Tuesday, July 26, 2016

1 Kings 11-12

(July 26, 2016)
                So what to make of Jeroboam?  On the one hand, here was someone hand-picked by the Lord to receive the kingship over ten of the twelve tribes.  On the other hand, here was someone who almost immediately turned away from the Lord when it became inconvenient (or dangerous) to worship God.

                Rather than castigate Jeroboam, though, the correct thing to do is to evaluate our own lives to see the ways we are imitating him.  When we are given a gift from the Lord, do we readily forget why we have been given that gift?  For example, when we pay tithing and then receive a financial windfall, is our first thought to express gratitude to the Lord or do we think we somehow earned it through our own efforts?  And when things are difficult, or even dangerous, do we hold to the Lord or do we turn to a pale or idolatrous imitation of the Gospel in order to remain safe and comfortable?

2 Nephi 5

(July 26, 2016)
                In reading the scriptures (as in life), sometimes there is a lot to be gained by considering the times the Lord doesn’t intervene.  Here, of course, is a perfect example of this.

                This moment represented the split between the Nephites and the Lamanites.  Now the Lord reaching down and killing Laman and Lemuel wouldn’t have resolved everything (the Nephites split thereafter several times, and they continued to have tensions between themselves and the Mulekites) but it certainly would have made a big (and, to our modern and temporal sensibilities, a positive difference).  It even seems consistent with the Lord’s principles He taught earlier that it is better that one man should die than that a nation should perish in unbelief.

                And yet, despite being able to intervene He chose not to.  Why?  I think He answers that later in this chapter.  The Lamanites were to become a scourge to the Nephites – not as a punishment but as a blessing.  The Lamanites aren’t the villains of the Book of Mormon – they are a tool that the Lord uses to bless the lives of the Nephites.

                We would do well to remember that when we face challenges in our lives.  When those around us seemingly are setting out to destroy us, are they a blessing from the Lord to us?  If the Lord could resolve this conflict immediately and chooses not to, is it because He knows more than we do and knows how everything will ultimately work for our good?