Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Keep the Commandments
Keep the Commandments: Know your God
When I hear the word command.. What do I think? I immediately rear my back and think.. I'll do what I want. Or he can't tell me what to do. Why do I react this way?
The word command is not meant to bring contention. In looking at the etymology of the word you can find that it means: instruction, direction, request, requirement.
Depending on who is giving the command it can also carry a connotation of: order, edict, demand, stipulation.
When I think about all that God has done for me personally, I think of the more positive feelings. He is asking me. He is beseeching me. Why? Because he knows the laws of nature. He loves us and he wants what is best for us.
I think back to when I was raising my children. As a parent I learned that the most prized thing I could teach my children was the law of obedience. If they could learn to trust my voice and judgment enough to listen to me when I gave instruction, it might save their lives. Obedience to someone who loves you and cares for you is critical in the success of a life journey.
Nephi expounds to his brothers not only the prophecies of Isaiah, but also the many lessons he learned about what would happen to his "seed". This chapter gives a literal interpretation of what was to happen and what has happened to the House of Israel. Reading it is self explanatory.
But Nephi also explained that there are spiritual lessons as well. Today.. when I read it I was drawn to the all powering love of God. How he knows us. He loves us. He will gather us in. He will protect us from his judgments that must fall on those who live their lives and suffer the consequences of eternal laws.
The recent earthquake in Chili is a great example. Everyone was affected by this earthquake. It is a literal physical occurrence that destroyed lives, homes, and hope. But for those who live to know God and his ways, it became a blessing. The mission president's wife of the area mission shared a story of how her husband and she were prompted to prepare everyone of their missionaries for an earthquake. When it hit, all of the missionaries were prepared, protected and kept safe. Why? Because they adhered to the counsel given them and followed the procedures outlined. They were then able to help others and teach the gospel to many.
This example is perfect reflection of Nephi's words "he will preserve the righteous by his power". Why? The righteous listen. The righteous understand the ways of God. ..
"even if it must be that the fulness of his wrath must come". (vs 17)
(Words and Phrases)
(vs 3) both temporal and spiritual - We are spiritual beings first. Sometimes in this life we forget that we are spiritual beings living in a physical body. Isaiah speaks of both the literal scattering of Israel and then their literal gathering in.
Like a family... the children grow ... scatter... and hopefully are brought together again
Literal and spiritual... like reading the scriptures. I read the literal meaning of the gathering of Israel.. and I find a spiritual meaning that brings me peace and strength
(vs4) led away... my greatest fear is that my children (or myself) will be led away.. away from me.. away from our family love.. away from the truth that will bring them joy. carried away to Babylon.. I pray that they will always find strength in God's love.
(vs 12) they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel- I want my children to know. I want them to be able to live their lives so that they know.
(vs 17) he will preserve the righteous - I do not need to fear. God will preserve me "even if it so be as by fire". I'm not sure what this means, but I do know that the best way to fight fire.. is with fire.
(vs 18) it cometh unto men according to the flesh - the blood, the fire, vapor will come if we harden our hearts. What if we don't harden our hearts? Will it still come and we will not be smitten? ?? Will it come both physically and spiritually?
(vs 19) the righteous shall not perish... - I think this answers the questions. It does not say we will not die physically. .it says we will not perish. We all know that if we live spiritually clean lives.. if we keep the commandments.. we can have eternal life. Death does not bring our demise. But to the wicked it does.
(21) Judgment in righteousness - there are many forms of judgments in this world. There are many ways to judge and be judged. I like being judged with righteousness.
(vs 25) he gathered his children - I like the idea of being gathered by a loving Father, who judges in righteousness, who cares for all of his children. who teaches truth, who brings security and safety with his breath.
(vs 21) they know him - It is my hope that I will know the spiritual God of my being. It is my hope that my children will also know him.
(vs 21) in him they shall find pasture - We all look fro rest from the stress of life. We look for it in humor, in sport, in competition, entertainment, education, exercise, knowledge, etc. Where do I find my greatest peace... my greatest pasture comes when I am learning of and serving the Lord
(vs 27) all things must come according to the flesh - What was told by the prophets will happen. Ignoring the prophets will not make it go away. It's like a science project on gravity. Once the ball and feather have been dropped, gravity will continue its pull on both of them. They will both fall. They will both crash. They fall with the same speed. But which would you rather be: a feather that floats effortlessly to its destination and lits softly. Or an iron ball that crashes with great destruction and pain?
(vs 28) all people will dwell safely ..if they will repent - Get the lead out. Lighten up. find some air... If I choose to repent and live the commandments of God, my life is much lighter. It has a greater ability to overcome adversity. If for some reason I cannot manage, God's hand is always there to redirect my path. I need not live in turmoil.
(vs 31) be obedient, endure ..- By living God's word, listening to the spirit within me I can learn to decipher those that would laden me down with unnecessary cares. We are all capable of having God with us.