everyone to not sin. One thing I find interesting is how it mentions communing with your heart and being still. Here David is talking about prayer. Prayer should be done with an open heart and reverence (being still). God does not need anyone to scream, he can hear you and a quiet, reverent place is where the Spirit of the Lord can be found.

               “I will both lay me down in peace and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety” (Psalms 4:8)

I like to think of this as a reminder for us, to say our bed-time prayers. If we say our prayers before we go to sleep (and always for that matter), the Lord will help us to be a rest, peace and with safety.

 

Job 34-35

Job 34-35

Chapter 34: God Cannot Be Unjust

Elihu denounces Job for losing faith and denying God’s justice.

“Hear my words…give ear unto me…” (Job 34:2), here it sounds like Elihu is talking down to Job and telling him to listen, because he has all the answers.

Elihu falsely accuses Job of not understanding God’s ways, essentially telling Job that God could not be unjust.

“If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words” (Job 34:16)

Again, Elihu is talking down to Job. If you have understanding, then listen to me. But if Job chooses to not listen to Elihu, he is without understanding?

Elihu took Job’s agonized cries to God as Job condemning God. It was an unfair assumption; Job’s agony was deeply rooted in the sense that he did love God and respect His justice.

Elihu then continues to tell Job about what he should have said to God;

“Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: That which I see not teach thou me: If I have done iniquity, I will do no more.” (Job 34:31-32)

According to Elihu, Job should have accepted that he was a great sinner, repented and done no more wickedness. Well, the problem with this, is that Job did nothing wrong. If Job however had done wickedly, then yes this would have been the appropriate thing to do. We can learn from Elihu, and apply this principle in our daily lives. If you mess up, say you’re sorry and don’t do it anymore!

Chapter 35: Men Should Trust in God

Elihu confronts Job and asks him, if he believes himself to be more righteous than God. Elihu had just destroyed Job from the previous chapter, accusing him of adding rebellion to his sin, ignoring the wise counsel of his friends, and of speaking wrongly against God.

Elihu’s arguments and ideas were essentially the same as those of Job’s friends. Yet he thought of himself as different, and though that he could correct Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Afterall Elihu had the most wisdom! – Sarcasm implied.

Elihu wanted Job (and his friends) to understand an idea that they had already discussed and agreed upon, the idea that God is greater than man and beyond man.

Our wickedness hurts other men, but our righteousness can help them. Put your trust in the Lord!

Job 13-14

Job 13-14

Chapter 13: I will trust the Lord

Job complains against his friends who claim to have superior knowledge, to his friends and more especially Zophar, the situation seemed so simple; therefore Job must be somewhat ignorant to see what they believed was so easy to see.

Job did not understand any of his situations and felt that God was against him, not for him (as in Job 9:28 and 10:16-17). At the same time, he could still exclaim: yet I will trust Him. Job goes on to ask God to tell him if sin is indeed the cause of his suffering.

Chapter 14: Shall man live again?

                “If a man die, shall he live again? (Job 14:14) 

Job didn’t know much about the condition of man after death, but he supposed – perhaps hoped – that it was better than his current misery. Job testified of the short and fraility of life, the certainty of death and of a resurrection that would occur later… Yet Job’s general uncertainty is reflected in his question, “If a man die, shall he live again?”

I can’t think of a better place, then the Book of Mormon to answer Jobs and everyone’s questions… what happens after death?

“Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.

And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.

And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.

Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.” (Alma 40:11-14, The Book of Mormon)          

 

1 Chronicles 21-22

1 Chronicles 21-22

Chapter 21: David Numbers Israel

David commands that a census be taken, to “number” Israel. This is prompted however by Satan who has his own reasoning for doing things. God allows this temptation to move David into numbering Israel because God wants to chastise David. So why was it so bad to “number” Israel? In these times a man would “number” only what belonged to him. David did not own Israel or its people, God does. If God were to command a “numbering” of his people, then the motive would be service to the Lord and doing as He had commanded. However in this instance David was only concerned with protecting and putting his trust in a “multitude” of hosts, or in other words putting his trust in numbers of a manmade army over the trust of God.

In our daily lives we can see this happen to us on a daily basis. How often do we put our trust in something manmade or putting our trust in another man (or woman) over God? I would say quite often. We must put our trust in God. That, however, does not mean that we are free to do as we please, or to simply sit back and say that we are putting our trust in God, without any actions! To trust, or have faith in God, we must ACT. We must do all that we can in following the commandments and working hard for what we feel is right, and then and only then will the hand of God be shown in our lives.

Joab objects to the numbering and asks David to reconsider his foolish ways. Joab knew that David’s reasoning was built up in pride, wanting to know how powerful he was, perhaps to conquer a neighboring nation. In Samuel 24:4 we read that it was not only Joab who objected to the numbering, but also the captains of the army, but David however prevails in his desire to number Israel, and he was immediately sorry for doing so.

Joab comes back to David with the census complete and finds that there are 1.3 million fighting men among the twelve tribes, which is a small portion of the 6 million people living in Israel. Although Joab did not count the tribes of Levi and Benjamin, for fear that God would strike them down and all that would remain would be those who were not numbered. God would have struck down all of Israel, but God had already done so with the deeply afflicted heart of David. David, wasn’t perfect, but when he knew that he had sinned his heart was very sensitive to sin and therefore was very remorseful of his ways. David admits that he has been foolish and asks God for, forgiveness.

