"And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he command them not.
And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord."
To offer a strange fire before the Lord, would mean somehow they perverted the ways of the Lord. They changed the ordinance. They must have been in a state of apostasy. Yet it doesn't seem that anyone around them knew that was happening. What happened to Aaron's sons was a pretty rare event but it clearly had a message. Right now I am not seeing apostates die by fire. I do believe it is entirely possible at some point God will.
"For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire." (2 Nephi 30:10)
Devouring Nadab and Abihu by fire essentially removed them from Israel. It was done so they would not have a chance to pervert the ways of the Lord, and take others with them. I pondered on how this all fit with what I saw just today.
I have been quietly unfollowing people on Facebook that are bringing no light into my life. I don't even like the idea of getting upset by posts I find offensive. It's simply better not to look. I had one such person I unfollowed today. She had served a mission, and we have known each other for over 10 years. We had not only our faith in common but our love for genealogy. I noticed in the past year or so things she posted got darker and darker. Today I took especial note of it and went to her Facebook page to change my setting to unfollow.
But I lingered, which I usually don't. I scrolled through some posts and yes my feeling that she had grown darker was still there. Then I had the odd impression to go look at the groups she belonged to. To my grief I found she was now participating in the occult - one group proclaimed " it was not just for witches but all were welcome". How does one turn from the light into absolute darkness? You just don't touch that. I grieved for her.
Maybe being involved in strange ways is not devouring you by fire right now. But, it is most certainly causing the elect to die before the Lord. The light that was once there is devoured by the darkness. Now more than ever do I need to check myself and make sure I don't ever, ever follow strange ways. No one is strong enough to get through this life without the Lord. I can lose the light I have if I'm not watchful about what I'm doing.
"And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people.
And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces."
I sat and pondered how they must have felt to witness such an event. I can think of feeling terror, and giving a scream. Then falling to my face, and being afraid to face the Lord. Is that what I would want to be doing if I saw the power of the Lord in such a miraculous way? I could not decide if it was a good or bad action. I know I want to "fear" the Lord, but not be afraid. The closer I draw near to Him I feel fear is more a love and reverence for him. I would want to bow to the earth and worship my God. So maybe the difference here is the shouting? Maybe what they did was more like a Hosanna Shout. Now that seemed more fitting. Just like they did during Jesus' triumphal ride into Jerusalem.
I went on LDS.org and looked up the Hosanna Shout and found a recording of it. It was during the dedication of the LDS Conference Center in Oct 2000 "This Great Millennial Year". Before the dedicatory prayer President Gordon B. Hinckley gives instruction in how it is to be performed. I remember attending this event over satellite in my local stake center. I was so grateful to sit and watch it again tonight. I wept as I saw the camera roll over the audience during the Hosanna Shout, and hearing President Hinckley voice fill with emotion. It left me seeing what the Israelites may have done in a totally different light.
"And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And Moses did as the Lord commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done."
Up until this point I have been reading the instructions for building a tabernacle and how the ordinances are to be performed in it. This chapter was the first performance of the ordinances. Moses is showing how it is to be done. It also reminded me of the dedication I see of the temples today.
What I pondered on was how these things are handed down from God to his prophet, and from there to His people. That this knowledge is passed from one generation to another. All the congregation is gathered so all will learn. How many untold numbers of temple workers have there been over the years? How they were all taught from those that have gone before them. God does have a marvelous plan for teaching his children.
"He among the sons of Aaron, that offereth the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right shoulder for his part."
I pondered on my right shoulder. How I use it to raise my right arm to the square when I swear an oath or sustain someone in their calling. I also use it to command someone to stop, identify myself in a crowd when called, or to ask a question in a class. I use this covenant hand to take the sacrament. I pondered on how my Savior sits at the right hand of God. There is power, significance and symbolism in that single act. Could this be why the right shoulder is given to the priests?
"And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest:
And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.
And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it.
I feel like I've basically been reading the same thing for several days. Yet it amazes me that I see something different in the presentation each time. I was pondering on how empty I would feel to have sinned, give an offering and then have the priest make the atonement for me. Just because I made an offering would I all of a sudden feel forgiven? Nothing seem to be internal in this step of repentance.
