I’ve tried to contemplate the feelings of our ancient brothers and sisters in Jerusalem, who, after 371 years of having a glorious temple, watched as the temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and his forces, and those who survived the destructions were taken captive to Babylon. The temple was the holiest place for them, a place where they drew near unto God, a place where they offered sacrifices and renewed their covenants and commitments to Jehovah. How their hearts were broken, their hopes dashed in an instant. It seemed to me like a far-gone, untouchable experience to contemplate until one late Wednesday evening, on July 9, 2003, we started receiving urgent messages and devastating notes from Apia (aw pee’ a), Samoa—the Temple was on fire and burning out of control!
Hello, we’re Scot and Maurine Proctor and this is Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast, where this week we are studying various chapters from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. First a quick contextual background. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are considered by the Jews one book, Nehemiah being a continuation of Ezra. In our Biblia Hebraica—our 1833 edition Hebrew Bible that we use—these two books are sandwiched between the book of Daniel and the book of 1st Chronicles. Ezra was a prominent and famous priest who had been living in exile in Babylon and was commissioned by Cyrus the King to bring exiles back to Jerusalem and organize and appoint magistrates and judges and, most importantly, “to teach in Israel statues and judgements”—in other words, to instruct them in the practice of the law of Moses—to help the people learn the holy scriptures. Zerubbabel was a governor who returned and would oversee the rebuilding of the temple. Nehemiah was a later governor who would lead the work of rebuilding the protective, defensive walls around Jerusalem. And Nehemiah’s name, in Hebrew, means Jehovah is consolation—the Nehem root is the same as Nahom of Book of Mormon fame where Ishmael died. Now, let’s quickly take you back to our modern times, to that fateful Wednesday evening when the temple in Samoa took to flames.
We could hardly believe it. We were receiving live updates from members of the Church that the almost completed, newly renovated Apia, Samoa Temple, was in flames. The temple had first been dedicated twenty years before and was now receiving an additional 2,065 square feet which would include a new baptistery, new lockers, dressing rooms, clothing issue and meeting space. It was very close to the time when the rededication would take place.
Not since an arson set fire to the Nauvoo Temple in 1848 had a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints been ravaged and decimated by fire. We have the sense, in fact, that our temples our protected from such disaster, but Wednesday evening July 9, 2003 at about 7:00 the Apia Samoa Temple burst into flames much to the horror of those who looked on.
That Wednesday evening two workers heard a “bang and then a hissing noise,” according to Rick Chadderton, the Church service center manager. At first while waiting for the fire engines, workers were trying to stop the blaze close at hand with fire extinguishers, and then they realized the main part of the conflagration was much bigger than it appeared. Elder Jerry King, Pacific Islands Public Affairs Director said the fire trucks arrived by 7:35 and an hour later the international airport sent their more powerful truck and equipment used to fight airplane fires. “They worked hard and were assisted by some 100 volunteers, handling hoses and generally helping, but it was hopeless.” From the time the fire broke out in the southwest corner of the temple until it burst through the roof was a very short time, and it quickly became obvious that it was not going to be contained.”
As the temple burned, many gathered around, some crying. The temple is the most beautiful building on the island of Upolu (oo pow’ lu) and a familiar site in this city of 35,000. Elder King said, “The Saints were devastated. Community members were decimated by the sight. They were lined up against the temple gates down by the road just mournfully looking at the disaster taking place.”
“The Church treats rededications exactly as they do dedications of temples,” Elder King noted. “We, along with others, had worked many nights until 11 or 12, trying to put together what Heavenly Father would have this event to be. We were excited about what was going to happen.” Others had worked long hours, too. Elder King said, “The day before [the fire] we had toured the temple with the contractor and engineer. They were so proud of what they had done there. They just had their heart in the temple.”
As he walked around the temple [after the fire], snapping about 140 pictures, Elder King kept asking to make sure no one was injured, his first concern. Assured, that everyone was safe, the personal devastation remained. “I wanted to cry. I wanted to do something about it. I have never in my life felt so helpless about something so important to me.” Rich Alton noted, “The angel Moroni was an important symbol throughout the night. As the fire progressed, the flames slowly inched their way up the tower that supported Moroni. The members’ greatest hope, when it became clear there would be nothing left of the temple, was that the angel Moroni would stand tall at the end of the night.” Elder King said that the members were pleading for the statue of Moroni, “Don’t let him leave.”
