25: "The Battle Is the Lord’s" (1 Samuel 8–10; 13; 15–18)
Have you ever heard that part of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” where the lyrics read, “Here I raise my Ebenezer” and wondered what it was talking about? It turns out "Eben-ezer" was the name Samuel gave a stone as a token of gratitude for deliverance. In Hebrew, the word also means "stone of help." So when we think about David and Goliath, we see how crucial a stone of help is—and not just in slaying giants. As we study 1 Samuel chapters 8–10, 13, and 15–18 we'll discover how the Savior is our personal Ebenezer, and how He helps us face our own Goliaths.
Abigail = My father is joy, my cause is joy
Ichabod = Where is the glory?
Picture: John and Ben with their rocks
Ebenezer = Stone of help
“Samuel taught Saul that complete obedience to the Lord is better than performing a singular religious practice and that complying with one religious practice did not justify disobeying the Lord’s other commandments. Saul’s decision to disobey was influenced by his desire to please others rather than the Lord because he feared the judgments of men” (Robert D. Hales, “Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 26)
Ruddy = Red-headed
Railed = Swooped upon
Nabal = Disgraced, senseless, foolish
Before we begin today's episode, I have a quick assignment for you. I want you to go outside and find a rock, and any rock will do. But it's got to be bigger than a pebble and smaller than a breadbox. And I have no idea what a breadbox is, I've just heard older people use that saying. Of course I'm older, so I probably should know. But right now, pause the episode and go outside, I'll wait.
Now if this was my seminary class, I would actually have a bucket of rocks for everyone to choose from. But since I can't be with you and I don't have a bucket of rocks, you really do need a rock for today's episode. In fact, I even asked my guests to bring a rock to this recording. And we'll even put in our show notes a picture of my guests with their rock. So you're going to need it and I promise you will appreciate it as we discuss 1 Samuel chapters 8-10, 13, 15-18, and 25.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original, brought to you by LDS Living where we take the Come, Follow Me lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now if you're new to our study group, I just want to make sure that you know how to use this podcast. So follow the link in our description, and it's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance our Come, Follow Me study just like my friends in California: Whitney Fink, Liz Silverthorn, Amber Polli, Darcy Ure, and Tiffany Odekirk.
Hi ladies, and I met Tiffany at a book signing a few weeks ago. You guys, she's an LDS author of romance novels! So go check out some of her books. It's pretty incredible. But we were talking and she said that her friends listen to Sunday on Monday and had been trying to get her to listen. So, I hope you're listening right now Tiffany. Hi, friend.
Now another awesome thing about our study group - and this is my favorite thing - is that each week we're joined by two of my friends, so it's always a little bit different each week and today, oh, I'm so excited. We've got John Heywood and Ben Lomu. Hi, guys.
John Heywood 1:47
Ben Lomu 1:47
Hi. How's everybody doing today?
Oh, okay. This is so great. Now, John. I've known John. John was on last year with his son Josh. By the way, how's Josh doing on his mission?
John Heywood 1:56
He's love on it. He is killing it. They're baptizing, they're teaching, they're, he's just loving it.
Ben Lomu 2:01
That's awesome. Where's he at?
John Heywood 2:03
Ben Lomu 2:05
And many of you will remember that John and his son were on an episode last year and it was amazing.
John Heywood 2:11
I think it got probably the most listens. I don't know if that's a term, but I just
You might be right, actually; it was way up there in top five for sure. For sure. And then Ben - I met Ben last year because Ben is the host of the television program on K-BYU called Come Follow Up. And he does an amazing job. And I got to join him last year for one of the episodes, which was so much fun.
Ben Lomu 2:32
It was a lot of fun.
Oh, Ben, you're a really good host by the way, you do a great job.
Ben Lomu 2:37
I, you know, I just take everything I learned from my days working with John. And you know, I just
John Heywood 2:43
did the opposite. (laughter)
That's funny. That's why Ben and John are on today. Because as I was talking to Ben, we made a connection that we both know John. And oh my gosh, that was my favorite moment. Ben, you were like, WHAT?! We both knew John. So how do you guys know each other? Tell the story.
John Heywood 3:01
Well, first of all, how, how did, you guys just randomly bring my name up? Like, Hey, a, this is a stranger. Let's see if he knows John.
Ben Lomu 3:09
Well, we were talking about Tammy's career at teaching. And you had mentioned where you taught. And I was like, Wait, I think John Heywood was working there. So I think that's, that might have may have been where it started.
John Heywood 3:22
Yeah, it did. And then we were like, Oh, John Heywood! And we started telling the most hilarious stories, because John is a prankster. And boy, do we have stories! And we just sat and laughed and laughed for an hour about John.
Ben Lomu 3:36
Yeah. That, yeah, talk about pranks. I'll never forget the first, one of the first days I went into work. And I opened my door and my chair was turned so that I could see the back of it. And I grabbed the chair and I turned it around. And I almost had a heart attack because there was a baby doll sitting; it was a very realistic looking baby doll.
John Heywood 4:00
Was that Lola? Is that what we named that thing?
Ben Lomu 4:03
I found Lola in the refrigerator one time.
John Heywood 4:07
We lost her on the highway, right? Because I think we someone put her on someone's car and they didn't see it. And that was the last we saw Lola.
Ben Lomu 4:16
Poor Lola. No, but John's Great. Yeah, we, it's funny. We worked together. We taught together at Woods Cross for I think three years. And John was my, he was my mentor. So that's why I have been in the system for 18 years now. It's because
All because of John. I would highly recommend you guys go and check out their bios and see pictures of them. Especially because Ben, I mean, it's kind of fun. You might recognize him in some church movies. He's, he's done some solid time.
Ben Lomu 4:50
Well, my most important role was Larry the Levite.
John Heywood 4:53
We probably ought to get that out of the way right now.
Ben Lomu 4:55
Just do, you do take that, John. It's all you.
John Heywood 4:59
We had a, well first of all, I'm proud to say that I was probably one of Ben's first films that he was ever in. Starring me,
It started his career
John Heywood 5:09
He co-starred in it, and in seminary we would have weekly drawings where kids could earn, you know, cash prizes, no what was it? Candy, candy for reading their scriptures and we'd have a character that would draw out the names and this particular year we had a Philip the Fisherman, and he was replacing Larry the Levite from the Old Testament year. And we made a ridiculous movie where "Harry Met Philip" was the title of it. And they met, they waterskied together, they fished together, they ate lunch together, it was ridiculous. But that was my first and only film that I ever was starred in with, with Ben Lomu. So probably the best he's ever been in.
Ben Lomu 5:53
is easily the best I've ever done. So it's just gone downhill from there.
Yeah. Church Me has nothing on the movies that John Heywood could create. So Ben, you were Larry the Levite?
Ben Lomu 6:05
I was. I was
John Heywood 6:06
I think I was Larry.
Ben Lomu 6:07
Yeah, you were Larry. I was Phillip the fisherman. Because I remember I was wearing, I had a bucket hat that I lost while we were skiing.
John Heywood 6:16
we probably could get a picture. But that would be embarrassing. So
Ben Lomu 6:20
no, no. Yeah, we got to have that, it has to be in this thing.
Yeah. If you can find that picture, we'll put it in our bios. Oh, I think that'd be awesome.
John Heywood 6:28
It'd be great if we could sign it first, but
yeah, we'll see what we can do. Well, if you want to know more about my friends and read their bios and see these awesome pictures, make sure you go to our show notes which are at LDSliving.com/sundayonmonday.
Okay, friends, so let's just remember real quick. Last week, we left off with the story of Samuel, "speak, Lord for thy servant heareth." Hopefully you remember that. Well, Samuel grew up and the Lord was with him. You'll read about that in1 Samuel 3:19. And Eli, he is getting old, like 98 years old. Today, we are going to continue with the story of Samuel. And we're also going to put a very famous story in its historical context. And we think you're gonna love this. So grab your scriptures and your scripture journal and something to write with. And let's dig in. Okay, so when you guys were kids did either one of you ever play the game Capture the Flag?
