Thursday, June 30, 2022

Dividing of Israel and Judah (1 Kings 12-14)

The Houses of the Lord

READ 1 Chronicles 17:3-6

Where has the Lord dwelt in Israel?

From tent to tent.

From tabernacle to tabernacle (could be “the” Tabernacle or could be people, as your body is an earthly tabernacle).

 

READ 1 Chronicles 17:10-14

What house will the Lord build for David?

A family.

What was the House of the Lord that Christ was to build and who is to build it?

It is a House or Family of God - those who become His sons and daughters to sit on His throne forever.

Solomon (raise up thy seed… he shall build me a house).

Christ (came from David’s lineage; establish his kingdom; establish his throne forever; he shall be my son; settle him in my house and in my kingdom forever).

How is the House of the Lord established?

Through the covenants of the Temple that lead sealed men and women back into the presence of God in the flesh.

This is not referring to the establishment or construction of a building, although the rites of the building enable the establishment of the true house or family of the Lord – on earth as it is in heaven.

 

READ 1 Kings 9:2-7

What will happen if the House of Israel forsakes the Lord and refuses to be adopted into His House?

They will lose the land.

They will lose the temple/tabernacle.

They will lose their exaltation.

They will not enter into the rest or presence of the Lord (“this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight” - see v7).

 


The Division of Israel from Judah

Watch for how Israel’s fate is bound up with how they regard both of these “Houses” of the Lord

Who was Jeroboam?

A servant of King Solomon.

An Ephraimite (see 1 Kings 11:26).

A skilled worker and leader (see 1 Kings 11:28).

Ajijah, a prophet, tells Jeroboam that the Lord will rend the Kingdom of Israel out of Solomon’s hands and give ten of the tribes to him.  This was due to Solomon’s idol worship and forsaking of the Lord.

 

READ 1 Kings 11:37-38

What will the Lord give Jeroboam if he walks in His ways?

The Lord will be with him.

He will build for Jeroboam a “sure house”.

He will give Israel to him.

 

Solomon finds out about this and tries to kill Jeroboam, who flees to Egypt until the death of Solomon. 

READ 1 Kings 12:1-4

What does this action tell us about Jeroboam?

His vow to submit to Rehoboam seems honest.

The terms (lower taxes) seem reasonable.

He has received a promise from the Lord that if he is righteous, he will be blessed with a kingdom, but he is willing to put that to the side for the good of the people (lower taxes for all).

 

READ 1 Kings 12:6-7

What are the old councilors teaching Rehoboam?

How to have power in the priesthood (READ D&C 121:41-46).

How to lead like Christ did - a “servant leader” (READ John 13:4-16).

What is the Lord’s approach to leadership?

Serve.

Love.

Guide/advise.

Sacrifice for/intervene on behalf of.

How do servant leaders, like Christ, influence people?

We love them because they first love us; that love is shown in their sacrifices for us.

They guide people to a place they (the leader) have already arrived at – they are out in front and have valuable knowledge.

 

READ 1 Kings 12:13-14

Why would Rehoboam chose to rule like this?

It is the nature and disposition of almost all men… to exercise unrighteous dominion (READ D&C 121:39).

Arrogance and pride - the natural man.

What do you think will happen?

The northern tribes will rebel (see 1 Kings 12:16).

The prophesy regarding Jeroboam is realized (see 1 Kings 12:20).

 

 

The Apostasy of Both Israel and Judah

READ 1 Kings 12:26-28

What is the biggest threat to Jeroboam’s power in the Northern Kingdom?

The temple is a critical part of the religion and is located in Jerusalem – which is now part of the “Southern” kingdom of Judah.

If people go down there to worship, they might actually live their religion, become one with their brothers in the South and reconcile with Judah politically; and then the power of the South Kingdom’s priests, particularly if they were under the sway of his rival king, could be the ruin of his Northern Kingdom independence.

Why would Jeroboam do this?

While he seemed to believe in God to some degree, his heart was with either retaining the Kingdom or it changed to be that - nothing would be allowed to get in the way of his kingship, even God.

 

READ 1 Kings 12:32

Who is Jeroboam worshipping in Beth-el?

Himself!

He invented the golden calf idea from Israelite history but he knows that the idol had nothing to do with bringing the people of Israel out of Egypt.

This is really a feast for the king.

He needs to wrest religious control from the Southern Kingdom priests and their temple.

 

READ 1 Kings 14:22-24

Who are they worshipping in Judah?

Baal = the high places and images.

Ashtoreth = the groves.

How is Judah’s apostasy different from Israel’s?

In Judah the people choose to go back to the Canaanite gods.

In Israel, the King entices the people with new gods.

But the outcome of both is the same - apostasy from the true and living God.

 

 

A Righteous Leader

READ 2 Chronicles 14:2-5

How was a righteous king like Asa able to get the people to repent and turn to God?

They command or compel them to seek the Lord God of Israel (2 Chronicles 14:4).

They use their military/power to destroy the sacred sites of the false religions (2 Chronicles 14:2).

People have to submit (2 Chronicles 14:5).

What is wrong with this approach?

The righteousness is on the head of the king, not the individual.

It violates the plan of god, which requires agency for beings to progress in light (you cannot compel righteousness).

 

READ 2 Chronicles 17:9

How is this a better approach for the King to take?

Honors free will.

Scriptures contain the Word of God.

