messages of hope
Week 43 is scheduled for study Oct. 17-23, 2022. Even in punishment God still wants to bless and prosper His people Israel. Messages of hope abound, even as Israel goes into captivity.

Day 1

As you record your impressions, think about how the principles in Jeremiah and Lamentations relate to other things you have learned in the Old Testament.

Jeremiah 30-31; 33 – The Lord will bring Israel out of captivity and gather them.

I’m not going to address the punishments heaped upon the house of Israel. I think we have all seen just how much they have suffered for their infidelity to their covenants. And this punishment has lasted more than 2,000 years. Why so long? Only the Lord understands all the details of His own timetable. I want to, instead, look at what the children of Israel had to look forward to. Their redemption from their dispersion, and the recovery of their identity as a nation was a long time into the future, but it gave them something to teach their children. The promise of their future glory was a beacon of hope they could pass on to their posterity, a branch of hope to cling to in their times of despair.

God still loves them.

Jeremiah 31:3

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Jeremiah 31:8-9 – The Lord will bring them home with singing and rejoicing. No longer will they have to travel through a harsh and unforgiving desert (wandering for 40 years as Israel had to do when they left Egypt), but instead He will lead them by rivers in a straight course so their path will be easy.

8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.

9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

Jeremiah 31:13

… I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.

These are just a few of the promises God made to ancient Israel regarding how they would be treated in the last days. But what about us? We aren’t the ones that are “lost”, like the 10 tribes. We are not the ones who will come down from the north countries rejoicing. We are the ones who will receive them and offer to them their temple covenants. We are of Ephraim, those who hold the priesthood in the latter days. It is Ephraim’s responsibility in the latter days to prepare for, and gather the children of Israel throughout the earth. We are tasked with preparing the world for the Savior’s return. What does Jeremiah have to say about us?

The broad picture

Remember that Israel lived by a covenant we no longer use. So when describing their relationship with God in the last days Jeremiah talked to them in reference to the covenant they understood. We live by a different covenant, the gospel Christ brought during his mortal ministry. Since we are also Israel, what God said to them 700 years before Christ’s birth, applies to us also.

Jeremiah refers to the city of Jerusalem as though that is all there is to God’s covenant people. This makes sense since Jerusalem was the heart of their worship and the capital of their nation. But remember that the northern 10 tribes are almost as left out of Jeremiah’s descriptions of the last days as we are, since in Jeremiah’s time only the little kingdom of Judah was left of the whole house of Israel. So most of Jeremiah’s references revolve around Jerusalem. Just remember that we are included because we are also of the house of Israel. The fate of Jerusalem represents the fate or future of all of Israel.

Here are some promises we all have to look forward to in the latter days.

Jeremiah 30:18-20 – Not only will the city of Jerusalem be restored in the last days, but (verse 20) God will punish all who try to oppress His chosen people. Be sure to reference the footnotes for the word substitutions.

18 ¶ Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.

19 And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.

20 Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.

Jeremiah 31:27-28 – Think of the following analogy of a farmer plowing his field. The Lord plowed through Israel, tearing it up (uprooting everything) because they broke and turned their backs on their covenants. In the latter days He will plant that same field. Whereas He killed most of the men and animals when Israel was scattered, so in the last days will He use his power to plant and grow more in Israel than were there when they were destroyed.

27 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.

28 And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord.


In earlier scriptures in Jeremiah, Isaiah, and elsewhere, the prophets have said that Israel, like a bride abandoned by her husband, childless and left alone to suffer, she (Israel) will in the last days look around her and marvel. Where she was once barren, without children, suddenly she will have so many children she will wonder where they all came from. Her posterity will be great. She will have to enlarge the boundaries of her tent, for lack of room. This is where we read the sentiments like those in Isaiah 54:2-3.

Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;

For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

We have witnessed the Restoration that began with a small roomful of people in 1830 and has grown to a church of many millions of members living all around the world. The growth of God’s kingdom continues with new wards and stakes being organized almost every week of the year somewhere. The promises of joy, rejoicing, prosperity, etc. are directed to us as modern-day Israel. We should take these promises personally, for they are just that – personal.

