strength of the Lord
Week 18 is scheduled for study April 27-May 3, 2020. Strength in the Lord is not something that comes as an endowment of physical power. The Lord’s strength lies in the heart, mind, and faith of His children.

Day 1

Mosiah 7:14-33 – If I turn to the Lord, trust Him, and serve Him, He will deliver me.

As you read, the Spirit may bring to your attention certain phrases or passages. Write down how you feel that those passages apply to you.

This passage of scripture has a couple of main points about this topic. The first is that the Lord delights to serve His righteous children, but He won’t serve them in their times of disobedience and rebellion. The second point is that God will deliver His children from bondage, eventually. He will never leave them to serve wickedness forever, not when they have repented and are keeping His commandments. The only question is how long will He leave them there, and by what means will their deliverance come?

King Limhi doesn’t tell his people to remember all that God has done for them in the past. Instead, he recounts all of the times the Lord has intervened on Israel’s behalf down through the centuries, including since Lehi left Jerusalem. In verse twenty he includes a reminder to the people of the fact that God had kept and preserved Lehi and his family from the time they left Jerusalem down to their present day. For these reasons, they could look forward with confidence in their future deliverance. Limhi assured his people of this having no idea what sacrifices would have to be made to free his people from their bondage from the Lamanites, or how or when that event would come about. He just knew that this was the pattern and promise of the Lord to His people. He always delivers them, eventually.

The key here that Limhi is trying to impress on his people is to remember. Remember all the times the Lord stepped in and saved your forefathers. Remember how great His mercy has been, and continues to be. Put your faith in those memories, for all the promises God made to ancient Israel are still valid and active for us today. If we are to take this lesson to heart in our own lives this means we must know about what the Lord has done for our own family members and forefathers. The Lord is merciful, and there are very few, who if they search their own records won’t find instances where the Lord specifically blessed and freed their own ancestors from one sort of trouble or another.

There are times in all of our lives when we wonder if we have been abandoned by the Lord. Sometimes we have put ourselves outside His protection by pursuing things that put us in questionable places and in uncertain circumstances. But if we are willing to turn back and face God, and acknowledge our mistakes, our sins, even our rebellions, He will gladly begin the process of opening a way for us to return to the fold once again. He is always forgiving, and is ever merciful to the repentant heart.

What we need to remember also is that the path back is not always easy nor clear. We may have done things that require we pay a price to be forgiven. We may have to languish in our current circumstances for a while to prove we will remain faithful. The struggle for freedom from a life filled with spiritual wandering and misconduct is not always easy to escape. Often there are sacrifices that have to be made. King Limhi alluded to this kind of sacrifice when he told his people that and “effectual struggle” would probably still need to be made. This means he was well aware that many of his people may have to die for their freedom to be won. But now that they knew they were not alone, and that there was a living prophet in Zarahemla, hope was restored. They had killed the prophet sent to them, but he saw now that God was still working with His people, and he trusted God would accept them back into the fold now that they had repented of their sins.

Have faith. Trust God’s love for us. It doesn’t matter if we have only minor sins or if we have major issues that need to be fixed in our lives, God loves us equally, and is willing to forgive anyone who is willing to go through the process of repentance.

Can you remember a time when you felt outside the Lord’s redeeming grace, and questioned whether He would take you back?

Did he?

What did it take on your part to find your way back into the Lord’s good graces?

Day 2

Mosiah 8:12-19 – The Lord provides prophets, seers, and revelators to benefit mankind.

As you read, the Spirit may bring to your attention certain phrases or passages. Write down how you feel that those passages apply to you.

I fear that having prophets and seers continually among us we become much like the person who just assumes everyone knows what the color green looks like, not realizing that there are those who can’t see that color. If they can’t see the color green then what you experience every day is completely out of their mental reach. This is what happens when we start making spiritual assumptions that those in the world can’t comprehend because they may have had no experience with prophets or seers.

The world is not accustomed to the idea of having the Lord tell us about civilizations that died out more than a thousand years ago. They often struggle with the concept of continuing revelation and don’t believe that prophecies are absolute. To most of the world the Lord’s declarations of the future are still up for grabs and can be changed if we change our behavior. Have you ever even considered that possibility, that you can prevent one of God’s prophecies from coming true? Many in the world treat prophecies more like predictions that can be circumvented if you don’t like the proposed outcome. The world doesn’t understand that prophecies are no less than promises of future events. And God never lies. If He says something is going to happen then you can count on it.

To the world, the premortal life is a fantasy, and the resurrection a vain hope. Most of what God does, and has in store for us, is called a mystery. What they haven’t come to appreciate yet is how much the Lord wants to reveal the truth about the nature of our own immortality, the glorious prospects of our future, and the consistency of His own behavior in ages past. All these things are unknown to the rest of the world, but are things we take for granted.

The prophets teach us the details of the plan of salvation. They explain the workings of the Lord and warn us of what is to come so we can be prepared for it. We are taught that if we are prepared we shall not fear. How do you think we get prepared? It is because of the seers/prophets that live among us.

What do you believe is the role of a prophet?

If you were born outside of the Church, how has a seer blessed your life?