Gives individuals an opportunity to understand the saving doctrines.

Gives individuals an opportunity to connect with God themselves.

 

READ Alma 42:27

What is the Lord’s approach to repentance?

You are free to choose.

He will entice and warn you to follow Him (just as the Adversary tries to entice you to follow him).

There are natural consequences to your choices.

But it is up to you – it is non-compulsory.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Dividing of Israel and Judah (1 Kings 12-14) QUESTIONS

The Houses of the Lord

READ 1 Chronicles 17:3-6

Where has the Lord dwelt in Israel?

 

READ 1 Chronicles 17:10-14

What house will the Lord build for David?

What was the House of the Lord that Christ was to build and who is to build it?

How is the House of the Lord established?

 

READ 1 Kings 9:2-7

What will happen if the House of Israel forsakes the Lord and refuses to be adopted into His House?

 


The Division of Israel from Judah

Watch for how Israel’s fate is bound up with how they regard both of these “Houses” of the Lord

Who was Jeroboam?

 

READ 1 Kings 11:37-38

What will the Lord give Jeroboam if he walks in His ways?

Solomon finds out about this and tries to kill Jeroboam, who flees to Egypt until the death of Solomon. 

 

READ 1 Kings 12:1-4

What does this action tell us about Jeroboam?

 

READ 1 Kings 12:6-7

What are the old councilors teaching Rehoboam?

What is the Lord’s approach to leadership?

How do servant leaders, like Christ, influence people?

 

READ 1 Kings 12:13-14

Why would Rehoboam chose to rule like this?

What do you think will happen?

 

 

The Apostasy of Both Israel and Judah

READ 1 Kings 12:26-28

What is the biggest threat to Jeroboam’s power in the Northern Kingdom?

Why would Jeroboam do this?

 

READ 1 Kings 12:32

Who is Jeroboam worshipping in Beth-el?

 

READ 1 Kings 14:22-24

Who are they worshipping in Judah?

How is Judah’s apostasy different from Israel’s?

 

 

A Righteous Leader

READ 2 Chronicles 14:2-5

How was a righteous king like Asa able to get the people to repent and turn to God?

What is wrong with this approach?

 

READ 2 Chronicles 17:9

How is this a better approach for the King to take?

 

READ Alma 42:27

What is the Lord’s approach to repentance?

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

King Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 3, 5-11)

The Temple of Solomon

READ 1 Kings 5:3-5

What would have happened if David had focused on building a temple instead of fighting wars and building a kingdom?

He might have removed the condemnation his people were under since the time of Moses (see D&C 84:19-27) by focusing them on sanctifying themselves so that they might enter the presence of God themselves.

He might have enabled the establishment of a third Zion.

What can we expect from Solomon’s Temple, given the fact that he built it in an opportune moment without sacrifice?

It will be a beautiful edifice.

It will be Aaronic in its ordinances.

It will suffer from the same problems that Israel had been suffering from since Sinai – without sacrifice, the people will not obtain the faith to rend the veil and learn from the Lord their standing before Him (see LoF 6:2-7).

It will never be visited by the Lord Himself and accepted as His House on earth – not institutionally, at least.

 

READ 1 Kings 6:11-14

What opportunity did the Lord give to Solomon and his people with the building of the Temple?

To be visited by the Lord Himself and accepted as His House on earth.

To teach the children of Israel what they must and can do, individually, to come unto Christ and be redeemed; to see and understand the symbolism of the temple and allow the building and its rites to teach them how to approach, part and enter the real veil between the earth and the heavens.

How does the Temple symbolize the deliverance and exodus from Egypt?

Outer Courtyard = Egypt.

Altar of Sacrifice = Passover (sacrifice of the lamb).

Laver of Water = Crossing the Red Sea.

The Holy Place = Wilderness (place of covenant).

Menorah = Light of the Lord (Israel witnessed it/lead by it in wilderness).

Showbread = Manna and water from heaven (in wilderness).

Altar of Incense = Prayers of Moses and Israel.

Veil = Borders of the Promised Land.

Holy of Holies = The Promised Land.

Ark of the Covenant = The Lord abides in their presence (Zion).

How does the Temple symbolize our journey back into the presence of God?

Outer Courtyard = The World of Sin.

Altar of Sacrifice = Sacrifice of a broken heart & contrite spirit.

Laver of Water = Baptism.

The Holy Place = Lord’s Wilderness School (place of covenant).

Menorah = Gift of the Holy Ghost/Birth of the Spirit/Baptism of Fire.

Showbread = Sacrament of Lord’s body and blood.

Altar of Incense = Sacred ordinances culminating in the holy order of prayer – the “keys of the kingdom” or keys of how to gain answers to your prayers from God.

Veil = The actual veil between us and the spiritual realm.

Holy of Holies = The spiritual realm/Celestial kingdom.

Ark of the Covenant = The Throne of God, where we are sealed up to Eternal Life by the Father.

So, from this we see that the Temple was both the means of preparing to receive the covenants required to enter into the presence of The Lord and be sealed up, but was also an exact similitude of the path we must walk to enter in.

How does the Temple symbolize Christ Himself?

Outer Courtyard = Made Himself manifest unto the World.

Altar of Sacrifice = Sacrificed His will to do the will of the Father.

Laver of Water = Baptized to fulfill all righteousness.

The Holy Place = He is the Way (which we enter by covenant with Him and enter His wilderness).

