all about change
Week 50 is scheduled for study Dec. 5-11, 2022. Studying the scriptures is not about just gaining knowledge. Studying the scriptures is all about change. If we aren’t changing because of what we have learned then we aren’t doing it right.

Day 1

Reading the scriptures invites revelation. Be open to messages that the Holy Ghost reveals to you as you read Haggai and Zechariah.

Haggai 1; 2:1-9 – Consider your ways.

I read Haggai, but felt I was missing something. So I went looking for various commentaries to see what was going on historically that prompted some of Haggai’s comments to what was left of the Jews in Jerusalem. Here is a recap of what I learned.

The Jews that were carried off/killed when the Babylonians invaded numbered in the hundreds of thousands. The number of Jews to return to rebuild their ancestral city was only about 50 thousand. At the time of our reading this week, the Jews had been back home for more than 15 years. Four years into their resettlement Haggai got them to start on rebuilding the foundation of the temple. Once the foundation was done there was great rejoicing. Now, more than a decade later, they had completely given up any attempts at rebuilding the temple. They saw their poverty, remembered the splendor of Solomon’s temple, and simply let other things divert them from finishing what they had started. After all, they were poor. They could never match the glory of the original temple. Instead, they focused on their homes and their farms. But even that was problematic.

The Lord tells them that because they gave up on His temple He has cursed them. Their crops are poor, their clothing inadequate, and their efforts to prosper are hampered at every turn. God explains to them that it is because they are more concerned with decorating their houses than building His temple. They had lost all faith in their protector and redeemer. The point of these verses is that if the people want to prosper, God must come first in their lives, not their own prosperity and comfort. Haggai explains that if they will put God first, the other things will follow, but if they continue to put themselves first, poverty is the best any of them can ever hope for.

I read that the Hebrew idiom we say as “Consider your ways” is actually translated in Hebrew as “Put your heart on your roads.” What the Lord was saying to them was to consider where they were headed and decide if that is truly where they wanted to go in life. This lesson to the Jews applies to us as well. When was the last time you seriously considered the way your life was headed to determine if that was really the direction you wanted to continue going. If we don’t like where something is going, we need to change course and head in a different direction. There is nothing carved in stone that says we can’t change our mind about the direction of our life. We can make that change at any point in any day we choose to do so.

In Haggai, the prophet tries to get the people to see that they were cementing themselves in their own poverty by not including the Lord in their decisions, and by not putting God first in their lives. Our living prophet puts it in terms of letting God prevail in our lives. Same message. Are we willing to make sacrifices to serve God, trusting that He will be there for us in the other parts of our life? His influence extends into every crevice and corner of our life, not just in the area of the temple.

The people had given up hope. They didn’t have the resources to build anything close to what Solomon had built, so they allowed themselves to be distracted, discouraged, and they gave up on themselves. They didn’t understand that the Lord only wants our best, even if that is wattle and mud. If that constitutes our all then that is acceptable. God can (and will) take whatever we give Him and do more with it than we ever could. Haggai has to remind the people that God’s mercy didn’t just exist for their ancestors who came out of Egypt. God’s mercy was there for them in their day as well. And His mercy is here for us also when we sacrifice for Him and His purposes.

Day 2

Reading the scriptures invites revelation. Be open to messages that the Holy Ghost reveals to you as you read Haggai and Zechariah.

Zechariah 1-3; 7-8; 14 – The Lord can make me holy.

Side note: I have been wondering why the Lord had so many prophets preaching to the people at the same time. It all just seems confusing to me. But something just occurred to me. Each prophet has been foreordained to deliver a particular message or to do a particular thing to further the plan of salvation. Remember in the Book of Mormon when Nephi saw the end of the world, but he was told not to write it down, because that was the calling of the Apostle John? Just so in the Old Testament. Haggai is known for his messages to spur the people on to building God’s temple, with prophecies of the end of days mixed into his messages. Zechariah is known for his prophecies of the last days, and how the people can prepare for what is to come in the future. Each prophet had a calling, and they fulfilled their responsibility to the Lord to deliver the message they were called to deliver.


Here is an article on holiness and what it takes to make a place holy. It also addresses becoming holy.

Living in Holy Places

As a people we don’t discuss holiness much. We hardly ever address what it takes to become holy ourselves. We prefer to refer to holy places instead. Problem is, someone who is evil cannot experience a holy place like a holy person can. To really take advantage of the experiences offered by holy places you need holy people to love them. The temple is one such place. If a wicked person attends the temple they have just defiled that holy place, so to them, it is not holy. To have a holy place, and a holy experience in it, it must be treated with sacred respect and reverence.

To be a holy person is to imitate the behavior of the Savior. When his people are keeping the commandments he considers them holy. That doesn’t mean we don’t still need to repent or that we don’t currently make mistakes. Holiness is goodness, the kind of goodness that being like God produces. The Lord has told us and shown us how to become holy. When we keep the commandments, search the scriptures regularly, pray often, serve others, and watch over the welfare of others, we are doing what God, Himself would do if He were here in person. That is what makes us holy.

Remember that holiness is not a switch that is turned on or off. You aren’t either holy or not holy. Holiness is a process of becoming better and better at being Christlike. The Lord is always seeking to help us become more holy as a people, and that comes with our improving in our understanding and our obedience to His ways. Here is the wonderful article the manual suggests we read.

The Beauty of Holiness

Day 3

Reading the scriptures invites revelation. Be open to messages that the Holy Ghost reveals to you as you read Haggai and Zechariah.

Zechariah 9:9-11; 11:12-13; 12:10; 13:6-7; 14:1-9 – Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah.

Remember as you read through these verses that at least once, and probably numerous times, men went through the Biblical record specifically looking to remove any direct mention of Jesus by name. We know in the Book of Mormon that they knew the Savior’s name would be Jesus, but when he actually walked among the people of Jerusalem, and caused a huge disturbance to the power base of the religious leaders of the day, the last thing the power brokers of Christ’s day wanted was for him to be revered as a martyr and deified, since they “lost” his body after his crucifixion. They felt that by removing his actual name from the scriptural record that the “imposter” would eventually be forgotten and ignored. But we can recognize the passages that describe Christ, so we know that the Bible refers to the Messiah in one way or another many, many times.

FHE/Personal Study

Improving Personal Study

Take opportunities for self-evaluation

Studying the scriptures can be a deceptive exercise. When we study most anything else in life it is to find knowledge. Looking for ways in which we can change our life for the better is not something we usually think about finding when we study other subjects. This can mess with us when it comes to reading and considering what the scriptures have to offer us.

It is important to remember that the purpose of the gospel of Christ is to change us, not just educate us. When we read the scriptures, pray, ponder, and consider what we need to do each day, the most important part of that considering should be about the changes we need to make to be a better person. The gospel of Christ is all about application. How do we apply our covenants? How does one apply the golden rule or forgiveness? Taking time to consider these things is the most important part of coming to understand what it means to be Christlike. When we become holy it happens only because we are applying the principles we learn about in the scriptures and from God’s leaders. We also learn from each other, but everything we learn should be tested, considered, and evaluated for how it fits into our daily behavior. If we don’t learn to look for ways to improve ourselves, we are missing the single biggest way in which the gospel of Christ can make a difference in our life.

Click the link below to

print a PDF copy of the article.

OT50-2022 – Holiness Unto the Lord

Week 50