God is always faithful
Week 23 is scheduled for study May 30-June 5, 2022. The lessons we learn this week are that God is always faithful, the sins surrounding the Israelites are still here and in powerful force today, and that when we are faithful to our covenants God will work wonders in our lives.

Day 1

The scriptures testify of Jesus Christ. Ponder how the stories you read in Judges help you come closer to Him.

Judges 2:1-19; 4:1-16 – The Lord offers deliverance when I stray.

I would like to start with a rather untraditional approach to this topic. Having read the verses for today’s lesson a number of times in the last week, I keep getting drawn to the Lord’s open and emphatic statement of His faithfulness to Israel, His covenant people. In Judges 2:1 the Lord’s angel tells Israel this:

… I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

What a simple, clear, and consistent declaration of God’s own faithfulness to the family line He has pledged Himself to. He chose Abraham for his faithfulness to God’s commandments, and now, almost 500 years later He is still declaring to Abraham’s posterity, “I will never break my covenant with you.” How long does God have to remain faithful to His own covenants before people begin to believe Him?


Over and over again in the scriptures the Lord accuses Israel of whoring after other gods. Considering His own purity of love towards Israel, what does it mean when He says his “bride” has gone “a whoring?” Isaiah uses this language of God being the bridegroom, and Israel His bride. I use these terms here because it is so descriptive of the love God bears for His people, Israel. He loves Israel like a faithful and devoted husband loves his wife. God only accuses His bride when Israel seeks her comfort in another man’s bed – that is, Israel runs off and worships other gods. He did warn them that He is a very jealous, or sensitive and protective God.

It hurts His feelings when those to whom He has been so devoted and consistent in all ways rejects Him by debasing themselves with wicked practices and perverse customs. Why would Israel debase herself with the same debauchery and lewdness of those societies they were specifically commanded to wipe off the face of the earth for their wickedness?

It is, I think, a matter of God, who loves with perfect purity, seeing those He desires to learn to love as He does, prostituting themselves over and over again. It only hurts Him insomuch as their perversions separate them from His love and blessings. If they don’t repent then He is obliged through eternal law, and through the covenants Israel made with Him, to punish them for breaking their mutual pledge to each other. For on the one hand, their disobedience will bring eventual death, and on the other hand, their faithfulness to their covenants with Him will bring happiness, prosperity for the people, and eternal salvation to all.

For the reasons just stated, God, who has already plainly stated that He will never break His covenant with Israel (who are those who accept His covenants) will always help them find their way back to Him. As long as they are willing to repent and return, He is willing to forgive and accept them. This is what He means by “never” breaking His covenant with them. His personal purity and steadfastness doesn’t allow Him to give up and walk away from the one (Israel as an entity) He has pledged to love and always serve. This is the nature of celestial love. It has been roughly 4,000 years since God made His covenant with Abraham to watch out for, and care for, his posterity. After all Israel has done to warrant being rejected wholesale by God, He is still as faithful as ever to those who make covenants with Him. His charity truly never fails.

We are part of modern day Israel. God’s faithfulness to us is no different than it was to Abraham or any of the prophets who followed in his ways. As long as we are willing to repent and return, God is willing to forgive and accept us. That is God’s character. He thinks and behaves in eternal ways. It is we who tend to think and behave in temporary and fickle ways.

Before I could write today’s lesson, I felt pressed to write a companion article entitled, The Excuses We Make that Get Us into Trouble. I hope you will give it a read.

Day 2

The scriptures testify of Jesus Christ. Ponder how the stories you read in Judges help you come closer to Him.

Judges 2:13 – Who were Baal and Ashtaroth?

The manual is very clear about these two deities. There were other deities as well, but these two false gods were most popular with those who were ripe in iniquity, and who taught Israel to worship after their ways. I suggest that you try not to worry about any specifics of what went into the worship of either of these false gods. Instead, ponder about why Israel would forsake the pure love of God for the practices of false gods who only sought after and used the lowest, and most base instincts of man.

Ashtaroth perverted pure and wholesome love and celebrated those perversions in all their forms. Baal, held in high regard the slaughter of children, not unlike the abortion worship of today. To acquire Baal’s blessing on a new building, for example, he required a child be killed and buried as part of the foundation of the building. Sexual perversion was commanded of his followers, and the babies that resulted were tossed into a fire pit as an offering and burned alive.

I felt dirty just writing that last paragraph. The two practices the worship of these deities were based upon were an absence of respect for life, and a continual demonstration of all that debases and corrupts the soul through the physical appetites. This is why the Lord declared them ripe in iniquity and in need of being killed. We don’t have the overt and specific worship of these deities today, but the principles and practices of their worship are rampant in modern society. They just go by different names.

