“This Is My Work and My Glory”
Lesson 1 - Moses 1
This lesson will help remind us that we are children of Our Heavenly Father, free agents who can exercise agency to resist the temptations presented by Satan, and that Our Heavenly Father has made it His work and His glory to save and exalt us as we merit either immortality or exaltation.
Background: In the Old Testament, we find accounts of God’s dealings with the children of the covenant from the Creation of this world until about four hundred years prior to the birth of the Savior. As we study these scriptures, we will find examples of faith and obedience contrasted with accounts of disbelief, disobedience, direct opposition to God’s plans and commandments, and the consequences of each. Prophecies are a major focus of the Old Testament as the Messiah’s coming is foretold and His Atonement, Second Coming, and Millennial reign are depicted by the prophets of old.
While we study the Old Testament, we will include the books of Moses and Abraham from the Pearl of Great Price because they help clarify and expand the teachings of Genesis. Specifically, Moses is extracted from Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible. The Book of Abraham came to us as Joseph translated ancient Egyptian papyri.
As Moses experienced the events in Moses 1:1-7 under the influence of the Holy Ghost, he learned some things about himself as he spoke with God face to face. Moses was informed that he is a son of God (verse 4) and was created in the similitude of the Father’s Only Begotten Son, the Savior (verse 6). Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught: “Consider the power of the idea taught in our beloved song ‘I Am a Child of God.’ …Here is the answer to one of life’s great questions, ‘Who am I?’ I am a child of God with a spirit lineage to heavenly parents. That parentage defines our eternal potential. That powerful idea is a potent antidepressant. It can strengthen each of us to make righteous choices and to seek the best that is within is. Establish in the mind of a…person the powerful idea that he or she is a child of God, and you have given self-respect and motivation to move against the problems of life” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 25)
When God called Moses his “son” and told him that he shared important characteristics with the Savior, He instilled confidence and a sense of worth in Moses. We can apply that principle as parents by giving our children a sense of worth as a valued member of our family and a treasured son or daughter in a strong family line of worthwhile ancestors. We strengthen our marriages when we convey a proper sense of individual worth to a beloved spouse. Our friendships are strengthened when we show love and confidence in the brothers and sisters of our extended family. If we fail to convey a sense of worth to those around us and a genuine respect for them, we do great harm to those relationships.
Moses 1:9 recounts that Moses was “left unto himself”. It is a fact of our existence here in the telestial world that we will endure times when we will be left unto ourselves. Such times are characterized by a feeling that we are alone, without the Spirit, in the “mists of darkness” (in the words of the Book of Mormon), or in the lone and dreary world beset by temptations, trials, and continual problems. Are we ever really alone and solely on our own—abandoned by Our Father and Our Savior? According to Moses 1:15, the Spirit did not entirely leave Moses, nor are we entirely abandoned to telestial influences. When we do experience the feeling of being “left unto [ourselves]”, we should realize that (1) this condition may or may NOT be the product of wrongdoing on our part, (2) as expressed in verse 15, God does not leave us entirely alone, and (3) we can use such experiences to develop personal strength and endurance, increase the strength, depth and intensity of our testimony—proving our devotion to Heavenly Father by facing trails and tribulations with faith, applying the principles of the gospel to guide our decisions and actions, praying sincerely and humbly for courage and spiritual strength to endure and succeed in our righteous endeavors, and increasing our faith by realizing that God does and will sustain us even in the “mists of darkness” and we can endure to the end if we desire to do so with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.
After experiencing an awakening of his potential while in the presence of God, Moses experienced a different perspective in Moses 1:10. He realized that while his potential as a son of God and a follower of the Savior was immeasurable, he also realized that without God, he was “nothing”. Relatively speaking, this is true because we are so powerless and impotent when compared to God, but we overcome our weaknesses as we develop our Godlike potential through gaining knowledge and practicing obedience.
Moses 1:12. When Satan confronted Moses, he challenged his divine potential by calling him a “son of man” (not a son of God), and commanding Moses to worship him. Satan wants us all to doubt or forget that we are the offspring of Heavenly parents because that helps him convince us to follow him and his evil designs.
Moses1:13. The response of Moses shows that his testimony of divine origin enabled him to resist Satan’s challenge.
Moses 1:16, 18, 20, 21. In each verse, Moses commands Satan to depart, demonstrating that we will be challenged repeatedly and must repeatedly choose to follow Christ and deny Satan any victory. We must endure to the end.
Moses 1:18, 20, 21. Here we see that the key to conquering Satan is in calling on our Father to strengthen us in times of trial and temptation. Our daily prayers should give us strength and support our resolve to resist daily temptation. In addition, we must resolve to stay away from known temptations, study the scriptures, be honest each day, incorporate service and righteous activities into our day, and associate with those who strengthen us with their good examples and uplifting thoughts.
Beholding the glory of God again after his successful confrontation with Satan, Moses was given another vision of the earth and its inhabitants. In Moses 1:30, we see that Moses had two questions about (1) why the things he saw were so, and (2) by what they were made. In Moses 1:31-32, 39, God answers his questions. Moses is told that God made these things for his own purpose and that He made them through His Son, the Only Begotten. He further states that his work and glory is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”.
Moses 1:35. Although numberless worlds have been created, Moses was given absolute assurance that all the creations are numbered unto God, and “…they are mine and I know them”. As Latter-day Saints, we should have developed a testimony, because of our personal experiences, that Our Heavenly Father and Our Savior, Jesus Christ, know and love us personally as the individual children that we are. We have all had experiences that have taught us that they are aware of our needs and that they intervene on our behalf, bless us, and demonstrate their love for us.
Concerning Moses 1:39, Elder James E. Faust said: “There is a distinction between immortality, or eternal existence, and eternal life, which is to have a place in the presence of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, immortality comes to all…, just or unjust, righteous or wicked. However, eternal life is ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7). We obtain this great gift, according to the Lord, ‘if you keep my commandments and endure to the end.’ If we so endure, the promise is, ‘you shall have eternal life’ (D&C 14:7)” (Ensign, Nov. 1988, 12).
If we are to achieve eternal life and assist Our Heavenly Father in his work and his glory, we need to understand the plan of salvation and how we play a part in it. That is why this knowledge was given to Moses and is given to us in the scriptures. President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “We are here to assist our Father in His work and His glory, ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39). Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit of our duty touch the lives of others. To each of us in our respective responsibilities the Lord has said: …’In doing these things thou wilt do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory of him who is your Lord’ (D&C 81:4)” (Ensign, May 1995, 71).
These lessons can be found on the Internet at www.neumanninstitute.org