Menorah = He is the light of the world.

Showbread = He is the bread of life; He offered his body and blood on our behalf.

Altar of Incense = He stood/stands before the Father, pleading on our behalf.

Veil = He rent the veil, that all mankind that covenants with Him may enter in (He becomes the gatekeeper).

Holy of Holies = He is the Life and Light of THAT world, too.

Ark of the Covenant = He rules and reigns in the presence of the Father.

How many divisions existed in the Temple and what do they symbolize?

Four, but only three divisions were relevant to priestly service.

The Court of the Gentiles where all people were welcome but no priestly or religious rights were performed.

The Outer Area where the slaughter of animals took place, where the altar and vessels for washing were located, and where the Priests and common Israelites mingled in performing the outward ordinances; all Israelites were invited here but only Israelites – no Gentiles.

The Holy Place where the showbread, altar of incense, Menorah were; only the Priests were allowed to enter – they went in twice daily to burn incense and light the candles.

The Holy of Holies where the ark of the covenant was located, representing the presence of God; only the High Priest was allowed to enter and only once a year on the Day of Atonement to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat.

The divisions represent ascending levels of holiness and were symbolically separated by degrees on the basis of who was excluded – the fewer the number of people invited, the greater the associated holiness.

 

READ D&C 84:23-24

Who was intended to enter the Holy of Holies?

Until the rebellion with the Golden Calf, EVERYONE was intended to enter - not just the High Priests.

The covenants of the Tabernacle/Temple were designed as the primary way to sanctify the people, that they might enter the presence of The Lord. 


READ Isaiah 1:11-12

Why are God’s people to go to the Temple?

They are not there to just administer rites.

They are definitely not there to be seen of men as being righteous.

They should not be there to make money from the temple patrons.

All of these reasons “trample” the Lord’s temple courts.

God’s people go to the temple to see God!  If they aren’t there for that purpose, nothing else counts for much.

But instead of going to see God, His people resemble the dumb animals that were brought for sacrifice – unaware of their reason for being there; instead of offering their whole souls to God, as symbolized by the burnt offerings and the shedding of the animals’ blood, the people trample about the courts, defiling it with their lack of knowledge of why they should be there and their lack of desire to meet God, if they ever knew.

They have forgotten that they, themselves, are the temple of God.

 

As a point of interest, the entrance to the temple is to the east (on the eastern side of the building), so when one travels through the Temple from the Gate to the Holy of Holies, one is traveling west; what implications might exist for you, since the temple is symbolic of the journey back to the presence of God (see TSJ John 21:4-8)?  Is your heart “turned towards the west” or “replenished from the east”?                                                                                                  

 

 

How Solomon Gained His Wisdom

READ 1 Kings 3:5-15 and 2 Chronicles 1:7

Did Christ visit Solomon at night or did the king dream this?

It was a visitation.

We know this because the gift of wisdom was actually given to Solomon or the opportunity to gain wisdom was given to Solomon, at that time.

Under what circumstances does the Lord grant a wish or request like this?

Only when the Lord is making someone’s calling and election sure – the Nephite and Hebrew apostles are both examples of this – the Lord enables the recipient to ask whatever they would like.

Solomon received his gift of wisdom when he became a Son of God at the event of his calling and election on the day of the dedication of the temple.

 

READ 1 Kings 3:16-28

Whose wisdom is being demonstrated here?

Solomon’s, not the Lord’s.

Solomon is being clever.

The Lord’s wisdom looks upon the heart; the Lord knew who the mother was and could have revealed it, either directly or indirectly, to His servant.

 

READ 1 Kings 5:29-34 and 11:2-11

How does Solomon gain the gift of wisdom?

As a result of learning from his poor and foolish choices (see Ecclesiastes 12:8, 13-14).

He is given worldly success and power, which in turn yielded failures that produced wisdom.

Solomon learned wisdom, but it was not without a great price.

What kingdom is being referred to here that Solomon has forfeited?

The Kingdom of Israel.

And the eternal kingdom and crown that he was promised in his calling and election.

The Lord had appeared unto Solomon twice, but he had not kept the commandments that the Lord had given him, forfeiting his eternal blessings by not being valiant in the Testimony of Jesus.

How did Solomon fall from his calling and election?

By marrying outside of the covenant and embracing his heathen wives’ gods, he betrayed the Lord.

He “went not fully after the Lord”; although he had been in His presence, he failed to do whatever it was the Lord asked Him to do after receiving his hope or promise of salvation (see 2 Nephi 32:6).

 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

King Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 3, 5-11) QUESTIONS

The Temple of Solomon

READ 1 Kings 5:3-5

What would have happened if David had focused on building a temple instead of fighting wars and building a kingdom?

What can we expect from Solomon’s Temple, given the fact that he built it in an opportune moment without sacrifice?

 

READ 1 Kings 6:11-14

What opportunity did the Lord give to Solomon and his people with the building of the Temple?

How does the Temple symbolize the deliverance and exodus from Egypt?

How does the Temple symbolize our journey back into the presence of God?

How does the Temple symbolize Christ Himself?

How many divisions existed in the Temple and what do they symbolize?

 

READ D&C 84:23-24

Who was intended to enter the Holy of Holies?


READ Isaiah 1:11-12

Why are God’s people to go to the Temple?

