Our family has been reading about Abraham. We found a lot of information in the first few verses. Abraham lived in a society that had deteriorated to a low state of idolatry and sin. Abraham saw that it was needful to obtain another place of residence. Abraham 1:1
“And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.” Abraham 1:2
Abraham was a follower of righteousness and desired further light and knowledge. He did not avoid the truth. He did not stick his head in the sand and pretend it did not exist. He did not claim all was well in Zion (or in the land of the Chaldeans). He recognized the mess he was in and wanted out. He knew he had to change his residence. He was observing that most of society (family, associates, and peers) was taking the freeway to hell. He needed to take an exit, turn around, and return to heaven.
When he became aware of and obtained truth, he didn’t mutter, mumble, or think it was too hard to obey. He rejoiced in it. He put doubt in the back seat and proceeded forward with faith in God. He could plainly see that idolatry would get him nowhere of value. It hadn’t with his father or his acquaintances where he resided. Abraham was neither afraid nor hesitated to walk away from the false traditions of his fathers. He turned away from Babylon, faced God, and trusted heaven.
Abraham wanted and sought the word of God. He found that greater happiness and peace came to him as he sought for the blessings of the fathers. He wanted to possess greater knowledge, receive instructions from heaven, and to keep the commandments of God. As he faithfully did so, over a period of time, he became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.
It is very uncommon in this world to find one like Abraham. Few sincerely seek and actually want the word of God. I suppose even fewer have enough faith to obey and personally live it. It seems strange for someone to receive revealed truth and then reject and refuse to live it. It is rare indeed to find one who is willing to give up this life and make sufficient sacrifice to receive eternal life.
Does this mean I should take time out of my important and over-booked schedule to focus on the word of God? Am I required to sacrifice my habits of chasing money, my addictions of taking pleasure in the things of the world, and my thrills of earning a bigger and better lunch? To come unto God, do I need to abandon some of these habits and addictions? Is it really necessary to personally study, learn, and apply the doctrine of Christ? Which shall it be? God or the world? Salvation or Damnation? Heaven or Hell? After all, I can’t serve two masters. Some argue and tell me otherwise, but the work of God and mammon simply don’t mix and can’t combine in one. Matthew 6:24
Am I supposed to calm down, soften my heart, find a peaceful place, and talk to God about it all? Am I expected to hear Him, receive revelation, and recognize the Holy Spirit bearing witness of truth? Should I follow it? Is it my obligation to conform to the Lord’s instructions? Would it be wise to surrender my traditions and opinions to God and be anxious to follow His ways? His ways are higher and better than mine, you know? Isaiah 55:9
Fighting truth frustrates our search for it. Resisting light brings darkness and prevents us from obtaining more understanding. The Lord will never force us to value Him or His ways. It’s our personal choice. He invites us to come and know Him. He uses persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness and meekness, and love unfeigned D&C 121:41. He is patient and His invitation is open to all.
Joseph Smith declared the following:
“This principle ought (in its proper place) to be taught, for God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor, Know ye that Lord; for all shall know Him (who remain) from the least to the greatest” TPJS, Page 149.
“We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment: he must have been instructed in the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, until his mind is capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice, equality, and consistency of the same” TPJS, Page 51.
God is no respecter of persons Acts 10:34. He is ready to reveal further light and knowledge to anyone whenever he or she is ready to receive it. I believe that we must at least live the truth we already have and make sufficient sacrifice to submit to God and obey Him in all things that He may require. Many are called but few are chosen. Few live like Abraham lived, and therefore few will receive what he received.