Then when I read about the priest eating the remainder of the offering I could see where it becomes internal. It's all symbolic. They were living a dead law. It was a lesser law, and this is what they were prepared to receive. I pondered on how my understanding of things have changed over time. There was a time I had to go through the motions of being obedient even though I hadn't grasped what it meant. Every one of us has to go through stages of living dead laws, until we become alive in Christ.
"And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.
And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement from him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him."
In this chapter is appears to be speaking about committing sin through ignorance, and once you knew it was sin you were guilty and needed to repent. In a way I wondered how this was fair? Then I saw this pattern that it was even a deeper similitude of the Savior. For he atoned for and died not even knowing what my sins would be.
"And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering."
As I have been reading about all the items need for the tabernacle and now what they are being used for, I cannot help but think that they stand as symbols. Just like the sacrificial lamb is a type for the Savior. In this chapter I wondered what the horns of the altar could mean. I went back to previous chapters where they are mentioned and see that there are four of them.
The number four makes me think of the four corners of the earth. So this could mean all mankind. What then is a horn? I picture them on top of an animals head, as if it were their crown. Could it mean its power and authority as king? Blood is the life of the animal. Blood is also what the Lord shed for my sins. I've read in the scriptures were the earth cries when innocent blood is shed. Is that why its being poured out at the bottom of the altar?
This is reminding me of a discussion we had during family scripture reading. We discussed how people say they feel bad for the pain they have caused the Savior for their sins. As if being perfect would have caused him less pain. Somehow that doesn't sit right with me. I don't think my not sinning would have caused him even one less moment of pain. I think he suffered everything I was ever capable of doing, regardless if I did them or not. His atonement covered everything. I think the one who suffers less for not sinning is me. So when I think of the priest placing a drop of blood on a horn I think of my actual sins, that are being atoned for. When he pours out all the blood I think of it as all the sins I was ever capable of doing. Regardless Christ carried it all and paid the ultimate price for me. He paid a debt that even if I was capable of being perfect I could never pay him back. It was greater than I could ever need. He loved me more than my sins. I just need to love Him back.
"And he shall lay his hand upon the head of this offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood upon the alter round about."
This chapter repeats basically the same verse three times. Each is a peace offering of a different animal. I was reading and pondering this while sitting in the temple. The words "at the door" really struck me. I had the impression to liken it to my day. I thought of what I needed to do before I could enter these doors, and sit where I was sitting.
I had to come clean, I had to take the sacrament. I thought of the priests that poured the water that represented Christ's blood into those little cups. How they took the bread and broke it in remembrance of the Christ's body. Were they not like the priests in this chapter as they sacrificed these animals? Then I reflected on the deacons bringing around the bread and water for the congregation to take. It was like the blood was sprinkled all around.
During the sacrament I reflected on my Savior and if I had remembered him or not. I had to lay my sins upon the alter. I was just like the priest examining these animals and removing all the fat. This was a time to become clean. That is why this ordinance is needful before I enter the temple. That is why Aaron's sons killed the animal at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. The temple isn't a place to become clean. It's a place to help me grow stronger to remain clean.
"And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt."
This verse made me thing of Matthew 5:13 "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."
I pondered on how I can go through the motions. Look like I'm serving and my offering is not good enough, if I have lost my savour. It will be counted to me as good for nothing if my heart is not in it. What makes the difference of an acceptable offering is if I season it with my heart.
"If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord.
And he shall put his hand upon the offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him."
The male animal without blemish was a similitude of my Savior. I pondered on the atonement, and His great voluntary sacrifice for me. I thought of the Israelite looking for find such an unblemished male animal in his day. Then I saw how what he was doing, looking for Christ, is exactly what I need to do. I need to be searching for him everywhere and in everything that I do. Forever looking towards the Christ. As I seek Him I come to know him.
"And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.
I pondered on how the ordinances of the temple echoes through the eternities. It blesses not only me but my posterity. It blesses my ancestors, which then echo again back to me. It is one great welding link, connecting us together. It is everlasting.
"And a girdle of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, of needlework; as the Lord commanded Moses."
As I read of these colorful robes for the priest I wondered why we don't have them today in our temples? White, the absence of color is what I see. Then a thought came into my mind. "They have been washed white from the blood of the Lamb." That just seemed right, but I have no other resource for that information. I would love to find it. Because I often find I have no original thoughts. What might seem new to me has been known by others for a very long time.
