When we offer all we have, including ourselves, to follow the Lord and His prophet, we can be made incrementally more holy. Little by little, we are being built like a tabernacle or temple of the Lord to be more pure and more holy.
And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote upon it a writing, like to the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
1. More holiness give me,
More strivings within,
More patience in suff’ring,
More sorrow for sin,
More faith in my Savior,
More sense of his care,
More joy in his service,
More purpose in prayer.
2. More gratitude give me,
More trust in the Lord,
More pride in his glory,
More hope in his word,
More tears for his sorrows,
More pain at his grief,
More meekness in trial,
More praise for relief.
3. More purity give me,
More strength to o’ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains,
More longing for home.
More fit for the kingdom,
More used would I be,
More blessed and holy—
More, Savior, like thee.
The Lord told Moses that his people needed to build a tabernacle–rather like a portable temple. He told them what items were needed to build the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant. What they were building was to point them toward the Savior.
“When God commanded Moses to build a tabernacle in the camp of the Israelites, He stated its purpose: “that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). Within the tabernacle, the presence of God was represented by the ark of the covenant—a wooden box, covered with gold, containing the written record of God’s covenant with His people (see Exodus 25:10–22). The ark was kept in the holiest, innermost room, separated from the rest of the tabernacle by a veil. This veil symbolizes our separation from the presence of God because of the Fall.” – Come, Follow Me Manual
Temples today also use symbolism to teach us about the Savior and our relationship to Him.
Ask: While showing pictures of the temple (see here) ask what symbols do we see in the design and organization of the temple [white to represent purity, cleanliness both physically and spiritually, the baptismal font representing death and rebirth, spires pointing heavenward, etc.].
Teach: The Lord wants us to join Him in His house. We receive temple recommends through interviews with the bishopric and stake presidency, but that isn’t to keep us out. He wants us there, but He wants us there worthy, and prepared.
Video: Watch this video on the purposes and joys of the temple both anciently and today. “Why Temples”
Read: When Moses told the Israelites what the Lord commanded of them, he said “Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord” (Exodus 35:5).
“And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation” (Exodus 35:21).
Teach: God doesn’t force us to do anything. He lets us choose. He wants us to choose and serve Him, but He wants us to offer our tithing, our service, ourselves willingly.
Testify: When we come to the Lord and to His house with a willing heart, each time we become a little more like Him. He helps us be changed and made more holy—just like the tabernacle in Moses’ time and the temple today—are holy.
FOR TEENS & ADULTS
Teach: The children of Israel would not have had much in the way of worldly goods. They were slaves while in Egypt and they left in the night without much time to prepare for their journey into the wilderness. There were more than “six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children” (Exodus 12:37) of them, but each person was likely to own, and have brought, only a few personal items. And yet, the Lord required very specific and ornate things for the building of the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant.
Read: Here is part of what Moses asked the children of Israel to bring:
“Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord; gold, and silver, and brass,
And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,
And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood,
And oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and for the sweet incense,
And onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breastplate” (Exodus 35:5-9).
Discuss: It continues that the people who were wise came out in droves with what Moses needed to construct the sacred tabernacle (rather like a portable temple). This story is similar to the early saints who, in their poverty, built the Kirtland temple using their fine china to add sparkle and substance to the plaster applied to the outside of the structure.
Both of these groups had faithful children of God who were willing to give everything they had for the glory of God.
Read: And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the Lord.
“And every man, with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and red skins of rams, and badgers’ skins, brought them.
Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought the Lord’s offering: and every man, with whom was found shittim wood for any work of the service, brought it.
And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen.
And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair.
And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate;
And spice, and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense.
The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.”
Contrast and consider: Remember that when Moses was up on Mount Sinai and some of the children of Israel began to worry that Moses would not return, they asked Aaron to build them an idol to worship. Aaron called for the gold from their earrings and enough people did bring him gold that he was able to fashion a golden calf out of the gold they brought.
Contrast that, however, with what the Lord asked for (through his servant Moses) to build and prepare the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant. Consider just how many people must have held back their gold when Aaron called for it for Moses to have had enough of it to gild the ark of the covenant.
Testify: It can be easy to feel alone when we are trying to follow the prophet and hold to the iron rod. The loud voices on social media and in our schools, communities, and nation can make it seem like we are the only ones striving to keep the commandments and stay on the covenant path. It must have been pretty noticeable and flashy when Aaron collected piles of gold with which to build a gaudy, idolic calf to satisfy the less faithful among the children of Israel, but there were still so many among them quietly and patiently waiting on the Lord and his prophet. They were ready and willing when they were called upon.
We can also be ready to act when the prophet speaks and not be discouraged when the world tries to look more powerful and enticing than the Lord.
The Lord needs His faithful children to wait upon Him and then act when He speaks. Let us ignore the clamoring voices of those who call for idol worship, and instead be prepared to be part of the Lord’s work, however he calls us to do so.
FOR SINGLE STUDY
Consider: Whose idea was it to build the golden calf back in Exodus 32:1?
“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.”
It was the people, not the prophet, who came up with the plan to build an idol of false worship.
They wanted to worship, but they pressured Aaron to build an idol instead of waiting on the Lord and on his servant Moses. They found someone who would do what they wanted, even if it wasn’t what God wanted.
Contrast that with building the true place of worship—the tabernacle.
Whose idea was it to build the tabernacle?
“And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying, Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord; gold, and silver, and brass” (Exodus 35:4-5).
Moses continues with a long list of what is needed to build the tabernacle but stated clearly, that this was what the Lord commanded the people to do.
Consider or Journal: Are you listening to the words and direction of the Lord through His prophet, or are you seeking to counsel the leaders of the Church with what you think is best? When we let the Lord speak, through His prophet, we will receive outcomes that bring us closer to the Lord (like the tabernacle) instead of outcomes that draw us away from Him (like the golden calf).
Quote: “The great Book of Mormon prophet Jacob pointedly counseled us who live in the latter-days to “seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand.” (Jacob 4:10.)
In my view, seeking to counsel the Lord generally means disregarding the Lord’s counsel, either knowingly or unknowingly, and in place thereof substituting our own counsel or the persuasions of men. Doing this is a very common human weakness. But until we are able to conquer it, real closeness to the Spirit of the Lord eludes us regardless of our other gifts and attainments.” — President Marion G. Romney
Old Fashioned Divinity
Only God can make things divine, but you can make divinity! Make sure to try this on a dry, sunny day as humidity will affect the outcome. Get the recipe here!
Sometimes it can feel like we are being pulled left, right, and center by opposing worldviews. Using chips or small candies for tokens, play Left, Right, Center with your family. Game rules here.