Day 2

As you record your impressions, think about how the principles in Jeremiah and Lamentations relate to other things you have learned in the Old Testament.

Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:37-42 – They shall be my people, and I will be their God.

The Lord always finds a way to do that which seems impossible to us. The New and Everlasting Covenant we live under is just such a covenant, impossible, yet possible. It can’t be new AND be everlasting, because if it just started then it can’t be eternal. It can’t be everlasting, but just came into existence, because then it wouldn’t be everlasting, only new. Yet here we are with a new covenant (new to us in the last days) that is everlasting (because it has been revealed in every dispensation in which the people would accept it). So it actually is both new AND everlasting. Leave it to our Father in Heaven to manage to pull off such an “impossible” juxtaposition. This goes to show that when we learn to see things from God’s point of view, all kinds of things are possible.

From the days of Adam till now, the Lord has sought to make those who chose to make covenants with Him righteous enough that they lose their desire to do evil and rejoice in the life that righteous living brings. Every prophet tried to teach the principles of righteous living that brings joy, but the Lord was successful in only a few brief instances. But what joy those who actually embraced righteousness felt. They lived lives of happiness and had peace of mind, heart, and society.

Over many centuries the Lord worked with his chosen people, the family of Jacob/Israel to bring them to a point where they actually sought after Him, rather than after the philosophies of the world. God knows His children. He gave Israel every chance to accept Him as their source of happiness, and He did it for many centuries, generation after generation. Over and over again His inexhaustible love was offered to His covenant children, only to be rejected for inferior ways of living that never measured up to the joy a life of purity offers.

As the architect of the plan for our happiness, our Father has reserved His most trustworthy children (as a body, not as individuals) to come to earth in the last days. In the latter days He needs children who willingly accept His covenants and then live them. The righteousness they produce by doing good works and keeping their covenants is what will set the stage for the Savior’s return and the gathering of ancient Israel from among the nations of the earth. The generation held back for the final winding up scene of the world is something that the prophet has spoken of repeatedly in General Conference. This is why we hear of the youth of today referred to as God’s youth battalion. And we are the parents and grandparents who are raising them to accomplish great things for the Lord in the last days.

It is helpful to each of us to acknowledge to ourselves that we are, indeed, those the Lord refers to as having His covenants written upon the tablets of our hearts. This means that those covenants are becoming a part of who we are. We identify ourselves by the covenants with God we have made. They are precious to us, and they define us. We are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but use his gospel to navigate life and steer our personal course into the eternities. Truly, when the Lord said, “They shall be my people, and I will be their God” he was referring to you and to me.

Day 3

As you record your impressions, think about how the principles in Jeremiah and Lamentations relate to other things you have learned in the Old Testament.

Jeremiah 36 – The scriptures have power to turn me away from evil.

During a recent General Conference I heard yet again the old adage that if you want to talk to God you pray, but if you want to hear His voice you read the scriptures. The older I get the more impressed I become with what we have in the scriptures. As an example, let’s look at the Book of Mormon. The prophets wrote everything they were impressed or commanded to record and handed down their journals generation after generation. For a thousand years these writings were passed to the next keeper of the records. Not only were the prophets writing their records of the sermons they had given, the revelations they had received, and the reception of those revelations by the people, but they also recorded the spiritual state of their nation.

By the time these prophets had written all that had transpired in their days in mortality there was a mountain of records amassed. They had to be kept in their own special hidden library, away from the wicked attention of their dwindling people’s eyes. Mormon was directed to find this store of records and was commanded by the prophet before him to seek the Lord’s guidance to keep them safe from being destroyed. He sought them out and began the arduous task of reading all these records. I seriously doubt they had all been placed in chronological order or indexed by anyone. They were just a collection of all the writings of all the prophets for a thousand years of Nephite history.