God sends a messenger to David and gives him three options of Judgment to forgive his sin:

#1: 3 years of famine.

#2: 3 Months until you are defeated by your enemies.

#3: For 3 days a plague would engulf the land.

 

God gave David these three options to test David’s heart and wisdom:

 

#1: 3 years of famine would surely kill most of Israel, the wealthy and resourceful would survive by depending on neighboring nations for food.

#2: 3 Months until you are defeated by your enemies would surely mean the death of most of the soldiers, and would probably result in new enemies.

#3: For 3 days a plague would engulf the land, this would cause a great deal of death among all of Israel, no matter whom; rich, poor, military…etc.

 

David chooses to have 3 days of plagues. This is important, because had David chose war; his family and himself would have been protected. Had David chosen famine, his wealth would have sustained him. Therefore he humbled himself and accepted of God’s punishment by choosing something that could ultimately affect himself and his loved ones. By choosing 3 days of plague he was also in the hands of God, whom he knew would be more merciful than man.

The destroying angel comes and kills 70,000 men of Israel and as the destruction is happening, God steps back and relented of the disaster and commanded the angel to restrain from continuing. David seeing the destructions laments to God asking him why he had killed so many of his innocent sheep and had refrained from touching him. God then commands David to erect a altar to the Lord. So
David does as he is commanded.

David goes to Ornan and asks him to build an altar where his threshingfloor stands. David buys the land for 600 shekels of God, the full price of the property. David offers peace and burnt offerings there, as a tribute to his understanding of God and his ways in destroying 70,000 of his sheep.

 

David finally knows where the Lord wants his temple to be built, right there on the threshingfloor.

 

Chapter 22: Solomon Is to Build the Temple

David is commanded to gather men who were foreigners in the land of Israel, which were about 70,000 slaves to build the temple of Solomon. David gathered the finest materials, cedar trees from Lebanon. The house of God would have to be magnificently built unto the Lord, so David made preparations for his son Solomon to continue building the temple after his death. David charges (gives blessing) to Solomon to complete this great work of building the House of the Lord after his death, in a sense if Solomon failed in building the temple, David failed as well. David warns Solomon to stay faithful to God and his word, in accomplishing the construction of the temple. David counsels Solomon to;

“…be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.” (1 Chronicles 22:13)

This is something that we can all appreciate and place in our hearts in our daily activities. Life, after all, is tough. Our challenges we face on a day to day level are not easy ones, but if we put our trust in God and don’t worry about the future or how something will come about, then we can have that courage and strength that we need to continue fighting towards our righteous individual dreams and desires.

David prepares the construction by leaving Solomon in charge of a great deal of money and resources to ensure that the temple does get built and with all its magnificence.

2 Samuel 21-22

2 Samuel 21-22

Chapter 21: The Lord Sends a Famine

The Lord sends a famine to Israel, while King David reigned, the famine lasted for 3 years. David went to the Lord and inquired of the reasoning behind the famine. The Lord responded by saying that it was because of Saul and what he had done to the Gibeonites. So David goes to them and asks them how he can atone for what Saul had done. They respond by telling him that they want nothing more than the sons of Saul to be hanged unto the Lord. So David sends all of the children of Saul, except Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan who was the son of Saul.

7 of the children of Saul are delivered to the Gibeonites and are hanged on the first day of the barley harvest. Rizpah, who was the mother of two of Saul’s children held a vigil over the dead bodies until it rained. This means that the famine was over and justice had finally been brought to Israel. David finds the bones of Saul and Jonathan and takes them along with the seven to give them a proper burial.

During a battle with the Philistines, David grows weak and is almost killed by one of the descendents of Goliath, but Abishai saves him. David grows older and older, but with the help of his other three servants; Sibbechai, Elhanan, and Jonathan… Israel is able to continue in power! By the hand of David and his servants, they killed Goliath and all his giant offspring.

Chapter 22: The Lord Blesses Those Who Trust Him

David sings praise to the Lord. The entire chapter has a Psalm sort of feel to it, so I will include the verses that I felt most important in my reading.

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter unto his ears” (2 Samuel 22:7) – Some people believe that God has abandoned them in their times of trouble. On July 8, 1838, Joseph Smith was in distress. He along with other leaders of the restored church of Jesus Christ , were locked up in prison (for no reason). Joseph Smith was hungry, tired and sick. Not only were Joseph and his leaders suffering in prison, but members of the church all over were being persecuted, raped and murdered! He cried out to the Lord; “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavillion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1-3)

                The Lord responded; “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure well, God shall exhalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8). So what do we learn here? We learn that even in the darkest of hours, the Lord is with us. Often times we do not fully understand the “WHY”, but the Lord does and he needs us to be patient and endure well. Maybe he is training us for something worse, or setting us up for something better. We never know, but if we are loyal to him, we will have the power to triumph over all our foes.

David continues with his Psalm; and says that “With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward (deceitful, perverted or crooked) thou wilt she thyself unsavoury.” (2 Samuel 22:27). Essentially if we are good and follow God’s commandments, we will always see the good in God and feel of his love and warmth. But if we are deceitful, perverted or crooked, we will always see God in a different light and we will think of him as bad. Why? Because those who are perverted or crooked, will never feel the warmth and love of God, like those who love God and show their love, by following his commandments!

“It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me” (2 Samuel 22:48). Essentially, we must sometimes give up our hate and just love our enemies and let God deal with their mis-deeds.