26 January 2010

"With Righteousness Shall He Judge," 2 Nephi 21:4-5

 2 Nephi 21:4-5

In this context, I find it difficult to quantify righteousness. If I were asked to explain righteousness, I can only point to God and say: He is righteousness. There is no set prescription of tasks that can fully embody the righteousness of God. So it does become something of a dilemma to be able to fully comprehend what it means to be righteous as Christ and God the Father are righteous beings.

Yet the dilemma is worth investigation, inasmuch as we are commanded to become like Them.

The first set of footnotes in verse 4 on the term righteousness points to God Himself as the definition of righteousness. Whatever God does is righteousness. The remainder of this verse describes what Christ does with His righteousness. It is the source of power which enables Christ to judge, reprove, punish, and destroy. And to what end? Christ executes righteousness to clear a path for the meek and poor of His people.

I see in these verses how Christ is able to prepare the way for those of His people who are ready to follow Him.

12 January 2010

"The Spirit of the Lord," 2 Nephi 21:1-5

2 Nephi 21:1-5

At the beginning of this chapter there is a yet another descriptive prophecy of Chirst's coming and of the nature of his righteousness. The personal application is that as Christ was and is, so I can also become through faith in Him. This comes with the hope that I may one day be worthy to be called a son of Christ (see Mosiah 5:7). 

What stands out to me in this reading is the definition of the Spirit of the Lord found in verse 2 and then the results of having the Holy Spirit as a companion that follow in subsequent verses. Parenthetically, this is for me one of the most unique and empowering doctrines of my "Mormon" faith, in contrast with the rest of modern Christianity. I am blessed to enjoy the continual companionship of the Spirit of the Lord, as long as I prove faithful to the baptismal and sacramental covenants that I have made, which covenants entitle me to be the recipient of such a blessing as this. This companionship is very real, constant, and consistent. Yet, this definition of the Spirit of the Lord is vastly greater than I have previously considered.

In teaching about the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, or the Spirit of the Lord, as He is called in these verses, I will point people to understand how the Spirit feels and what his mission is. But herein are six words that define what the Spirit of the Lord is:
  • The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding
  • The Spirit of Counsel and Might
  • The Spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of the Lord
In regarding these lines of scripture, this helps me to discern even more the purposes and influence of the Holy Ghost, and allows me to consider ways in which I could be employing His companionship that I do not currently use. For if the Spirit of the Lord is wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, and knowledge and fear of the Lord, then one filled with the Spirit of the Lord is empowered to work great works.

In my own words, this is how I would define these attributes of the Spirit.
  • Wisdom - The capacity to act in such a way that results in greater love and peace, usually possessed by one that can see the full picture and act in such a way that is both merciful and just.
  • Understanding - The ability to feel with the heart and mind, through communication, the situation and experience of all parties involved involved.
  • Counsel -The ability to discuss a situation in a group setting and come to a peaceful/agreeable decision that results in action and unity.
  • Might -Power, Energy, courage, and confidence that comes when acting in righteousness and truth.
  • Knowledge - Similar to Understanding. Comprehension of the wider scope of history. Learning in all the graces.
  • Fear of God - Respect and reverence for the source of all light and truth. Realization that all things depend upon His time and purposes.
Isaiah 61:1-3 offers an interesting comparison to these verses and the thoughts that I've just considered.  This is yet another way of viewing the outcomes of communing with the Spirit of the Lord.

      02 January 2010

      "Zion, Be Not Afraid", 2 Nephi 20

      2 Nephi 20

      The condemnation decreed upon the house of Israel continues in verses 1-4 of this chapter. Whereas in the last chapter, it talks about even the fatherless and widows being evildoers, so that the Lord would have no mercy on them, in this chapter, it points to the leadership of their people as the source of suffering for the poor, the widows, and the fatherless.

      It is interesting to note in the following verses that the Lord permitted Assyria to afflict the House of Israel. Yet to the mind of Assyria, it was their own craft and wisdom that brought upon them their prosperity over Israel. Isaiah hence points out that this is only because the Lord decreed destruction upon Israel, and that Assyria in the end would also be destroyed. The key variable that is almost never understood is the Lord's involvement in it all.

      Hence in verse 24, the Lord comforts Zion, and tells them to not fear Assyria, thought it would seem that there was for the immediate a preference given to Assyria.