 

As a point of interest, the entrance to the temple is to the east (on the eastern side of the building), so when one travels through the Temple from the Gate to the Holy of Holies, one is traveling west; what implications might exist for you, since the temple is symbolic of the journey back to the presence of God (see TSJ John 21:4-8)?  Is your heart “turned towards the west” or “replenished from the east”?                                                                                                   

 

 

How Solomon Gained His Wisdom

READ 1 Kings 3:5-15 and 2 Chronicles 1:7

Did Christ visit Solomon at night or did the king dream this?

Under what circumstances does the Lord grant a wish or request like this?

 

READ 1 Kings 3:16-28

Whose wisdom is being demonstrated here?

 

READ 1 Kings 5:29-34 and 11:2-11

How does Solomon gain the gift of wisdom?

What kingdom is being referred to here that Solomon has forfeited?

How did Solomon fall from his calling and election?

Thursday, June 16, 2022

The Psalms of King David (Psalms)

It is my opinion that it is not enough to attempt to avoid evil by memorizing hymns. You can spend as many wasted hours humming hymns as singing rock songs.  Neither one will particularly elevate you. Meditating on doctrine, pressing understanding, pondering deeply and engaging the mysteries of God are what will fill the mind with light.  Having said that, music and the frequencies they emit can positively or negatively affect the soul. 

 

Why were the Psalms quoted by Christ more than any other scripture?

They are filled with truths worth meditation.

Despite his sins and fall from grace, David was a man after His own heart (see 1 Samuel 13:14); David was a friend of the Lord’s from the “first place” or in a prior eternity; and the Lord still loved David after his fall or he wouldn’t have quoted him so much during his mortal ministry.

The Lord seems to love poetry – Isaiah is also one of His favorites (see 3 Nephi 23:1).

 

 

The Psalms Testify of Christ

“All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (see Luke 24:44).

 

How do the Psalms testify of Christ – what examples can you identify?

The Messiah would be a priest (Psalm 110:4), and king (Psalm 2:6).

Be God the Father's Son (Psalm 2:7).

Be called Lord (Psalm 110:1).

He would have zeal for His Father's house and reproach those who would violate it (Psalm 69:9).

He would teach in parables (Psalm 78:2).

His word is a lamp and light (Psalm 119:105).

He would be a stumbling block to the Jews (Psalm 118:22).

He would calm the waves (Psalm 107:23-30).

And in the end, be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9).

He would be falsely accused (Psalm 35:11).

He would be mocked (Psalm 22:7).

He would be thirsty (Psalm 69:21).

He would ask God why He had forsaken Him (Psalm 22:1).

He would commit His spirit to God (Psalm 31:5).

He would be resurrected (Psalm 16:10).

And ascend to heaven (Psalm 68:18) to sit at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1).


READ Psalm 22

How did Christ testify of Himself by quoting the Psalms?

In his last hours, Christ attempted to testify to all those who would listen regarding who He was - the Messiah prophesied by David – by quoting Psalm 22 to them – which was happening before their eyes at that moment.

 

 

Have Mercy on Me

READ Psalm 51 and Psalm 69

After David compounded his adultery with the murder of Uriah, what did he do?

He desperately petitioned the Lord for mercy, in the bitterness of his soul.

Psalm 51 - Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy loving kindness.

Psalm 69:1-20 - Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul.

 

 

Insights into the Atonement

What two ways does the Psalms teach us to think about our need for the Atonement?

Being cast out of the presence of the Lord - “spiritual death” - D&C 19; Psalm 22.

Being brought back, unworthy, into the presence of the Lord - “judgement” - Mormon 9:4-5; 2 Nephi 9:14-16.

As a sufferer because of sin himself, David’s psalms teach us about Christ’s atonement… as well as foreshadowing many of the events of Christ’s life… making David a prophet.  Although David suffered for his own sins, that same suffering was experienced by Christ, multiplied by infinity. 

 

READ D&C 19:15-19 and Alma 34:9-10,14

What do Psalms 22, 51 and 69 teach us about the Atonement, from Christ’s perspective?

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely, he HATH borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:3-4).

 

 

A New Song: Receiving Christ’s Mercy

READ Psalm 116:7-9; Psalm 30:5 JST; Psalm 27; Psalm 40; Psalm 23

What do these Psalms teach us about the Lord’s mercy?

“As often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me” (Mosiah 26:29).

He is a “first watch God” when it comes to mercy (Alma 34:31 and Mosiah 25:10 and Mosiah 4:2-3 and Alma 15:8-11 and Alma 36:18-20).

When the Lord comes to you, you will NOT be worthy - no one is – and as He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, His first order of business is to forgive your sins.

 

 

The Fall of a Prophet

READ Acts 2:29-30 and D&C 132:39

Is it possible for a Prophet like David to fall?

Yes.

No one is infallible (see also the “Race and the Church” statement where Brigham Young and others of the early Brethren made policies and doctrines that were “in the absence of direct revelation” but positioned them as if they were.

While you are in this world, as Paul put it, you stand in jeopardy every hour. (1 Cor. 15: 30.) Here is the place in which the trial, the test, the temptation, the burden of mortality exists. It exists for so long as you have the flesh.

David rejoices in the Lord that he has not been cast off forever (he is not a son of perdition), but he has lost the gifts and promises that the Lord had made unto him, i.e. his exaltation and his wives, including Abigail (who was symbolic of Christ).

