04 November 2013

God cares about context--and so need we!


Moreover Job continued his discourse, and said: “ As God lives, who has taken away my justice, And the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter, . . ." (Job 27:1-2 NKJV)

Likewise the chief priests also,  mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved  others; Himself He cannot save.  Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” (Mark 15:31-32 NKJV)


The first passage, if taken as it is without understanding what was going on in Job's life, or what he was learning, could leave us thinking that God isn't just. That He punishes without provocation.  Likewise, the Jewish leaders mocking Christ because he "couldn't" save Himself no doubt believed they were absolutely justified in using that as conclusive evidence of what they most dearly hoped: that Jesus was a fraud.

But both of these passages show the critical nature of context. The first one neglects the fact that Job lived in some amount of fear, not fully trusting in God's goodness and faithfulness. The second, that Christ had a bigger plan than saving His own life--and in staying on the cross and finishing His work, He would save us all.  Even the high priests and scribes.


I've been seeing, lately, just how vital full context is.  When I come across something presented as truth that doesn't make sense--that doesn't harmonize with the gospel as I know it--then either that something isn't truth, or my understanding is flawed.  And I thank God that He has given me a powerful tool by which to judge which is which: His spirit in power.  Knowing truly, overwhelmingly, undeniably, unutterably, His infinite voice and the truly complete communication that comes from God, provides a true way to judge between my understanding and that of those around me.  This is why we must seek Him . . . why we can't lean on men or our own understanding.  Because He provides the only power by which we can discern rightly.

He has already provided us with the context we need to recognize His voice, His truth, His will for us.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ." ~ Moroni 7:15-19

Emotion isn't God. Teaching from Him comes, sweet and complete, and is absolutely unique to Him. I can no more imitate or imagine the presence and communication of The Father than I could personally turn the day into night.  I know what God feels like.  He has taught me, and I will not accept a surrogate . . . I will seek Him more earnestly, and I will find Him.

9 And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.
10 And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.
11 But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.
12 And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.
13 And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?
14 For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?
15 Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve.
16 Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.
17 And he also gave me commandments when he called unto me out of the burning bush, saying: Call upon God in the name of mine Only Begotten, and worship me.
18 And again Moses said: I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him: for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan.                                 

~Moses 1:9-18
Joseph Smith said, while on one of his missions:

"If you will obey the Gospel with honest hearts, I promise you, in the name of the Lord, that the gifts as promised by our Saviour will follow you, and by this you may prove me to be a true servant of God." (Journal History, October 16, 1834) 

Prayer: Lord, I praise You for the perfect planning You put in place for Your children. I rejoice in the sure knowledge that no matter where I'm coming from, I can trust You . . . and that there simply isn't a way for the enemy to offer a counterfeit that can compare to the real deal: You. I will keep learning the gospel Jesus lived and taught, and feasting on the glorious abundance of Your Spirit as I do.  Thank you!!!