“Most Latter-day Saints know the formula for revelation given in section 9 of the Doctrine and Covenants—the verses about studying it out in your mind and the Lord promising to confirm or deny. What most of us don’t read in conjunction with this is the section which precedes it: section 8. “ (Holland, 2000)
In the eighth section there is a beautiful scripture that teaches us about revelation.
2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
Because I feel we are quite familiar with this passage and the connection that must exist with your mind and your heart, both being important in discerning truth from God. ”I love the combination there of both mind and heart. God will teach us in a reasonable way and in a revelatory way—mind and heart combined—by the Holy Ghost.” (Holland, 2000) I am going to focus much of this post on the next verse of scripture.
However, I want you to think about all the times that God has revealed himself to man. Moses talked with God face to face, Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, the brother of Jared, and Enoch, etc. Now God, being all wise and perfect, can draw on any one of these examples and yet I find it so interesting that when he decides to teach us about revelation in this section of scripture that he uses none of these examples. Let continue reading verse three.
3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.
Why would God use Moses bring the children of Israel through the red sea to describe revelation? Isn’t it bigger and better to talk with him face to face? “Usually we think of revelation as a downpour of information.” (Holland, 2000) But this idea can be too limiting and narrow. Let’s consider revelation from God more generally.
First, “revelation almost always comes in response to a question”. ( Holland, 2000) The question that needed solving in Moses example was how do I save my people? With pharaoh’s armies approaching and sand dunes on either side and a great big sea in the front where where do we go? In order for revelation to come we almost always need to ask questions.
The second lesson we can glean from this example is don’t fear. When it seems like all is hopeless, remember the miracles that brought you to this point. Think about upon the frogs, lice, hail and even the passing over of the destroying angel. Surely they could have seen God was fighting their battles for them. Why now would they go back to complaining and fearing?
Before we judge them too harshly we need only think about about our own lives to see how quickly we complain and doubt that God can break down city wall, slay local Labans, open seas and guide us through our wildernesses. Perhaps that is why we are constantly being told to REMEMBER… lest we forget… it’s too easy to murmur and doubt. But this is an important, hard lesson. The children of Israel were really mad at Moses. At least being servants we were still alive. Why would you take us out here to die? “ We must have been wrong. That probably wasn’t the right spirit telling us to leave Egypt.” (Holland, 2000) But
Until Moses finally says “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. … The Lord shall fight for you.” And their red sea opens and they walk across on dry land.
Another lesson to be learned is that if the Lord has told you that something is right, he will provide a way to accomplish the tasks he wants you to do. Even if it has never been done before. He opens red seas and can even stop the Jordans rivers from flowing… but sometimes we need to get our feet wet first.
I love that the Lord uses this example to describe revelation. It has so much more insight and understanding. I am sure there are even more ideas about why this example. So if you have any other ideas please share them in the comments.
“With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.”
I read this article by Jeffery R Holland when I was a missionary. This information changed how I thought about receiving and acting on thoughts that the spirit has given to me.