 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

The Psalms of King David (Psalms) QUESTIONS

It is my opinion that it is not enough to attempt to avoid evil by memorizing hymns. You can spend as many wasted hours humming hymns as singing rock songs.  Neither one will particularly elevate you. Meditating on doctrine, pressing understanding, pondering deeply and engaging the mysteries of God are what will fill the mind with light.  Having said that, music and the frequencies they emit can positively or negatively affect the soul. 

Why were the Psalms quoted by Christ more than any other scripture?

 

 

The Psalms Testify of Christ

“All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (see Luke 24:44).

How do the Psalms testify of Christ – what examples can you identify?


READ Psalm 22

How did Christ testify of Himself by quoting the Psalms?

 

 

Have Mercy on Me

READ Psalm 51 and Psalm 69

After David compounded his adultery with the murder of Uriah, what did he do?

 

 

Insights into the Atonement

What two ways does the Psalms teach us to think about our need for the Atonement?

 

READ D&C 19:15-19 and Alma 34:9-10,14

What do Psalms 22, 51 and 69 teach us about the Atonement, from Christ’s perspective?

 

 

A New Song: Receiving Christ’s Mercy

READ Psalm 116:7-9; Psalm 30:5 JST; Psalm 27; Psalm 40; Psalm 23

What do these Psalms teach us about the Lord’s mercy?

 

 

The Fall of a Prophet

READ Acts 2:29-30 and D&C 132:39

Is it possible for a Prophet like David to fall?

Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Fall of King David (2 Samuel 11-12; Psalm 51)

A few important events to give context to today’s post:

·         The Lord killed Nabal, and David ended up marrying Abigail.

·         King Saul and his son Prince Jonathan were both killed in battle by the Philistines.

·         David is eventually crowned King of all Israel - he finally defeats the local Canaanite tribes to usher in Israel’s “Golden Age”.

·         David continued to push to expand the borders of his kingdom, fighting the Syrians and Ammonites.

 

King David and Bathsheba

READ 2 Samuel 10:17-18 and 11:1

What was the King’s duty during wartime?

To personally lead the troops in battle.

What is David doing?

Shirking his duty by staying home.

Making mistake #1.

 

READ 2 Samuel 11:2

What is the lesson to be learned from this verse?

The Holy Spirit goes to bed at midnight…

“We like the dark.  Dark for dark business” (from Tolkien’s The Hobbit).

Even if we are not looking for trouble, the Adversary will put trouble in our way - it’s his business.

You are not helping yourself with temptation if you’ve chosen to be somewhere that you shouldn’t be – particularly a “dark” place.

After having seen the beautiful woman bathing, what is David’s best next step?

Get on a horse and get back to that battle where he should have been all along.

Sing a hymn (compose a psalm).

Return to his bed.

It is interesting that as part of the “thick darkness” that gathered around the young prophet Joseph when he knelt in the sacred grove were improper images…“He therefore, retired to a secret place in a grove but a short distance from his father's house, and knelt down and began to call upon the Lord. At first he was severely tempted by the powers of darkness which endeavored to overcome him. The adversary benighted his mind with doubts, and brought to his soul all kinds of improper pictures and tried to hinder him in his efforts, and the accomplishment of his goal. However, the overflowing mercy of God came to buoy him up, and gave new impulse and momentum to his dwindling strength.” (Orson Hyde’s journal).

Is Bathsheba at fault for David’s reaction to her?

No.

He is looking where he should not be.

Nowhere in the scriptures does it say that Bathsheba was at fault for this.

 

READ 2 Samuel 11:3

What did David do instead?

He allowed his mind to keep thinking about her.

He chose to inquire after her - who is she?  Pushing the relationship onward, in his head/heart at least - enabling more.

 

READ 2 Samuel 11:4

What does David do when he learns that Bathsheba is married?

He makes a fourth (not being in battle, not turning away from the sight, not inquiring after the woman) bad decision.

He pursues her regardless - and sleeps with her.

What does David think will come of this deed?

Either he’s not thinking – he’s overcome with lust.

Or as the King of Israel, he thinks he can get anything he wants – arrogance.

Or he thinks no one else will ever know.

If David doesn’t think he’ll be found out, what does this imply about his faith?

He doesn’t really have any.

God isn’t real to him at that moment (he’s “forgotten everything”).

As faith is the moving cause of all action - if he believed that a) God existed and was omniscient or even b) the spirit world existed and entities were observing him, he would have exercised faith in that notion.

Chances are that he would not have committed his act right in front of the Lord, but this is in fact what he did (and we do the same when we win) - there is no dark place dark enough to hide our deeds or thoughts from the all seeing eye of God (see Alma 39:8).

 

READ 2 Samuel 11:5

What is the consequence of David’s action?

A natural consequence - Bathsheba gets pregnant.

 

READ Alma 39:5,9 and Mosiah 4:30

How could David have avoided the Bathsheba incident?

He could have “crossed” himself.  “Watch yourself” - your thoughts, words, and deeds - there is a relationship between these three.

The mind can only entertain one thought at a time - you decide what to think about at any given moment. 

Observe the commandments and continue in the faith = fill your mind and life with so much light that the dark becomes as unappealing as it can be (knowing that we are still in this mortal condition and some things are physiological).

 

 

Adultery is an Abomination

READ Jacob 2:24

How does the Lord feel about adultery and fornication?

It is an abominable sin - next to murder and sinning against the Holy Ghost.

It is abominable because it takes something sacred and godlike and makes it profane and without divine objective.

