Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mosiah 13

"Touch me not"

After Abinadi recites the first two commandments, King Noah interrupts him and commands that he be slain. But Abinadi forcefully responds, "Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver; neither have I told you that which ye requested that I should tell" (Mosiah 13:3).

Before he continues to teach them, he gives them another prophecy, "What you do with me, after this, shall be as a type and a shadow of things which are to come." (Mosiah 13:10).

Written in Your Hearts

Abinadi perceives that the priests and King Noah have not applied their hearts to understanding (Mosiah 12:27) and therefore they have not written the commandments on their hearts.

We can study and read the scriptures and the prophets until we're blue in the face, but until we translate the teachings and scriptures into actions, we are not writing the commandments on our hearts.

How do we write the commandments on our hearts? First we must study the scriptures and teachings of the prophets with a sincere desire to be taught. As we sincerely study, the Holy Ghost will testify of the truthfulness of them and our hearts will desire to change and to improve. As this desire works within us, our actions begin to reflect the desires of our hearts. The commandments are written "not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart" (2 Cor. 3:3).

The Third Commandment

Abinadi continues to read the commandments that the priests of Noah ought to be living and teaching the people.

"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" (Mosiah 13:15).

Taking the name of the Lord in vain is not only a matter of not profaning his name, but it is a matter of how we keep our covenants and act with regard to things that are sacred.

If we use the Lord's name in the form of cursing, we take the Lord's name in vain.

If we enter into a covenant with the Lord and we keep not our end of the covenant, we take the Lord's name in vain.

If we treat lightly the things of the Gospel such as participating in sacred ordinances unworthily, we take the Lord's name in vain.

Consider the people to whom King Benjamin directed his counsel. He gave them a new name … in other words, they took upon themselves the name of Christ. Anything they did, they did in the name of Christ. If they lived in sin, they would be taking upon them the Lord's name in vain (see Robert L. Millet, “Honoring His Holy Name,” Ensign, Mar 1994, 7).

The Fourth Commandment

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Mosiah 13:16).

Modern revelation teaches us more about keeping the sabbath holy other than simply resting from our labors. In D&C 59:9-13 it says,

"And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High; Nevertheless thy avows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times; But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord. And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full."

If we keep this commandment, we will receive "the fullness of the earth" (D&C 59:16).

As a young boy, I was taught early on to keep the Sabbath day holy. I find it interesting to note one particular memory that I have with regard to this commandment. It may have seemed insignificant to my parents, but the lesson has stuck with me all these years. Our chapel sat a few hundred feet from the local shopping mall. One week, as we drove to sacrament meeting, I remember my parents commenting on the fact that the mall was becoming increasingly busy on Sunday and they lamented this fact. As a boy, I felt a bit of sorrow too.

Growing up, Sundays were filled with Church meetings, callings and family gatherings. We'd usually attend the block of meetings in the morning and then go home to change before going to my grandparent's house to eat dinner. In the evenings, we'd sit around the living room and either read books quietly, listen to music or discuss the gospel. I particularly remember having long gospel discussions with my parents during my teenage years. My parents were both seminary teachers and so each Sunday evening was an extra seminary class and I enjoyed it.

The Fifth Commandment

"Honor thy father and thy mother" (Mosiah 13:20).

My dad tried to get me to memorize the Ten Commandments as a young boy, but I had a hard time remembering them all. But the one commandment I always knew was the fifth.

Elder Oaks spoke specifically of this commandment in the April 1991 Conference. He said,

"Young people, if you honor your parents, you will love them, respect them, confide in them, be considerate of them, express appreciation for them, and demonstrate all of these things by following their counsel in righteousness and by obeying the commandments of God.

"To persons whose parents are dead, honoring parents is likely to involve thoughts of family reunions, family histories, temple work, and commitment to the great causes in which departed parents spent their lives.

"Middle-aged persons are likely to think of the commandment to honor our fathers and our mothers in terms of caring for aged parents. (Dallin H. Oaks, “‘Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother’,” Ensign, May 1991, 14)

Our parents do so much for us and the least we can do is to fully honor them.

The Sixth, Seventh, Eight, Ninth and Tenth Commandments

The remaining commandments, for the most part, are still considered serious offences by today's laws and statutes.

"Thou shalt not kill" (Mosiah 13:21).
"Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal" (Mosiah 13:22).
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" (Mosiah 13:23).
"Thou shalt not covet" (Mosiah 13:24).

Killing, stealing and lying are still prosecuted in our government today.

Sadly, adultery is more and more common in today's society. Wives and children's hearts are broken and lives are destroyed when fathers and mothers disregard seventh commandment. Every day, I read about what happened on that day in history. The site where I read about the day's historical events also has a list of people who were born and died on that day. On a few occasions, I read up on the history of certain people born on that day. A couple of people's who's history I read discussed the impact of their parents divorce in their childhood. One man was leading a normal and happy childhood before his parents divorced. He became emotionally unstable and consequently delved into drugs and lived a rough life. He later became a famous rock musician and was successful in the music business for a few years before he killed himself. Another man's history also mentions his parents divorce as a life-changing event and it marked the point where his life took a turn for the worse.

I’m not saying these boys' parents' divorce was the result of adultery, but to show that by disregarding the commandments, we not only can ruin our own lives, but the lives of our children and family.

Keeping the commandments brings fulfillment and happiness while disregard for the commandments brings sorrow and pain.

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