reconciled to God
Scheduled for study Mar. 9-15, 2020. How can we be reconciled to God? This week we talk about magnifying our callings, taking delight in chastity, avoiding spiritual blindness, and how we can support our Church leaders.

Day 1

Jacob 1:6–8, 15–19; 2:1-11 – The Lord wants me to magnify my calling.

When you record spiritual impressions, you show that you want the Holy ghost to teach you. As you read Jacob 1-4, consider writing down your insights.

If there is a connection between magnifying our callings and being found without spot at the final judgment, what is that connection? How might magnifying our callings and being found without spot be linked?

The two questions above are close to being the same question. Here are some other questions that might help you in considering your answer.

Jacob 2:2 – What responsibility am I under to God in fulfilling my Church callings, no matter which callings I have?

How does fulfilling the duties of our callings free us from the responsibility for the sins of others? This question presupposes that there is a possibility that our Church callings cause us to be linked to other people. Are we? Does your answer here relate in any way to Cain’s response to God when he was asked where Abel was and he replied, “I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)

When we are called to serve others in the Church, through ministering or through direct calling to a position, why might we sometimes feel a need to speak to those whom we serve with frankness or boldness?

What would be the end result if we didn’t speak with boldness if we had been moved upon by the Spirit to do so?

What I learned from today’s lesson is that there are covenant links between every covenant maker and those around them.

How can we say we remember Christ at all times and in all places we may be in, and not be concerned for the welfare of those souls who surround us?

How can we look our Lord in the eye and claim to be free of other’s sins if we made no effort to encourage righteous behavior and boldly love and minister to their needs and wants to support them in their efforts to return home to our Father in Heaven?

Isn’t magnifying our callings, like Jacob and Joseph took upon them the sins of their people if they didn’t do all in their power to teach them according to their callings from the prophet, what we are supposed to be doing in our own callings in the Church? It is the attitude that I am responsible for my example to all those around me. I will have to answer to the Lord for the degree and display of my concern for the eternal welfare of my brothers and sisters. That is what I think this lesson is talking about when it refers to magnifying our callings. We know we cannot use Cain’s statement to avoid our personal responsibility for the welfare of others.

Day 2

Jacob 2:23–3:12 – The Lord delights in chastity.

When you record spiritual impressions, you show that you want the Holy ghost to teach you. As you read Jacob 1-4, consider writing down your insights.

In Jacob 2:30 Jacob quotes the Lord by saying that there is only once circumstance under which it is considered right and proper to have more than one wife, and that is when it is commanded by the Lord.

30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

Since the Lord had not commanded these people to “raise up seed” by having more than one wife, their practice of taking concubines (“extra wives”) was considered to be a whoredom and an abomination to Him. This shows us that the Lord does not consider the act alone of having more than one wife an abomination, it is the act of collecting wifes for one’s personal pleasure He finds abominable. This practice He roundly condemns.

The relationship between husband and wife is sacred, and unless the Lord commands that the relationship between husband and wife be extended to other women, it violates the law of chastity to take upon oneself this relationship with more than one woman.

The men who knowingly took other wives/concubines against the wishes of their wife and the strict commandments of the Lord, are condemned by God for piercing their hearts and causing them sorrow (Jacob 2:35).

… Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.

Considering how the Lord describes chaste behavior in these verses, how would you define chastity?

How closely is chastity’s definition tied to the commandments?

Day 3

Jacob 4 – I can be reconciled to God through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

When you record spiritual impressions, you show that you want the Holy ghost to teach you. As you read Jacob 1-4, consider writing down your insights.

I’ll give you a headstart in today’s lesson by providing you with Dictionary.com’s definition of the word reconcile.

to win over to friendliness; cause to become amicable:to reconcile hostile persons.
to compose or settle (a quarrel, dispute, etc.).
to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent:to reconcile differing statements; to reconcile accounts.
to reconsecrate (a desecrated church, cemetery, etc.)

The question being asked in this lesson is how does the Atonement of Christ help to reconcile us to God?

What caused us to need a reconciliation?

Is there any other way to become reconciled with God other than through Christ’s Atonement?

How do we come unto Christ and become reconciled through him?

Here is an article that addresses the atoning sacrifice of Christ and how we can apply it in our lives to be forgiven of our sins. In other words, become reconciled or brought into harmony with God.

Day 4

Jacob 4:8–18 – I can avoid spiritual blindness by focusing on the Savior.

When you record spiritual impressions, you show that you want the Holy ghost to teach you. As you read Jacob 1-4, consider writing down your insights.

