Tuesday, January 23, 2007

2 Nephi 13

The Lord Doth Take Away

D&C 82:3 says, "For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation." Such is the case with the Jews. They have been given much and much is expected. If they fail, then great shall be their condemnation. Such can be said of anyone who has been given knowledge.

The rest of the chapter deals with the dire circumstances the Jews and the daughters of Zion will find themselves in because of their wickedness. All that they hold dear will be hewn down and they will be humbled.

So it is with individuals. If we keep the commandments, the Lord will bless us and we will prosper by his hand. But if we are prideful and keep not the commandments, all that we hold dear will be taken from us … if not in this life, then in the life to come.

The Show of Their Countenance

In verse 9, it reads, "The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom, and they cannot hide it. Wo unto their souls, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves!"

A countenance is one's facial expression … but it is more than a fleeting smile or frown. It is more of a permanent expression that is more like a person's aura.

Many times I personally have been able to tell how a person is feeling or what a person's attitude is like just by reading their facial expressions and how I feel around them.

In Genesis 4:5-6 (and Moses 5:21-22), Cain's countenance fell because the Lord did not approve of his offering. Later he would murder his brother.

In contrast, the Savior's countenance "did shine" on the Nephites as he ministered to them (3 Nephi 19:25).

If we love the Lord with all our heart, mind and strength, then we can be "spiritually born of God" and have the "image of God engraven upon [our] countenances" (Alma 5:14, 19).

But if our lives are filled with wickedness "even as Sodom" then our fallen countenance cannot be hidden from the Lord and we will fall under condemnation.

You Reap What You Sow

Verses 10 and 11 are beautiful, simple and instructive. If you keep the commandments, you will be blessed. If you fail to keep the commandments, you will suffer. That is what the Gospel is all about.

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