Day 3

The scriptures testify of Jesus Christ. Ponder how the stories you read in Judges help you come closer to Him.

Judges 6-8 – The Lord can work miracles when I trust in His ways.

One of the reasons we see miracles when we trust in the Lord is because He doesn’t work the way mankind works. Men would seek to legislate people’s behavior and thus obtain a utopian society. God, on the other hand, works with a man’s thoughts and the desires of his heart, and together with other like minded people they create a better society. Whatever the world would do to solve a problem, the Lord has a better way of doing it. And because we don’t think or behave (yet) as He does, He is constantly surprising us with how He teaches us the lessons we need to learn in order to advance spiritually.

I highly recommend that you read the article associated with today’s lesson by the then Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve. It is entitled, “With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible.” He talks about three ways we can live our life so that God can work miracles for us. Because God thinks in higher and holier ways than we do, He is able to find circumstances to place us in where we can learn the lessons we need to learn in order to become truly righteous or holy.

It can be difficult to trust in God’s way of teaching us something, especially when we don’t see why we are going through the trial or suffering of our present circumstance. Often it isn’t until our trial is already over with that we see that we have been given a new perspective, or opportunities for growth that couldn’t have come in an easier way. This is why we need to develop an eternal perspective. When we are always looking for the eternal consequence of the things we do in the here and now, it enables us to overcome and to persevere through times of suffering that might have otherwise overwhelmed us. We set our sights on the future blessings and the future reconciliation and restitution of all things.

The Lord is always faithful, and ever generous and thoughtful of our feelings and our current limitations. There are times when that can be difficult to see and believe, but if we work to remember His past faithfulness, and his past blessings, those acknowledgments can get us through our current sorrows. This is how we learn to trust God in all things.

Day 4

The scriptures testify of Jesus Christ. Ponder how the stories you read in Judges help you come closer to Him.

Judges 13-16 – Strength comes from faithfulness to my covenants with God.

We usually think of strength as an increase in physical capacity, but it can also refer to spiritual, emotional, and even intellectual capacity. The Word of Wisdom is a good example of promises the Lord makes to those who keep the spirit of that law. The blessings associated with that commandment can come in any of the forms strength can be manifested.

As part of God’s ongoing process in the Old Testament, Samson demonstrates physically what happens to us spiritually when we break our covenants. He also shows us that the path back into favor with God may not be easy, nor comfortable, but He will always welcome us back when we come repenting. In Samson’s case, after he had suffered and repented for his betrayal of the covenants he had made, when he asked God to give him back his power one last time so he could serve his people, the Lord granted him the strength to physically break or pull down the two pillars responsible for holding up the entire roof of the building, killing more in that one act than he had killed in his whole life. Talk about going out in a blaze of glory! Remember, the Philistines were wicked people, and Israel was supposed to have already killed them, so it isn’t just a matter of God condoning killing randomly in one circumstance and not in another.

When we seek for spiritual understanding and greater comprehension, only obedience and actively keeping the commandments will enable us to receive the Spirit’s inspiration we desire. No amount of wishing can make us stronger, either physically or spiritually. Just as we have to exercise to strengthen a muscle, so too do we have to serve others and practice Godly attributes in order to develop greater spirituality.

FHE/Personal Study

Judges 2:10 – Coming to know the Lord

We have been reading the Old Testament. We know the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). We have learned of the miracles God performed for the children of Israel through Moses and through Joshua. So why would the scriptures say that the up and coming generation didn’t know the Lord? Weren’t all His past miracles obvious to them?

Of course the answer to this question is “of course they weren’t obvious to them.” Why? Because they were just little children when these miracles took place, or they were only stories heard from grand parents or great grand parents. They had not personally experienced any of these miracles. We see this same thing happen in the Book of Mormon with King Benjamin’s people. At the end of his life he gathers all the people together and preaches a sermon to them. They are all converted and make covenants with the Lord, that is, all who were old enough to understand his words were converted. Those children who were too young to understand what was going on that day grew up to be without faith. They caused no end of wickedness because they wouldn’t believe in the testimony of their parents.

The children of Israel who had not seen the miracles their parents taught them about grew up without faith. It wasn’t because they couldn’t believe. They chose not to believe. Isn’t that the way it is with all of us? Each of us has to individually make that choice to believe and then exercise faith in the teachings of God. Until we have a desire to believe, nothing can force us to believe, not even miracles. Miracles don’t convert, they only serve to strengthen the commitment of those already converted.

Coming to know the Lord is a personal process that happens only because we want it to happen. As we develop the desire to know more and be better people, God gives us signs and wonders in our life to confirm our choices, but it is always a personal journey, and one which we must be in charge of taking for our self.

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OT23-2022 – The Lord Raised up a Deliverer

Week 23