John Heywood 7:17
Yep. Many times,
Okay, for our listeners who've never played it, really briefly, how do you play it? What's the goal?
Ben Lomu 7:24
So you get two teams, and you have, you separate on two different sides. And there's like a boundary line that separates you two and each of you has a flag on your side, and you're trying to cross into the territory of the other team, grab your flag, and bring it back to your territory without getting caught.
Perfect, excellent explanation. So I have to tell you: I was thinking about Capture the Flag as I was preparing this, but instead, we're going to call it Capture the Arc. Isn't that kind of what it sounds like? Let's go into 1 Samuel chapter 4. And we're going to look at verses 3-11. Because we just need some context for what's happening in Scripture right now. So that is 1 Samuel chapter 4, and we have verses 3-11. Okay, so here's what we want to know. I'm gonna give you a little background and then I want you guys to tell me if Capture the Ark turned out as great as Capture the Flag would have, because there's some things about that ark.
Okay, here we go. So in 1 Samuel chapter 4, the Israelites, they're fighting against the Philistines, and the Ark of the Covenant is taken in war. And Eli's two priestly and very disobedient sons, they were killed. It's so sad. So a messenger from the army, he runs to tell Eli about his sons and about how the Ark of the Covenant is taken. Let's go to 1 Samuel 4:11. Here's where it said, "And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were slain." But then, when Eli heard this information, go to verse 18. John, will you read 1 Samuel 4:18. Let's find out what Eli did.
John Heywood 8:51
"And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel 40 years."
What happened to Eli, John?
John Heywood 9:08
He died, he fell backwards. He was old and heavy. And they added that detail. I'm sure he is, too, but I think he's just he's shocked.
Poor Eli. Yeah, that's the end of his story right there. And so in all of this mess right here, we also have a story about his daughter-in-law, and she's pregnant at the time. And she finds out that her husband, Phineas was one of the sons who was killed, and she goes into early childbirth and she also passes away. But before she dies, she names her son, in verse 21. And the child's name is Ichabod. Highlight that because it's interesting that in Hebrew, Ichabod means 'where is thy glory'. And so here's this woman and the glory she's referring to is the glory of the Ark of the Covenant. Like where's the glory of the Lord? It's no longer with us. It can't protect us and she's so sad. And then she passes away. So then we go into this story of capturing the ark. And that's found in 1 Samuel 5-7. So John and Ben, from what you read, was capture the Ark a big win, or was it a major loss for those who captured it?
John Heywood 10:14
I wouldn't want the Ark because according to these chapters, whoever had the Ark got emerods or hemorrhoids. In fact, I read earlier in some commentary that that may have been even more severe than just hemorrhoids, because people were dying from this. So I would say, to answer your question, bad thing, I don't want the ark. They're not supposed to have it and look ed like a little curse followed them.
So maybe instead of like Capture the Ark, it's like Hot Potato.
Totally. Get rid of it. Exactly. You're totally right. And so the reason the thing is going on here is the Philistines. They see the Ark of the Covenant as being something that helped the Israelites win, which is true. And they thought, if we have the ark, surely we're going to win. So they tried to capture it and as they did, it turned out to be a horrible thing. In fact, in the story of 1 Samuel 6:19, if you go there, this is a whole story. It's so crazy. It's a group of men who looked inside the ark, and they were killed for looking inside of it. And Josephus and the Septuagint, they actually tell us that there were only 70 men who were killed. So if you read that verse, it says there were 50,000 that died, it could be or it could just be 70 men. There's two different thoughts right there for that. But either way, don't look in the ark. Boy, if that's not "Raiders of the Lost Ark," I don't know what is.
John Heywood 11:33
I think their faces melted off.
I was telling my husband that story, and that's what he said. He goes, 'It's "Raiders of the Lost Ark", I'm pretty sure that's where they got it from.' So, okay, the Ark is going to exchange hands for tribes several times until it ends up among the people of Kirjath-jearim, where it will remain for 20 years until David will come to get it. We'll talk about that later. But now with Eli gone let's read what 1 Samuel tells us about who's in charge. So let's go to 1 Samuel 7, and we're just going to read verses 15-17. And Ben, will you please read those for us.
John Heywood 12:06
7:15 "And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.
16 "And he went from year to year in circuit to Beth-el and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places.
17 "And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the Lord."
Thank you. So Samuel is now in charge. He sits as a prophet and a judge. Now, at this point in the story, Samuel's leadership will bring reform and rededication to God from the Israelites. And he actually reminds the Israelites who God is and what He has done for His people. So we kind of need this context. So let's go to 1 Samuel 8, because at some point in this, Samuel, the prophet gets married, and he has sons and they are naughty. They make very poor choices. In fact, it says that they take bribes and they pervert judgment, not such great guys. So as a result of these priests who are making really poor choices, the elders of Israel, they call a meeting with Samuel, and they told him, We want a king, and we want a king to rule over their people. So in the next segment, we're going to find out what the Lord and Samuel think about the idea of a king.
Segment 2 13:11
So here's my question for you two. Who do you go to when you need help? Or who have you gone to when you've needed help?
Ben Lomu 13:19
That's a good question. I guess it depends on what I'm seeking help with, you know. If it's if it has anything to do with like, fixing stuff, my father-in-law is always my go to. Like, I can fix anything, and they have so much experience. So when it comes to that I go to I go to my father-in-law for a lot of stuff that I need help with.
Great answer. What about you, John?
John Heywood 13:41
If my wife can't fix the problem, then, you know, I don't, I'm out of luck. So my wife fixes all of my problems for me. So,
Sonny's a fixer.
John Heywood 13:53
She is, she's good at it. She fixes things I don't even know are broken, that's how good she is.
That's true. Okay, perfect examples. I love that you both said those. So we want to talk about this. And for those of you listening, I want you to kind of be thinking about who you go to when you need help, because it's an important aspect of this story today. So in an effort to rededicate the children of Israel to God, Samuel dedicates a piece of land in remembrance of what the Lord has done for His people. Let's go to 1 Samuel 7:12, and I want us to look at what he calls the sign of this dedication. It's so beautiful. So 1Samuel 7:12.And John, will you please read this verse for us?
John Heywood 14:34
7:12 "Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
Okay, highlight the word Ebenezer right there. I love this word in Hebrew. And we've talked about it before a couple of times, especially in light of the song, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing....Here I raise my Ebenezer", and you know, forever we always thought, why is Ebenezer Scrooge's name in a church song? And then we learned that Ebenezer means it's two words placed together in Hebrew, EBEN and EZER. And EBEN means rock or stone. And EZER means help. So 'here I raise my rock of help, or my stone of help.' And it's beautiful that here's Samuel calling this place, Ebenezer. And it says right to hither to have the Lord help us. But it's a stone of help.
Now, this is why I had you guys get a rock. And I want you to kind of just look at your rock. And we're going to use it throughout today's episode as we talk about this, because I'm asking you this question: What do you think is the message that Samuel is trying to teach us by naming this place Ebenezer? or If the Prophet were to name someplace Ebenezer, what does he want us to know? John, any thoughts from you?
John Heywood 15:45
Well, where we go with my family, usually every year, take our trailer out to middle of nowhere in Utah. There's, we call it petrified Canyon. It's got a real name, but there's just loads of petrified wood. And we always look for the prettiest piece. And I didn't find this one, so I took it from my son who found this one. And it's just interesting to me that, I mean, petrified wood, it's not wood anymore, it's rock. The minerals have replaced the wood material and mimicked it. I mean, it looks like a chunk of wood. But now it's gonna last virtually forever. I just think that's cool. I love looking at this stuff because it was once a living tree, and at least in shape, it's still it's still with us. It's a, it's an Ebenezer right. It's gonna, it's gonna last forever.
Yeah, hold on. I'm writing that in my scripture, "lasts forever". It does. That Ebenezer will last forever. So thank you, John, I appreciate that.
