Sunday, August 7, 2016

Inquiring of the Lord

After Lehi's account of his vision of the tree of life, Laman and Lemuel express their lack of understanding of the meaning of the vision. Nephi replied, "Have ye inquired of the Lord?" (1 Nephi 15:8). The gospel, as it turns out, is full of mysteries. These lessons can only be learned through interaction between and individual and heaven---through the Holy Ghost, visions, voices, visitations, etc. Inquiring of the Lord is the process of earnestly seeking knowledge from God. Although this process can be applied to temporal questions, we see over and over and over again in the scriptures that it can also (and is most often) used for spiritual (i.e. doctrinal) questions.

Wherefore, I must tell you the truth according to the plainness of the word of God. For behold, as I inquired of the Lord, thus came the word unto me, saying: Jacob, get thou up into the temple on the morrow, and declare the word which I shall give thee unto this people. (Jacob 2:11)

Inquiring of the Lord is a big deal. When Ammon was trying to convince the Lamanite converts to move in with the Nephites, he "said: I will go and inquire of the Lord, and if he say unto us, go down unto our brethren, will ye go?" (Alma 27:7) You'll remember that Alma inquired of the Lord to know the military plans of the Lamanites. It was a big deal.

Joseph Smith taught that it was a big deal:
It is a great thing to inquire at the hands of God, or to come into His presence; and we feel fearful to approach Him on subjects that are of little or no consequence, to satisfy the queries of individuals, especially about things the knowledge of which men ought to obtain in all sincerity, before God, for themselves, in humility by the prayer of faith; (DHC 1:338-339)

Is inquiring of the Lord a simple prayer? It can be, but usually requires far more time, pondering, study, and focus. Inquiring of the Lord connotes that you are seeking God until he answers you. In other words, inquiries to God result in revelation. They result in the receipt of the word of God. Observe how Mormon describes the process of inquiring of the Lord:

For immediately after I had learned these things of you I inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And the word of the Lord came to me by the power of the Holy Ghost, saying: (Moroni 8:7)

He says the word of the Lord came to him. Mormon didn't get feelings in response to his inquiry. Read on to see exactly what God said to him. God spoke to him like one man speaks to another, through the Holy Ghost. Mormon was able to write out the information that was conveyed. He was able to quote God.

Alma chapter 40 is an amazing example of the type of knowledge that can be revealed through inquiring of the Lord. What's more, it is also an exceptional example of how those who teach others have a duty to clearly communicate to their hearers what of their message comes explicitly from God, what is their opinion, and what still remains unknown to them. You should read it.

In conclusion, there are a lot of things that I don't know and you don't know about the gospel--a lot. They are "hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord;" (1 Nephi 15:3) Let us inquire of the Lord, find out which questions matter, and get the answers.