WORLDLY PEACE VS. THE PEACE PROMISED BY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Click to listen to this sacrament meeting talk read by Jenny Hatch

My Talk today will be based on the scripture in John 14:27

27 a”Peace I leave with you, my bpeace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be ctroubled, neither let it be afraid.”

John Chapter 14 is perhaps one of the absolute best Sermons Jesus Christ ever gave to the People of his Day and it has many applications for us in these end times.  In this chapter of scripture the Savior Jesus speaks of many mansions—He says that he is the way, the truth, and the life and that to see him is to see the Father—He also promises the first and second Comforters.

I would like to take a minute to explore worldly peace, and then delve into the type of Peace that the Savior Offers to those who have covenanted to be his disciples.

Some believe that Peace is to be had in this life through financial independence. Others falsely believe that worldly popularity and/or celebrity will be a ticket to peaceful living. Still others believe that Peace of mind comes with existing as a citizen of a country where the Military of that nation is the biggest and baddest on the planet.  And many believe that peaceful living is to be had with all sorts of worldly types of “backup” to life in the form of Health Insurance, Employee Benefit plans, and/or a large Governmental Social Welfare system that esures none will suffer from cold, hunger, disease, and/or business failure.

While it is true that these systems of materialistic peace do help ensure that various citizens of the world feel more safe and protected, I do not believe that this is the sort of Peace that the Savior was promising in theGospel of John.

I would like to explore the first story in the Book of Mormon to outline my premise and conclusion that the Lords Peace is different from worldly peace.  And I would like to throw out the idea that it is a pattern in the scriptures that once someone becomes a true disciple of Jesus Christ….worldly peace becomes quite elusive as those who are angered by the words and actions of the Follower of Jesus Christ attempt to bully, discredit, and/or kill in an attempt to silence a voice speaking the truth.

In this talk on the Lords Peace I will use the tremendous example of the Prophet Lehi, but I could just have easily profiled Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elisha, all of the ancient Apostles, The prophet Joseph Smith and/or many of our modern day Prophets and Apostles.  The greatest example of this principle is our Savior Jesus Christ.  A pattern of discipleship often includes and is distinguished by life getting very exciting once the life mission of that person truly kicks in.

Lehi the Prophet – Let’s review his story:

1 Nephi 1:420

Behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard. 1 Nephi 1:18

Many prophets told the people living in Jerusalem that they must repent or the city would be destroyed. The prophet Lehi lived in Jerusalem and was concerned about his people. He prayed for them with all his heart. (See 1 Nephi 1:45.)

As Lehi prayed, a pillar of fire appeared on a rock in front of him. He saw and heard many things that made him shake and tremble. Overcome by the Spirit, Lehi returned home and lay on his bed. Then Jesus Christ appeared to him in a vision. Jesus gave Lehi a book that told what would happen to the Jews if they did not repent. As Lehi read the book, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord. He learned that many people would be killed and others would be taken captive when Jerusalem was destroyed. He also read about many great and marvelous events that would happen. Lehi praised the Lord for the goodness and mercy He shows to those who repent. (See 1 Nephi 1:615.)

After this vision Lehi went among the people of Jerusalem to prophesy and declare what he had seen and heard. He told them of the Messiah, who would come to redeem the world. The people mocked Lehi as he told them of their wickedness and the things he had read in the book. They became angry and tried to kill Lehi, but the Lord protected him. (See 1 Nephi 1:1820.)

Lehi warning the people of Jerusalem

Artist, Del Parson

Few would consider Lehi’s life becoming MORE peaceful because of his willingness to speak and act as a Prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In fact his life became decidedly more difficult as former neighbors and friends attempted to mock and kill him.  At one point in his story his wife and sons rebelled and murmured against him and the constant fighting and annoyance of traveling with young married couples and children undoubtedly compelled him to speculate about life back in Jerusalem enjoying the fruits of his labors and safely keeping his mouth shut as the city degraded into complete wickedness and sin.  No doubt he would have been dead by the time the captivity kicked in 70 years after he was told to warn the people and he could have died peacefully in his own bed, but Heavenly Father wanted something better for his posterity.

Nephi writes in the history that he had three brothers and he also mentions sisters, plural, so we know that Lehi and Sariah had at least six children at the time they left Jerusalem.  It is also likely that they had more daughters and perhaps eight or ten children in total.  We know that Lehi was wealthy and that his sons stood to inherit quite a sizable legacy once he died.  During the eight years that the family traveled in the wilderness we know that Sariah gave birth to two additional sons, Jacob and Joseph.  In 2 Nephi Chapter 2 Lehi gives perhaps his greatest sermon in the Book of Mormon to his son Jacob as he outlines the Principles of Redemption, Agency, and Freedom.

The bane of Lehi’s existence, and I might add, the existence of almost all fathers everywhere, was the turbulence that defined his children’s relationships with each other.

Nephi Subdues His Rebellious Brothers

1 Nephi 17
And it came to pass that I stretched forth my hand unto my brethren, and … the Lord did shake them, even according to the word which he had spoken. 1 Nephi 17:54

After leaving Jerusalem, Lehi’s people traveled in the wilderness for eight years. They came to a land where there was much fruit and wild honey. They pitched their tents by the seashore. (See 1 Nephi 17:16.)

After they had been there for many days, the Lord told Nephi, “Arise, and get thee into the mountain” (1 Nephi 17:7). Nephi climbed the mountain and prayed. The Lord said to him, “Construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters” (1 Nephi 17:8).

