Saturday, March 1, 2014

Gospel Doctrine OT C9: Provide a Lamb

Gospel Doctrine Old Testament C9
God Will Provide Himself a Lamb (Gen 15-17, 21-22)

History: Abraham 1:5-7 Evil times
                                1:15 Abraham is saved
                                1:16-19 Jehovah speaks to Abraham
                                1:20 altar and evil priest are destroyed

??What is learned when Jehovah speaks to Abraham?
                -God will deliver him from his evil surroundings v16
-Sometimes deliverance takes us to strange lands v16
-People are evil because they turn their hearts away from the true God. If we want to be delivered and not destroyed, we need to keep our hearts turned toward God v17
        -God will lead him by the hand, give him the priesthood and power v18
??How might Abraham’s experience on the altar of the false priests have helped prepare him for future trials? How can our trials help us prepare for future difficulties?

History: ??What promise did the Lord give Abraham regarding children? That they would be as numerous as the stars in the heaven.

??What was the problem? Sarah was barren. Gen 16:1-2.
She gave Hagar to her husband to bear children. Hagar bore Ishmael.
Abraham has a vision. Gen 17:15-17, 19. Sarah will bear a son a name him Isaac.

??What can the revelation that Abraham and Sarah would have a son teach us about how God fulfills his promises? God will fulfill his promises, though not necessarily in the way or at the tie we might expect. We are often asked to wait by the Lord.

We can look at what Abraham has learned, just in the readings of this lesson, (not taking into consideration the visions he had of the creation and worlds without number), and we see great mercy, love and attention from the Lord. It supports my personal Old Testament theme:
Moroni 10:3 “Remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.”

And then comes this. Video: Akedah (The Binding)

??What Christ-type do you see in the offering of Isaac?
                Abraham as the father, Isaac as the son
                Isaac as us, the ram in the thicket as Christ

Elder Dallin H Oaks said: “This story … shows the goodness of God in protecting Isaac and in providing a substitute so he would not have to die. Because of our sins and our mortality, we, like Isaac, are condemned to death. When all other hope is gone, our Father in Heaven provides the Lamb of God, and we are saved by his sacrifice” (Ensign, Nov 1992)

Of course the sacrifice of Isaac would be difficult on so many levels.
??What are some specific reasons it would be so hard for Abraham?
                -he had to wait for so long for a son. Isaac was his miracle
                -God had promised that the Abrahamic covenant would continue through Isaac and his descendants
                -Abraham’s personal history of almost being offered a sacrifice himself. We talked earlier about how that experience could prepare him? Do you think it did?

Our trials are all different, but can be no less difficult than what others are called to bear.

??What are things you or people you know struggle with?
It may be health issues, depression, work and employment, family issues, struggling with testimony and doubts. The thing that is the same is that we all have trials and we all are asked to sacrifice.

FOR ME: Take it for what it’s worth:  It made a different kind of sense to me to realize, these are not just trials. I’m not just muddling through and trying to come out the best I can. These are trials that require sacrifices in which I prove my faithfulness and obedience; my willingness to sacrifice. (Sterling misses passing the sacrament to his children)

??What have you been asked to give up? Ideal health? Can’t eat what you want? A big home? Extravagant vacations? Family relationships? The need to have concrete answers to spiritual questions? 

Elder Spencer W. Kimball: “Exceeding faith was shown by Abraham when the superhuman test was applied to him His young ‘child of promise,’ destined to be the father of empires, must now be offered upon the sacrificial altar. It was God’s command, but it seemed so contradictory! How could his son, Isaac, be the father of an uncountable posterity if in his youth his mortal life was to be terminated? Why should he, Abraham, be called upon to do this revolting deed? It was irreconcilable, impossible! And yet he believed God. His undaunted faith carried him with breaking heart toward the land of Moriah with this young son who little suspected the agonies through which his father must have been passing.” (Conf Report, Oct. 1952)

FOR ME: Taking it one step further:  Sometimes God’s commands may seem contradictory or too difficult to accomplish. I’m thinking of social issues in and out of the church that are difficult to understand. Same gender issues, women and the priesthood to name a few. We must follow the example of Abraham and live with exceeding faith.

President Hugh B. Brown said that God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac because “Abraham needed to learn something about Abraham” (in Truman G. Madsen, The Highest in Us [1978], 49).

D&C 101:4 – “Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.”

Henry B Eyring: “We need strength beyond ourselves to keep the commandments in whatever circumstance life brings to us. For some it may be poverty, but for others it may be prosperity. It may be the ravages of age or the exuberance of youth. The combination of trials and their duration are as varied as are the children of our Heavenly Father. No two are alike. But what is being tested is the same, at all times in our lives and for every person: will we do whatsoever the Lord our God will command us? (Conf Rep Apr 2004)

I don’t think we will ever be asked to sacrifice a child but we WILL be asked to sacrifice. The response either way should be faithful obedience. Will we do whatsoever the Lord our God will command us? That is the goal, the measure of our faith

Spencer W. Kimball: “How often do Church members arise early in the morning to do the will of the Lord? How often do we say, “Yes, I will have home evening with my family, but the children are so young now; I will start when they are older”? How often do we say, “Yes, I will obey the commandment to store food and to help others, but just now I have neither the time nor the money to spare; I will obey later”? Oh, foolish people! While we procrastinate, the harvest will be over and we will not be saved. Now is the time to follow Abraham’s example; now is the time to repent; now is the time for prompt obedience to God’s will.” (“The Example of Abraham,” Ensign, June 1975).

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