The Father of Lights

Shortly after encouraging us to seek wisdom from God, James explains why He is the best source of truth:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

James 1:17

With the twin imagery of gifts and light, James emphasizes that God is the ultimate source of all blessings and of all truth. The imagery is profound. The source of all light is constant and reliable. We can trust Him. He “does not change like shifting shadows.” (See James 1:17, NIV on biblehub.com.)

In November 1831, the Lord used this same language to testify of the truth of the revelations in the Book of Commandments: “Ye know that there is no unrighteousness in them,” He said, “and that which is righteous cometh down from above, from the Father of lights” (Doctrine and Covenants 67:9).

Mormon used similar imagery as he taught his people how to choose between good and evil:

Every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God….

And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully….

Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.

Moroni 7:13, 18-19

We receive blessings and knowledge from many sources. We should be grateful for those who share so generously with us. But we must never lose sight of the fact that those people are conduits. God is the ultimate giver of all good things and of all knowledge. Thus, he is the Father of “lights”—we receive light from many sources, and God is the Father of them all.

As King Benjamin recognized, he was “chosen by [the] people,” and he was “consecrated by [his] father,” but ultimately, he was “suffered by the hand of the Lord” to be their king. Furthermore, he was “kept and preserved by [God’s] matchless power, to serve [them] with all the might, mind and strength which the Lord…granted unto [him]” (Mosiah 2:11). Benjamin never lost sight of the ultimate source of His blessings.

Today, I will look for God’s hand in the blessings and knowledge I receive. I will be grateful for the immediate sources of gifts and light in my life, and I will see past them to the ultimate Giver, the source of every good gift and the Father of lights.

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