It was Mormon’s task to read it all, and through the Spirit discern what was most important to us in our day. It was he who decided which prophets would be included, and which would not. There are several prophets mentioned in the Book of Mormon who had great prophecies, yet we have no record of their writings. Mormon likely had their writings, but didn’t include them. Through the inspiration of the Spirit, and through direct commandments from God, Mormon made his choices of addresses and prophecies to include for our day. To help him know what it was we needed, Mormon was shown in vision what we will have to pass through before the Savior comes again. He saw us. He came to know us and the trials we will have to face. He used that knowledge in his efforts to include what would be most important for us to survive spiritually in the last days.

There is much of his own people’s history that was not included in the Book of Mormon record we currently possess. Remember that what we currently have is only one third of what Mormon actually compiled. We have the synopsis, the short version of the marvelous revelations the prophets of his people had received. He also had the history of the Jaredite people, who by the Lord’s own reckoning was the greatest nation the world has ever seen. And all we have of Ether’s record is a mere 15 chapters giving only enough information to show us the pattern of his people that led to their destruction – just enough information to serve as a cautionary tale for those who replaced them and for us who would follow in the latter days.

What we have in the Book of Mormon are the sermons, the stories, the circumstances, and the revelations most suited to give us strength, to guide our lives, and to give us hope in Christ for our own journey through mortality in the last days before Christ’s return. This book is meant to be a support and a source of conversion to prepare us as individuals, and as a people, to be worthy and ready for Christ’s return.

Now consider that the Old Testament and New Testament have gone through much the same process, though maybe not in quite the same way that the Book of Mormon was prepared. The Testaments were meddled with by those who did not have the Spirit always guiding them. They compiled and copied without always having the Spirit to inspire their minds. Is it any wonder then that Joseph Smith taught that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth, and that we believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly?

I do not pretend to understand how the Lord was able to arrange everything just right, so that we could have something as marvelous as the Standard Works we enjoy today. But someone who can manipulate the molecules of the universe to create whole planetary systems that work in complete harmony with each other can do whatever needs to be done for the blessing of His posterity. By themselves the scriptures are wonderful and full of wisdom. But I don’t think that is the whole picture. The scriptures are the physical contribution given to mankind. They are the catalyst the Spirit uses to teach us what we need to know. The scriptures are meant to set up the framework by which the Spirit gives us guidance, brings things to our remembrance, and by which He can use the stories of God’s people in ages past to compare with our life stories. This shows us that we aren’t so different, and that our needs are the same from generation to generation. Glory be to God for His infinite wisdom and gracious mercy! For through the scriptures He has provided us with the voices of our ancestors, coupled with the voice of the Spirit to lead us and guide us through our own time in mortality.

I strongly suggest you spend some time pursuing the exercise in today’s lesson. If you can answer for yourself how the scriptures can turn us away from evil, and to the Lord, you will have accomplished a lot.

Day 4

As you record your impressions, think about how the principles in Jeremiah and Lamentations relate to other things you have learned in the Old Testament.

Lamentations 1; 3 – The Lord can relieve the sorrow we experience because of sin.

I would like to start off here with a difference in perspective I have with the writers of this lesson. The authors of today’s lesson make the following statement: “Consider what the metaphors in Lamentations 1 and 3 help you understand about the great sorrow Israel felt.” Here are a couple of points –

1. Lamentations was written by the prophet, not the people of Jerusalem. Jeremiah was mourning for the fall of his people, because of their wickedness. The people were mourning alright, but it wasn’t because they were sorry for their sins, it was because they could no longer continue to sin without punishment.

2. I think the Jews’ sorrow was over the disruption and loss of their way of life, not necessarily over a sorrow for their sins. But Jeremiah certainly was sorrowing over their sins. The Book of Lamentations are his musings over the fall of Israel from grace. The message of hope the manual points to in chapter 3 is Jeremiah’s expression of gratitude over God’s loving kindness and His willingness to always forgive our sins when we are finally ready to bring them to the Savior for his forgiveness.

