Slumbering Shepherds

The prophet Nahum characterized the chaos which would accompany the destruction of the Assyrian Empire in this way: Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them. Nahum 3:18 As Ezekiel would later point out, a shepherd is supposed to be... Continue Reading →

Selfless Shepherds

How can you call yourself a shepherd if you only think about yourself? That's the question Ezekiel asked the leaders of his people. "Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves," he said. "Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?" (Ezekiel 34:2). When we are young, we are naturally self-centered. It's to... Continue Reading →

Josiah and Benjamin

Today I've been thinking about the parallels between two kings: Josiah, who reigned over Judah just before the Babylonian captivity (640-609 BCE), and Benjamin, who reigned over the Nephites about 500 years later. Both kings led their people in a spiritual reawakening. Here are some of their common experiences: ExperienceJosiahBenjaminInspired by the scripturesWas horrified when... Continue Reading →

The Voice of the People

When the prophet Samuel was old, he tried to appoint his sons to succeed him as leaders over Israel. But the Israelites were not willing to follow his sons, and they requested that he appoint a king. Samuel was troubled. He didn't think it wise to give one person that much power, and he thought... Continue Reading →

Moses Besought the Lord

Some of the work of a leader is done out of sight, away from the people he or she leads. Even before Moses descended from Sinai and saw the golden calf, he had an opportunity to advocate on behalf of his people. The Lord told him what was happening at the bottom of the mountain:... Continue Reading →

Govern Ourselves

When Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, saw him judging the people "from the morning unto the evening," he said, "The thing that thou doest is not good." Moses explained to him that the people needed his help resolving disputes and that this was his opportunity to teach them about God's laws. Jethro replied, "This thing is too heavy for thee;... Continue Reading →

Taskmasters

Are we increasing other people's burdens or lightening them? That's a pretty good heuristic for many of the decisions we make. Jacob and his family thrived in Egypt, with the support of his son Joseph, who was governor over the land, second only to Pharaoh. (See Genesis 41:40-41.) But a few generations later, a new... Continue Reading →

Sequential Creation

God created the earth in stages. That's how He described the process to Abraham and to Moses. Here is His description of the process, as given in Genesis 1, Moses 2, and Abraham 4: Stage (Day)Task(s)Scripture References1Create lightDivide light from darknessGenesis 1:3-5Moses 2:3-5Abraham 4:3-52Create an expanse or firmament (the atmosphere) Divide waters on the ground... Continue Reading →

“Build Up Cities”

When the Lord warned Nephi to flee from his brothers, he did not go alone. He took with him everyone who "believed in the warnings and the revelations of God" (1 Nephi 5:5-6). They traveled many days in the wilderness and chose a place to settle, where they constructed buildings, planted crops, and established a new community.... Continue Reading →

Be a Light

Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). To His disciples on the American continent, He phrased it as an imperative: "I give unto you to be the light of this people" (3 Nephi 12:14). God had previously given a similar message to the prophet Isaiah: I will also give thee for... Continue Reading →

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