John Heywood 16:46
For me, it's just a constant reminder, I have my rock right here. This is actually a rock that I carry around with me everywhere I go.
John Heywood 16:54
K, you said this is a safe place, so I'm getting personal here. So a few years ago, I started having major panic attacks and anxiety. And I was diagnosed with PTSD, just from, you know, childhood trauma issues, things growing up. And a friend of mine, she gave me this stone. And it's a specific type of stone. And I just keep it with me, and whenever I'm feeling like anxious, I just kind of take it out and I just hold it. And it's smooth and it just, it just has some stuff. I'm sure it's just all in my brain. But it has a very calming effect.
And I think, you know, when you take it from this idea of Ebenezer, ultimately, He's our rock, you know, when, at any time in our life when you're struggling, to have a little reminder of the rock that should be in all of our lives, that rock of assurance, stability. And so I carry this everywhere I go. And I just kind of, you know, I just like to hold in my fingers, it's smooth and I and I have this weird thing where I rub it on the crease of my thumb. It just calms me and it's just a great reminder of, of the real true rock in all of our lives.
Wow. That is an incredible example, Ben. I didn't even know you have that story
Ben Lomu 18:21
Yeah, so when you told us to find a rock, I was like, Oh, that's easy. I've got it right here.
Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate what both of you said. That's exactly what the point of Samuel naming it Ebenezer was, was just to remind the children of Israel, God is our help. He is the one that's going to help us through all of this, and how quickly they will forget this. That's what's so fascinating in today's story. We're going to use this Ebenezer theme throughout all of our chapters because they, the people will forget who their Ebenezer is. And they have forgotten right here. Because in 1 Samuel t, Israel wants a kin. They don't want a judge anymore, they don't want any prophet, they just want someone who's going to be in charge. And I asked both of you to come prepared to tell us, Why does Samuel tell the children of Israel that a king is a bad idea? It is found in verses 10-18, so if you want to mark those in your scriptures, and will you guys just point out some of the verses and reasons, why is having a king so bad? So fascinating what they have right here, isn't it?
John Heywood 19:21
It's incredible. And of course my mind was drawn also to Mosiah in the same kind of the same context where he's telling the people you know, some of the dangers of having a king and some things to look out for. But here is in 1 Samuel 8, where he talks about the, a lot of it is just the oppression, you know, but everything he's going to take from them. He's going to take your sons and he's going appoint them, and he'll take your daughters and he'll take this, you know, 10% of your cattle and he's gonna take all these things from you. So like, be careful what you wish for because if you get it might not, it might not be as wonderful as you think in your mind right now once it happens.
Yeah, for sure.
John Heywood 19:23
You know for me, I don't, Ben did a great job of listing all those things. 19 is what, just, we're so critical on these people like, well we get to the scriptures are like, Laman and Lemuel are idiots and, Boy these Israelites are dumb. And then we sit back are like wait, I'm more like Laman and Lemuel than I am like Nephi; I'm more like these Israelites than I am like Samuel and I'm 19, right? Like, Prophet gives all these good things to do and reasons we shouldn't do things. And we're like, Nah, I'm good, right? They refuse to obey the voice of Samuel. Samuel, Nope, we'll have a king, we'll have a king. But and then you're so critical. But then you're like, Dang it, that's me, like, prophet tells me to do all these things like, what's the five things you told us to do? And spiritual momentum? We love saying, Yeah, that was a great talk. What are the five things, right? And so I had to literally print those out and so I can have them in front of me. I even laminated copies. As soon as we can have Family Home Evening this week, it's going in like the kids’ shower, you know?
Well, John, real quick, what are the five things?
John Heywood 21:16
Here they are in order. He said, Get on the covenant path and stay there. And then several paragraphs follow each of these, and the Prophet's counsel. Discover the joy of daily repentance; learn about God and how He works; seek and expect miracles, which I love that - expect them to come. I think that's part of faith. And then of course, we'll probably all remember: End conflict in your personal life. This is where he invited us to, to end some conflict. He said originally before Easter, if you remember that, and then of course it still applies today, to end conflict in your life. And he gave us caution, which I love: "Returning to the covenant path does not mean that life will be easy. This path is rigorous, and at times will feel like a steep climb. The ascent, however, is designed to test and teach us, refine our natures, and help us to become saints. It is the only path that leads to exaltation."
I just love how President Nelson never shies away from the reality of the effort or work that this progression, spiritual progression is going to make. He never tries to, in fact he always points it out - it's going to take effort, it's going to take work. These people didn't. They saw the good in having a king, and they saw maybe, you know, maybe it's going to be a blessing to us, but it will require less work. Everybody's got a king, everybody's doing it. The Prophet says all these things, and they're like, Oh, yes, we'll have a king, we'll take a king.
I thought the same thing when I read that verse, 'cause the way he describes 'em is so horrific. Why would anyone want a king ,and then they're all, Nah we're good. We still want it. Yeah, it made me laugh. But then I like how you brought that in, because then in verse 20, and I, I so appreciate that. You said maybe I'm more like Laman and Lemuel. Maybe I'm more like the Israelites because I saw myself in verse 20. Because then they say "That we may also be like all the nations" just like you said, everyone's doing it. "and that our King may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles." Like, they don't want to do the work. You're totally right, John. They're like, Nah, the king will do it for us. I think we're good, we're gonna go ahead and stick with the king.
Ben Lomu 23:23
You know I think sometimes we're afraid to today to buck the trends of normal society, we're afraid to go against the norms, as weird as they are. Like, I look at some of these trends that are happening today. And I'm like, How is this even a thing right now? Because we're just so afraid. Like, how are jeans that are ripped to shreds? Like, how is that the most popular form of, of dressing today? It's just, it's so funny to think like, how we allow these things to creep into our lives because we're afraid to be normal and be like President Hinckley talks about. We're afraid to be peculiar, like it's okay. You know, we should stand out in a positive way.
I think for the Israelites, they want so bad to fit in with society, that they're willing to be oppressed, they're willing to go through hard times just so that people don't look at them and say, Well look how different they are, you know, they don't have a king. Whereas today we do the same thing so often, where we're afraid to stand out as, as Christians, let alone Latter-Day Saints. We're afraid to stand out as just good, wholesome people who have standards and have values. And so often we go the ways of the trends of society and of the world.
Great insight, Ben, thank you. In fact, Ben, you just have to look at verse 22 and read that for us. Because then what did the Lord say to Samuel?
Ben Lomu 24:39
22 "Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city." So he says like, all right.
All right. Give the people what they asked like, let's let them learn the hard way. Right? It just is fabulous and sad at the same time. Wow, awesome discussion. Thank you. So with that, then, who will the king be? Who's it going to be? But we are going to find that out in the next segment.
Segment 3 25:03
Now, I asked you guys to think about this before we met, because I wanted to know if either one of you have ever had an experience where you had to call someone to a leadership position, like, you got to think of who counselors might be, or maybe you've called someone to a leadership position; you have a story?
John Heywood 25:21
The one that just came to mind when you said that was not what I was thinking of. But I remember this was nine years ago, when my Stake President called my wife and I in and extended the call to serve as a Bishop. And I was shocked, I was just floored. I
We all were. Just kidding. (laughter)
John Heywood 25:37
I put my ,Yeah, well, you understand. I put my head in my hands and like, I just, like, cried, I teared up, and, and then he probably second-guessed himself at that point, but. He said, You've got to choose counselors. And I was like, of course, I know, that. He's like, I'm meeting with the High Council; text me their names in 30 minutes. And he taught me a principle then, because he taught me the principle that if, first of all, if your stake president asks you to do something and gives you a timeframe, you can do it in that timeframe. And it took 15 minutes, and two of the greatest blessings and assets in the next several years came from that opportunity and that decision. And the inspiration just came and I could give you details about you know, how they came and all that. But it was just my wife by my side and in prayer and the tools app to look at every potential candidate in my ward. And the inspiration came quickly, it came clearly. I realized that I was getting it even weeks before, not knowing it at that point, and it was an unforgettable experience with that.