Rich Alton noted, “The flames licked the statue repeatedly, and burned off all the outer covering of the steel framework that held it up, but Moroni did not fall! As I drove to work this morning,” he noted to us, “and lamented the sight of a blackened and empty temple, my heart was warmed at still seeing Moroni atop the temple as a symbol of strength and hope in the restoration of the gospel and the restoration of the temple. “The whole evening took on a surreal quality,” he continued, “as no one ever expected to see the Apia temple, or any temple for that matter, destroyed by fire. There really were not any words to describe the range of emotion that people felt.” (Proctor, Maurine, Meridian Magazine, Samoa Temple Destroyed by Fire: Eyewitness Accounts and Photos, July 11, 2003, https://latterdaysaintmag.com/article-1-3499/)
Maurine, it reminded me of the Psalmist who recalled the feelings of the people exiled in Babylon,
1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. (Psalm 137:1-6)
During the 50-70 years of exile in Babylon, Ezra and other scribes began to make a sacred record of the Jews, the recording of which would become the basis of the Old Testament. We cannot underestimate the importance of this great work that took place in Babylon.
It reminds us of the importance of the Plates of Brass that Nephi had obtained from the household of Laban just before the destruction of the temple and Jerusalam and how critical that record was to the spiritual survival of the Nephites and the Lamanites. As we see with the people of Mulek in the Book of Mormon, Mulek being a young royal son of Zedekiah who escaped with others, “…their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and they denied the being of their Creator; and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them.” (Omni 1:17)
Now, the people of the covenant in exile were trying to remember their heritage, their practices, their rituals and the greatest help was for Ezra and others to begin to record the history of the Jews and the words of the prophets. Some have written that the biggest thing that has kept the Jews together as a people, though scattered throughout the world, is their covenant memory. They have been called “the people of the covenant”, or “the people of the book.”
And the thing that has set apart these scattered people throughout the ages is their keeping of the Sabbath—or Shabbat.
When the people of Jerusalem were taken into exile in 586 B.C. it was extremely difficult for them to keep their identity (as we will see with Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego). As the people mingled with the Babylonians, they naturally took on some of their traditions and thoughts. They even picked up heavy accents and changed their language a great deal. This influential language, spoken in Babylon by the 6th century B.C. was Aramiac. It is similar to Hebrew, but even older.
Living in Babylon, for many, had become better than living in their homeland. This is evident in the fact that as Babylon was sacked by the Persian King Cyrus, the decree was issued that the Jews could take the four-month journey and return to Jerusalem, and even rebuild the temple there. 42,360 Jews chose to return and they took with them 7,337 servants and 200 singing men and women. This is a great number, just under 50,000, but 80,000 Jews chose to stay behind in Babylon. And this large community of Jews would last for 2,500 years, until 1948.
So, let’s look at those returning Jews. One of their first tasks was to re-lay the foundations of the temple so they could rebuild a temple. There was much joy on this day in Jerusalem:
10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.
11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.
12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
13 So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off. (Ezra 3:10-13)
Scot, these ancient men referred to are those who had memory of the first temple and who were old enough that they could recall it. It has been 50 years since they were in Jerusalem so these could have been men in their 60’s or 70’s. How’s that for ancient?
That doesn’t bode well for those of us listening or talking who are in our 60’s or 70’s! But, in those days, the average life expectancy of a man was no more than 30-35 years old! Yes, we have prophets living to great old ages, but the common man did not live that long.
And Maurine, I love that description of rejoicing at the laying of the foundation of the temple. There is a sense, to this day, of desire and longing to rebuild their temple and the thought of having that temple again brings a lot of excitement.
You and I have been privileged to attend numerous temple dedications and there truly is such rejoicing among the Latter-day Saints at these events. There is a feeling of jubilance in the air. We’ve witnessed such unity among the members. It was especially evident as we were interviewing people at the Helsinki Finland Temple dedication where there were many Finns and many Russians in line to enter the temple together. These nations had been long-time enemies and yet, there was not only NOT a feeling of enmity here in this long line of Latter-day Saints, there was a feeling of love and joy and unity that was palpable. Even the theme of their youth celebration was “We are One, Big Family.” In fact, the Finns made sure that the first few days of temple sessions were all in Russian so that their Russian brothers and sisters who had come so far, could enjoy the temple work in their own native tongues.
Yes, we have observed that the Temple has a great and powerful effect upon the hearts of the people everywhere in the world. The Temple centers in the teachings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and it is His power that heals us and makes us whole. These are truly the Houses of the Lord and you can feel that throughout the world.
