Sunday, December 27, 2009

Old Testament Lesson #1 "This Is My Work and My Glory"

(Moses 1)

OVERVIEW OF MOSES 1

"We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly..."  (Article of Faith 8)


"To say that the Bible is the word of God does not make its meaning any clearer or solve any of its problems; it simply guarantees that the meaning is worth every effort to find and that every problem is supremely worth solving"  (Alex Motyer, The Story of the Old Testament, p. 21).

One of these "problems" is authorship of Genesis.  Many Bible scholars are divided on how we got this book.  Did Moses write it?  Did he compile it?  Was it just a bunch of oral traditions written down?  Was it a collection of pagan myths transfered to Christian beliefs? 

The reason for the question is that the first chapter of Genesis, which explains the authorship, is missing from the Bible.  This problem was solved in June of 1830 when the Lord gave that chapter back to us as Joseph Smith began work on his Bible translation.  It now can be found in the Pearl of Great Price as Moses chapter 1. 

But why would it have been missing in the first place?  Moses 1:23 gives us the answer:  "And now of this thing Moses bore record; but because of wickedness it is not had among the children of men."  The devil had chapter one removed from the Bible.

Why?

Why did people go to work at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001?  It's a no-brainer: because they knew nothing about the enemy.  There has continued to be difficulty in fighting the attackers because of a lack of knowledge of their tactics, or of even of where they are.

Satan wanted the first chapter of the Bible removed because it is the book of instructions for fighting him and winning.

Moses 1 teaches us the Battle Plan:
1) Who our Leader is and what his characteristics are
2) What the battle objective is
3) Who we are and how we fit in
4) Who the Enemy is, and what his main tactic is
5) That he is less powerful than God
6) How he can be defeated
7) How extensive the Lord's commitment is, and how great His help will be

The Book of Moses is an amazing tool to help us overcome any of the snares of the devil.  One specific battle tactic the devil is increasingly employing today is pornography.  The following notes are from a talk I was asked to give to the Young Women of our ward to help them avoid Internet pornography.  Moses 1 is one of the greatest scriptural tools for combating this great evil. 

MOSES 1 TEACHES US HOW TO DEAL WITH PORNOGRAPHY

v. 6  "I have a work for thee, Moses, my son."  Heavenly Father has a great work for you and the devil knows it.  He'd love to derail it, just as he wishes to stop Moses from being worthy for his great calling.

v. 12  "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. And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me."  Moses was still standing on holy ground, where he had had such a wonderful vision, when the devil came looking for him.  Moses did not go into a sleazy bar, or to a drug party, or to any questionable place at all.  The same thing happened to Joseph Smith, didn't it, in the Sacred Grove?  Now listen carefully:  There are some people that Satan knows will never go out and get in trouble, so he tries to bring trouble to them.  You, just like Moses, may be standing in a holy place (your own home, where you read your scriptures, where you say your prayers) minding your own business.  You may be on the Internet looking up scriptures for all I know, and suddenly there it is on your screen, as Moses said:  "the bitterness of hell" (v. 20). When this happens to you (not "if"), you need to know what to do. Moses is an excellent example of a person who beat the devil.  So let's see what he did.

v. 12 Heavenly Father called Moses his son, a son of God.  What did the devil call him?  "Son of man."  The devil would say, "You're only human...It's only natural to be curious."  But we know the natural man is an enemy to God.  We are to rise above that to our true potential.

v. 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."  So your response would be like Moses':  "I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me and I love him" (from the Young Women Theme).

v. 13-15 "Where is thy glory, that I should worship thee? 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?  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."  Moses had never met the devil, I don't believe, but he confidently said, "I can judge between thee and God."  In other words, "I can plainly see that you are not someone worthy of worship."  A former bishop told me that every person who has come into his office to seek help because they were over their head in sin has said, "I knew it was wrong when I started, but..."  Every person has the Light of Christ, or what we call a conscience--even people who know nothing about Christ.  Moses did.  You do.  Even if you had never, ever heard of pornography, as soon as you saw it, you would know immediately that it was wrong.  When you encounter something that you instantly feel is wrong, just get out.

v. 15 "God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve."  This leads straight to another point that you need to know: You cannot live a dual life.  You may think that you can view a little pornography once in a while, and still go to church and do everything else right and that it will be okay.  But it will not work.  The Spirit will leave you.  You may still be doing all the right things, and on the outside you may appear okay, but on the inside you will be rotting spiritually, gradually destroying yourself.