It is abominable because it betrays a relationship that is supposed to mirror your relationship with God.

What is the relationship between David’s behavior with Bathsheba and his attitude towards adding more wives?

He’s not really “crossed himself”, has he?

It is a slippery slope David is on – a flaxen cord: first multiple wives, then concubines, then whoever he wants, like Bathsheba.

Remember Abigail was also David’s wife at this time; how does David’s faithlessness to Abigail mirror our relationship with Christ?

David betrayed Abigail as we betray Christ by:

1) “whoring after other gods” - He says we shall have no other gods before Him.

2) not keeping the commandments which He has given us - showing Him that we do not love Him, for if we did love Him, we would keep His commandments and love Him; we would not betray our relationship with Him.

Using the Atonement symbolism in 1 Samuel 25, David’s sin in betraying Abigail is like betraying Christ after having known Him… it warrants not receiving “forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come” (see D&C 84:41).  We will talk more about this analogy when we read Hosea.

 

 

The Valiant Men

After learning Bathsheba is pregnant, King David is in a panic - first he brings Bathsheba’s husband home from battle to attempt to appear to make him appear to be the father.  When Uriah refuses to go down to his house because his soldiers are at war where he should be, David concocts a truly evil plan.

READ 1 Samuel 11:14-17

Is this murder?

Yes (see 2 Samuel 12:9).

 

There is another account, not found in the King James Version, where Joab read David’s letter in front of Uriah and his men. 

What does “valiant” mean?

In this case it means brave - but in a worthy cause.

Uriah was valiant - he did not enjoy the pleasures of home while his men were at war and he died in battle to defend his country, his men, his king and his wife - and perhaps he even knew he was going to his death.

The valiant “bear the crosses of the world and despise the shame of it - they return good for evil.

The valiant suffer willingly and without complaint  (Uriah and his men went to their death with foreknowledge but without complaint).

 

My favorite scene in my favorite movie, “The Lord of the Rings,” is King Theoden’s speech to his cavalry as they look down at dawn on the battle before the gates of the besieged White City.  Between them and the city is an enemy host ten times their number.  The king rides back and forth in front of his troops, many of whom are about to die, and says, “Forth! And fear no darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Théoden! Spears shall be shaken; shields shall be splintered! A sword day... a red day... and the sun rises! Ride now... Ride now... Ride! Ride for ruin and the world's ending! Death! Death!!  Death!!! Forth Eorlingas!”  To me, this is the ultimate definition of valiance, embodied in Theoden and his riders: to knowingly sacrifice your life to save another. 

If valiance is to quietly and without fanfare put your life, your reputation, and your will on the line and sacrifice it for a cause worth dying for…what does it mean to be valiant in the Testimony of Jesus?

It is to submit your whole soul in sacrifice to your Lord - sacrifice the living (and dying) of your life to Him.

It is to lose your life in service to Him (and others) and to find joy in the sacrifice, not to seek to find your life; you seek Him and His will because you love Him.

It is to be hated by the World - to be different in ways they despise (“my ways are not your ways”) but to love them regardless, as He did (“Father forgive them”).

It is to embody D&C 121 - to persuade with love unfeigned, to suffer long, to display pure knowledge, that your confidence will wax strong in the presence of God.



The Parable of the Ewe Lamb

READ 2 Samuel 12:1-6

What is the Lord trying to teach David in this parable?

That he is the Rich Man.

That Uriah truly loved Bathsheba while David only looked on her appearance.

That David’s love was transactional while Uriah’s was born in years of sacrifice.

 

READ 2 Samuel 12:7-10

What do these verses teach us about the Lord’s blessings?

He will give us all things, IF WE DO NOT DESPISE HIM.

We despise Him by not keeping His commandments; pride and putting our will before the Lord’s is our downfall (and it is the hallmark of the natural man).

Was David a Prophet-King and what do we learn from his fall?

Yes (see Acts 2:29-30).

We learn that no one is immune from sin – we are all in jeopardy every hour we live on earth – we can’t be too careful but much constantly watch ourselves (see Mosiah 4:30).

That the statement we believe today about the prophet not being able to make a mistake and lead the Church astray or he will be killed is rubbish; the Lord allowed David his agency and did not kill him for using it – and all Israel suffered as a result as the kingdom was shortly split up and then lost to invaders.

 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

The Fall of King David (2 Samuel 11-12; Psalm 51) QUESTIONS

A few important events to give context to today’s post:

·         The Lord killed Nabal, and David ended up marrying Abigail.

·         King Saul and his son Prince Jonathan were both killed in battle by the Philistines.

·         David is eventually crowned King of all Israel - he finally defeats the local Canaanite tribes to usher in Israel’s “Golden Age”.

·         David continued to push to expand the borders of his kingdom, fighting the Syrians and Ammonites.

 

King David and Bathsheba

READ 2 Samuel 10:17-18 and 11:1

What was the King’s duty during wartime?

What is David doing?

 

READ 2 Samuel 11:2

What is the lesson to be learned from this verse?

After having seen the beautiful woman bathing, what is David’s best next step?

Is Bathsheba at fault for David’s reaction to her?

 

READ 2 Samuel 11:3

What did David do instead?

 

READ 2 Samuel 11:4

What does David do when he learns that Bathsheba is married?

What does David think will come of this deed?

If David doesn’t think he’ll be found out, what does this imply about his faith?

