Last night in institute we started the book of Ether. There is SO much to learn from the brother of Jared but I am going to just focus on "answers to prayer" today.
We know that the Brother of Jared was instructed by the Lord to build 8 barges to cross the ocean. He obeyed and then he had 3 questions for the Lord. Look with me at Ether 2:18 as he prays with the 3 questions.
v. 18 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me, and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me.
v. 19 And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breath, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish.
I guess I should not just assume that you all know how the barges were built... look with me at v. 17. "And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish." In other words, the barges were enclosed... tight like unto a dish (this could be a lesson in and of itself! WHY did He want us to know it was tight like unto a dish? ...so that no water could get in as they were tossed about in the ocean! How can our testimonies be tight like unto a dish? ...so that no sin can get in...)
Okay, sorry to get off on a tangent... back to the 3 questions that the brother of Jared had for the Lord in v. 19...
1) There is no light, how can we have light?
2) How will we steer the barges?
3) There will be no fresh air, how do we get fresh air to breath?
Then the Lord answers him...
1st the answer to how they can have fresh air...
v. 20 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air....
then the answer to crossing the great water in darkness...
v. 23 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? .....
then the answer to steering...
v. 24 For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.
Okay. Lets look at HOW He answered the brother of Jared's prayer.
1. Fresh air: make a hole in the top and the bottom of the barges, and when you need air, open up the plug. He told them how to do it... BUT, they have to do it!
2. Light: He asked the brother of Jared how HE wanted to do it...
3. Steering the barges: HE would do it for them.
In this one prayer the Lord shows us 3 different ways he answers our prayers.
1. He gave them directions and they have to go to work to do it.... Does he now tell us how to do something and then it is up to us to do it???? (that agency thing again!!!) °Ü°
2. It is up to us... it really doesn't matter... He will help us, but it is up to us HOW we do some things! (A good cross ref. here is Doctrine and Covenants 58:26 "For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant..." AND, in Doctrine and Covenants chapter 61 they want to know if they should travel by water or by land and here is the Lord's response... v. 22. And it mattereth not unto me, after a little, if it so be that they fill their mission, whether they go by water or by land....)
3. He said, you don't need to worry about this one, I will take care of it!!!! (We have to turn our lives over to him. Sometimes it is NOT the way we WANT it to go, but we have to trust HIM!!!)
I just want you to know that I know He answers our prayers, He loves us and wants the best for us... He WILL answer our prayers, sometimes not the way we expect Him to or in the way we WANT Him to but He knows all... we have to learn to say, "Thy will be done" and trust Him. We need to align our wants with His wants... He is very aware of us and our needs... He loves us!
He does answer our prayers.
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