Gospel Doctrine OT c32 – Job
“Seeds of Renewal” Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (Gen Conf April 1989)
“Mountains to Climb” Pres. Henry B. Eyring (Gen Conf April 2012)
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin once told of farmers in the hot desert of northwest Mexico who ‘grow varieties of corn and beans that are unusually hardy and drought resistant. These varieties survive and flourish in a harsh climate where other plants would wither and die. One of these plants is the white tepary bean. Its seed will sprout and the plant will grow even when very little rain falls. It sends its roots as deep as six feet into the rocky, sandy earth to find the moisture it needs. It can flower and fruit in the 115-degree (Fahrenheit) desert temperatures with only one yearly rainfall. Its foliage remains remarkably green, with little irrigation, even in the heat of mid-July.”
“Perhaps members of the Church could emulate the example of these hardy, sturdy plants. We should send our roots deep into the soil of the gospel. We should grow, flourish, flower, and bear good fruit in abundance despite the evil, temptation, or criticism we might encounter. WE should earn to thrive in the heat of adversity.” (“Seeds of Renewal”, Conf Report, Apr 1989)
Our lesson is about Job. Who was Job? C1:1-3. Chapter 1 heading says: “Job, a just and perfect man, is blessed with great riches. Satan obtains permission from the Lord to tempt and try Job. Job’s property and children are destroyed, and yet he praises and blesses the Lord.” In the same chapter Job loses all his servants, fire burned his sheep and servants, robbers took his camels and slew those servants, sons and daughters were killed by a storm that crushed their house.
But his troubles are just beginning. He has physical illnesses, boils and pain. His restless sleep is filled with nightmares. His friends and family accuse him of sinning. He is confused about why he is asked to go through these trials. He feels like the heavens are shut and God has forgotten him.
Read these scriptures:
Abr 3:24-25 – “We will make an earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” (PROVE THEM HEREWITH)
D&C 130:20-21 – “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” (BLESSINGS PREDICATED BY OBEDIENCE)
Mosiah 2:41 - “I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.” (CONSIDER THE BLESSED AND HAPPY STATE)
And then this:
D&C 121: 1, 7-8, 10 - “O God, where are thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?” “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;” “And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.” Thou are not yet as Job;…” (NOT YET AS JOB) (BUT A SMALL MOMENT)
??How do you reconcile the seemingly conflicting messages of these scriptures? How do these scriptures make sense when we contemplate the plight of Job? What happened to the blessings and the happy state of those who are obedient for Joseph Smith or Job?
??Why do we have trials? The bible dictionary tells us the book of Job suggests ‘that affliction, if not for punishment, may be for experience, discipline, and instruction.’
Consider these questions at home:
How do trials give us experience?
How do trials give us discipline?
How do trials give us instruction?
How did we survive trials?
Job’s response: 1:20-21 “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
1. TRUST – 13:13-15 – “hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will. Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand? Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”
??How do you develop that kind of trust that will sustain you through trials?
Understand the plan of salvation and the law of opposition.
2 Nephi 2:11-12, 24 – “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness not misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, not corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. “Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
“But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.”
v.2 “Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.”
2. TESTIMONY – 19:23-27 – “Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.”
Pres. Eyring said: “If the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts, the power to endure will crumble.” (Conf Rep Apr 2012)
??What are you doing with your testimony right now to make sure it is ready for adversity in your life? What must we be doing to make our testimonies strong?
3. INTEGRITY – 27:2-6 – “As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment: and the Almight, who hath vexed my soul; All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, not my tongue utter deceit. God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.”
I can understand more easily how Trust and Testimony help me through trials.
??How does integrity help with trials?
Manual answer: As we maintain our integrity, we can strength from knowing that the course of our lives is pleasing to the Lord.
What does that mean?
First Pres. Message given at the beginning of WW1: “…Therefore he has permitted the evils which have been brought about by the acts of His creatures, but will control their ultimate results for His own glory and the progress and exaltation of His sons and daughters, when they have learned obedience by the things they suffer.”
Joseph Smith said: “I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, … knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 304).
Pres. Eyring: “We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up. And He always keeps His word.” (“Mountains to Climb”, conf rep Apr 2014).
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin defined integrity as “always doing what is right and good, regardless of the immediate consequences. It means being righteous from the very depth of our soul, not only in our actions but, more important, in our thoughts and in our hearts. Personal integrity implies such trustworthiness and incorruptibility that we are incapable of being false to a trust or covenants.” (Conf Rep. Apr 1990).
ASKING WHY ME?
Richard G. Scott: “When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father.” (“Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov 995)
STILL ASKING WHY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?
Elder Eldred G. Smith taught: “Going back to the story [of Job] now to get the principle I was looking for, we note that Satan had power to do only what God had permitted him to do. Satan did not win that war in heaven. He was cast out of heaven to do what the Lord wanted him to do, to test and try and torment man. Satan, then, has power on this earth only as the Lord permits and as we yield to his temptations. Do you think a just God would permit Satan to try us beyond our power to resist? Then the Lord will always give us power to resist if we will remain true and faithful to the end and seek the Lord and his guidance in all the trials and difficulties, even though we may think they are unjust. Nearly all of us go through some experience in this life of sickness, disease, trouble, financial difficulties, many even born with difficulties and handicaps – not because of any cause on their part as we see it, but because that is the part that the Lord wants us to go through as a trial and temptation to see if we will prove faithful to the end in spite of these conditions, which are as far as we are concerned without cause.” (conf rep. Oct. 1962).
The Lord answered the question about why bad things happen to good people in his response to Joseph Smith:
“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up they way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
“The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
“Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.” (D&C 122:7-9)
Elder Orson F. Whitney said: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.” (quoted in Spencer W. Kimball, Fatih Precedes the Miracle, 98)