King Benjamin: The Wisdom, Longsuffering, & Patience of God
In a remote corner of the world separated from most of civilization save those who lived nearby lived a King by the name of Benjamin who preached a heartfelt plea of change and hope to his people. It was in ancient America that he spoke the words that change an entire generation of people. It is in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ that the words of much of his teachings survived.
Long dead, King Benjamin's words have application today as they did then. This article is about what the King taught about the wisdom, longsuffering, and patience of God.
King Benjamin Depiction at the Temple in Zarahemla
Benjamin counsels his people to believe in God and that He has wisdom greater than the wisdom that mortal men have. He then instructs them that to gain salvation they must also remember always the supreme example of God's wisdom among the others.
Nephi, the first legitimate leader of the Nephite nation, showed his trust of God's wisdom by stating in his record
I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.1
Nephi remembered that God's wisdom exceeded his own so much so that he could have confidence in each commandment that God gives no matter how strange or ridiculous it may seem to humanity in general.
Isaiah recorded, speaking with divine investiture of authority from God
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.2
The work of God is foolishness to evil people, but to the righteous who know and remember His wisdom, His wisdom is law. The questions as to why things occur the way that they do in life are answered in the wisdom of God, Who sees the beginning, the middle, the end and beyond.
Life is forever. Humanity is an eternal species and possesses the ability to exist indefinitely because of the wisdom of God. Being of the same species, or being the literal children of God means the seeds of godhood are within humanity, which explains the inventive genius of scientific ingenuity in mortal man.
Humanity inherited God's creative nature. Reason dictates that God intends to divulge more to humanity as it reaches beyond the carnality of telestial mortal life towards celestial life. For as King Benjamin instructs--though his breath left him thousands of years ago--
...the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord...3
God's Patience & Long-suffering
As part of the plan of happiness that God has designed for the human family, King Benjamin wanted his subjects to remember that He has to wait patiently and tolerantly of their imperfections until they can achieve the desired level of righteousness He expects.
Humanity and God wait on each other! Literature for how people must wait patiently for things to occur in God's time is extent. God must also wait on people to become righteous enough to hear Him speak, and to be able to abide the commands He provides for their salvation.
It was not until after Joseph Smith was ready to act and obey did the Lord appear to him in the Sacred Grove instructing him on things to come.
It was not until following Nephi's plans to obtain the Brass Plates failed that God delivered Laban into his hands commanding him to kill that man.
God waited until after Lehi pondered the dreams he received and asked the Lord before he saw the vision to preach to Jerusalem.
God must wait until His people are ready before He shows them miracles or gives them commandments, fortunately, He is the very patient and tolerant Man!
Moroni referenced this concept as it applies to mortals, but the same applies to the immortal God of heaven! Moroni records,
Ether did prophesy great and marvelous things unto the people, which they did not believe, because they saw them not.
And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.4
Benjamin instructed his people that because God must have patience and long-suffering that He has knowledge of their ability to do His will.
The past, present and future are always within view of God's cognition and are well within His purview. Theories exist trying to explain how God can know what is the outcome of all events and not share responsibility for causing all sin as well as all goodness.
Such thinking is based in linear mortal perspective regarding time. Whether God sees all scenarios or just sees all things as they are is of little consequence since the outcome is the same. He has knowledge of all things and waits patiently for them to occur so that He can act for the good of all people collectively and individually.
He must suffer long through all individual's errors and misconceptions for the opportunity to correct them in a way that each individual is most likely to accept, whether that is through His authorized servants or the next adequate conduit such as an Imam, television program or next door neighbor!
For clarification, God works through His official sources for general counsel to His people, a prophet. Any person with leadership responsibility to any group of human beings has the right to receive inspiration for his or her stewardship, but not the right to act as a representative of God without direct authority from Him by way of the priesthood.
Though King Benjamin did not mention all of these things during his sermon to his people, he wanted them to understand that God is constantly waiting on mankind to exalt them, and they should remember it--counsel that applies eternally to all mortals.
Points to Remember
Knowledge One Must Remember about God for Salvation
- His Goodness
- His Power
- His Wisdom
- His Patience
- His Long Suffering
- The Atonement
© 2013 Rodric Anthony