I can’t help but recall visiting with and interviewing the project manager of the Cebu City Temple in the Philippines, Knute Klavenes, who was 40-years-old. He was not a member of the Church when he started building the Cebu City Temple and this was the third temple he had built. I love this story he recounted to us that began to lead to his complete conversion:
“There was the time that there was a heated discussion about something in the drawings right before the sign that said “Holiness to the Lord.” There was no wind, but suddenly a gust of wind blew the drawings out of the hands of the one party, and blew them entirely around the entire square building [of the temple] and right back into his hands. “Physics wouldn‟t allow this,” said Knute. “It was against the law of physics, but it happened before our eyes.” The resolution of the fiery discussion became clear. “And we absolutely knew the Lord was in charge.” He was the Builder.
“My biggest moment,” said Knute, “was here in the sealing room. I came back [on a Friday evening] from Manila, where I had been inspecting furniture. It was quite late, but I thought I’ll just go by the temple to make sure everything is OK. “I went inside the sealing room, and as soon as I went in, I could tell the Spirit was there. It was very, very strong. As soon as I walked in, I just wanted to cry. It was the nicest feeling. I was there for about 10 or 15 minutes, crying like a little baby. “It was like someone was holding a book in front of me showing me the construction, page by page, and all the ways we had been blessed and helped, and I was being told to remember these things.
“Then a year ago, Bishop Keith McMullin of the Presiding Bishopric came on a visit, and that’s when I made my final decision. He said that since you have to be baptized twelve months before you can go to the temple, you better hurry and be baptized, so you can take out your endowment when the Cebu City Temple is dedicated. “That’s when I made my decision.” And Knute went through the first session of the temple after it opened to be endowed. (As quoted from: https://womensconference.byu.edu/sites/womensconference.ce.byu.edu/files/25i.pdf Interview originally published in Meridian Magazine, by Maurine Proctor)
The power and influence of the temple move people now, just as in ancient times when the people began to rebuild the temple after the Babylonian exile.
Zerubbabel took charge of building the temple and we often refer to this rebuilt temple as the temple of Zerubbabel—like Solomon’s Temple or Herod’s Temple. Even after the temple was rebuilt, the people of Jerusalem were struggling spiritually. For generations that had been bereft of the word of God as contained in the holy scriptures. Now, granted, in those days few individuals or families had access to a scroll or a copy of any book of scripture, but the word of the Lord was generally read in the House of the Lord or in the synagogue and the people had missed that for at least 50 years.
Note the enthusiasm of the people when they were given the opportunity to hear the word of the Lord again:
1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.
We’re still quoting from Nehemiah chapter 8:
2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose….
5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:
6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading….
This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law….
…for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (See Nehemiah 8:1-10)
The word of the Lord had become precious to the people. The explanation of the word of the Lord was delicious to them. Hearing the word of the Lord in their ears at the gates of the city of Jerusalem was an extremely joyful experience.
The question for us is: How do we feel about the word of the Lord as contained in the scriptures? How do we feel about the word of the Lord from the leaders of the Church in General Conference? And, are we seeking to hear the word of the Lord through personal revelation?
President Ezra Taft Benson, a modern-day Ezra, gave us wonderful teachings and doctrine about the power of the word. He said:
“My dear brethren [and sisters], this is an answer to the great challenge of our time. The word of God, as found in the scriptures, in the words of living prophets, and in personal revelation, has the power to fortify the Saints and arm them with the Spirit so they can resist evil, hold fast to the good, and find joy in this life.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, p. 118)
He also taught about the vision of the tree of life:
“In his dream, Lehi saw an iron rod which led through the mists of darkness. He saw that if people would hold fast to that rod, they could avoid the rivers of filthiness, stay away from the forbidden paths, stop from wandering in the strange roads that lead to destruction. Later his son Nephi clearly explained the symbolism of the iron rod. When Laman and Lemuel asked, “What meaneth the rod of iron?” Nephi answered, “It was the word of God; and [note this promise] whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.” (1 Ne. 15:23–24; italics added.) Not only will the word of God lead us to the fruit which is desirable above all others, but in the word of God and through it we can find the power to resist temptation, the power to thwart the work of Satan and his emissaries.”
President Harold B. Lee told the regional representatives in October 1970:
“We are convinced that our members are hungry for the gospel, undiluted, with its abundant truths and insights. … There are those who have seemed to forget that the most powerful weapons the Lord has given us against all that is evil are His own declarations, the plain simple doctrines of salvation as found in the scriptures.” (In Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 1 Oct. 1970, p. 6.)
