” 3 Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints. – Doctrine and Covenants 89:3
There are two striking concepts in this verse: Promises and Humility. I will talk about humility next post. For now…
First of all, the idea of promises bring us hope. In Ephesians, we read:
” 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: – Ephesians 2:12
In this verse, Paul explains that the Ephesians were once a people without Christ. They were aliens of the commonwealth of Israel. Because of their geographical separation, they didn’t know Christ. They didn’t know of His power or salvation.
Not only were the Ephesians geographically separated from the country of Israel, they were also spiritually separated from God’s “Israel” – or covenant people. (Don’t get this concept of covenant people/Israel confused with the wickedness that was prevalent in the House of Israel). The Ephesians had not covenanted with God. Therefore, they were not able to receive salvation. This left them in a truly hopeless situation, as they had no hope for redemption, salvation, or eternal life.
So, from this example, we learn that there is no hope with out God. Or, in other word – promise gives us hope.
That is the general idea of promise, but it doesn’t really cover the specific promise made in the Word of Wisdom, at least it doesn’t originally seem that way. But let’s look further before we make any wild assumptions. The promise of the Word of Wisdom is
“18And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
20And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
21And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.” – Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-21
The promises of the word of wisdom:
- Health in their navel
- This is a good promise – we will be healthy. Have you ever been sick before? I don’t just mean cold/flu (Of course, cold/flu is bad enough), but have you been really ill? A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. At first, I had no idea what was wrong with me, other than the fact I was in pain (in my abdomen, no less…near the navel!). It was not this overwhelming pain, but it was enough for me to know that something was wrong. Throughout the months that it took for me to find out what was happening, I was so stressed out. And even now, there are times when this condition causes me enough pain to realize that I’m grateful that I don’t have a worse condition. I’m grateful for general health. And, I’m also aware that the blessing of health isn’t accidental – it is based on good choices – eating well, exercising, and refraining from the consumption of things that are poisonous.
- This is another promise that is directly related to our physical well-being.
- I find this promise pretty interesting and quite intriguing. What kind of wisdom will I find? What are these hidden treasures? Immediately, I think of the mysteries of God. I would like more wisdom and knowledge.
- This promise benefits us in both physical and spiritual ways. Perhaps one of the reasons we’ll find knowledge is because our minds won’t be compromised by bad choices. We won’t be bound by ill health or addiction – therefore, free to gain more knowledge.
- Has this ever happened to you? I have experienced this blessing. A few years ago, I ran a marathon…The entire 26.2 miles! It was pretty amazing. I have no need to repeat this accomplishment, but it was cool to see that I could, truly, run and not be weary.
- I also think of the other ways that I “run” – without taking any physical steps. I have a lot of duties on my plate. I have children, callings, people to visit teach, neighbors I’d like to serve, family that I love, and many other duties (just like everyone else, I know). I need the physical energy to be able to perform these tasks. Another good incentive for keeping the word of wisdom.
- At first, I was going to lump this in with running and not being weary, but I realize that it needs special treatment. Want to follow my train of thought? Okay…
- When I first saw “walk and not faint” my mind went to the primary song, “Pioneer Children Sang as they Walked“…and walked…and walked.
- Thinking of the pioneer children made me think of the amazing physical test all of the pioneers endured by walking across the country.
- The Pioneers’ endurance – their physical test – reminded me that we all need to endure to the end.
- It is so tough to endure! I often wonder how I can be more diligent and endure to the end.
- I am reminded of the actual promise: to walk and not faint.
- Keeping the word of wisdom will help us to endure to the end!
- So…there is something about the word of wisdom which teaches us to be disciplined. Keeping it enables us to endure enough to run without being weary and to walk without getting faint. What a blessing. We can learn from these experiences how to then endure to the end.
- This promise has reference to the Children of Israel that were in Egypt – when the firstborn son of each family was to be killed. (One of the plagues that Moses had called on in order to convince the pharaoh to let the children of Israel be free). The children of Israel had been warned by God to mark the frames of their doors with lamb’s blood – indicating to the destroying angel that this family had covenanted with God and was protected. So, the destroying angel passed over their homes, leaving their health and heritage intact.
- I don’t think that this means we will never die. We all need to die. However, it probably means that we won’t suffer an unnecessary or untimely death.
- I think that it could also mean that we won’t be destroyed without death. (If this makes sense). I know some people who are alive, but seem destroyed. Some are in the throes of addiction. They are alive, but not really living. Their lives and the lives that touch them have been strongly effected, if not destroyed by the choice to break the word of wisdom. I also know someone who is not addicted to a substance per se, but because she hasn’t chosen to keep the word of wisdom in what she eats, she is bound. It is hard for her to get around. She stays in bed for most of the day. Sure, she isn’t dead, but her life is “destroyed” by her choice to break the word of wisdom.
- We may even destroy our lives, in a spiritual sense, by breaking the word of wisdom. This can easily happen if our minds are clouded by the haze of addiction and drugs.
Understanding these aspects of the word of wisdom inspire me to do more to keep it. I know that the Lord doesn’t give us any commandment without preparing a way for us to keep them, either. So, I just need to choose to do it, and stay at it. Understanding these promises helps me to be committed.
How about you? What do you think of the promises? Does understanding the promises associated with the Word of Wisdom shed light on the promise itself?