What I Learned from Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua, May 2022

Today I reviewed what I’ve written this month about the last three books of Moses and the first of the historical books in the Old Testament. Here are some concepts that have become clearer to me during that time:

1. We must worship in the Lord’s way, and we must teach in a way that works for our students.

A pair of consecutive blog posts emphasized to me the importance of being adaptable. Moses counseled the children of Israel to teach their children in a variety of settings, including informal ones (Deuteronomy 6:6-7), which mirrors Nephi’s admonition to teach our children constantly, using a variety of methods (2 Nephi 25:26).

Then, the Lord indicated that in the promised land, He would designate a location for worship. They should no longer worship wherever they wanted to worship but should follow His instructions (Deuteronomy 12:8-14).

The common denominator is adaptability. I need to get my own ego out of the way and be willing to worship God in His way and teach my children in their way.

2. God guides us through a process of spiritual maturation.

I’ve always thought of the Israelites’ forty years in the wilderness as a terrible thing. Why didn’t they have more faith? Why weren’t they willing to receive the blessings God offered to them immediately?

But this time through, I saw things differently. Yes, it would have been ideal for all of them to have the faith of Joshua and Caleb. Their years in the wilderness were difficult, but God did not abandon them. As Moses reminded them at the end of that time, God walked with them and blessed them throughout the journey (Deuteronomy 2:7, Deuteronomy 8:2-5). Just as Lehi’s son Jacob grew spiritually through his afflictions in the wilderness (2 Nephi 2:2), the children of Israel matured during those forty years until they were ready to enter the promised land.

That insight gives me hope. When I find myself in less-than-ideal circumstances, I will remember that God is with me and that He will patiently guide me as I become more mature and more capable of receiving His grace.

3. Gratitude can mitigate the negative effects of prosperity.

Moses worried that in the promised land, comfort would lead to complacency, and the children of Israel would turn away from God (Deuteronomy 32:15). This was a valid concern. Mormon recognized that this is a universal tendency. (See Helaman 12:2-3.)

As a result, Moses admonished the children of Israel to remember God’s blessings and to be grateful. This month, I have gained a deeper understanding of the layers of gratitude that we can have:

5 thoughts on “What I Learned from Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua, May 2022

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  1. we must worship in the Lords way unless it interferes with the presidents ways ; then we follow men instead (ie worshiping on the first day rather than the seventh day!)

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Robert. I completely agree with your main point: that we should follow God’s instructions for how to worship Him rather than following the opinions of other people. Our task is to understand God’s will as clearly as possible and then to follow it exactly. Thank you for sharing your commitment to following God’s commandments, including the Sabbath Day.
      Have a great day!
      Paul

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  2. I really liked your insights about the sin-preventative qualities of
    gratitude. And even though I tend to think “those dratted Israelites”
    (and the record tends to justify that approach), I say we can be
    grateful for the record-keepers — particularly that they didn’t
    whitewash their ancestors’ golden calves.

    Keep it up, Paul!

    Lavina

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    1. Their candor is a blessing for us. It’s nice to know that our spiritual ancestors were human just like us, and that God was willing to work with them in spite of their shortcomings. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

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