Tuesday, January 24, 2012

DAVID & GOLIATH..cody f miller
What do Samson and David and Nephi have in common?

You know, kids in primary say the most amazing things. Stuff that makes you think and then want to find out what is really going on. I teach 11 year old girls, and this past Sunday we finished discussing Lehi’s Dream. The girls thought that Laman and Lemuel were just the worst group of siblings ever! So I asked them if they could think of other siblings in the scriptures who were worse. For some reason, Samson’s name came up. I said, I think Samson may have been an only child, but God had a special work for him to do. They said that he was “good at the start” but “turned bad” at the end. So I asked, why he was bad, and one of the girls answered that he was “bad with Delilah, meaning he had broken his covenants with God concerning chastity. Wow what an astute observation. So I had to go back read the story of Samson, which led me to the story of David, which rounded out with the story of Nephi. As our conversation diverted off the path so to speak, the girls wondered how Samson was able to do those things he did. You know, kill a bunch of Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, or fight off an entire army of Philistines by himself and took no prisoners. They all said that it must be his hair, and it was so to speak, but the hair was just an outward sign. A non-believer seeks a sign, but signs follow those who believe.

Where is David in this, well he was just a young lad, and he was a giant killer. He took a rock and “slung it” and it landed in the forehead of the giant Goliath. But that’s not all, David took Goliath’s sword and chopped his big ole head off and presented it to King Saul. What made these men do these seemingly superhuman things?
Nephi chopped off the head of Laban. There is a lot of discussion on that part and I asked my students how they would feel if they had to do such a thing. The answers were along the lines of that they would be afraid and maybe freeze and not be able to do it. One girl said that she would probably run away with fear, even after the angel had appeared.
So my companion teacher and I thought that this was a pretty traumatic thing for a young person with no prior violent tendencies to go and literally kill another human being, even if God told you. Why would God tell you to do such a thing? Did Nephi or David or even Samson grieve for their loss of innocence?

Who were these guys anyway? Well first and foremost they were men, just regular guys, and they were chosen by God for his purposes. You know some people think that in order to be chosen you have to be perfect in the extreme. Only one man was required to do this and that was Jesus Christ himself. These chosen men made a choice in their lives to learn of God, to love him and his people and ultimately serve him. Some were called as priests and prophets, others as kings and prophets also, and in Samson he was called to be a judge of Israel. The girls wondered if he was called to be a Bishop.
DOCTRINE & COVENANTS 107:2-3
2 Why the first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest.
3 Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God
With this ordination, came the ability to do the work of the Lord, regardless of whatever obstacles that man faced, as long as that man kept his covenants, and was faithful and obedient.
Mosiah 13:10
10 But this much I tell you, what you do with me, after this, shall be as a type and a shadow of things which are to come
All of Gods prophets were a type and shadow of the coming Messiah. Aspects of each prophet’s personality told the story of Jesus, of his primary mission on earth, his life and death on the cross and his resurrection. Each prophet was named by God, either at birth by revelation to the parents, or by Heavenly Father himself changing the name. Some examples were Abraham formerly known as Abram, Jacob also known as Israel (which means to persevere with God.) Each of these men and their life’s work were consecrated for Gods purposes. All of these men made covenants with God and were set apart, and they were all ordained into the Melchizedek priesthood. What? In the Bible, at times you will find words such as “God’s favor”, anointing; or “the spirit worked mightily upon him”. I have found that these words refer to the Holy Spirit, but the favor or the anointing of these particular men have to do with being ordained of the priesthood of Melchizedek
1 Nephi 3:6 -8 (I am pretty sure, that Lehi being a Melchizedek priesthood holder, ordained his son Nephi.)
6 Therefore go, my son, and thou shall be favored of the Lord, because thou hast not murmured.
7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord gives no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commanded them.
8 And it came to pass that when my father had heard these words he was exceedingly glad, for he knew that I had been blessed of the Lord.

DOCTRINE & COVENANTS 84:109
109 Therefore, let every man stand in his own office, and labor in his own calling; and let not the head say unto the feet it hath no need of the feet; for without the feet how shall the body be able to stand?