Theses verses would appear to confirm the impression that came to me.
"Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the lamb." (Alma 13:11)
"And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:14)
"All the hangings of the court round about were of fine twined linen."
This chapter gives more descriptions on all the materials used to make up the tabernacle. It can be a little exhausting to be inspired by it. All I could tell was it was very big.
Then my eyes hit this verse and a memory came back to me. It was an experience I had in the Provo Temple while doing initiatories. Out of the several temples I have been to, the Provo Temple initiatory area is the plainest. It is simple, with only white curtains separating each initiatory room. There is no elaborate woodwork or design, it is stark and made to be functional. The beauty of the ordinance is all it offers.
While I was doing this work I could hear the others in the adjoining rooms. At first I tried to block the sound out and just focus on what I was doing. Curiously, I began to listen to it. The collective whispering made almost a humming sound, like they were singing. The curtained rooms so close together reminded me of the individual cells inside a beehive.
Even thought I was still doing my work, in my mind I began to see this activity on a massive scale. Doing these same ordinances for others during the millennium. There was a sea of untold numbers of these interconnected white curtained rooms and a collective humming coming from them. All these voices being raised up singing praises to our God. It was truly an amazing experience, one I have cherished. If I have a preference it is to do initiatories in the Provo Temple.
"And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary."
One thing I do not see in the temple today is incense. I don't see it in my Sabbath day worship either. I do see it in other faiths. So I pondered on that and did some scripture chasing.
"Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." (Psalm 141:2)
When I read that verse I realized Israel needed a to hear, taste, and smell with their senses God, for they could not "see" him. With the Holy Ghost I have another witness. I realized that the incense is presented in another way in the temple today.
"And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."
Just like a sacrificed animal is a type and shadow of Christ, incense are the prayers of the saints being lifted up to God.
"And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing.
For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much."
The men and women of Israel are busy gathering and preparing items for the tabernacle. They bring so much that it is more than is needed. To the point they are told to stop. I could just feel how brokenhearted they must have felt to be restrained from giving. What if you were making something and now it wasn't needed any more? I have leprosy bandages in my closet that I made for the Church's Humanitarian efforts when I was so sick. I made so many I don't even know how many. My husband dropped them off by the boxes. I was sick in bed and that was the only thing I could do for a long time. Then they no longer needed them so the last batch went undelivered. I was sad about it. But, by then my health had improved and I could work on other things. Every time I see those bandages I feel a little pain that they were not needed. I know the Lord knows my heart in the matter. He had to know Israel's heart too.
"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, and for all his service, and for the holy garments."
Every time I go to the temple I see other members just like me coming and going. I know we are all there because the spirit has stirred our souls. No one told use we had to come. If I do not come another will be called by the spirit to fill my place. The Lord's work will go on, with or without me, and I don't want it to be without me. I am so blessed just to serving.
"And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him."
These verses made me think of a story related by a sister in my ward. Her daughter would read the scriptures before a date so she would radiate and have a glow about her. It was her beauty treatment. For some reason that story stayed with me. I had never heard of anyone doing that before.
Then one day I was at the temple and had an amazing experience there. I sat in the celestial room for a while just thanking my Heavenly Father for opening the eyes of my understanding. I had this incredible burning throughout my body from it all. I came down to the dressing room and immediately saw another sister in my ward. She came up to me and placed both hands on my face and patted it and said "You just look so beautiful, there is just something about you." She remarked on it several times, each time touching my face. I knew she was seeing how I felt inside. She was seeing someone plain just have an amazing beauty treatment. I just thanked her for the compliment. I couldn't speak of my experience it was to dear.
I wanted so badly to look in the mirror and see what she saw. Though I felt it would be pretty vain to do that when this sister continued to speak to me. So, I didn't look. Instead we visited a while. By the time we parted the burning inside had worn off. I looked in the mirror and well I just saw plain ole me. I have no idea what the burning inside you looks like from the outside. I did think it rather sad the moment was so fleeting, and couldn't endure for any length of time.
It was nothing like Moses, for he had to wear a veil on his face after his experience on Mount Sinai. People could not even look upon his face. I wonder what he must have felt like inside?
"And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.
And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door."