Wow, John. That is powerful. That's a very cool story.
John Heywood 26:52
So we had when I first moved to the house, and then now, about a month after I got here, they created a new ward. So I moved in and didn't know anybody. And all of a sudden, this guy shows up at my door. And he's the new bishop and he asked me to be one of his counselors. And we had to start from scratch in creating a whole new ward. And the second counselor, he had just moved in a few months before I did so we were brand new, we didn't know anybody. And we literally, we just sat down and started having interviews with members to try to get to know who they were to try to fill these positions. And there was one guy that we really thought would be a really great Elders Quorum President. And so and so we kind of used this idea of let's get to know the families. So we just started calling in families and getting to know them. But at the same time we were looking for, you know how to fill these specific callings. And there was one guy we're like, Okay, before this family comes in, this guy, we really want to kind of feel him out and see if he'd make a good Elders Quorum President. So he and his wife come in and we're sitting there, we're talking, we're talking. And then it was great discussion; they leave the room. And the three of us, we all look at each other. And we're like, his wife is amazing. And it was crazy, we all felt it, like we all just looked around. We're like, that's our next Relief Society President. And sure enough, just to that process of getting to know, we were looking for something totally different. She wasn't even on the, like we never even considered her because she was really young. She was raising young kids, and so we didn't really have her in that like, potential, 'Yeah she would be a good Relief Society President, but the Lord knew. So, you know, just by meeting them, he was, all three of us felt that it was like, this is the new Relief Society President and she did an amazing job during that, you know, during our tenure there. It was awesome.
Wow, both of your stories were so perfect for so much of what we're talking about today with how to receive inspiration and how the Lord speaks to His servants. And so let's go into 1 Samuel 9, because here's an example where the Lord in a very unique way tells Samuel, 'Here's who the next leader, who the king will be. Now, you get this kind of side story in 1 Samuel 9. So I like to start this out with, Once upon a time there was a man by the name of Kish, and he has a son. And so I'm gonna let John read who that is; will you please read verse 2 for us.
John Heywood 29:14
9:2 "And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people."
Now, I just have this thought when it says that he was 'higher than any of the people '. Like do you think that means physically taller? Or could there be something deeper there?
John Heywood 29:36
Well, unless he's got like a long neck or a long, I think, I think it must mean maybe intellectually, spiritually that he would, he stood out.
I think you're totally right. And here's how the story goes. Because Saul was so good his father ends up losing a bunch of donkeys. And so Saul decides, I gotta go find 'em for my dad, and he takes a servant with him. And as they're looking for 'em, they're not having any luck. And so the servant says to Saul, Hey, you know what, there's this guy by the name of Samuel, he's actually a prophet. He could probably tell us where it is, why don't we go see him? And so they end up going to look for this prophet. But meanwhile, Samuel knows nothing of Saul. He doesn't know about this person or that he's looking for donkeys. But he gets this really cool revelation. And we're gonna go into 1 Samuel 9:15. And Ben, will you read that for us?
Ben Lomu 30:23
9:15 "Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying,"
in a pause there. 'the day before'. Now, here's what He says, Go ahead, Ben, 16 and 17.
John Heywood 30:34
16 "Tomorrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.
17 " And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people."
Thank you, and how much do we love "Behold the man". In light of John 19:4-5, and Elder Uchtdorf's April 2018 General Conference talk called "Behold the Man", go and read it, it's so good. Now we have this great Saul, he's going to be the next leader of the people. And Samuel is told who it will be. Now turn the page and go to 1 Samuel chapter 10. Samuel anoints Saul with a vial of oil and makes him king, which is so cool. And then I asked Ben if he would share the story in 1 Samuel chapter 13. Because as awesome as Saul is and this, in fact, verse 9 says that the Lord gave him another heart, like just changed who Saul was, helped him become this incredible King. And then Saul forgets who his Ebenezer is. So Ben, tell us the story that's in 1 Samuel chapter 13.
Ben Lomu 31:49
No, this is, it's so sad, especially when you, when you look at how Saul was described as so amazing and just, and just good. So Saul is leading the Israelites into battle. What I think is cool is that he trusted Sam, he knew Samuel was a prophet. he knew Samuel was. So there was this moment where he's waiting for Samuel to, to come in and to help but he doesn't show up when Saul wanted him to show up, to offer these, for the sacrifices, to help them out. And so, so Saul kind of oversteps his bounds and takes it upon himself to do that. In verse 12 he says,
12 "Therefore, said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering." (which he was not supposed to do. And so this is where we get to verse 13, where Samuel says to Saul:
13 "Thou hast done foolishly: thou has not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. "
So Saul kind of takes the place. For me, it's a lack of faith, it's a lack of trust. And I was, as I was studying this, I was trying to think of what are some of the modern applications? What are some of the things in which we overstep our bounds? Whether it's, you know, maybe the bishop says something that you don't really like. And so like, 'Ah, I know he said that, but I'm going to do this anyways.' And we don't always know all the details. We don't always know the backstory of things; I think that's where we get into a lot of trouble is we make assumptions, not understanding. There's a lot of things, a lot of moving parts that we're not aware of when it comes to church leadership. Like decisions are made, even from, you know, our leaders from prophets and apostles. There's so much that's going on in the background. And then when the decision is made, we can often make assumptions because it doesn't fit with our agenda or how we want things to go. And I think this is kind of something, this is what has happened with Saul, is he just like, You know, well, I'm going to take this into my own hands even though I don't have the proper authority to do this, I'm going to do it anyways.
Thank you, Ben for that summation. That was a great kind of intro into Saul's heart now, for having had a changed heart and being this person who - well I'm just struck with this - who was higher than anyone else spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, he kind of gets ahead of himself. And so in the next segment, we're going to look at another story where Saul gets ahead of himself, and he forgets who his Ebenezer is.
Segment 4 33:54
All right, everybody, let's jump right back into our scriptures. Go to 1 Samuel chapter 14, and all you have to do is read the chapter heading. It perfectly sums up what that chapter is about because we have to skip it. But that's okay. We're gonna go to 1 Samuel chapter 15. And I asked John to tell this story because it is the story of stories, in 1 Samuel, when it comes to Saul, so hit it, John.
John Heywood 34:38
Well, I really don't like these you know, it seems like every time in the Old Testament when there's a righteous young king, it just, I hate these stories. I really do. So in this chapter, the Israelites are battling the Amalekites and Saul's commanded to kill everything, all the Amalekites - verses 2 and 3 - a list of everything that he's asked to kill. And they go to battle and they're victorious and as far as Saul is concerned, he's done exactly what he's supposed to do except in verse 9, we see that he didn't. He saved the king. He saved the best of the sheep and the oxen, and all these different things. He didn't destroy it. And the Lord tells Samuel that Saul has - to use your word - he's been naughty. He says in verse 11, "it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night." The Lord's telling Samuel, this is it, this is the final straw.
And to me this is an indication that Saul never really repented in Chapter 13. This is just almost who he's become and kind of brushed it under the carpet. And here we have him doing a very similar thing. So Samuel shows up to Saul in verse 13. And they have their greetings, and Saul happily exclaimed, "I have performed the commandments of the Lord." And Sam was like, 'then why do I hear the bleating of sheep, bleating of sheep, right? Why am I hearing these oxen?' And he's like, 'Oh, yeah. So we did keep a few of the good ones so that we can make sacrifices unto the Lord.' This is verse 15: but the rest, all the, all the gross stuff, the stuff God really wanted us to kill, we destroyed all of that. And like, once again, verse 19, back and forth, you did not obey the voice of the Lord. And Saul said, 'I did obey the voice of the Lord.'
