Today, I studied Jacob 6:4. It reads:
“And how merciful is our God unto us, for he remembereth the house of Israel, both roots and branches; and he stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long; and they are stiffnecked and a gainsaying people; but as many as will not harden their hearts shall be saved in the kingdom of God.”.
This scripture is pretty straightforward, and we all know that Ancient Israel was always having trouble – they would get wicked – even as the Lord plead with them to simply obey the commandments. He would remind them, “…my hand is stretched out still.”
Jacob 6:4, actually refers back to Nehemiah 9:18-26. I’m not going to include the whole block here, but I’ll paraphrase. Nehemiah recounts how, even after the Children of Israel provoked the Lord in the wilderness (with the golden calf…silly children), The Lord still guided them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; he still fed them manna from heaven; he still caused that their clothes would not wear out, nor their feet swell during their arduous journey; he brought them into Israel and defeated their enemies; he blessed them abundantly – with children and many other resources to live a comfortable life, “Nevertheless, they were disobedient, and they rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.”
Okay – the thing that gets me here is: they cast thy law behind their backs. Earlier this morning, I was specifically thinking of how grateful I am for the laws of the Gospel. Being a Mormon means rules. (I had a friend who would wear a shirt that read: “I can’t, I’m Mormon.”). And here’s the real thing: The Laws of God are good for us. They offer us protection, guidance, and peace. They are given to us so that we can feel happiness. The Lord gave us laws because he loves us – not because he wants to “control” us. In fact, when we keep the laws, we will actually learn how to control ourselves. His laws are one of his greatest expressions of love to us.
…Also – we are to ultimately become like God. We have the potential to live with Him as He Lives. How can we do this if we haven’t learned to keep the laws that govern our Heavens? Just as a good parent teaches his/her children responsibility in this life – so they can become a happy and well-adjusted adult; God teaches us to be responsible by giving us laws – so we can be happy (and well adjusted) in the eternities.
Okay, those are my thoughts today. I’m grateful for the Laws of the gospel. I’m so happy that I know them. Now, I just need to remember all of this when I’m having trouble keeping them…