Sunday, March 21, 2010

Scripture Power

It was Theodore Roosevelt who once quipped: "A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education." Considering my college education, this quote is quite correct. I have started re-reading the Bible where I left off in 2Kings of the Old Testament sometime last year.

I know the Old Testament doesn't sound particularly smooth sailing for the virgin reader or the seasoned professional alike, but I have begun to discover many hidden treasures that enhance my day and strengthen my testimony. So today I would like to share with you a few things I learned recently about an extremely rare king who ruled in righteousness - this king was called Josiah.

Josiah ordered a group of people to work on re-furbishing the temple. Whilst repairing the temple, Hilkiah the high priest found the book of the law (the writings of Moses, containing the Law of Moses), which seemingly had been neglected over hundreds of years of wickedness. A succession of wicked kings had seen the scriptures buried away gathering dust in some forgotten corner whilst they practised idolatry and human sacrifice.

Do we sometimes stumble across our scriptures after weeks or months of being left on the shelf, to realise that our lives have been way out of line with what the Lord expects of us in his scriptures?

I like this message.

When Josiah heard all that was written in the book of the law, he "rent his clothes", an act that demonstrated sorrow, regret, a beginning of repentance. He knew the people of Judah were living in wickedness, which seemed to be magnified all the more horribly when compared to the Lord's written standards. Josiah cried,

"for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according to all that which is written concerning us."

The scriptures are the yardstick against which we may judge our performance. 

The people of Judah under the reign of unrighteous kings, had lost sight of the Lord's standard, so much so that they had forgotten the commandments of the Lord. Josiah must have been extremely disappointed when he read Joshua's words about the scriptures which they had just found in a corner of a crumbling temple:

"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." (Joshua 1:8)

When Josiah reflected on all the wars and destruction when they could so easily have had prosperity and success, it must have hurt.

Those who rarely study the scriptures will not be familiar with the Lord's standards until they eventually forget the commandments and do things in opposition to God's desire for us.

Instead, we are counselled numerous times in the Book of Mormon, to remember the words of God, and Christ and his atonement. The way we remember is through daily scripture study. This way, we are constantly keeping ourselves updated with the Lord's standards, familiar with the yardstick of obedience, and are therefore more easily able to keep and live them.

Joseph Smith remarked:

"He that can mark the power of Omnipotence, inscribed upon the heavens, can also see God's own handwriting in the sacred volume (of scripture): and he who reads it oftenest will like it best, and he who is acquainted with it, will know the hand wherever he can see it; and when once discovered, it will not only receive an acknowledgement, but an obedience to all its heavenly precepts."

{For reading concerning Josiah and the discovery of the book of the law, refer to 2 Kings 22.}

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