“I Desired Ḥesed”

A little over a month ago, I wrote a blog post about the Hebrew word ḥesed (חֵסֵד), which appears 250 times in the Old Testament and which has no exact equivalent in English. In that post, I relied heavily on President Russell M. Nelson's discussion of the term in his article “The Everlasting Covenant” (Liahona,... Continue Reading →

One of a City, and Two of a Family

The gathering of Israel sounds like a massive family reunion, but it's actually something quite different. Israel was scattered thousands of years ago. They have intermarried with other nations, and their descendants are everywhere. Furthermore, as Nephi clarified, "As many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord" (2 Nephi... Continue Reading →

Beauty for Ashes

A key characteristic of the Savior's ministry was that He responded to evil with good. He expects the same from His disciples: "If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?"... Continue Reading →

Hesed

Isaiah contrasted the temporary nature of this world with the permanence of God's love for us: The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. Isaiah 54:10, 3 Nephi 22:10 The Hebrew word translated "kindness" in... Continue Reading →

Feeble Knees

The right message at the wrong time can be incredibly unhelpful. When Job's friends learned about his tragic losses, they traveled to his home "to mourn with him and to comfort him" (Job 2:11). At first, they simply sat with him, without saying a word. (See Job 2:13.) When one of them finally spoke, he... Continue Reading →

Building a Wall

Walls are useful. I spend most days in a room surrounded by four walls and a ceiling, which shields me from adverse weather while eliminating (I think) a lot of distractions. Walls and fences can delineate land that is intended for a specific use. Walls can also serve a decorative function, allowing us to hang... Continue Reading →

Cyrus

About a hundred years before the Babylonian Captivity, Isaiah described how it would end. He named a specific individual who would send the people back to Jerusalem and support them in rebuilding the temple: Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb...That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to... Continue Reading →

“The Lord Looketh on the Heart”

As we grow closer to God, we learn to see other people differently. When Samuel met with Jesse in the small town of Bethlehem, he brought his own preconceptions and biases to the task of selecting a new king. The current king, which he had also selected, was tall and strong. He stood out in... Continue Reading →

Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu

When I think of Moses ascending Mount Sinai, I always envision him alone. So I've been struck recently by these descriptions of him ascending the mountain with other people: "And the Lord said unto him,... thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee" (Exodus 19:24)."And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab,... Continue Reading →

Acquainted with Grief

Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3, Mosiah 14:3) The word translated "sorrows" in this passage—makobot (מַכְאֹב֖וֹת)—means literally "pains," and the word translated "grief"—choli (חֱלִי)—means "sickness," so the passage is as much about physical suffering as it is about emotional anguish. Alma's reference to this passage... Continue Reading →

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