In a First Presidency message in 1976, President [Spencer W.] Kimball said:
“With the doctrines of salvation easily within our grasp, I fear that some are still overcome with the “spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear.” (Romans 11:8)
“Lest the foregoing be lightly passed over, let me pause here to point out a common error in the mind of man—that is, the tendency, when someone speaks of faithfulness or success in one thing or another, to think “me,” and when someone mentions failure or neglect, to think “them.” But I ask us all to honestly evaluate our performance in scripture study. It is a common thing to have a few passages of scripture at our disposal, floating in our minds, as it were, and thus to have the illusion that we know a great deal about the gospel. In this sense, having a little knowledge can be a problem indeed. I am convinced that each of us, at some time in our lives, must discover the scriptures for ourselves—and not just discover them once, but rediscover them again and again.
President Kimball concluded:
“The Lord is not trifling with us when he gives us these things, for ‘unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.’ (Luke 12:48.) Access to these things means responsibility for them. We must study the scriptures according to the Lord’s commandment (see 3 Ne. 23:1–5); and we must let them govern our lives.” (Ensign, Sept. 1976, pp. 4–5.)
In April 1982, Elder Bruce R. McConkie spoke to the regional representatives about the priority the scriptures should take in our labors. He said: “We are so wound up in programs and statistics and trends, in properties, lands and mammon, and in achieving goals that will highlight the excellence of our work, that we have ‘omitted the weightier matters of the law.’ … However talented men may be in administrative matters; however eloquent they may be in expressing their views; however learned they may be in the worldly things—they will be denied the sweet whisperings of the Spirit that might have been theirs unless they pay the price of studying, pondering, and praying about the scriptures.” (In Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 2 Apr. 1982, pp. 1–2.)
That same day, Elder Boyd K. Packer spoke to the stake presidents and regional representatives. He said: “Buildings and budgets, and reports and programs and procedures are very important. But, by themselves, they do not carry that essential spiritual nourishment and will not accomplish what the Lord has given us to do. … The right things, those with true spiritual nourishment, are centered in the scriptures.” (In Meeting with Stake Presidents and Regional Representatives, 2 Apr. 1982, pp. 1–2.)
“I add my voice,” President Benson continued, “to these wise and inspired brethren and say to you that one of the most important things you can do as priesthood [and sister] leaders is to immerse yourselves in the scriptures. Search them diligently. Feast upon the words of Christ. Learn the doctrine. Master the principles that are found therein. There are few other efforts that will bring greater dividends to your calling. There are few other ways to gain greater inspiration as you serve.
“But that alone, as valuable as it is, is not enough. You must also bend your efforts and your activities to stimulating meaningful scripture study among the members of the Church. Often, we spend great effort in trying to increase the activity levels in our stakes. We work diligently to raise the percentages of those attending sacrament meetings. We labor to get a higher percentage of our young men on missions. We strive to improve the numbers of those marrying in the temple. All of these are commendable efforts and important to the growth of the kingdom. But when individual members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and consistently, these other areas of activity will automatically come. Testimonies will increase. Commitment will be strengthened. Families will be fortified. Personal revelation will flow.”
“The Prophet Joseph Smith said that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (Book of Mormon, Introduction, italics added.) Isn’t that what we want for the members of our wards and stakes? Aren’t we desirous that they get nearer to God? Then encourage them in every way possible to immerse themselves in this marvelous latter-day witness of Christ.
“You must help the Saints see that studying and searching the scriptures is not a burden laid upon them by the Lord, but a marvelous blessing and opportunity…
“Do you have members in your stakes whose lives are shattered by sin or tragedy, who are in despair and without hope? Have you longed for some way to reach out and heal their wounds, soothe their troubled souls? The prophet Jacob offers just that with this remarkable promise: “They have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul.” (Jacob 2:8; italics added.)
President Benson concludes:
“Oh, my brethren [and sisters], let us not treat lightly the great things we have received from the hand of the Lord! His word is one of the most valuable gifts He has given us. I urge you to recommit yourselves to a study of the scriptures. Immerse yourselves in them daily so you will have the power of the Spirit to attend you in your callings. Read them in your families and teach your children to love and treasure them. Then prayerfully and in counsel with others, seek every way possible to encourage the members of the Church to follow your example. If you do so, you will find, as Alma did, that “the word [has] a great tendency to lead people to do that which [is] just—yea, it [has] more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which [has] happened unto them.” (Alma 31:5.) (See Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, The Power of the Word, pp. 115-124)
Can you feel the power and truthfulness of the words of this prophet of God? I think you know that what he said is true. I certainly do. I have seen the blessings of daily, personal scripture study in my own life. The scriptures are delicious to me.
Now, I want to give a personal witness of my own daily scripture study and reading but we have to just mention on more scene from our reading this week that goes right along with this. Remember, Nehemiah was a prominent Jew of the exile in Babylon. He was the King’s cup bearer which included the responsibility that no one would poison the king. As the first group of almost 50,000 left for Jerusalem and later word came back of the conditions of the walls and gates of Jerusalem, Nehemiah “sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4) Nehemiah knew the people had deserved being scattered because of their sins before God, but now, he fervently prayed that he could return to Jerusalem and help to repair the walls and restore the city.