v. 16  "Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten."  Moses said God told him he was made to be like Jesus Christ.  You were, too.  You can say to the devil, "I have taken upon me the name of Christ, and I will not be sidetracked from my goal of becoming like Him."  This is maintaining a holiness inside and out.  Only then can you truly be like Christ and experience the great joy that comes with living a Christian life.

v. 18 Moses said, "I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him."  You also will need answers to prayers to guide you throughout the rest of your life.  To receive those answers, you need to have the Spirit.  At times, you will need it desperately.  Imagine all the difficult decisions in the future.  Imagine all the trials you may encounter.  Don't you think you are going to want to call on God for His help?  Don't you think you are going to want Priesthood blessings, inspiration in how to solve problems, the comfort of the Holy Spirit to bless and calm you?  No matter whether any other ill effects ever should come of viewing pornography, the loss of the Spirit would be so disastrous to your entire life that that reason alone should make you want to stay as far away from it as possible.  Elder Wirthlin says that an ounce of pornography takes away a pound of spirituality (New Era, May 1988).

v. 19   "And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me." The devil will try the same tactic with you that he tried with Moses.  After Moses made it clear that Jesus Christ was the most important thing in his life, he said, "I am the Only Begotten, worship me."  He will try to find out what is important to you, and then he'll say,, "So you want eternal happiness?  Well, that's me!  That's what I'm all about!  These physical thrills are what happiness is all about!"  Or "So you want love?  Well, I can give you love!  Just watch it, right here on the Internet!"  But remember, this tactic only works for people who know nothing about the gospel, and who ignore the Spirit of Christ within them.  Moses knew very well that the devil was not Christ, because why?  Because he already knew Christ!  If you study the truth, you recognize lies.  If you know the gospel, you will not be fooled.  Make sure you spend enough time studying the gospel at Church and at home.

v. 20-22  "And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory. And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.  And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not."  It was very difficult for Moses to get rid of the devil.  He prayed repeatedly and received strength, but it took four tries altogether to force the devil away.  In the end, he had to command the devil to leave in the name of Christ.  The devil's stellar characteristic is tenacity--stubbornness.  He never gives up.  You have to be more tenacious than he is--the scriptures call it being "steadfast and immovable."  You may find, like Moses, that you need Priesthood help if you are embroiled in a fight with the devil.  It may be beyond what you can do, but it is never beyond Christ.  Who is his representative in your ward?  Your bishop.

v. 24-25 "And it came to pass that when Satan had departed from the presence of Moses, that Moses lifted up his eyes unto heaven, being filled with the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son;  And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again, for it was upon him; and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God."  When Moses won the battle, he once again was filled with the Spirit "and calling upon God, he beheld his glory again."  And then he was given an even greater vision than the first.  And he was able to carry forth his great work in life, that of freeing the children of Israel from bondage.  You also, will receive greater spirituality as you shun the temptations of the devil, and you will carry forth the great work you are destined for.

14 comments:

April said...

Hi, Nancy! It's April, Paula's daughter. I just stumbled across your blog as I was reasearching for my lesson and have to tell you that I LOVE your application of Moses 1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Hope all is well with you and yours. Happy New Year.

Love,
April

Nancy W. Jensen said...

Wow, April! I feel so famous to be followed in England! So glad it is useful to you!

Polyman said...

How about New Zealand Nancy. Thanks for your efforts they are much appreciated.

Nancy W. Jensen said...

That DOES make me feel famous, Polyman! Isn't the world getting smaller these days? Maybe someday I'll get to New Zealand myself!

Anonymous said...

I love and use your lesson ideas for the Gospel Doctrine Class in Raleigh, NC. Your insights and preparation are worthy of my attention.

Aleisa said...

Very good application of Moses. I appreciate your time and effort to write it down. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

A second vote from New Zealand. I discovered your blog last year during Doctrine & Covenants, and I always check out your insights. Thank you for all your generous sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog! I've been following you for almost 2 years and the insight you bring is incredible. I'm looking forward to teaching the Old Testament this year and I'm grateful for the added tools you provide us with. Keep up the great work. You reach more lives than you are aware of.
- Karina, Orlando Florida.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing great learning I got from it..From New Zealand

Anonymous said...

Nancy,
Thank you for your amazing insights and willingness to share your talents. Your ward is blessed to have you as a teacher, and I am a better teacher because of your perceptions and insights. Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hello from Sarajevo, Bosnia! I am also teaching the first Old Testament lesson for year and came across you website while doing some research. It is terrific. Thank you for your insightful observations!

Samira Matias said...

Gosh, I loved your comments, how wonderful scripture puts our circumstances and use them to see how a solution to our daily problems. Congratulations on these texts available, are being an inspiration to me.

Liz said...

Thank you!

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