In the scriptures, darkness, blindness, and slumber all refer to spiritual ignorance. Each word helps to paint a different version of the trouble we are in when we are in a state of darkness, blindness, or are spiritually asleep. By the same token, the scriptures also talk about light, seeing, hearing, and being awake to describe the condition of those who are capable of understanding spiritual things. And being able to understand spiritual things means we are also trying to live our lives according to what we have learned. It is when we turn our backs on the practice of righteous living that we become spiritually blind, lapse into darkness, and fall into a spiritual slumber.

Have you ever wondered why the sign of Christ’s birth was a day, and a night, and a day of broad daylight, and the sign of his death was 3 days of total darkness such that no light could be kindled of any kind? When the scriptures teach us that all things testify of Christ, this is a good example. We learn in the scriptures that Jesus is the only way back to God, our Father. He is the light of the world, the source of the light of Christ – that which gives life and movement to the whole universe – and our conscience. He is the source of all light/intelligence/truth, and of all that is good in the universe.

When Jesus was killed and left mortality, those in the western hemisphere experienced three days of total darkness. He who was the source of all light had been extinguished on the cross, and all other lights went out for them as well. This was according to the prophecies of the prophets. Once he was resurrected their darkness dissipated and they could see again.

If Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light, and life of the world, how can we expect to return to live with God except by focusing our lives on Christ? Our faith must be centered in him, on his power to save us from our own sinful natures through his atoning sacrifice, and his resurrection.

As we focus our lives on Christ and the covenants he has made with us, the Holy Spirit enlightens our minds and hearts to the mysteries of godliness. We learn precept upon precept, and line upon line what it means to live, think, and feel as God does. Since spiritual things can only be learned through revelation, we must have the light Christ offers to enable us to “see” and comprehend the truths of eternity. It is only when we turn our backs on the light Christ offers us that we wander off into the shadows and are lost to him.

The Jews sought for things they could not understand, not understanding that God gives us what we want. Because they wanted hard things, God gave them things they could not understand, to their own condemnation. They became blind to truths because they wanted plain and simple truths to be hard to understand, which they aren’t. The gospel of Christ is easy to understand and comprehend. It is supposed to be this way.

Scripture Study and Family Home Evening

Jacob 1:6–8; 2:1-11; 4:18 – Sustaining our Church leaders

In the very last verse of chapter four Jacob calls the people beloved. But over and over again he acknowledges that many of those listening to him that day were pure in heart, chaste, and tender before the Lord. He and Joseph, his brother, had consecrated their lives to the service of the people of Nephi, because they had been called by Nephi to teach the people to be righteous. They had even covenanted with the Lord that they would take upon their own heads the sins of the people if they didn’t do everything they could in their calling as teachers of the people of Nephi. This kind of concern and love for the people is how our leaders show love for us.

But what about the love and concern we demonstrate for our Church leaders in any capacity? Do we even think about helping them with the responsibilities they have shouldered? Your Relief Society President has a family of her own, but must still be at every ward event and meeting. She spends countless hours making sure the poor and the needy are cared for in the ward, and that every woman who comes to Church has the best experience she can help them have in Relief Society. The Bishop is the first into the building each Sunday, and often the last to leave. By the time he goes home, many of us have already finished a meal or taken a nap.

Consider how Nephi helped his father when they had the broken bow experience. Even the prophet was struggling with his hardships. He was old, but was beginning to raise another child, or his wife might have already become expecting. They had lost everything (literally everything) by leaving Jerusalem, and now they were so far away they couldn’t have returned before starving to death. Even Lehi was questioning the Lord.

What did Nephi do to support his rank and file leader? It wasn’t his place to correct the prophet, even if Nephi had more faith than Lehi (I’m not saying he did, but even if he did). So Nephi went and did what he could to solve the problem of the missing weapon. And instead of praying for guidance to just go out and fix things himself, he humbly went to his leader and asked for his guidance on where to go to find food. Nephi submitted himself to the prophet and waited patiently for direction.

Nephi was obviously fully capable of getting his own direction, but at a time when even his own father was struggling spiritually, Nephi knew he could use some support. Nephi’s faith in him was just what Lehi needed. He went to the Lord and ironed out his differences with God and repented for his weakness. He then gave Nephi the directions the whole family needed. Nephi went and obeyed his father and came home with their needed food.

Can we, at times be that voice of faith for our Church leaders? Everyone has down times and times of doubt or distraction. Instead of criticizing our leaders because of imperfections, we can exercise our faith in their abilities and help them get back on their feet. We can’t take on their burdens, for they have keys we don’t have. But we can support them however the Spirit directs us to help them find their way when things go temporarily hazy or dark for them.

Here is a PDF of this week’s study material.
Print it out for greater convenience in your studies.

BoM Week 11

(Jacob 1-4)