be righteous
Week 06 is scheduled for study Jan. 31 – Feb. 6, 2022. Topics this week include following the prophet, tokens of our covenants, and focusing on Christ. The common thread between them all is to be righteous and do good.

Day 1

Stories in the scriptures can often teach us multiple spiritual lessons. As you read about the Great Flood and the Tower of Babel, seek inspiration about how these accounts apply to you.

Genesis 6; Moses 8 – There is spiritual safety in following the Lord’s prophet.

When Noah began his ministry as a prophet there were believers still on the earth. Most had been taken up to the city of Enoch, but some had remained to pave the way for the coming flood. Chief among those were the forefathers of Noah himself. But as time drew closer and closer to the flood, they appeared to have died off, leaving Noah pretty much alone, and totally alone by the time the flood itself came.

17 And the Lord said unto Noah: My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for he shall know that all flesh shall die; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years; and if men do not repent, I will send in the floods upon them.

Noah was given 120 years to preach to the people. The Lord knew that by the end of that time they would be ripe in iniquity and ready for destruction. People don’t just become ripe in iniquity over night. The Lord knows us well. He knew, for example, when He spoke to Abraham that his descendents would serve 400 years in captivity in Egypt before Moses would be sent to release them. The Lord told Abraham that the people currently living in the promised land weren’t yet ripe in iniquity, but would be at the end of the 400 years. He also repeatedly told the prophets in the Book of Mormon that the people of the third and fourth generations after Christ’s coming would reject His gospel and would be wiped out by the Lamanites within 400 hundred years from the time of His coming.

This means that Noah knew his 120 year mission to preach to his people would end in their destruction anyway. He knew that only he and his family would be left to be saved by the ark. Yet the Lord commanded that the call for repentance be extended right up to the bitter end. Noah was the man sent to make that call to the people. And for 120 years he labored for the salvation of a lost and fallen people who refused to listen to him. Talk about a difficult and heartbreaking mission to fulfill. We read about how much it pained Mormon to do the same thing among the Nephites, and he only preached to them about 75 years, and we read in the Book of Mormon how that service broke his heart.

The family of Noah was saved only because they listened to their father. They believed in his words, and they personally sought out the Lord through prayer and righteous living. Salvation is a personal effort that requires a great deal of individual work. There is good reason why we are told that we need to “work” out our salvation. It isn’t easy, and is almost impossible to do so without the guidance of the scriptures and the direction we receive from the prophets of God. Most of us aren’t born with the spiritual gift of revelation like some of the prophets. We need to be taught how to develop our own ability to receive and follow inspiration from the Spirit. This is what the prophets do for us, they guide us along the path to greater spirituality. But they don’t, and can’t do the work for us. We must be the one practicing the virtues of forgiveness, patience, obedience, love, and kindness. We must do the studying of the scriptures, the inviting of our friends to listen to the gospel message we have received, and so forth. The prophets give us the framework the Lord delivers to His people in each generation, but we must be humble enough to follow the prophet’s counsel to reap the benefits the Lord has in store for each generation. Follow the prophet. In this there is safety. In this there is peace (to paraphrase a Primary song).

Day 2

Stories in the scriptures can often teach us multiple spiritual lessons. As you read about the Great Flood and the Tower of Babel, seek inspiration about how these accounts apply to you.

Genesis 9:8-17 – Tokens or symbols help us remember our covenants with the Lord.

Before we get into the subject matter of today’s lesson, I want to restate the covenant God made with Enoch regarding Enoch’s posterity. He promised Enoch with an unalterable decree that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood, and that his (Enoch’s) posterity through Noah would always be found on the earth as long as the earth should stand (Moses 7:51-52).

51 And the Lord could not withhold; and he covenanted with Enoch, and sware unto him with an oath, that he would stay the floods; that he would call upon the children of Noah;

52 And he sent forth an unalterable decree, that a remnant of his seed should always be found among all nations, while the earth should stand;

The scriptures, and the lesson make mention of the covenant God made with Enoch, so I thought I would just spell it out here so you are sure what it is.

The covenant God made with Noah is found in Genesis 9:16-17. I quote here the Joseph Smith translation (JST). The part from Joseph Smith is in italics.

16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you, which I made unto Enoch, concerning the remnants of your posterity. Moses 7:51–52.

17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.

The bow God speaks of in verse 16 is the rainbow. Did you notice that He set that token of His covenant with Enoch and Noah in the clouds so He would remember His own covenant made with His prophets? It also serves as a reminder to us that the covenant was made, but the rainbow was specifically set to appear during times of rain to remind the Lord of His covenant with His prophets. So the Lord also benefits from tokens given when covenants are made.

Tokens are reminders. They can be marks in clothing, symbols used in sacred places, or simple things, like the bread and water we use in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper. Lovers have tokens, like a lock of hair, a piece of jewelry (think wedding rings), or anything else that reminds them of something special about the one they love. All gospel tokens serve the same purpose as a reminder, but each token is unique in that it is given to remind us of specific covenants.

