…God says He is like that eagle…And so He rakes up the comfortable home nest, and lets us feel the prickles of pain and sorrow, not because He is cruel, not because He wants to punish us, but because He wants us to rise to something brighter and better, to the City of Sunshine.
The death of Elimelech and his two sons, and the disconsolate condition Naomi was thereby reduced to. Her husband died (v. 3) and her two sons (v. 5) soon after their marriage, and the Chaldee says, Their days were shortened, because they transgressed the law in marrying strange wives. See here, 1. That wherever we go we cannot out-run death, whose fatal arrows fly in all places. 2. That we cannot expect to prosper when we go out of the way of our duty. He that will save his life by any indirect course shall lose it. 3. That death, when it comes into a family, often makes breach upon breach. One is taken away to prepare another to follow soon after; one is taken away, and that affliction is not duly improved, and therefore God sends another of the same kind. When Naomi had lost her husband she took so much the more complacency and put so much the more confidence in her sons. Under the shadow of these surviving comforts she thinks she shall live among the heathen, and exceedingly glad she was of these gourds; but behold they wither presently, green and growing up in the morning, cut down and dried up before night, buried soon after they were married, for neither of them left any children. So uncertain and transient are all our enjoyments here. It is therefore our wisdom to make sure of those comforts that will be made sure and of which death cannot rob us. But how desolate was the condition, and how disconsolate the spirit, of poor Naomi, when the woman was left of her two sons and her husband! When these two things, loss of children and widowhood, come upon her in a moment, come upon her in their perfection, by whom shall she be comforted? Isa. 47:9; 51:19. It is God alone who has wherewithal to comfort those who are thus cast down.
We may well imagine how busy Joshua and all the men of war were while they were passing over Jordan, when besides their own marching into an enemy’s country, and in the face of the enemy, which could not but occasion them many thoughts of hear, they had their wives, and children, and families, their cattle, and tents, and all their effects, bag and baggage, to convey by this strange and untrodden path, which we must suppose either very muddy or very stony, troublesome to the weak and frightful to the timorous, the descent to the bottom of the river and the ascent out of it steep, so that every man must needs have his head full of care and his hands full of business, and Joshua more than any of them. And yet, in the midst of all his hurry, care must be taken to perpetuate the memorial of this wonderous work of God, and this care might not be adjourned to a time of greater leisure. Note, How much soever we have to do of business for ourselves and our families, we must not neglect nor omit what we have to do for the glory of God and the serving of his honour, for that is our best business.
Whatever new condition God is by his providence bringing us into, we must beg of him to teach us the duty of it, and to enable us to do it, that we may do the work of the day in its day, of the place in its place.
I believe that He cares more about the shoulder than about the wheel—that wheel is how we are moved to come home to Him. The wheel, the work, is a blessing to us. This is important. The work is a blessing.
On that cold February day when the frozen ground was broken to start the work, Brigham Young spoke with characteristically poignant humor as he told the recent converts attending the ground dedication to not
be discouraged because they had not had all the privileges that many of the older members had had, of being robbed, and driven and mobbed and plundered of everything they had on earth, for he would promise all who would remain faithful, that they . . . should be proved in all things.
I testify that neither Satan nor any other power can weaken or destroy your growing character. Only you can do that through disobedience.
Understand and apply this vital principle to your life: Your exercise of faith builds character. Fortified character expands your capacity to exercise greater faith. Thus, your confidence in making correct decisions is enhanced. And the strengthening cycle continues. The more your character is fortified, the more enabled you are to exercise the power of faith for yet stronger character.
While the primary purpose of the law of sacrifice continued to be that of testing and assisting us to come unto Christ, two adjustments were made after Christ's ultimate sacrifice. First, the ordinace of the sacrament replaced the ordinace of [animal] sacrifice; and second, this change moved the focus of the sacrifice from a person's animal to the person himself. In a sense, the sacrifice changed from the offering to the offerer...
...After his mortal ministry, Christ elevated the law of sacrifice to a new level.... Instead of the Lord requiring a person's aminal or grain, now the Lord wants us to give up all that is ungodly. This is a higher practice of the law of sacrifice; it reaches into the inner soul of a person.
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