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Old Testament - Lesson 17

Lesson 16 – “I Cannot Go Beyond the Word of the Lord”
Taught by Jeff Stone April 25, 2010

Introduction:
As with Israel of old, we must protect ourselves from the influence of the adversary and surround ourselves with reminders of who we are . . . Children of God.

Scriptures Covered in This Lesson:

Short Historical Recap and Summary:

From the Gospel Doctrine Manual:

After testing, chastening, and teaching the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years, the Lord said they were ready to enter the promised land. But first he had some important instructions for them. Moses delivered these instructions in three sermons that are recorded in Deuteronomy.

In these sermons Moses reviewed Israel’s 40-year sojourn in the wilderness, recognizing God’s hand in their deliverance. Moses also discussed Israel’s responsibilities as God’s chosen people. He emphasized that they must obey God’s commandments, particularly the commands to remember Him and refrain from idol worship. Moses warned that although the children of Israel were ready to enter the promised land, if they returned to wickedness they would lose their inheritance and be scattered.

This lesson contains the final words of Moses to Israel before he is “taken:”

From the Gospel Doctrine Manual:
“No man knoweth of his sepulchre” (Deuteronomy 34:6)

The writer who finished the book of Deuteronomy knew only that Moses was gone and so assumed that he had died, that the Lord had buried him, and that no one knew where his grave was. However, we know that Moses was translated. (For an explanation of the state of translated beings, see 3 Nephi 28:7–9, 37–40.) The Bible Dictionary gives the following explanation of Moses’ translation:

“As was the case with many of the ancient prophets, Moses’ ministry extended beyond the limits of his own mortal lifetime. In company with Elijah, he came to the Mount of Transfiguration and bestowed keys of the priesthood upon Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:3–4; Mark 9:4–9; Luke 9:30; D&C 63:21; History of the Church, 3:387). From this event, which occurred before the resurrection of Jesus, we understand that Moses was a translated being and had not died as reported in Deuteronomy 34 (Alma 45:19). It was necessary that he be translated, in order to have a body of flesh and bones at the time of the transfiguration, since the resurrection had not yet taken place. Had he been a spirit only, he could not have performed the work on the mount of giving the keys to the mortal Peter, James, and John (cf. D&C 129)” (Bible Dictionary, “Moses,” 735).

The Message
The main message of these scriptures for this lesson can be found right in the title of the lesson, Beware Lest Thou Forget. Moses told his people to basically wear the scriptures (Deuteronomy 6:8–9; Deuteronomy 11:18–20). These frontlets were to serve as a constant reminder of The Lord.

Ezra Taft BensonPresident Ezra Taft Benson said that people who are “captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ . . .

Enter their homes, and the pictures on their walls, the books on their shelves, the music in the air, their words and acts reveal them as Christians”

Moses taught that we should be careful of our riches and abundance for fear that in our “fat, dumb and happy” state we might forget The Lord.

Brigham YoungPresident Brigham Young said: “The worst fear that I have about [members of this Church] is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell.

This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches, for they will become the richest people on this earth” (in Preston Nibley, Brigham Young: The Man and His Work [1936], 128).

Jacob points out how we should use our wealth in Jacob 2:18–19. The next lesson pointed out by Moses is that we are to build upon the Rock that is Christ. One of the many ways to do this, of course is attend the temple.

Howard W. HunterPresident Howard W. Hunter counseled: “Let us be a temple-attending people. Attend the temple as frequently as personal circumstances allow.

Keep a picture of a temple in your home that your children may see it” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 8; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 8).

To Protect ourselves from the fiery darts of the adversary, we must surround ourselves with things that create an environment which enables us to resist those temptations. Remember who we are dealing with here: D&C 76:28–29.

The diagram below represents the various attacks from Satan and how our behavior (Family Home Evening, Prayer, Church, Obedience, Scriptures, etc) can deflect those arrows and attacks.

Thwart The Adversary

  1. King Balak (of Moab) sees the Israelites coming and fears them (Numbers 22)
  2. He offers Balaam (Prophet of God) rewards if he will curse the Israelites, but Balaam refuses (Numbers 22: 8–14)
  3. Balaam is offered further reward, and so he asks God if he should go with Balak
  4. The Lord says, “no . . . but do what you want . . . ” basically.
  5. Balaam decides to go, but his Donkey won’t move, so he beats the donkey
  6. The Donkey talks back (Numbers 22: 22–30) and tells him that an Angel is blocking him
  7. Balaam repents, sort of . . . he again follows Balak
  8. Three different times Balak convinces Balaam to follow him and get a “different view” of the Israelites hoping Balaam would curse them
  9. Each time, Balaam refuses.
  10. Ultimately, however, Balaam tells the Midianites how to tempt Israel with Idol Worship and Immorality (Numbers 31:16)
  11. Israel defeats the Midianites and Slays Ballam
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