And the king, upon seeing Nehemiah, said, “Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart…” And Nehemiah answered, “If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.” (See Nehemiah 2:2-5) So, Nehemiah was given leave to go repair and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Yet there were other prominent Jews who were not happy about Nehemiah coming and taking charge of this job. The regional governors, Sanballat and Tobiah, began to make life miserable for Nehemiah and tried everything to dissuade him from doing this thing—thinking perhaps Nehemiah would plot to rebel against the king or have selfish motives. While he was up on the wall doing this work, his enemies tried to lure him away from what he was doing, by saying, “Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages…” (Nehemiah 6:2) Knowing that their motives and desires were evil, Nehemiah called down to them and said:
“I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down; why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3)
I love that scene and I love that line. It applies to everything we are faithfully striving to do with our families and in our gospel duties and every distraction the world has to offer to take us away from our righteous endeavors. It’s well worth remembering when we are doing our daily holy habits, our prayers, our scripture reading, our devotions to God, our regular temple service, our activity in the Church, our ministering—when distractions and temptations come, we can say, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down; why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Isn’t that so powerful?
Yes, that is one of my favorite lines from the Old Testament. And it has helped me and strengthened me in my daily holy habits and devotions to God my whole life.
As you well know, Maurine, my parents, but especially my Dad, used to try to get me to read and study my scriptures every day. As a teenager in the early 70’s, I had not yet caught the vision of what worth that would really be to me. I remember my Dad saying over and over again, “Scot, I promise you that you will get a lot more out of your studies of the scriptures than you put into them.” I really didn’t know what that meant, but he said it so much, and so consistently, somewhere inside of me, I started to believe him. Now, I’m a person who wants to be “all in” if I am going to do something. One day, I made the determination that I was committing to read and study the scriptures every day the rest of my life. I promised myself and the Lord that I would never miss, no, not even one day. Well, this next month will mark 50 years since I made that commitment and I have never missed. No, not one day. I have instructed my family (especially Maurine) that if I ever go into a coma I want to make sure somebody reads me the scriptures so that I do not miss a day. Just like Elder Peter Johnson said in the October 2019 General Conference, “Pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus Christ every day, every day, every day…read and study the Book of Mormon every day, every day, every day.” (Johnson, Peter M., Power to Overcome the Adversary, General Conference, October 2019).
I do love what he said, Every day, every day, every day. You who are listening: I, Scot Facer Proctor, am but a weak vessel, one who just tries and tries and tries and I have done this now, studying the scriptures every day for 50 years. You are a seasoned member of the Church, or, you are becoming a seasoned member of the Church, or, you are a returning member or, you are studying to become a member of the Church. Here’s my counsel to you: Start reading and studying the scriptures every day, every day, every day, never miss, no, not one day, and commit to this for all the days of your life. Yes, it would have been better to start 20 years ago, but set that thought aside and say, “Today, I commit to read and study the scriptures every day, every day, every day, never miss, no, not one day for all the days of my life.” You can say some day, “Yes, I made the decision to read the scriptures every day on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 (or whatever day you choose this week) and I have never missed since then.” It’s as simple as that. And I give you my personal promise that it will bless, lift and strengthen every part of your life.
We go to the Western Wall of Jerusalem every year and we see thousands of Jews praying at that sacred place. Most every time there is a group or two or even half-a-dozen groups who are rejoicing and dancing around the Torah, the scroll that makes up not only the law of Moses but the entire Hebrew Bible. We love to see this because it is such a good example to us of how much we should rejoice that we have the holy scriptures in our lives. We have ready access to them. We carry them with us on our phones. We have multiple hard copies of them at home. We have them on our desktops, laptops, iPads, smart devices. We have the readiest access to the holy word of God of anyone in history. And we should rejoice in that fact along. I find myself feeling grateful every day, every day, every day for the holy scriptures in my own life. They are life to me, living words from the heavens.
That’s all for today. We have loved being with you in your homes and hearts. Next week we will be studying The Book of Esther in a lesson entitled “Thou Art Come…for Such a Time as This.” We would like to offer a special thanks to our corporate sponsor who makes this podcast possible, Cardio Miracle. Go to cardiomiracle.com/meridian to read about this amazing product. Thanks as always to Paul Cardall for the beautiful music that accompanies this podcast and to our producer, Michaela Proctor Hutchins. Have a wonderful week and see you next time.