So who was Samson? Wikipedia says this

Samson, , meaning "man of the sun the third to last of the Judges of the ancient Israelites mentioned in the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) (Book of Judges chapters 13 to 16). Samson was granted supernatural strength by God in order to combat his enemies and perform heroic feats such as wrestling a lion, slaying an entire army with only the jawbone of an ass, and destroying a pagan temple. (Judges 13).
I remember a “Samson “moment in 1 Nephi 7:17-18 (Judges 15:12-14)
17 But it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound.
18 And it came to pass that when I had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren, and I spoke unto them again.
In my Book of Mormon study group, our teacher wondered what this statement “strength that I may burst these bands” referenced. So I was so excited and of course the scripture reference was at the bottom of the page, but I raised my hand and said “Samson!!” I said “Remember when the Philistines tried to capture Samson by tying his hands with rope and he simply broke them? Remember?” Of course I got the strangest looks, and the teacher said, are you talking about the movie Samson? “No I said, it’s in there, in the Bible.” And he still gave me a funny look and then so did everyone else. I said “It’s in the Bible in the book of Judges.” I don’t think that they believed me. But apparently Nephi did, because of his increasing faith in God, and being a newly ordained Melchizedek priesthood holder, he remembered the counsel of his Father Lehi. So faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.
Most people think that Samson was an imposing man. Some think that he had the physique of a body builder, and since he was a Nazarite and was forbidden to cut his hair or shave, he may have been pretty intimidating in his presence. I remember old movies where he was portrayed almost like a “playboy” type. But in reading the record, I did not find any reference to Samson’s physicality, only his long hair. Here are some facts
Judges 13:24-23
24 ¶And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.
25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol
Judges 14:5-6
¶Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
6 And the aSpirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.
Judges 14:19
19 ¶And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.
Still no mention of how tall he was, how much he weighed.
Judges 16:17
17 That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.
So you know the rest of the story, Delilah shaves off 7 locks of his hair, she shouts “Samson the Philistines are upon thee,” he tries to fight them, but he notices that his hair is gone, and he becomes weak and his taken prisoner. But was it really the shaving of his hair that caused his weakness and capture. Was it Delilah? Nope.Was it really the hair?
I believe that it was Samson. He trusted not in the arm of the Lord for his own salvation, but he started to believe that his hair was the reason for his strength and not the principles of his covenants with God. He failed to obey God’s commandment and took for granted his Priesthood.
D&C 130:20-21
20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
D&C 82:9-10
9 Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.
10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise
Does this make Samson a” bad man”? I don’t think so. I believe that if Samson had gone into his captivity without remorse, or at least a sense that he had failed in his mission to God then he could be termed as “unrepentant”. But Samson loved the Lord and he had the sense to want to finish the work he had started. He had a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
Judges 16:21-23;28-29
21 ¶But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house
22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.
23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.
28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.
29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.
Ok, so I remember this scene in the movie, Samson, pitiful, blind and bound in chains. His integrity was intact and he was sorry. I believe that Heavenly Father looked at his heart, and accepted his apology, his change of heart and allowed him to receive His Spirit that one last time so that he could finish the work that he was charged to do.
The end.
Oh, one more thing, there is a David moment in the life of Nephi: Can you guess what it is? Tell me.

So this is what I have learned from this, the true meaning God's Holy Priesthood. I have felt an impression in my own life to study Doctrine & Covenants along with my study of the Book of Mormon. I feel that  Doctrine & Covenant's can further shed light on the lives of the people of the  Book of Mormon, at least to me. For every story, such as Lehi's Dream, and the record of the Jaradites,even questions I have, there is a further explanation in selected Doctrine and Covenant sections. Concerning the Melchizedek Priesthood,what I have taken away from this lesson is that for every worthy man there is a worthy woman in his life, whether it be a mother, sister, wife, etc. The ideal is husband and wife because we serve together in the family unit in that new and everlasting covenant of marriage and family. I am really happy that my husband has finally become comfortable in his calling in the Priesthood, because it has helped him to "grow stronger spiritually" and also he seems happier.  
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