Day 3

Mosiah 9-10 – I can face my challenges “in the strength of the Lord.”

As you read, the Spirit may bring to your attention certain phrases or passages. Write down how you feel that those passages apply to you.

The title for today’s lesson brings up an interesting set of ideas.

Where does strength from the Lord come from?

Does He choose, on His own to make us physically stronger than our opponent?

Does spiritual strength have anything to do with the strength a person has when going into battle?

What does being strong in the Lord mean?

According to Limhi, his people became strong in the Lord because they remembered all the Lord had done for them (meaning their ancestors) in the past. Limhi reminded the people of the times the Lord brought their ancestors out of bondage or saved them from their enemies. He reminded them of God’s hand in bringing Lehi’s family across the ocean and preserving them in the past from their enemies, the Lamanites.

Memory plays a big part in receiving strength from the Lord. The Lord cannot give His assurances, His comfort, His peace, to someone who doesn’t believe in Him or who is not grateful to Him. History shows us that those who dismiss the Lord’s blessings and rely only on their own abilities face their trials in life on their own. The Lord’s strength comes from our faith in His protection and promises, because we are grateful for what He has done for us in the past. We put our trust in Him that those same merciful behaviors demonstrated to our forefathers can be ours as well, just by doing what they did, trusting in the Lord.

It is true that in instances like going into battle, our faith in God and His promises can grant us more than normal human physical strength. But more important than physical strength are the assurances we receive from keeping His commandments and trusting in Him to keep His promises to protect us and bring us victory over what is attacking us, be that people or temptations. Choosing to put our faith in the Lord helps us be open to receiving promptings from the Spirit that help to protect us and lead us through the minefields of life.

As I mentioned earlier, the Lord never forces Himself on us. He must wait for us to express our gratitude and believe in Him before He can give us of His strength, and offer us His mercies. The Lord’s strength comes as a result of us choosing to put our faith in God. It is not the cause of our faith. We must make the first move.

Day 4

Mosiah 10:11-17 – My choices can influence generations.

As you read, the Spirit may bring to your attention certain phrases or passages. Write down how you feel that those passages apply to you.

As a race we can be so lifted up in our own pride that we have awareness that we don’t believe any of the animals possess. We can think and plan, set goals and accomplish things. We don’t believe these abilities are possessed by any other animal on the planet. Yet for all our desired superiority we can be very short-sighted creatures. How many of us choose a course of action in life that we convince our self that if anyone is getting hurt, it is only me.

What we fail to acknowledge is that all of our behaviors and attitudes profoundly affect those little copies we make of ourselves, called children. Children are perhaps the most observant and intuitive creatures on the planet. Just by observing and listening they pick up all the nuances of whatever language is spoken around them. And if multiple languages are spoken around them they are able to learn to speak all of those languages without ever needing to be formally taught those languages.

When we choose to stay away from the Church, but later in life come back into activity, many are frankly surprised that their children are so resistant to coming back into activity with them. What we tend to fail to recognize is that there are some lessons for which we get one chance only to teach. If we fail to get that lesson across to the next generation then they will have to learn it on their own. And doing that may take many generations for even a few of them to learn the lessons.

This is most vividly portrayed in the lives of Laman and Lemuel. They deliberately taught their children to hate the children of Nephi and those who followed him. They taught their children to want to murder the Nephites, that they had the right and the responsibility to do so. Even when, many generations down the road, some of their descendants were convinced of the errors of their forefathers, those who wanted to disobey the commandments adopted the old lies of their forefathers and became once again like Laman and Lemuel.

Raising children is a one shot process. We all make mistakes raising our children, no matter how hard we try to be good at it. No matter what our good intentions might be, we all make mistakes that we hope our children will learn to put behind them and not pass along to the next generation. Just as bad habits tend to last for many generations, good habits, habits of faith and piety, good works and devotion to God, also can last for many generations.

To learn bad habits to pass along to our children just takes laziness. To learn good habits and attitudes to pass along to our children requires many years of toil and sacrifice.

Scripture Study and Family Home Evening

Mosiah 8:13-18 – Why do we need Seers?

Seers look. That is what they do. They look into the future. They look into the past. What makes them so important is what they see. Look at the picture on page 69 of the manual. What is Moroni telling Joseph Smith? He is probably saying “Look!” It is in looking, the act of searching for something that we learn things. In several of Nephi’s visions one of the most notable expressions used was, “Look!” and when Nephi looked he beheld and understood new things.

This is the gift of the seer, to look for us and relay to us what he has seen and come to understand. What he sees may be in the past. It may be in the future. But whatever he sees, what is most important is what he teaches along with the actual experience he related to us. The Lord doesn’t show the seer hidden things just for the fun of it. He shows the seer things because what he will see is for the growth and development of the Lord’s people. It is to help lead them to salvation and joy.

The world may believe that the present is all we can know for certain, but the Lord has always wanted us to see and understand both the past and the future. He has always revealed to His prophets the events that will happen in the future so we have an understanding of the Lord’s agenda. He isn’t trying to hide anything important. If it is able to bolster our faith and lead us to righteousness, He will reveal it to His prophet.

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

BoM Week 18

(Mosiah 7-10)