Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ether 12. Hope, Surety, and an anchor


4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with asurety bhope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which chope cometh of dfaith, maketh an eanchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in fgood works, being led to gglorify God.

So many things in life are unsure, it's the nature of our world. Entropy is part of life. Yet here is a prophet of God, telling us there is something available that is very sure. Something eternally sure. How inspiring. It uses the word steadfast; meaning firm, not blown about by what people say or do, winds of doctrine, or the opinions of men. As I read this verse it becomes one of my favorites.

He says "whoso believeth in God MIGHT with surety hope for a better world". Why might? I think "might" because we have a choice. God offers, but we are allowed to choose to accept or just go along with mainstream. We can do what everyone else does, believe what they believe, do what your told, and sit smug in our beliefs that all is well. Or there is hope available, something real and connected directly to God. Hope that is far beyond mere wishful thinking, hope that is beyond a positive expectation. The hope he is talking about is an actual substance that is sure. It's the waiting period between the time of a promise from God (which is sure) and the final fulfillment of it. It's the waiting period, but the outcome is assured. (Eighteen Verses Chapt 4). Such hope the scripture say is an anchor. What a beautiful image of something strong holding a ship in place amidst waves, currents, or storms. An anchor goes deep, rests on the bottom. Implying the hope a person has is deep, it's restful, it goes to the core of a persons soul and provides stability, it's sure and steadfast just like the verse says. This is all ended with the word "would". It "would" make people such things as the verse says, were people to obtain it.

So what is a hope that causes people to abound in good works? That is some good hope. And not just a few good works either, but abounding. Interesting. It doesn't say that I'll do good works because I'm trying to be a good person. It doesn't support the belief that "if I'm just good enough for long enough I'll get there". It says the good works abound because of the hope within the person. To me this suggests the good works are the fruit of the inner life that is being altered and anchored. It's not forced or done to earn something. This hope "comes of faith" the verse says. But the first of the verse says this all begins with belief. Belief in God. It progresses, faith grows, hope and knowledge follow.

Then the verse ends with more interesting news "being lead to glorify God". Yes! How awesome. All these good works, hope, faith, leads a person to glorify God. In other words the persons natural response is anything but pride, selfishness, self gratification, and prideful ambition, it's humble, it's beautiful, it seeks to glorify God. There are few other appropriate response for certain events than to bow, worship, and glorify God. (Alma 36: 22) (Rev. 1: 17) (1 Ne. 1: 14) How comforting that this verse's content is leading us to such a place. A place where one glorifies the being who is Light itself.

In this world of uncertainty there is an anchor. There is love and hope in Christ, enduring as the returning waves of the sea. Gods longsuffering and outstretched merciful arm is extended. We choose what we do with it, and how we respond.

We should respond with repentance, seeking all truth, and obtain like this verse suggests an anchor to our soul. :)

2 comments:

  1. Kelsey and I got to talking about this afterwords, how the verse sounds really good, but sometimes easier said than done. Here were our follow up thoughts. This comment also appears as a separate post.


    First since Ether and Moroni are the authors, we can rightly question and find out for ourselves if they speak the truth. And God has taken credit for the Book of Mormon and said they are "His words". (2 Ne. 29: 1-2). So if it produces dissatisfaction we should take it up with the Lord because they are His words. I think regardless of what response we feel when reading the scriptures we should still go to the Lord. He is no respecter of persons, and indeed has the word of eternal life. (John 6: 67-68). People have done it. People have faced the end, faced death, hell and all the rest. And what do they say afterwords? Just what Moroni says, their hope life and salvation is in Jesus Christ and the grace of God.

    I too during times of difficulty say "Yeah, sure, easier said than done" But looking back, in hindsight, such words (that scripture) truly helped me. It gave me focus, gave me hope, gave me reason to leave behind the negative emotions and stresses and lay hold on something much more noble, more divine, and more uplifting. Personally it also often takes a lot of working through the emotions as well, they can cloud things. "Easier said than done" does suggests either a lack of confidence in Gods ability to help you succeed, or lack of faith in your self. The second is probably a result of the first.

    The Lord speaks peace to us in our afflictions. He comforts us by the Spirit, and can comfort us Himself. The promises are real. The Book of Mormon has many a testament that such is true. Those first two sentences are not my opinion, it's almost word for word from scripture. Difficult to have faith? Oh yes, trying and soul searing sometimes? Without a doubt. But it's a beautiful thing.

    If anyone reading this is anything like me the next thought that comes to mind is "Well I'm doing everything I know how, everything in my power and still feeling horrible, and get beat up by trials sometimes"

    I think here the story of David and Goliath applies. If we don't view the situation, challenge or problem of our life in the light of faith and Gods presence, it will be difficult if not impossible to really make much progress. David did not see the encounter as a battle between himself a mere boy and a giant. He saw it as the Lords battle. (1 Sam. 17: 45) Our job is not often to move the mountain, to move the trial or fix the circumstances. Often we need to use our agency and be wise but our job is to have faith in the Lord. The rest is the Lords problem. Our job is to persist in faith. So what do you do when you've exhausted all options and still feeling horrible? Then is when a truly humble prayer yields further light and knowledge. (D&C 112: 10) The Lord keeps his word. But it has to be obtained personally.

    I think the events of Christs life were also easier said than done. I think He and we knew about the challenges that would confront us during our earth life. But actually experiencing them in a mortal body with all the doubts, challenges, pains, and problems of life is quite a different thing that on paper, or in theory. But it does give the opportunity for faith hope and knowledge.

    For a more complete discussion of this topic, and the David and Goliath part I talked about and paraphrased see The Second Comforter.

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  2. Found this quote today that i think fits quite well:

    To realize the worth of the anchor,
    We need to feel the stress of the storm.

    -Lyn McSweeney

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