importance of God
Week 25 is scheduled for study June 13-19, 2022. God knows His own place in the universe. Do we know ours? This week we see examples of how we relate to His place in the scheme of things.

Day 1

The suggestions in this outline can help you identify some of the important principles in these chapters. You may find other principles as you study.

1 Samuel 8 – Jesus Christ is my King.

Today’s lesson requires some uncomfortable introspection if any kind of real honesty is to be used approaching the topic. At least 99% of anyone who will ever read this article will have no idea what it is really like to be answerable to a mortal king. Even those in England who have a famous royal family don’t know. In England, they have not had to answer to the king for a number of generations now. They have a representative form of government. This is just one reason why this topic is so difficult – we just don’t know what is involved in really answering to a king.

The Lord describes to the prophet Samuel what having a king will be like, and the nature of the betrayal of Israel in wanting someone else to rule over them. When the Lord “ruled” over Israel, the people were free to govern themselves. All He asked was that they keep the commandments of the law of Moses. The Lord would raise up prophets or judges when needed, and the people could be happy and prosperous. However, their pattern of behavior was always to reject whatever God wanted them to do so they could be like all the nations around them. They seemed to both take pride in their individuality, while at the same time wanting to fit in with their neighbors.

In chapter 8 Samuel points out to the people that it is the nature of kings to take all that is the best of the nation for himself. He will take their daughters and sons to staff his kitchens and run his farms. He will conscript their sons to fight his wars, and they will all pay taxes to him for the privilege of not having to go to war themselves. But the biggest thing the Lord was upset over was that He knew their kings would generally be wicked men who would lead the nation into evil. But it is the policy of God to give us, His children, what we want. We see that pattern throughout the scriptures. So He tells Samuel to do what the people want, for it is He they are rejecting, not Samuel. Fortunately for us, the Lord has already promised that no matter how far afield we go, He will not break His covenant with us.

What does it mean?

What does it mean to submit ourselves to a king, any king? I suppose that in many ways having a king is much like having any form of government. Most of us, no matter what form of government we live under, have precious little to do with the government itself. We just have to live by their rules. We gripe and complain about a lot of those rules, but we obey them or pay the price for not obeying. But God is not a normal kind of governing body. With God, He wants His governance in our lives to be personal, intimate. He wants us to come to know Him and to trust Him.

When we submit ourselves to Christ’s supremacy in our lives we don’t just say, “Okay, I guess I’ll consider some of your laws and whether or not I will obey them.” Submitting to Christ means that we acknowledge that there is no way back to God except through Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith, our entire belief system by which we govern our lives. We look to Christ for direction, counsel, comfort, forgiveness, and our hope for a better tomorrow. We teach our children to look to Christ as the source for their salvation and deliverance in all the trials and difficulties of life. We preach Christ as the source of all our greatest enlightenment, and our greatest spiritual resource.

When we submit to Christ as our King, we acknowledge that His will is always supreme in our life. It takes precedence over any of our personal wishes, and is something which we eventually come to acknowledge as being better than anything we could have planned for ourselves. There is a personal loyalty, as in the loyalty of one friend to another, that differs from the loyalty we would have for an earthly King. Earthly rulers usually are only seen publicly for displays of power or affairs of state. When we adopt Christ as our personal King, we deal directly with the Godhead on an hourly basis every day. We come to know and trust God in a deeper way than we could ever come to understand a head of state. For the King of a country rarely comes to intimately love the individuals over whom he reigns, while God loves each of us deeply, and we can each come to feel that and learn to rely on that love to sustain us when life is hardest.

This relationship is what Israel was rejecting.

Day 2

The suggestions in this outline can help you identify some of the important principles in these chapters. You may find other principles as you study.

1 Samuel 9:15-17; 10:1-12; 16:1-13 – God calls people by prophecy to serve in His kingdom.

It is important that we understand the doctrine expressed in the title of today’s lesson. We all live by the spirit of prophecy, for we have all been given the gift of the Holy Ghost, and have the right to His inspiration and revelation as we live worthy of it. I recommend you read the following article I wrote – Understanding the spirit and Gift of Prophecy. For many of us coming to understand and accept that we do, in fact, have the rights to revelation given to us at baptism is something we haven’t thought of before. And isn’t prophecy all about receiving revelation from God?