This verse brought to mind the memory of the Washington D.C. Temple Dedication. It was dedicated November 19, 1974 and I was 13 years old at the time. My father Philip Harris was the bishop of our ward. Our family drove from New York to attend the dedication. I don't think we attended the first dedication session, but we were in the solemn assembly room where the actual dedication took place. I remember our family getting seated early and just waiting for the dedication to begin.
All of a sudden I just felt like I was lifted from my chair like a feather and stood upon my feet. I remember thinking it was like a wind just entered into the room. That was before I even knew there were scriptures and stories about even such a thing. I stood with everyone wondering why we were all standing? Then the doors opened and President Spencer W. Kimball entered the room. I felt the spirit as I had never felt it before. This was the Lord's house and before me stood a prophet of God. I think Israel must have experienced this same thing in these verses.
"And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people."
I don't know that verse didn't sit right with me. I wondered if there was something in the Joseph Smith Translation of the bible on it and there was.
"And the Lord said unto Moses, if they will repent of the evil which they have done, I will spare them, and turn away my fierce wrath; but, behold, thou shalt execute judgement upon all that will not repent of this evil this day. Therefore, see thou do this thing that I have commanded thee, or I will execute all that which I had thought to do unto my people."
This reminds me of the 8th Article of Faith. "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God."
I don't often feel the need to look at the Joseph Smith Translation of the bible. But, when I do, because something doesn't seem right, it amazes me to find there actually is a translation of that verse. That is a rather curious thing to me. The spirit will guide me when further light is needed.
"Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you."
This made me think of President Russell M. Nelsons' April 2015 LDS General Conference talk "The Sabbath Is a Delight".
"When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate fro the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, "What sign do I want to give to to God?" That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear."
He then asked us "What sign will you give to the Lord to show your love from Him?"
I have to say the Sabbath is a delight to me. It is the best day of the week. I love taking the sacrament. I love sitting at the feet of wonderful teachers and learning all the day long. I love family scripture reading right after church. Then we get to discuss what others also learned at church that day. I hope heaven is just like this.
"When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.
This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the Lord.
And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls."
As I was reading this I thought of how the Lord has bought me with a price, he has ransomed me. I am numbered among His sheep.
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:18-19)
"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)
"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and brake it, and blessed it, and gave to his disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is in remembrance of my body which I give a ransom for you." (JST, Matthew 26:22 - compare Matthew 26:26-28)
"And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.
Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock.
And thou shalt kill the bullock before the Lord, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation."
I could connect with some ordinances of the temple in my day, but I struggled to think of scenes in Moses day of witnessing an animal sacrifice. Then I pondered on how that was all a type and shadow of the sacrifice of the Savior. Then reading this became holy. I think I could have worshiped in such a manner, if I knew it represented the sacrifice of the Lord to atone for my sins. I wouldn't have been crying for an animal's death, it would have been for my Saviors.
"And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always."
Today with sacrament we had fast and testimony meeting. Reading now about "the lamp to burn always", reminds me of my testimony. I need to feed and nourish it. It is a precious thing. My trials can make it take a beating, but if I endure them well, relying on the Lord, it will make from them pure oil to feed my lamp. It can never take my testimony for granted. I can never let the light burn out. Drop by drop I can feed my lamp.
"And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount."
As I was reading the description of how Israel was to build the tabernacle I got lost. It made me think of building furniture from written directions, without any pictures to go with it. Then when I hit this verse I realized Moses actually had the picture. The Lord didn't leave him to guess or picture it for himself, from the directions given. This was important and the Lord gave Moses every tool available to understand.
I do not know if Moses had a vision opened up to him or if he saw it in his mind as the Lord spoke. I may never experience a vision, but I can relate to seeing things in my mind. I picture things all day long. I found that thought rather interesting. There is an open drawing board inside of me for the spirit to write upon. My Heavenly Father has given me every tool needed to understand his will. I just need to be worthy to have the spirit always to be with me.
That blank drawing board reminded me of my New Years goal. I was blank, all I could see is a clean slate in front of me, and the whiteness was to perfect to write upon. Now I see the spirit is the one to do the writing, for I am to do the Father's will. I will understand as the pictures and impressions come to my mind. If I "Carry On" as the impressions came to me, I would be worthy to receive more.
"Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering."