And then in verse 22, he tries to justify it with, You know what, I did something good, we can really make good sacrifices with these animals, which I'm not 100% convinced that was his initial purpose for keeping them, right? This is good stuff. And I'm again, I'm not 100% convinced that Saul kept all those animals for sacrifice. And, but Samuel goes along with it. He takes his word for it. It's really weird. I, but it's kind of strange. Last night, my son, what time you need to be home, 9:30? - you got an early morning - rolls in at 10. And I'm like, 'Where, where you been?' "Oh, I lost your hat that I borrowed. And I had to find it before I came home." Right. It was really weird thinking about this, because he's out with a cute young lady, you know, and, and I thought, this this thing came to my mind. If I was a good dad we'd a just sat down and had this scriptural conversation that to obey is better than sacra...Yeah, you did something good by going and finding my hat when you came home, but just the fact that, you know, we agreed at 9:30.
We do these things all the time, and that's not a serious one. But we do these things. At least I feel I do these things all the time where I think I know better. I think I or maybe I even twist something like, Oh, I'm gonna do this thing that's not good. And then in the end, I can make it, Oh, no, I did it because.... It's a good thing to sacrifice to the Lord, when the reality is God just wants us to be obedient.
He does admit in verse 24 that he sinned and gives us the real reason. I feared the people, I obeyed their voice. So this mighty king of Israel, I don't know, maybe this is another excuse, but mighty king of Israel, I was all power over them. I feared the people and I listened to them instead of the god, and there's our problem. We listen to man, we fear man more than we fear God and, and Samuel gives him the hard news in 26: You've been rejected as king. And then we just see it just plummet. Saul just plummets from here on out.
And how sad that it says that Samuel says, I will not return with thee. Like, it's over.
John Heywood 38:31
Yeah, 35 "Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death". That's it. It's over. Like he rejected the Lord. He lost the blessing of a right-hand Prophet, right, that that was
the best wing man you could ever have - a prophet.
Ben Lomu 38:47
Yeah, it's funny. John, I had a similar experience yesterday with my daughter, she's going to girls’ camp. And so she and one of our friends were gonna go just to the dollar store by our house and go get some stuff. And we told her, we said, you need to be back soon as you're done. I want you to come home, straight home when you're done because you got a lot of stuff to do with the house. So she goes and longtime passes, way longer than she needed to get done what you need to get done. So finally my wife says, Where is Sunny? And so she calls her like, "Sunny, where have you been?" "Oh, I'm sorry. I was helping so and so pack for girls camp." And it was like we specifically told you when you're done with the store, you come straight home. And then it like hit her, you know?
Again, it's the same thing like, of course you do the good thing helping your friend, she wasn't out doing anything she wasn't supposed to be doing. But it was the fact that in her mind, for as a parent, our number one priority was are you willing to do exactly what we have, that we asked you to do? Because she may not know, you know, what we have going on and there's greater things that she could accomplish that she is, you know, possibly missing out on. That's how the Lord feels with us, you know, when you when we take things, matters into our own hands, He has something that can be far greater in mind for us that we can miss out on if we decide on for ourselves, Well, I'm going to do this good thing, where He has something greater in mind for us.
Both of you, great stories because now I'm thinking, and you're right, this is so us. Because there have been times where the prophet has asked us to do things, and I have thought in my mind, But he didn't really mean THAT exactly. Like, I think more means like THIS, and this how I'm gonna apply it to my life. And especially with the five things you read at the very beginning, John, and how we did hear those. I heard those and I'm like, Yes, I'm doing it. Or when he said, find time for the Lord each day. I'm like, absolutely. And then I'm like, Well, he didn't really mean every day. I mean, probably just that one, you know, when we have time.
And so it's better to be obedient than to sacrifice, like, follow with complete obedience. From this discussion, though, I have this great quote from Robert D Hales. And we just have to read this because it's in line with perfectly what you guys have said and didn't even know it. Ben, will you read this quote.
Ben Lomu 41:00
"Samuel taught Saul that complete obedience to the Lord is better than performing a singular religious practice and that complying with one religious practice did not justify disobeying the Lord's other commandments. Saul's decision to disobey was influenced by his desire to please others, rather than the Lord because he feared the judgments of men."
That's great. I know. It's just exactly what you guys have said. So my question for you then in this discussion is, Why is complete obedience the best gift we can give to the Lord?
John Heywood 41:33
I'm thinking of this scripture in Section 130:20. "There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world upon which all blessings are predicated. And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to the law upon which it is predicated." Obedience to laws bring all blessings, period.
Ben Lomu 41:58
My thoughts were drawn to a couple of different scriptures that connect with this and something that we've studied recently in the Old Testament. And it's just as simple as the 10 commandments, and how the Lord feels about us and our relationship with Him. And He's very clear, you're not to have any other gods before me, I'm, so I'm number one, I'm the priority. And then in John 14:15 in the New Testament, He makes it very clear: the way to show that I am the number one priority your life: if you love me, keep my commandments. If you love me be obedient to what I say first. And that's the best way to put me first in your life and to show it is to do that. And I'll take care of everything else, you know, I'll take care of everything else that you, that we sometimes use to justify our actions and our behaviors.
But if we can get that first principle down, I mean, it's the first law of heaven is obedience. If we can learn that I think that's when, that's when we can prove to the Lord show Him that obedience is our number one priority to Him. I think that's what He allows us to branch and so, Okay, now I'm going to let you start to go out, and I'm going to give you that flexibility to where there are going to be times when he's gonna say, Listen, I'll be, you being obedient to me is, I trust you so much. The decisions you make are gonna fall right in line with what, what I want to do anyway. And so, but you don't get that unless you first prove that you are obedient.
It's, like with our kids, my son can prove every single day that I'm going to, that my number one priority is, hey, curfew matters. And he proves that, you know, then there may be a time when he gets flexibility. Okay, what time do you think you need to be home tonight? Tell me what you're doing. Okay? You're gonna do this, this, and this, what time is reasonable do you think? And then he can say, okay, I can do all this and be home at this time. Okay, I trust you. That's a good time to be home. So I think we gain, we earn that trust, that flexibility when we show the Lord that our number one priority is obedience to Him. And then He allows us and trust us to branch out from there.
John Heywood 44:09
I really liked that. I was thinking of John 7:17 and 18. Because sometimes we're like, Well, if I, you show me first and then I'll do what You asked me, show me the reason why and instead of just being obedient first. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." The order is do then know. And then 18 which I never, I don't know if I ever noticed this verse. This is Saul. "He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him." He's certainly seeking his own glory at this point. I don't want to be too critical and judgmental - I don't hold that position - but it seems like he stopped seeking the glory of God that sent him and started seeking his own and we see all, we see the fallout from that.
What was that chapter again?
John Heywood 45:02
John 7:17 and 18.
That was great, both of you who shared that. I was struck, Ben, when you said that obedience is the law of heaven. And it's so fascinating because God has to be perfectly obedient. Like, it's one of the attributes, we have to be able to be in order to become like our Heavenly Father. He has to be perfectly obedient. And I never considered that early when I was younger. I just thought if you were a god, you were free willy nilly to do whatever you wanted, like you're god, you're in charge, you know? But there are rules that He has to keep and follow in order to be who He is.
And that has just really struck me with this idea of when we're asked to do things, even if it seems odd - and John, we go back to this, because that's our favorite story - when I was asked to take out my earrings, one modest pair of earrings, which I love how Marcus Martins taught this to me. I love that man; he's professor and he's been on the podcast before.
But I went and heard him speak at a CES fireside. And he said, 'when you take this idea of tattoos, and piercings, are you, is God really not going to let you into heaven because you have tattoos and piercings? God doesn't care about that, it's about the law of obedience. That's what He cares about. Are you willing to be obedient to the things that He's asked? And for me, it's been little things. Yeah, like, like, God didn't really mean that, you know, I'm gonna apply it and fix it for myself. But if I want to be like Him, I have to be obedient like Him. And He's perfectly obedient, which blows my mind. Because you just think as a god, you can do whatever you want. He can't so,
Ben Lomu 46:26
Yeah, exactly. There are rules to keep so. Well, thank you so much for that discussion. So now at the end of that story, then, we need a new ruler, because Saul is no longer asked of God, as his name would put it. So who will it be? In the next segment, we're going to find out, and you're going to love how this famous Old Testament story fits in with the timeline of the Bible.