When we think of our humble calling as a custodian for our chapel, our nursery assignment, or as a ward missionary, or even in any of our ministering assignments, are you able to conceive that your calling entitles you to revelation? The spirit of prophecy entitles us to come to know the will of the Lord in any of our callings, whether high or low. We are supposed to take our personal quandaries to the Lord and expect answers. These are all part and parcel with the spirit of prophecy.

So when the Bishop ponders over an assignment, counsels with his councilors then calls you to a position in the ward, he is relying on the spirit of prophecy to guide and direct that call. Sometimes there is outright definable revelation involved, but most of the time the Lord simply guides and directs their thinking so that when they are through talking about all the possible candidates for a particular call, they all feel good about your name. This is the Spirit guiding their selection. This is why we can say that “God calls people by prophecy to serve in His kingdom.”

Day 3

The suggestions in this outline can help you identify some of the important principles in these chapters. You may find other principles as you study.

1 Samuel 13:5-14; 15 – To obey is better than sacrifice.

Saul was guilty of several sins when he offered sacrifices when Samuel was late in arriving.

First – Saul was not a Levite, so he had no right to offer sacrifice under any conditions.

Second – Saul had become filled with pride. This is why he considered himself better than the average person, and hence worthy to officiate in the place of the Lord’s prophet. Oh the arrogance!

Third – Saul was impatient and was unwilling to wait as long as it took for God’s servant to come to do what needed to be done. It was this combination of impatience and arrogance that caused him to decide he would just do the sacrifice himself.

Fourth – Saul had no respect for the sacred nature of the priesthood, in that he felt he had the right to perform priesthood ordinances without actually being called of God to do so.

Fifth – Saul was more afraid of his public standing before the people than he was about his standing before the Lord. He was embarrassed to be seen having to wait on the prophet to arrive (this was his arrogance and pride), so he blamed the people as his cover story for having usurped the priesthood ordinance of offering sacrifice – it was their fault, because they were impatient with the prophet for not showing up when he said he would. He took no personal responsibility for his own actions.

It was for all these reasons, at least, that the Lord rejected Saul. When God first called Saul, Saul was humble and submissive, but a few years as King had changed him. He was no longer the obedient servant God had called initially. All Saul had to do was to honor the priesthood and the prophet. He merely needed to be patient and wait until the prophet came. It was his impatience and his opinion of his own importance that got him into trouble with the Lord.

Day 4

The suggestions in this outline can help you identify some of the important principles in these chapters. You may find other principles as you study.

1 Samuel 16:7 – The Lord looketh on the heart.

Today’s topic got me thinking – How does the Lord look on our heart? What is it He sees? And as importantly, what is it He ignores?

When Saul was called to be King of Israel, it wasn’t Saul’s extra tall stature or some prowess in war that the Lord was attracted to, it was his humility. When the Lord called him to be King, Saul was a humble young man who would listen to the prophet and seek the Lord’s will. Did the Lord know what Saul would become in a few year’s time? Yes. But at that moment in time, Saul was the most humble and qualified man in Israel for the job.

When David was called to be King of Israel, was he good looking? Yes, but that isn’t why God called him. David received the call because of his humility before Him. He was a man after His own heart. God loved David for David’s behavior up to that point. Did God know what would happen to David in the future? Yes. But that had nothing to do with what was needed in the present. David had not yet made those choices that would rob him of his divine potential.

In both cases, these men were good and humble, and after the Lord’s own heart. This is the point I wish to make – that God doesn’t choose us for the decisions we will make in the future, but on the state of our heart today. He already knows the end from the beginning. Our personalities are already engrained in His mind. These men were selected for who they were when they were called to serve. It was their personal choices in the future that got them condemned by the Lord, but he loved them today for their current obedience. If Saul had repented and obeyed the prophet, God would not have rejected him. That was Saul’s choice. God only followed suit and did what had to be done because of Saul’s personal choices.