This chapter goes on to explain the gathering and preparing of items for the tabernacle that the Lord revealed to Moses. When it spoke of the ark of the testimony, or ark of the covenant, I sat and wondered where it was, and if it would ever be found? Then I had the strongest impression, it wasn't needed anymore, that is why it is hid. For man at the time needed an intercessory to give their offerings through. Now what is needed is a broken heart and contrite spirit.
The ark of the covenant was a symbol of God's presence with His people. A physical reminder of their deliverance and blessings. All that attention now needs to be drawn directly to my Savior and his redeeming sacrifice for me. For the ark to come back it would do neither. It would be a cursing for those that looked upon it as anything else. I am now satisfied that man foolishly hunts for it. I have no desire now to watch shows on where people think it may be. I can move on and cross that mystery off my list.
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them."
This verse struck me because I am noticing that the spirit teaches me more, when my desire is to then share the gospel with others. There is some connection between the two parts. Just haven't figured it all out yet. It does seems like it's exactly the frame of mind Moses needed to be in to receive the law and commandments. He had to be prepared to learn and then teach afterwards.
"And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land."
A simple hornet was a tool the Lord used to bring Israel into the land. It made me think of Alma 37:6 "Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."
Faith and patience was what the Israel needed in order for a small thing to literally accomplish something great. The Lord really does have a better way, and a better plan. By the time the others left the land, Israel had increased enough to inherit it. So while I patiently wait on the Lord's timing, I have to prepare for the promised blessing, and do what he wants me to do.
"Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people."
The topical guide refers me to citizenship. I hear a lot of cursing regarding the coming "ruler of the people". I sat and pondered on if God has ever said it's ok to curse a ruler or king? I could not think of one. What has been the behavior of God's children when they are oppressed with a wicked ruler? It has been to call on God for deliverance. They do not take such matters into their own hands, to delivered themselves from bondage. Even with Queen Esther, when the King's decree would have killed all the Jews, they fasted and prayed to God for deliverance. She plead their case, but the decision was up to the king. It was only by king Ahasuerus command that he granted the Jews the ability to gather themselves and preserve their lives. It would have been against the Mosaic law for the Jews to do anything else. Even Moses asked Pharaoh's permission for Israel to leave.
I think God is totally capable of removing an unrighteous leader that is oppressing his people. Sometimes its the oppression and bondage that is needed for their hearts to soften and turn back to Him. The twelfth article of faith makes so much sense "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." I am required to show honor and respect for the title or office. God will take care of the man.
I am rather shocked thinking how right now some misguided members of my faith are asking the leaders of the church to turn their back on the coming "ruler of the people". They do not understand what they are asking, and how offensive this behavior is to God. I would be shaking in my boots to take part in such a demand. It truly goes against everything God has ever said on the matter.
"And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.
And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death."
The Lord reveals to Moses his laws in various matters. In these verses I am reminded of the commandment given in Exodus 20:12 "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."
The penalty of striking or cursing your parent is death. That does sound rather extreme. Why is that? Then I read in Mosiah 13:29-30
"And now I say unto you that it was expedient that there should be a law given to the children of Israel, yea, even a very strict law; for they were a stiffnecked people, quick to do iniquity, and slow to remember the Lord their God;
Therefore there was a law given them, yea, a law of performances and of ordinances, a law which they were to observe strictly from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God and their duty towards him."
I thought about how easily the children of Israel forgot God's power, the miracles performed, and all the signs given them. They were constantly complaining or doubting. They would not live a higher law. They did not love Him or trust him. They needed to be in constant remembrance and fear of the Lord. It was stiffneckedness that did this. With Christ's atonement and resurrection the law of Moses was fulfilled. Yet, I still have the ten commandments to live by, but it sure is gentler to think of honoring my parent and not striking or cursing them. What a promised blessing is mine if I keep this commandment. What a contrast it is to sit in fear of the Lord.
For all this I can see that when I stray from the commandments there are still repercussions for my actions. A hard hearted and stiffnecked person would only be capable of striking or cursing their parents. The act tells you they are incapable at that point of living a higher law. This would lead to death, a spiritual death. I would imagine it would be better to fear physical death for such an act, and have it prevent you from breaking that law. For God was ultimately trying to stop you from committing spiritual death. To not be able to live a higher law, and having a stricter lower law, it was in its way more merciful to them.