 

READ 2 Samuel 11:5

What is the consequence of David’s action?

 

READ Alma 39:5,9 and Mosiah 4:30

How could David have avoided the Bathsheba incident?

 

 

Adultery is an Abomination

READ Jacob 2:24

How does the Lord feel about adultery and fornication?

What is the relationship between David’s behavior with Bathsheba and his attitude towards adding more wives?

Remember Abigail was also David’s wife at this time; how does David’s faithlessness to Abigail mirror our relationship with Christ?

 

 

The Valiant Men

After learning Bathsheba is pregnant, King David is in a panic - first he brings Bathsheba’s husband home from battle to attempt to appear to make him appear to be the father.  When Uriah refuses to go down to his house because his soldiers are at war where he should be, David concocts a truly evil plan.

 

READ 1 Samuel 11:14-17

Is this murder?

 

There is another account, not found in the King James Version, where Joab read David’s letter in front of Uriah and his men. 

What does “valiant” mean?

 

My favorite scene in my favorite movie, “The Lord of the Rings,” is King Theoden’s speech to his cavalry as they look down at dawn on the battle before the gates of the besieged White City.  Between them and the city is an enemy host ten times their number.  The king rides back and forth in front of his troops, many of whom are about to die, and says, “Forth! And fear no darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Théoden! Spears shall be shaken; shields shall be splintered! A sword day... a red day... and the sun rises! Ride now... Ride now... Ride! Ride for ruin and the world's ending! Death! Death!!  Death!!! Forth Eorlingas!”  To me, this is the ultimate definition of valiance, embodied in Theoden and his riders: to knowingly sacrifice your life to save another. 

If valiance is to quietly and without fanfare put your life, your reputation, and your will on the line and sacrifice it for a cause worth dying for…what does it mean to be valiant in the Testimony of Jesus?



The Parable of the Ewe Lamb

READ 2 Samuel 12:1-6

What is the Lord trying to teach David in this parable?

 

READ 2 Samuel 12:7-10

What do these verses teach us about the Lord’s blessings?

Was David a Prophet-King and what do we learn from his fall?

Thursday, June 2, 2022

David the Outlaw (1 Samuel 18-20, 23-25)

King Saul Turns on David

READ 18:6-9, 12

What causes King Saul to turn on David? 

Jealousy of the praise David receives from the women of Israel.

He realizes that the “Lord was with David and was departed from Saul” - in other words, he realizes that David is the next anointed King of Israel.

 

READ 1 Samuel 18:1-5

How is it possible that two men, Saul and Jonathan, could respond so differently to the loss of the throne?

One has the pure love of Christ and the other does not (or has lost the Spirit).

How is it possible that one man, David, could respond with the same loving attitude toward two men, Saul and Jonathan, who treated him so differently?

Again, the pure love of Christ – but it’s about to be tested.

 

But from that time on, King Saul tries to have David killed; and eventually to hunt down and kill David himself.  David flees to the Judean wilderness along the border of the Dead Sea, where he gains the leadership of a group of outlaws.  Things escalate to the point that Saul gathers 3,000 men to hunt David and his outlaw band in the desert.  As luck may have it, Saul finds a large cave in which to spend the night - the same cave that David and his men use for their headquarters.

 

READ 1 Samuel 24:3-4

Why did David cut off a piece of Saul’s robe?

To show the King that he could have killed him, but didn’t.

To make it clear that the rumors that David is trying to take the kingship are false.

 

READ 1 Samuel 24:12

How does David really feel?

He still wants the Lord to avenge him of the many hurts that Saul has caused him - he’s sort of cursing him (“the Lord avenge me of thee”).

But David will not do the deed himself.

We will see this passive-aggressive behavior play out again with David in the story of Uriah.

But David does not always “forgive and forget” or love with charity, as we will see in the Story of Nabal and Abigail…

 

 

David and Abigail on the Road to Carmel

David escapes to the desert with his band.  While there, they protect the flocks of a wealthy man named Nabal from other outlaws and Bedouin tribesmen, in return for a future payment of food and some sheepskins for clothing.  But when David’s servants went to collect the payment at the end of the season, Nabal said “Who is David and who is the son of Jesse?  …Shall I then take my bread and my water and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men whom I know not whence they be?”

 

READ 1 Samuel 25:12-13

Why is David’s response to Nabal’s fraud and personal slight different from his response to Saul’s murder attempt and banishment of David?

Everyone in Israel knew who the “son of Jesse” was!  David’s pride could have been pricked.

It’s not fair - they provided a service, are in need, and have been defrauded.

The wilderness of Paran (south Judean desert) is a very inhospitable place (think Lawrence of Arabia) - their “need” may be desperate.

David is still a natural man at this point - he had a love for Saul which he chose to continue to honor but for Nabal, the stranger, he had no prior relationship or love – he is not filled with charity – for Nabal at least, as his love was conditional.  This begs the question can you have the pure love of Christ for some people but not for others – that doesn’t ring true to me. 

What is David’s intent for Nabal and his household?

Justice.

Revenge.

Death.

Destruction.

The same thing Saul is attempting to do to him  (Saul is the King but David has been “unfairly” anointed by the now dead prophet Samuel to take the throne from him).

Why is being mistreated the most important condition of mortality?

Eternity depends on how we view those who mistreat us.