Sorrow from sin need not be permanent

Verses 20-33 of Lamentations 3 follow 19 verses of Jeremiah expressing how abandoned he was feeling, how downtrodden and forlorn he was. Starting in verse 20 he remembers the source of his hope, which is Christ. I’ll give you first the verses then the comment on those verses.

20 My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.

21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

22 ¶ It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Even though Jeremiah still remembers his sources of sorrow, they are replaced by his hope in his God. The Lord’s mercies never fail. Every morning He seems to offer new hope for a brand new day. Great is the faithfulness of our God.

24 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.

It is well with the person who learns early in life to wait upon God. To those who seek Him out they will find hope. Yes, there will be trials and tribulations, but it is “good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” In other words, it is good for us to learn how to trust God when we are young.

28 He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.

29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.

30 He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach.

31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever:

He/she who has learned to wait upon the Lord understands that there may be suffering for a time, but eventually the Lord will lift up His people and bless them. For that hope we should be willing to submit to whatever yoke of bondage we experience. Jeremiah expresses this by stating in verse 29 that we should be willing to put our face in the very dust, if only we have hope in God for our salvation. He even uses the scriptural idea that is almost exclusively used to talk about the Savior. He says that the person who waits upon the Lord is willing to “give his cheek to him that smiteth him.” Those who are faithful to the Lord are willing to bear any reproach from those of the world, for His sake.

32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.

33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

These last two verses are a beautiful accounting of the whole of life. Yes, sometimes we suffer in this life. Yet for all that suffering we will yet find that we will benefit from God’s infinite compassion, “the multitude of his mercies.” He finishes off this part with the truth that God does not willingly afflict His children. He does not give them grief because it brings Him pleasure. Remember, God offered to spare Jerusalem and her people from the Babylonian captivity if they would only repent. They did not, so they had to experience being conquered and dragged to the capitol of the evil empire. That was their choice, their consequence.

The point of today’s lesson is that it doesn’t matter where our suffering comes from, from outside of ourselves or because of our own choices, the Lord can give us relief and bring us peace. This is what God delights in.

FHE/Personal Study

Seek revelation

Revelation can come in a variety of ways, and in any number of circumstances. For example, one prophet was told by the Lord to go into town and watch the potter at his work. It wasn’t until he had seen enough of the potter’s work for the Lord to make His point that the reason for watching the potter work was revealed to him. Revelation isn’t something that is thrust upon us as an unwilling recipient. We usually need to be seeking it before it comes to us.

When we study the scriptures if we want to receive revelation we need to be trying to connect the proverbial dots in our life. Why does what I am reading today give me a feeling of peace? Why does it distress me? Should I be doing something because of what I am reading? Perhaps I need to change something to bring my life into alignment with what I am studying today or this week. What does this passage have to do with how I live my life?

There are a myriad of questions for us to consider when we read the scriptures, and revelation won’t usually come without asking those questions. Most of the revelations Joseph Smith received came because he asked questions and was willing to change his life once he got his answer. Note that this is a two step process. First we must be seeking something. Next we must be willing to make whatever changes are needed to implement what we learn. Knowledge is the currency of heaven, and the Lord doesn’t squander His resources.

Another important consideration is that, just like the example of the prophet and the potter mentioned above, often we must get out of the scriptures and go live our life, still seeking for guidance while we do it. It is then that something will happen in our life that God can connect to what you studied earlier. He can also give you an experience that will prepare you for an answer in your future studies. God is always willing to teach us whatever we are prepared to receive, but it is we who must always be seeking for more than what we have.

Revelation doesn’t just happen when we are sitting with scriptures in our lap. If that is the only time it happens then we have lost out on the greatest teaching moments of all, those that happen as we do God’s work in serving others. Seeking revelation is not an activity we do with a start and stop time attached to it. Seeking revelation needs to become the way we live our lives so it is a constant state of being.

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OT43-2022 – I Will Turn Their Mourning Into Joy

Week 43