The Lord told Nephi how to build the ship. When Laman and Lemuel saw that Nephi was going to build a ship, they said he was a fool. They did not want to help Nephi, nor did they believe the Lord had told him to build a ship. (See 1 Nephi 17:9111 Nephi 17:1618.)

Laman and Lemuel also thought Lehi was foolish for having led them around in the wilderness when they could have enjoyed their riches in Jerusalem. The brothers insisted that the people back in Jerusalem were righteous, not wicked as Lehi claimed. (See 1 Nephi 17:2022.)

Nephi told his brothers the Lord had commanded their father to leave Jerusalem. He said they had sought to kill their father. They had seen an angel, and the Lord had spoken to them. But they were “past feeling,” so the Lord’s words did not touch their hearts. Nephi told Laman and Lemuel that he was afraid that they would be cast out of God’s presence forever. (See 1 Nephi 17:4447.)

Laman and Lemuel became angry and wanted to throw Nephi into the sea. When they tried to grab him, Nephi said, “Touch me not, for I am filled with the power of God” (1 Nephi 17:48). He said if they did touch him, they would die. Nephi said they were to help with the ship Heavenly Father had commanded him to build. (See 1 Nephi 17:4849.)

For many days Nephi’s brothers did not dare touch him. Then the Lord told Nephi to stretch forth his hand to his brothers. The Lord said they would not die but would feel a shock. This would remind them that the Lord was their God. (See 1 Nephi 17:5253.)

Nephi reached out his hand to them, and they were shaken. Laman and Lemuel said, “We know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us” (1 Nephi 17:55). They wanted to worship Nephi, but he told them, “Worship the Lord thy God, and honor thy father and thy mother” (1 Nephi 17:55).

Artist, Arnold Friberg

When Lehi’s children married the daughters of Ishmael, we know that babies were soon added to the large traveling group of pioneers slowly making their way to the coast to travel to the Americas.

I’m certain that the daughters of Ishamael must have considered it quite an adventure to marry these Godly Men and take off to the great unknown traveling in tents and enjoying the excitement of new and different experiences.

Yet once a lack of food, water, and fatigue kicked in, and babies were born under the most harsh circumstances, and their father died, we learned that the women who made up the party of travelers responded as most of us would, wishing they could return to the comfort and ease of the life they had known in Jerusalem.

We also read that Lamen and Lemuel loved their wives when they claimed in 1st Nephi 17:20:

“And thou art like unto our father, led away by the foolishaimaginations of his heart; yea, he hath led us out of the land of Jerusalem, and we have wandered in the wilderness for these many years; and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions.”

I often think of this scripture when considering some of the prophecies that have been given regarding these last days and how difficult things will be for those Mothers who will be bearing children in harsh or primitive situations.

I could go on and on detailing the various episodes that are outlined in the Book of Mormon regarding the various experiences Lehi and his family struggled through once they left their home in Jerusalem.

So the question must be asked:

Where is the Peace in this situation?

The Savior told us in the Doctrine and Covenants:

 35 For I am no arespecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the bday speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when cpeace shall be taken from the earth, and theddevil shall have power over his own dominion.

If we are not yet to this place in the worlds history, I believe we are getting intensely close to the time when Peace shall be taken from the earth.  And then, when that day comes, how will the Saints of the most high findPeace in this life and Eternal life in the world to come?

That is the question.

The answer to that question is actually simple and all of the Holy Scriptures and Heavenly Fathers Prophets have been remarkably consistent about how to find this elusive and other worldly peace.  And it is this:

Keep the Commandments!

Exodus chapter 20 indentifies the ten commandments:

 1And God aspake all these bwords, saying,

 2aI am the bLord thy cGod, which have brought thee out of the land of dEgypt, out of the house of ebondage.

 3Thou shalt have ano other bgods before me.

 4Thou shalt anot make unto thee any bgraven cimage, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

 5Thou shalt not abow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a bjealous God, cvisiting the diniquity of theefathers upon the fchildren unto the third and fourth generation of them that ghate me;

 6And shewing amercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my bcommandments.

 7Thou shalt not take the aname of the Lord thy God in bvain; for the Lord will not hold him cguiltless that dtaketh his name in vain.

 8Remember the asabbath day, to keep it bholy.

 9aSix days shalt thou blabour, and do all thy work:

 10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in itthou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thyastranger that is within thy gates:

 11For in asix days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lordbblessed the sabbath day, and challowed it.

 12¶aHonour thy bfather and thy cmother: that thy ddays may beelong upon the fland which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

 13Thou shalt not akill.

 14Thou shalt not commit aadultery.

 15Thou shalt not asteal.

 16Thou shalt not bear afalse witness against thy bneighbour.

 17Thou shalt not acovet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s bwife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

For me the most telling scripture warning the Saints not to look to worldly entities for peace is found in the Doctrine and Covenants Sections 121 and 122.  The Lord outlines the principles of opposition that will likely be the outcome of attempting to live as a disciple of Christ:

My son, apeace be unto thy soul; thine badversity and thine afflictions shall be but a csmall moment;

7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

 8The aSon of Man hath bdescended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

 9Therefore, ahold on thy way, and the priesthood shall bremainwith thee; for their cbounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy ddaysare known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore,efear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.

It is my testimony that the Lords Peace and eventually entering into his Rest, which rest is the fullness of his glory, will be the result of Faithful Adherence to the Ten Commandments and Enduring to the End as we muster our way through life’s trials and tribulations.

This Talk was written by Jenny Hatch and delivered in her Louisville Colorado Ward sacrament meeting on June 26th, 2011

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