Mistreatment implies injustice – if we deserve what happens to us, it is easier to accept; but if it’s unfair, our hearts are really put to the test.

 

Nabal’s wife, Abigail, finds out about what Nabal had done to David.  Fearing that he would march on their home in the hill country of Carmel, she prepares all that is owed, and MORE, has it loaded on donkeys, and secretly rides out to head off David and his army of 400 angry men. 

 

READ 1 Samuel 25:25

Who is Abigail?

The wife of Nabal.

An innocent in this matter, and probably one who was mistreated by Nabal herself.

She is a type of Christ.

 

READ 1 Samuel 25:23-24, 28

What did Abigail do for Nabal?

She atoned/recompensed for his sins by delivering to David all that was owed and more.

She took upon herself his sins - “upon me let this iniquity be” - "forgive the trespass of thine handmaid".

Even though it was not her fault and she had done no wrong.

She saved Nabal from certain death at the hands of David.

She played the role of “savior on Mount Zion” – an advocate and mediator who begged to be blamed for the legitimate sins of another she cared for in order to save them from warranted destruction.

 

READ 1 Samuel 25:32-33

What did Abigail do for David?

She pled for him to not exact retribution.

She stopped him from exacting revenge - and sinning himself in the process!  So, she atoned for David’s (and his army’s sins), too.

She softened his heart and enabled him to forgive Nabal.

She gives him comfort in his legitimate hurt at the hands of Nabal - David was deprived of Nabal’s love, but he receives Abigail’s instead (and more).

Who is the real “sinner” in this story?

David.

…and Nabal.

It is the story about a sinner (David) responding sinfully to the sins of another sinner (Nabal).

Who committed the greater sin?

This is impossible to know - it’s a trick question.

However, David, as the victim, will feel that his sin of non-forgiveness is “not as bad” as Nabal’s sin against him.  However, this is even harder to overcome because it feels unjust to let it go.

 

 

The Atonement of Christ

When Christ stands before the Father (and comes to us) to atone for the sins of another and seek our forgiveness, does He say “forgive them for they know not what they do” or does he say “forgive the trespass of thy servant?”

He has taken upon himself our sins.

He says, “forgive the trespass of thy servant (me, Christ)”.

Neither Abigail nor Christ actually committed the sin, but their willingness to assume another’s sins illustrates who forgiveness is for; so who is forgiveness for?

Forgiveness is for the victim who was sinned against - the Lord will forgive who He will forgive, but we must forgive all men.

Why must the victim forgive a legitimate offense?

To remove the poison that the perpetrated sin has placed within the heart of the victim, that the victim may be healed.

Because the Savior has taken the offense upon Himself – for the good of all concerned (sinner and victim).

Why does Christ/Abigail not haul the sinner forward and make them beg the victim for forgiveness (“say you’re sorry, and MEAN it this time!”)?

For the victim’s sake.  The victim may still feel justified in withholding that forgiveness from the perpetrator, but how can they withhold it from a loving Lord?

To enable them to more easily repent of their failure to forgive.

Because they have taken the sinner's sin upon themselves - Christ became guilty of sin so He could suffer the atonement and overcome those sins before the Father.

The Lord says, “upon me let this iniquity be”; in effect, He says “let me deal with it, if there is any dealing to be done – I will be the judge of that because I know more than you about what has really happened and why.  But you, please let it go, for your own sake!  Let me take it, as I have already done.”

Should it matter to the victim if the sinner is really repentant or not?

No - not if the victim wants to be healed and forgiven themselves  (This is a HARD DOCTRINE - who can hear it?).

And not if the victim doesn’t also want to add “self-righteous arrogance” to “failing to forgive”.

 

It is as if, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Lord’s agony came in waves - a first wave for the sins that we commit against the Lord, each other and ourselves, with all of the regrets, shame and guilt that come with realizing truly what we have done - standing in the light of day with a full realization of all our guilt.  But then it is as if a second wave would follow and mirror the first, and in the second wave He suffered the pains endured by the victims of the acts committed by those in the first wave - now it was anger, bitterness, loss and resentment. 

Why might the second wave (the victim’s hurt) be harder to suffer than the sins of the first wave (the sinner)?

When the sinner comes to themselves and sees their sins in their full context, they feel a natural regret; plus, their sin is more obviously a sin.

But the victim may feel it is their right to hold resentment, and to judge their persecutor - to withhold the peace and love for that person - they feel justified in doing that; they will feel justified in their righteous indignation against the sinner.

Why are we required to lay down any burden we may be carrying - including forgiving those that unjustly sin against us?

When we withhold forgiveness from others, we are in effect saying that the Atonement alone was insufficient to pay for this sin. 

We are holding out for more. 

We are finding fault with the Lord’s offering. 

We are, in essence, demanding that the Lord repent for an insufficient atonement. 

So, when we fail to forgive another, we are failing to forgive the Lord - who, of course, needs no forgiveness. 

Christ can share with us His insights into the suffering He has suffered for those who have hurt us and for those we have hurt.  These insights into the Atonement form the basis of the “pure love of Christ” - they are truth - things as they truly are, not just as we think they are, and at their heart is love - the kind of love that encourages and comes from sacrifice for another.  Whatever we may see in others that troubles us, He cries to us: “Upon me let this iniquity be.” 

 

The Return to Israel & the Second Temple (Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai) QUESTIONS

Returning to Israel Background: The temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BC, when they sacked the city, killing or ta...