Segment 5 46:50
Okay, let's go into 1 Samuel chapter 16, because we need a new leader. And so the Lord tells Samuel, look, you need to go to Bethlehem. But Samuel says, I can't. I'm going to get in trouble, and I told Saul I'd never see his face again. And so he says, What if I get caught? And the Lord says to Samuel, Look, I need you to just go. Why don't you go tell you're going to offer a sacrifice? And then I want you to go find a man by the name of Jesse and invite him and all of his sons to this sacrifice. And I'm going to let you know who the new leader will be.' So in comes this family, and we have the oldest son, in verse 6 - Eliab. Mark his name. Samuel's thinking, this surely is the person because he's the oldest son of all of these sons. And John, will you read verse 7 for us.
John Heywood 47:27
16:7 "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."
Thank you. Now there's a whole lesson in just that one verse. Like, the Lord teaches a profound truth, that it's not always who you think it is. And Samuel, the Prophet was being taught this lesson. It's not who he thinks it's going to be. And it may surprise you when you find out. So in 1 Samuel 16:8-9, Samuel asked to see the next two oldest brothers, and the Lord has not chosen them. And then their dad, Jesse, had all seven of his sons meet with Samuel, and it wasn't any of them. So Samuel asks, in verse 11, are these all of your children? And there was actually one more son out in the field tending the sheep. And so Samuel asked to see him. Ben, will you please read verse 12, for us.
Ben Lomu 48:23
12 "And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he."
And this in verse 13 is David, David and Goliath David. This is the David of all Davids in the Old Testament, and this is who the new leader is going to be. But he's just this young kid and I like how in verse 12 it describes him as ruddy, ruddy ruddy, it means he has red hair. This, this little redheaded kid, tending the sheep, the youngest of all these sons, and by the way, there were also sisters. And you're going to find that in 1 Chronicles 2:13-17, so he had sisters. And now we have the story. In 1 Samuel 17:13 tells us that Samuel anointed David, and that the Spirit of the Lord was upon David, which he is going to need ,1 Samuel chapter 17. And verse 4 tells us why. Okay, go there. This is the story you guys. "And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines named Goliath." And I could not be more excited. This is the story of stories and here's where it fits in the Bible timeline. Tell the story, what is going on now?
Ben Lomu 49:32
So the Israelites and the Philistines are again constantly in battle. The Philistines have this behemoth on their side. And I think it says, what, he's about 9 feet tall. And I remember when you're teaching seminary, I used to get a ladder, and I would sit up on the top of it, and just kind of show how big this guy is. And David's just not afraid, because I think he knows what he's bringing to the table in this fight. And he just goes out there's. He's like, I don't care who you are; I'll fight you right now.
John Heywood 50:04
Sure reminds me somebody, Ben. There's some stories about Ben we won't tell here. But you know, it's like one on one a nobody wants to fight this guy with 150 pounds of armor.
Some scholars believe because his armor weighed so much, he would have had to have weighed over 500 pounds himself as a 9'9"man. Like the odds are completely in Goliath's favor 100%.
Ben Lomu 50:29
You know what's funny is David, he's the youngest brother and I'm the youngest. I have four brothers. There's four boys, in my family and four girls. And I'm the youngest boy. And so when I read this story, the youngest has a little chip on their shoulder because I feel like they're always trying to prove. Even to this day, like I'm 44 years old, and my older brothers treat me like I'm 10. And so they feel like there's always this constant, like I gotta prove myself. And David is the same way. He has to fight not only against the fear of the Israelites and the Philistines, but I feel like he is with his brothers even and even his older brother. They get mad at him. They're like, No, you're the littlest, like, shut your mouth; go feed the sheep, leave the fighting to the men.
And poor David, because I love how he calls out Goliath. He's like, Who is this uncircumcised Philistine? I just, Iike he doesn't care, you know. And as you see, his brothers are so embarrassed by like, oh man, who's this kid, you know, run his mouth, you know. He's stepping out of the line, you know, he's gonna embarrass us all; he's gonna put shame on the family for talking all this trash and get himself killed. And then we're going to look like the idiots. So I just think it's so funny. This whole dynamic of so many things taking place with David and his brothers and, and you know, this fight with the Philistines.
I appreciate so much too. David being the youngest son, the only job he was given was to take food to the herds and family. And of course, I had to mark this because it's the only place where cheese is mentioned in the Old Testament. But in verses 17 and 18, it just talks about how he took all of this stuff, loaves of bread and ephah of corn - that's eight gallons of corn - and then 10 cheeses. So he's doing his brothers a favor. And you're right, Ben, in verses 28 and 29. The brothers are like what are you doing here? Get outta here; like you're ridiculous. Go home. You don't even belong here, you know, it's just so, just feel for David.
John Heywood 52:23
It's interesting, because he's been anointed king, kind of quietly. Pretty sure Saul doesn't know about it or he would have done away with him. His brothers certainly don't know. I actually do have seven brothers. And I was on that higher end the older end, but he's showing up with this stuff. And I could see passing out through like, yeah, you guys could Who is this guy anyway. You can take him right you guys. I could take him and you guys think sum this up perfectly. They're like, go back to the sheep, little boy, and we'll take care of us but nobody's willing to. They were greatly afraid. Verse 11. David comes in all confident because of the Lord and they view him as ignorant, immature, like you don't understand the seriousness of it. And he's like, You don't understand who God is. And we can take this guy.
In fact, he calls him in verse 26 and in verse 36, David calls him the living God. 'I don't know what you guys are so afraid of, like it's the living God of Israel. He's gonna win. We'll just send somebody in there and', sum up for me the reason why he thinks he can do it, in verses 32-36. What does David tell them? why he thinks he could beat Goliath? because I love this part of the story. Like just pretend you're David, how are you saying this ?
John Heywood 53:39
Well, David's very confident, like we discussed. And he's basically, verse 32, says to the king, Hey, don't worry about it. I got it. I'll take care of it. Right? I can fight this Philistine and Saul's like, Uh, you can't. You're a kid, and he's been a man of war since he was a kid, you know, you just keep bringing the bread and cheese and carry my armour, but it's just not happening. Right? And he gives this, Hey, I've killed a lion. He goes, this is the story, I killed a lion with my bare hands, and a bear and
Ben Lomu 54:12
I walked on the moon.
John Heywood 54:13
I walked on the moon. I can take this guy, right? But then he goes back to your comment, in 36: "Thy servant (me, David) slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God." And Saul's like, All right, let's go for it. Right? Here's some armor.
Love verse 37. 'Go and let the Lord be with you. Boy, I hope for the best. You're probably going to die.'
John Heywood 54:42
Yes. We'll see you on the other side.
Yeah, exactly what's happening here. So then we go into verse 38. Okay, verse 38 and 39 - I love the imagery of this - because here's this little kid
17:38 "And Saul armed David with his armour and he put on a helmet of brass upon his head. He armed him with a coat of mail.
39 "And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed" And then right there, but David hadn't proved. I'm just imagining this kid with his arms out, all of this heavy weight on him, everything's too big for him, it doesn't fit. And he didn't prove it, meaning he's like, I've never worn this or used any of this stuff before. I don't know what we're doing here. And then David says unto Saul, "I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off of him." He's like, he took everything off. He's like, I don't even know how to use it.
Ben Lomu 55:23
This isn't gonna to work.
What's incredible about this, David knows what works already. Go back to that story with a bear and with a lion. He tells Saul, he said, 'The Lord that delivered me it wasn't my skill that delivered me out of the grasp with a lion, that bear. It wasn't myself that did that. He said, The Lord did that. This armor is not going to do it. I haven't proved this. But what I have proved is that when the Lord is on my side, I can do anything.' And I think that sometimes with members of the church, we seek after something that's already there, you know, whether it's, Well, I need more spirituality, so I'm gonna stop going to church, I'm gonna start doing yoga. And yoga is great, and it's wonderful.
