Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gospel Doctrine OT c28: Still Small Voice

Gospel Doctrine OT c28 still small voice
1 Kings 17-19
Think about something you possess that you love more than almost anything; something that is of monetary value, earned with hard work, prized possession.
Thomas S. Monson told this story:
Born in poverty but nurtured in faith, [Jose Garcia] prepared for a mission call. I was present the day his recommendation was received. There appeared the statement: ‘Brother Garcia will serve at great sacrifice to his family, for he is the means of much of the family support. He has but one possession – a treasured stamp collection – which he is willing to sell, if necessary, to help finance his mission.’
President [Spencer W.] Kimball listened attentively as this statement was read to him, and then he responded: ‘Have him sell his stamp collection. Such sacrifice will be to him a blessing.’
Take a minute to think about what that sacrifice would mean to him and his family. Translate that to something you possess that would be hard to give up and what it would mean to you. Keep this in mind throughout the lesson.
From the manual: “After Jeoboam led the kingdom of Israel into idolatry, he and his descendants were destroyed. They were followed by another succession of idolatrous kings. Of those rulers, Ahab was the king who ‘did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him’ (1Kings 16:33). He married Jezebel, adopted her practice of Baal worship, and encouraged his people to join him in the worship of this false god. The prophet Elijah delivered words of warning to Ahab and his kingdom.”
Elijah declared drought and famine on the land which lasted for 3 ½ years.
During that time, the Lord gave Elijah several instructions. Here is one. READ 1Kings 17:2-3, 5 (Elijah went dwelt by the brook Cherith) ?What stands out to you about Elijah’s response?? (he was afflicted by the drought a little too, he was obedient)
            ?What experiences have you had when the Lord has sustained you physically or spiritually?
Further instructions: READ 1Kings 17:8-9, 10 – (Elijah went to Zeraphath) ?Again, what stands out?? (he was afflicted by the drought, things weren’t turning out the way he expected, the Lord prepared a way for him to survive, he was obedient)
?How have you seen the Lord help those in need through the service of other people? What can we do to help others who are in need?
Now the widow gets instructions : READ 1Kings 17:13, 15 – (Widow feeds Elijah) ?What pattern do we see? She was obedient.
?What can we learn from these responses? They gave something up.
?What do you give up? What do you have to give?   READ QUOTE THEN GET RESPONSES!

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: “I know we can each do something, however small that act may seem to be. We can pay an honest tithe and give our fast and freewill offerings. … And we can watch for other ways to help. To worthy causes and needy people, we can give time if we don’t have money, and we can give love when our time runs out. We can share the loaves we have and trust God that the cruse of oil will not fail.” (Ensign, May 1996).
‘Have you ever been deterred from giving because you had so little to give? This widow shows us that the attitude with which we give matters much more than the amount we are able to give. If we give all we have, it will always be enough. Remember the small boy with his loaves and fishes? “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? (John 6:9). The answer to the question, “what are they among so many?” will always be, Enough; enough to feed a multitude. When we give all we have, it will always be enough. (Ted L. Gibbons, LDS Living)

?How are these two scriptures connected?
1Kings 17:24 – Elijah raises the son from the dead and that the word of the Lord in his mouth is truth
Alma 32:21  - “And now as I said concerning faith – faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”

Elder Holland said that the widow’s response when Elijah asked her for food was an ‘expression of faith – as great, under these circumstances, as any I know in the scriptures. … Perhaps uncertain what the cost of her faith would be … , she first took her small loaf to Elijah, obviously trusting that if there were not enough bread left over, at least she and her son would have died in an act of pure charity.” (Ensign, May 1996).
?What is the connection between the responses of Elijah and the widow  to faith? To your personal faith? We must be willing to give up our own will, our need of having concrete knowledge, our way or the highway mentality, and be submissive to God. That is faith, hoping and believing in things that are unseen and sometimes that requires action.
‘Still, the question arises: Why did the prophet require her to give her last morsel of food to him rather than to her own starving son? Because this kind of sacrifice is ultimately required of everyone who would come unto Christ to be perfected in Him: “He that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” This willingness to sacrifice all that we have is required of all who would receive the fullness of Christ, for the next verse reads, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.’ Matt 10:37-39 – (Breck England, Meridian Magazine)
1King 18 – The battle between the Ahab and 850 false priests at Mount Carmel:
Priests and Elijah each have a bullock, cut it in pieces and lay it on wood, with no fire under it. The deal is to call on their God and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God.
The priests called on Ball from morning until noon but there was no answer.  Elijah mocked them and encouraged them to cry louder. The priests cried louder and cut themselves with knives and lancets. They continued to cry to Baal until past the time of evening sacrifice and still no answer.
Elijah had to repair his alter, which had fallen into disrepair, and made a trench around the altar. He had other fill 4 barrels of water and pour it on the sacrifice and on the wood. He had them do it 3 times. He prayed 1Kings 18:36-37. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
That whole purpose of that experience is what Elijah asked them in the beginning, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” READ 1Kings 18:21
It appears to me that Elijah and the widow did not halt, much. Their faith demanded action, even though it didn’t make sense and they couldn’t see how the end would end well.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “The stirring words of various prophets … urge us to choose, to decide, and not to halt. … Elijah’s message has tremendous relevancy today, for all must finally choose between the gods of this world and the God of eternity.” (That My Family Should Partake [1974], 22)
‘Every day we are faced with choices – will we obey the Lord or not? Will we cheat, lie, steal, look at forbidden things? Will we pray and study His word as He has commanded us to do? Will we follow the “gods” of the world and forget the God we owe everything to? Will we “disagree” with the prophet of the Lord in our vanity, believing that somehow we know better? Will we drop a criticism here and there, postpone paying our tithing, neglect our Church callings, skip Family Home Evening? (Breck England, Meridian Magazine)
‘Of these choices, President Gordon B. Hinckley has said: “These are little things, but they are important things. They bring to mind the great contest between the prophet Elijah and the priests of Baal. Said Elijah on that occasion, “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.”’
To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all – consuming.
“The breadth, depth, and height of this love of God extend into every facet of one’s life. Our desires, be they spiritual or temporal, should be rooted in a love of the Lord. Our thoughts and affections should be centered on the Lord. “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord,” said Alma, “yea, let the affection of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever” (Alma 37:36)
“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.”
“Joseph {in Egypt} was put in prison because he put God first. If we were faced with a similar choice, where would we place our first loyalty? Can we put God ahead of security, peace, passions, wealth, and the honors of men? When Joseph was forced to choose, he was more anxious to please God than to please his employer’s wife. When we are required to choose, are we more anxious to please God than our boss, our teacher, our neighbor, or our date?”
“daily, constantly, we choose by our desires, our thoughts, and our actions whether, we want to be blessed or cursed, happy or miserable. One of the trials of life is that we do not usually receive immediately the full blessing for righteousness or the full cursing for wickedness. That it will come is certain, but ofttimes there is a waiting period that occurs, as was the case with Job and Joseph. “
The rest of Pres. Monson’s story:
Remember, President Kimball asked Jose to sell his stamp collection:

“Then, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face, this loving prophet said, ‘Each month at Church headquarters we receive thousands of letters from all parts of the world. See that we save these stamps and provide them to Jose at the conclusion of his mission. He will have, without cost, the finest stamp collection of any young man in Mexico.” (Ensign, Nov 1978).

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