Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ether 2:8-9 -- Progressing Post-Promised Land

"And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.
And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity."
Ether 2:8-9

We talk sometimes about the Lord guiding people to the promised land, but these verses are about already being in the promised land.  Both symbolically and literally, our journey doesn't end when we reach the promised land.  It's certainly a milestone and an amazing accomplishment, but just like baptism or marriage or graduation... great achievements are also lead-ins to new beginnings.  It isn't the end of the story yet--only the beginning of a new chapter.  It reminds me of the scripture "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required" (Luke 12:48).  We can accomplish much and be blessed abundantly, but there is more to do.

In a literal sense, this scripture is about the physical land where the Jaredites lived, which was somewhere in the Americas.  This scripture could also be literal or figurative in our own lives concerning what the Lord has given us or sent us to do.  The journey to those destinations is tough, but once we are there, like Nephi reaching his promised land, it might be sort of a wilderness that we have to tame and build up ourselves.  All that effort to get there, and then more hard work.  ... This shouldn't discourage us though.  God isn't just throwing more and more at us until we get overwhelmed.  He gives us more only when he sees that we can handle it--when we're ready for the next lesson.  Some people might not get past every hurdle in life, but for the ones that do, God has more to teach.  Maybe we'll never learn to play the trombone, or speak German, or write a book, but if we start, we have a basis upon which to build, so that we can learn more and get better.  It's the same with the gospel.  The more we learn, the more we are able to learn, little by little.  Not to discourage us, but to teach us in stages that we can grasp.

When we are in the promised land, we have to keep progressing by remaining faithful and diligent.  We can't stop practicing or learning or we'll regress. In order to keep moving forward, we have to keep doing as God asks and growing in our understanding of the principles of the gospel.  Otherwise, we get booted out of the promised land, and lose the opportunities that we had from getting that far.  Today, let's keep traveling--to the promised land if that is where we are in our journey--and if we're already there, let's keep reaching for all that God offers us, and never stop improving. :)

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