But if that's your substitute for God, then you're missing out. Whereas with David, he's like, Look, I don't know what this armour can do, I haven't tested it. But I do know that when God's with me, I can overcome anything. And that's what I'm banking on right here. And the Lord is on my side, I can do this, as opposed to you just throwing something that, I don't know, maybe for generations. Well, everybody, for generations has been wearing this massive heavy armour. And so it must work now. And he's like, it hasn't worked for me. And I know what works for me, and I'm gonna stick with that.
Oh, Ben, that is such great insight. I appreciate that. So Ben, what works for him? What does he do in verse 40?
Ben Lomu 56:37
Verse 40 says he took his staff in his hand and he chooses these smooth stones, these rocks here; you see the symbolism right there. These are things that he's familiar with that have worked them before. He puts them in his bag, and he goes to fight this Philistine, because this is what he knows. This is what has worked, it's been tried, it's been tested. And it's individual for him. And we know what happens.
Okay, let's finish the story then. Kind of a cool thing, though: five smooth stones. And the number five in Hebrew we've learned this year means a symbol of God's grace, which we know grace is when God comes in and does what we can't do on our own. This is the symbol of that whole story. It's like David couldn't possibly do this on his own. And I love how you set this up and it's perfect. So he walks out onto the field. And don't we just love what Goliath says to him in verse 43 and 44. John, what does he say?
John Heywood 57:26
43: "....Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods."
And I love this part of this contrast: the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, Come to me, I'll give your, I'll give your flesh to the fowls of the air and to the beasts of the field.
45: "Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear ,and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts," and that just reminded me of President Nelson's extra emphasis on the name of Jesus Christ. 'You came to me by your gods.' So that basically means you have a sword and a spear. But I'm coming to you with five smooth stones in my sling and Jesus Christ and His power and His ability. In David's eyes this is not even a battle. It's just as unfair in his eyes as it is to Goliath. Like, this is ridiculous.
Ben Lomu 58:26
And I love how he says, I'm gonna cut your head off. He says,
Highlight that in verse 45.
Ben Lomu 58:32
I will take thine head from thee. Like, you talk about confidence.
John Heywood 58:36
He didn't even have a sword.
Ben Lomu 58:37
He didn't have a sword.
John Heywood 58:38
So he knows he's gonna use someone else's sword.
Yeah, yeah. Not only am I gonna kill you, I'm gonna cut your head off. Like it's just the best trash talk there ever was. And so you love in verse 48, where David runs toward the Philistine. He doesn't just kind of gingerly, slowly take his time. He books it. He runs toward Goliath. And then there it is, verse 49. Ben hit it.
Ben Lomu 59:01
49: "And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth."
And verse 50, John, hit it.
John Heywood 59:17
50: "So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smelt the Philistine and slew him, but there was no sword in the hand of David.
Oh, and 51. You gotta read that.
John Heywood 59:28
51: "Therefore David ran," Here he is, again. He's excited. He ran "and stood upon the Philistine," I can only imagine the scene of both sides at this point, right, like just jaw dropped. "He took his sword," which must have been massive.
Oh, so heavy
John Heywood 59:46
"drew it out of the sheath thereof" would have been almost comical just to witness that, right? "and slew him and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled."
And then David will drag that head all the way back to Saul. And David knew who his Ebenezer was, his Ebenezer, his stone of help. And that is the only way he won. And it's the only way any of us are going to win any of the battles. I mean, we face Goliath on a daily basis. And so there are so many applications. In fact, I'm going to ask for that on social media. I'm going to ask you to share, What is one stone that has worked for you when you were faced with a Goliath? So go to that post and kind of just share with us how you have seen this play out in your own life.
Okay, because of this then, David becomes king, and Saul is so mad. He's so mad, in fact, that if you go to 1 Samuel 18:12 and 29, you're going to read about how mad he is. And then the rest of the chapters - all they're going to do is tell stories about how Saul was trying to kill David and how David spares Saul's life. And then we have this beautiful story about Saul's son, Jonathan, who becomes David's very best friend. And you can read about that in 1 Samuel 18. And I'm so sad we don't have time but go read it. It's a beautiful story. They are best friends. And at times, they're each other's Ebenezers . But the last story of an Ebenezer that seldom gets told is, we just have to finish with it. And we're going to do that in the next segment.
Okay, I would be totally remiss if we just didn't tell this story in 1 Samuel 25. So everyone turn there because it's a story about how Ebenezer fits perfectly in with our lives and the life of a woman. Oh, my gosh, it's so good. You know me, I love the unnamed woman. But this woman is actually named, but we just have to tell her story. So I'm going to tell it. It's so fun. John and Ben jump in at any point with anything you have to say. So here we go. 1 Samuel 25:1. Samuel dies, he's buried, so mark that and just like he said, he never saw Saul again. So let's mourn the loss of Samuel. Then in the next verse, we're introduced to a man who verse 2 describes as 'very great'.
Now according to this verse, he was so rich, and he had a ton of sheep and everything. Just read that verse, mark it, but what you want to know is at the end when he says he was shearing them. This is important to know. Because sheep shearing at this time was a festive time, when all family and friends joined together to shear the sheep and feasts and sleep and celebrate everything together. It was so fun and people from all over would come and join them. It wasn't necessarily just friends. It was a fabulous festival. And David hears about this and he wants to join in, so he sends his servants to this man to ask about being a part of the festivities. Now, the man's name is Nabal, or Nabhal in Hebrew, and the name of his wife was Abigail. Highlight those two names, Nabal and Abigail. Nabal in Hebrew means disgrace, senseless, or foolish. You're going to want to know that for later on in the story.
Write that down 'For names never to name your, give your child.'
For sure, always check Old Testament sources before you name your child from the Bible. Abigail, her name means 'my father is joy', or 'my cause is joy'. So we have these two people. Now I think it's important to know where it says the "man was very great", here's the reason why some scholars think he was very great. Going back to the story, John, that you told where Saul was told to destroy everything, some people believe that Nabal was friends and was in that war. And Saul gave Nabal permission to also take whatever he wanted after that war. And so that's how he became very great and very rich with all of his sheep. Like they were friends. He was sided to Saul's missions. So kind of know that in the story.
Okay. Here's what happens in verse 3. It says, "she was a woman of good understanding and of beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was the house of Caleb." So David sent his servants to Nabal to offer his services, to be a part of the festivities. But Nabal rejects David's offer. And he gets so mad that he actually responds to David's servants, in verse 10. Ben, will you read verse 10 for us.
Ben Lomu 1:03:51
10: "And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master."
So he's like, who are you? And then he says in verse 11, "Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men whom I know not whence they be?" Like, get out of here. I don't want you guys here at all. So the servants go back to David and they tell him the whole story. And David flips out. I mean, he's so angry about this response by Nabal, that he then rallies all of his people to gather, all of his fighting men. And it says there's about 400, in verse 12. And he says, I want you to go and destroy Nabal and all of his people.
Well, one of the servants of Nabal knows what's going to happen. So he runs to Abigail, in verse 14, and he says, "Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them." And railed is exactly what you think it is. He just was awful. I liked the description down in the footnote, 'swooped upon as a bird attacking', like Nabal just railed on those servants.
And go to verse 17. It says, "Now therefore know and consider what that wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him." And we've discovered what Belial means. But just as a reminder, it means 'worthless' in Hebrew. So verse 18, John read verse 18.
John Heywood 1:05:14
25:18 "Then Abigail made haste, and took 200 loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses." or donkeys.
Thank you. So mark the word 'haste' in verse 18, because Abigail hastes or hastens four times in this story, just like Rebecca way back in Genesis. And she gathers all this stuff. And she says to the servants, take all of this to David, and go before me and I will meet you there. So they take all of this to David. And then she rides up to David and she says, I want to speak to you. I love verse 24 because David listens. And this is gonna be important to the whole narrative when we talk in the next couple of weeks; kind of just tuck this in the back of your brain that David listens to Abigail.