Does this give you any kind of glimpse into how the Lord sees us? He doesn’t care what we look like or how brilliant we think we are. His concern is on our standing before Him. Are we humble, obedient, submissive to His will? In other words, are we in a position to be guided by God so we and all those around us can find the greatest happiness. These are the traits we cannot see, for these traits are all in the state of our heart before God. And this is all that is important to our Father in Heaven.

Day 5

The suggestions in this outline can help you identify some of the important principles in these chapters. You may find other principles as you study.

1 Samuel 17 – With the help of the Lord, I can overcome any challenge.

Let’s talk for a moment about the nature of David’s faith in God. David couldn’t look upon the heart of Goliath and know anything about him. He simply didn’t have that ability. But he wasn’t afraid of Goliath either. So why wasn’t David afraid of Goliath? Goliath was a mammoth of a man. And all decked out in his war armor (no doubt highly polished) he was a terrifying aspect to behold by one and all. The Philistines were relieved he was on their side, and the Israelites were wanting to make quick trips to the loo every time they looked at him.

What was it David was seeing? I don’t think he “saw” Goliath at all. I get the impression from the scriptures that what David was focusing on was God. ‘Who is this man that he thinks he can come out in open defiance of our God? No one can do that, or should be allowed to do that. God is all powerful. If you (Israelite army) aren’t willing to dispatch this affront to God then I will.’ David wasn’t seeing all the mortal indications that Goliath was multiple times his own size. That was irrelevant. What was relevant was that God had commanded Israel to kill the Philistines, and this man was in the way. David never took his eyes off the might and power of God. He never once considered the might and power of the enemy in front of him, for only God’s power mattered.

When we face our trials in life, they often gather a Goliath-like aspect to them. They seem so big and insurmountable. Sometimes it can be difficult to look beyond what seems so obvious to us so we can see and remember the power of God. What power does our personal Goliath have in our life when we have the God who made the universe on our side? Truly there is no contest. But these Goliaths don’t get slain until we are able to find and see only God and His love for us. For only then does the size of our Goliath dwindle into insignificance.

FHE/Personal Study

Improving Our Teaching – Bear your testimony often.

When we think of gaining a testimony, too often we think only of the one-time, all-consuming witness type of testimony. But those testimonies are rare, and not the standard. For the overwhelming majority of us, our testimonies are built by tiny witnesses that confirm what we already know or just suspect is true. Over and over again we hear others bear witness of those truths, and our testimony grows in its own strength. And of course, bearing our own testimony also strengthens it and causes it to grow.

Testimonies are like family lineage. We think of famous people and the illustrious family line from which they came, but most people who come from good families come from a lineage filled with simple people who lived simple lives of goodness – no prophets, no revelators, no inventors, politicians, or geniuses – just simple people who raised their families in good homes and taught them to be responsible and kind to others. Testimonies are just like that. Most of us have received our testimonies in humble circumstances, and our witnesses came from humble people who were just telling us what they already knew to be true. We listen to their experiences, and the Spirit whispers to our heart that they speak the truth.

When we teach, whether at home or in Church meetings, all God expects of us is to tell each other what our personal experiences have been with the Spirit. We all know that few of us have had great, life-changing experiences. So all that matters is that we not be ashamed of what we have experienced. Those simple testimonies are what will contribute to the testimonies of thousands of others over the years. Our simple stories of our experiences with the Spirit and in doing the Lord’s work will strengthen our neighbors and those who hear our stories.

When I was preparing for my mission, I approached my mother and told her that I didn’t know if I could go and tell the world that the Book of Mormon was true, because I had never had one of those all-at-once, head-to-toe experiences that witnessed to me that it was true. She replied, “Can I say anything that would convince you that the Book of Mormon isn’t true?” My immediate response was, “No!” She simply said, “So what’s the problem? You have been receiving witnesses of its truthfulness your whole life. Isn’t that enough?” It was then that I remembered many of the times in Fast and Testimony meetings that my heart burned within me when someone bore witness to a gospel principle. That is the key, not to discount all the simple witnesses we give to each other all the time. No testimony is wasted when it is given in sincerity, and by the Spirit.

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OT25-2022 – The Battle Is the Lord’s

Week 25