Before the Lord gave instructions on how to build the tabernacle, He told Moses that the Israelites would have to demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice to build His sanctuary (Exodus 25:2). Unless they had the right attitude about the sacrifice of their materials, the sanctuary part of the tabernacle would do them no good.
Even though the Israelites had their shortcomings and their many moments of complaining, they eagerly and willingly responded with joy to the Lord's request. They actually ended up giving way more than was needed for the tabernacle (Exodus 35:20-22, 25-26, 29 & 36:5-7) and they were blessed because of their sacrifice.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME/US?
When I am studying in the scriptures, I try to ask myself, "How can I apply this to my life?" I think sometimes we think of Bible stories as works of fiction, rather than experiences that happened to real, live people. Even though the Israelites lived thousands of years ago, the experiences they had and the lessons they learned can help us through experiences we are having and lessons we are learning.
So, here is my two cents:
The Israelites had made so many "dumb" choices--Desirae has made so many "dumb" choices--but the Lord still loved them and wanted them to have the blessings of the temple, and the same goes for me and you.
The Lord loves us. He asks us to willingly give our hearts to Him and trust in His plan for our lives. That seems like such a simple request considering what we are promised in return...Immortality and Eternal Life.
I'm so grateful that we are blessed with temples today. The temple is a sanctuary for me and is a place where I know the Savior walks frequently. I CANNOT WAIT until the temples are open again so I can partake of the sweet spirit there and continue to perform ordinances in behalf of those who are unable to perform them for themselves.
WHO ARE LEAH AND RACHEL?
That list doesn't even do their story justice. There are so many layers to it, but hopefully that will help jog your memory a little bit as to who these two sisters were.
WHAT I HAVE LEARNED FROM LEAH AND RACHEL'S STORY
I don't want to make this post go on and on, so I want to get right to the point and share with you what I have learned this week as I have studied, on a deeper level than I previously have, about these two women.
[A couple of things you must keep in mind as you read any story in the Bible are (1) You have to keep in mind that these events took place in a very different time and a very different place than the world we live in today and (2) the Bible has been robbed of many plain and precious truths and these stories may be missing some very important parts.]
"Only by trusting in the Lord could [Leah and Rachel's] pain and disappointment be removed and their souls healed. Their individual struggles to let go of burdens created by those who should have been their protectors while learning to rely on the grace of God, affords us a great lesson for our day" (167).
"In this way, Leah represents those whom God loves, even if no one else seems to" (168).
"Like Rachel, we may see trials as punishments from God rather than as divine gifts to strengthen and polish us. Although difficult circumstances differ significantly from one person to another...challenges are one of the humbling conditions of mortality that include persuasive invitations to draw closer to God" (174).
LIFE IS UNPREDICTABLE FOR EVERYONE
I am grateful for the examples of these two beautiful daughter of God. I know we only have a snippet of their lives and I look forward to meeting them in heaven someday and being able to learn more about their challenges and how they overcame them.
I hope that we all can remember that life is unpredictable for everyone. EVERYONE is dealing with something...or many, many things. Let us help each other through our challenges and more importantly, let us turn to the One who loves us more than we can ever imagine. He is the One who will heal our broken hearts, mend our broken minds, and give us strength to go on.
Olson, C. F. (2009). Women of the Old Testament. SALT LAKE CTY, Utah: Deseret Book.
CAIN...AS IN THE GUY WHO KILLED HIS BROTHER, ABEL
CONNECTING CAIN AND COVID
You are probably wondering how I can connect Cain with COVID-19, the enemy of the day. Stick with me for a minute and hopefully, you'll be able to see where I am going with this.
For my connection, I'm not comparing Cain to COVID. I'm comparing Cain's reactions and choices to our reactions and choices to the current pandemic. Allow me to elaborate...
What do we know about Cain?
Here's where my connection comes in...are you still with me?
Cain chose to disobey God, to love Satan more than God, and to kill his brother. He chose to make an offering that he knew would be unacceptable to God, but he did it anyway. To be fair, maybe he didn't fully understand why the offering had to be the firstling of his flock. But, that doesn't matter. He was asked to make the offering in faith and he chose not to. All of the consequences that came along with all of those choices he had to deal with because he exercised his agency and chose for himself.
We also have a choice during and after this pandemic. We have a choice to live through this time exercising our faith in God. We have a choice to come out on the other side better people, kinder people, more understanding and empathetic people. Or, we can choose to be bitter about all the rules and regulations and cancellations. We can choose to come out on the other side with more biases, more anger, and less empathy than what we started with.
The connection is...just like Cain had a choice...we have a choice.
I love this quote from Joseph Fielding Smith:
WHAT WILL YOUR CHOICE BE?
Every single person on this planet has a choice to make. How will you come out of this pandemic? Will it change you for the better or for the worse? Will you allow it to help you see people with more empathy or with more disdain?
Will the unknowns propel you to search for answers from accurate sources or will you continue to trust everything you see on Facebook? I get it. It's hard to find the truth. And...just when you think you've found a truth, something else comes out that makes you second guess that truth. It's a world in commotion and finding truth so you can make educated and wise decisions is a difficult task, but I know we can do it.
I am loving my second chance at life.
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Copyright Desirae Ogden, www.desiraeogden.com, 2015.
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