Enoch was the first that we know of to receive the (in his case – future) promise of a life for humanity free from the threat of a global flood. We don’t know if he also received the token for that covenant, but we know Noah did. And the Lord said that His promise was between Him and “all flesh that is upon the earth.” So we too can look up at the rainbow and take comfort that God is still faithfully keeping His covenant, because He promised that as long as the rainbow continues to show up, He is remembering His promise to us.

Day 3

Stories in the scriptures can often teach us multiple spiritual lessons. As you read about the Great Flood and the Tower of Babel, seek inspiration about how these accounts apply to you.

Genesis 11:1-9 – The only way to reach heaven is by following Jesus Christ.

These verses tell us that since the people all spoke one language, nothing they imagined could be withheld from them, since even their evil desires were possible. So the Lord came down and confounded their language. They couldn’t understand each other, and hence split into various groups of people who could understand one another. They had imagined to themselves that they could devise their own method to reach heaven, rather than by obeying the commandments, by building a structure that reached the sky.

Whether this was literally true is up for debate, because we know that it is not possible to actually build a building that tall. But the principle behind this story is still true – when we learn to cooperate and communicate clearly enough, there is little we can’t accomplish in this life. They foolishly thought they could reach God’s dwelling if they just built something tall enough, but the gospel of Christ has always been very clear that the only way to return to God is through obedience to the gospel of Christ.

Ever since the time of the tower, languages, and subsequently cultures, have separated us. The only thing that can unite all of humanity is obedience to Christ. In last week’s lessons we discussed our need to find unity in our differences. And that unity is only found through obeying the commandments of God as given to us by Christ. He, and only he, is the path declared by our universal Father to return to our heavenly home. There never has been, nor ever will be any other way to return home, but through Christ.

FHE/Personal Study

Genesis 6-8 – Follow the prophet.

There are a few universal truths about wickedness and righteousness, and that is what happens when we make our choice to either follow God or Satan. No matter what the world loudly proclaims, there are only two paths in this life. We all either follow Christ’s teachings of goodness and love or we follow the teachings of the world, whose author is Satan. It is the nature of righteousness to open the path to peace, harmony, joy, love, kindness, and a host of all things good. We receive clarity of thought, vision, wisdom, and a greater perspective on everything in life. These things are opened to us as we seek God through prayer, practice of His virtues, and make covenants with Him. Through covenant making and keeping we are able to obtain eternal perspectives on many things that simply cannot be comprehended by those who haven’t walked that path.

When we choose anything else, literally anything else, we follow Satan’s path, for there are only two paths in this life and all of us must choose our master. We will be taught and led by the one or the other. When we follow the wisdom of the world, we are guaranteed all that brings misery into one’s life. Though we always have a measure of accomplishment in our financial goals, a boost in our social status, or some other form of exhilaration from drugs, sex, pornography, theft, or any other forms of wickedness, all of it leads to misery. Sometimes our “reward” for following Satan’s teachings comes in simple ways, like feeling liberated from the commandments of God, and feeling free to live our lives as we feel we should, not how someone else dictates. This is how it begins, but over time we lose our sense of security, our peace, and our eternal perspective. Everything in our life begins to be less appealing than the way we once thought it was. And this is because we have separated ourselves from the Spirit of God.

It is important to recognize that wickedness “never was happiness,” because wickedness always leads, eventually, to violence and destruction. The violence alone that was rampant in Noah’s day is proof enough that they were wicked. Just as Satan cannot promise anything beyond this mortal life, for his own hands and powers are tied to mortality, his end goal is for us to come to hate each other enough that we want to kill each other. These are the polar opposite of what God has commanded His children to do, for He has commanded us to love one another, bind up each other’s wounds, and care for one another. The signs that the world is following Satan can be found in the degree to which the poor are ignored, used, trampled upon, and kept down socially and intellectually. These behaviors are repugnant to God. Think about how much anger abounds all around us in today’s world. This anger and angst can only continue to grow, unless the people repent and come to God and keep His commandments.

Only when we follow the counsel of God’s prophets are we able to get onto, and remain on the path that brings us peace and joy. As soon as we seek our own will, to incorporate the world’s teachings into our lives, or to in any way change what the prophets teach us, we leave the path of happiness and start down that road to bitterness and regret.

Remember that the voices of the world are shrill, constant, loud, and incessant, for they surround us and never cease their insistence for our attention. It is often quite difficult to not pay attention to what the world is trying to teach us and our children. The words of the prophets, on the other hand, are like the words of the Spirit, quiet, peacefully given, gentle, sound of thinking, and are often the complete opposite of what the world teaches. It takes effort to listen to the prophet. It gets easier with practice, but it takes a conscientious effort to ignore the world and only listen to the Lord’s servants. And it isn’t enough just to listen with our ears. We must also practice living our lives in an effort to live more like Christ each day. The more we practice the godly virtues of love, temperance, forgiveness, charity, etc., the more we come to love and appreciate the presence of a living prophet in our life.

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OT06-2022 – Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord

Week 06