And as a result of Abigail speaking to him, she begs for forgiveness. She says, My husband didn't know what he was doing, please don't destroy me and my people. Verse 26, "Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholding thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal." Like she says, accept my blessing, in verse 27, except my banquet that I brought you, verse 28, forgive the trespass of my husband. And then she foretells his ruling as the king in verse 29 and 30. Like she's just so intuitive and so insightful. And then we have David's response to her after she pleads. Ben, will you read his response in verse 32 and 33.
Ben Lomu 1:06:48
32: "And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me.
33: "And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with my own hand."
Thank you. So then he says, 'Go in peace. I'm not going to destroy you.' So she leaves and she goes back to her husband. And they have a huge party because they're shearing the sheep and he gets very drunk, and she lets him get drunk and sleeps it off. And then in the morning, verse 37, OH, do we love this verse? John, read it and tell us what happens.
John Heywood 1:07:23
37: "But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone."
Katie Lambert 1:07:34
What do they think happened?
Ben Lomu 1:07:36
It sounds like he had a heart attack.
Yeah, they think he had a heart attack or a stroke. Like he became a stone and he couldn't even
Ben Lomu 1:07:41
Ben Lomu 1:07:42
Oh, okay. I gotcha.
And then in verse 38,
John Heywood 1:07:46
"And it came to pass about 10 days after, that the Lord smoke Nabal, that he died.
Ben Lomu 1:07:50
So it really was a stroke. He was in a coma or something for 10 days and then he finally died.
John Heywood 1:07:55
Was it the news of what had happened? Just
He couldn't believe that Abigail would do that, like what? I'm with Saul, not with David, and why would you go behind my back? He's mad because she saved him. 'You saved me and all my people', has this stroke, he dies. And then the rest of the verses 39-44, David finds out that Abigail is a widow, and he marries her, and she becomes his wife. And there's so many good things that we'll discuss later about the importance of Abigail in this story. But I think it's really important because she becomes an Ebenezer, like she becomes the rock of help, not only for her Nabal and all of Nabal's servants, but for David. Because when David freaked out, this is what's important - David's retaliation, in verses 12-14. That would have been a sin against God because he's forfeiting God's enabling power and Abigail stopped David from committing this sin. David was just mad, a hothead, right?
Ben Lomu 1:08:55
Once again, a woman comes to the rescue.
Well, I thought was so what was so cool about this story is going back to this word Ebenezer, because she becomes a type of Ebenezer, a type of Christ. I mean, think about this, she's without the sin. But she takes Nabal's guilt upon her. She pays the debt with this beautiful, huge banquet that John read about. And then she puts her life on the line for others and for the servants. I mean, David could have so easily killed her on the way and dismissed her but he didn't. And so we have this beautiful story about Abigail whose cause is joy.
I mean, read verses 29-31 on your own and mark them, because it's really profound how she knows who David will become. She knows that he is the king. And so she's kind of setting him straight. Like remember what you're supposed to do, and so just this cool, profound experience that we have from a woman in Scripture. I love it. I think it's the best.
John Heywood 1:09:46
That's a great story. I'm not as familiar with that story as I probably should be. I love that story.
Well, both of you now are, I'm giving you the charge: you teach
John Heywood 1:09:54
1 Samuel 25 when you teach seminary,
Ben Lomu 1:09:57
There you go.
girls need that. So I want everyone to take the rock again. Now look at it. I'm going to go back to this. Because here's our challenge, we are going to encourage you to look for opportunities in your everyday life to either remember who your Ebenezer is, or how you can be an Ebenezer. And just put this somewhere that it can remind you of those in those moments. And I just love that Ben has this in his pocket to remind him who his Ebenezer is, and now how he can be one for other people. Because I think that's what the Lord has sent us here to do, is to be a rock of help to each other. Any thoughts you guys have on that?
John Heywood 1:10:30
My mind just goes to the famous Helaman 5:12. "Remember, that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer you must build your foundation" and then the promises that come. But I think for me, the critical part is the remembering part. It's easy to want to do good. And it's sometimes much more difficult to follow through with that; it's easy to quote these scriptures and talk about Jesus and how He's our rock. And it's a different thing to actually put forth the effort to build upon that rock, that sure foundation; "a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
Ben Lomu 1:11:05
No wonder why like John so much, because those are my, the same thing. The first word that came to my mind was the word remember. Something that I teach quite often is about what President Kimball taught about the word remember and how he says it could be the most important word in the Scriptures. And the Book of Mormon, that word remember is referenced over 220 times. And so when I think about these stories, and the things that we've talked about today, choosing Christ to be that rock, that stone in your life is not a singular event. It's something that has to take place over and over again, you have to choose every day. We saw with Saul, he chose and then he stopped choosing. As you look at the story of David moving forward, he chose and then one day he stopped loading his little pouch with stones.
I think that for us, there is a danger in forgetting what got us to where we are, who helped strengthen our testimony. So these experiences, we need things to remind us that sometimes it's something physical, like a CTR, ring. For those of us that have made certain covenants we were garments to help us remind us to remember constantly who that rock who that stone is in our lives. And then the beautiful thing about the gospel is that when you forget, we have the atonement, there's always a way back. But the key and I think that the common denominator is staying on that path or getting back on that path is Jesus Christ. And to constantly have him in our life is how we can make it through any situation that we may find ourselves in.
Thank you, Ben. Oh, my gosh, you guys, what a great discussion today. This was so fun. Isn't it really cool? Oh, okay. So just take a minute and gather your thoughts. And just share with us what is one takeaway from today that we discussed, anything that you're going to apply to your life or something that stood out to you.
John Heywood 1:12:54
I'm just thinking, the famous line to obey is better than to sacrifice. I love those kinds of people. Those are the kind of people I look up to, those that are just obedient. It's not a weakness. It's a strength. I think it's one of the definitions of being meek that Jesus was perfectly, is just obedient.
Ben Lomu 1:13:19
Something I would say from this discussion and these lessons is just the confidence that David has. I love how he as such a young boy he's always giving credit where credit is due. And he recognizes that he is, he is successful because God is with him on his side. And I think that we live in our society today, there's so much effort being put forth into getting us to forget who we really are, and where our source of strength come from. And David recognizes that he's, he's a son of God. And he turns to that constantly. And the best way for the adversary to be victorious today in our world is to get us to forget that. And we see the result. Whereas when we truly look at ourselves as sons of God, and that He is the one that gives us strength, He is the one that delivers us, that's when we can tackle anything.
Wow, thank you, both of you. What a powerful discussion today. Everything you added. I just think it's incredible. And I do give my guests questions to think about but that's it. And everything they said today. It just it was I was already there. Like you were supposed to be the guest today. And I loved our discussion on Ebenezer when John, you said it lasts forever. And then Ben, when you talked about your own rock and what it does for you, and it reminds you. Like that was what was so cool. Every time you touch it, you're reminded of why you need that in your pocket to help you. So thank you, Ben and John, you guys are the best. That was so fun.
Ben Lomu 1:14:53
You're so welcome. This was a really, really fun experience, so thanks for
John Heywood 1:14:56
I'm happy to be here.
Okay, well, we would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or Instagram, go and do it. It's so fun. It's a great place to ask questions too, throughout the week. And here's my favorite thing, read what other people are posting, because people are posting really great comments. Then at the end of the week, usually on a Saturday, we post a call for your big takeaway. So comment on the post that relates to this lesson and let us know what you've learned. And I love reading them.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDS living.com/sundayonMonday and, it's not about I get to go there anyway because it's where we're going to have the links to all the references we used, as well as a complete transcript of this whole discussion. So go check it out. The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original, brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our so great study group participants were John Heywood and Ben Lomu. And you can find more information about these friends at LDS living.com/sundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and me. It is edited by Haley Higham and recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios. And our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week.
And please remember who your Ebenezer is and that you are his favorite.
And find out if they know where his father's donkeys are. I don't know how to say a group of donkeys I mean it says assess in here, but I don't know how to say that. I don't even know how to say that.
John Heywood 1:15:32
John Heywood 1:15:55