Two verses in Doctrine and Covenants 82 sit adjacent and parallel on the page and address two parties of one covenant—me and the Lord.
For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.
I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.
As a child of the last days born in a time of promise, I’ve been given much. What, then, does the Lord require?
What Does the Lord Require?
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
I, the Lord, require the hearts of the children of men.
Behold, this is the tithing and the sacrifice which I, the Lord, require at their hands, that there may be a house built unto me for the salvation of Zion….
And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes….
Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.
Basically, the Lord wants a willing covenant keeper who will do what He asks in building up the Kingdom of God on Earth. Those opportunities come in big and small ways. Sometimes we can’t even see the impact of our efforts—but the requirement isn’t to see an impact, but to do His will.
How is the Lord Bound?
This promise by the Lord engenders trust in Him. He promises to always fulfill His part of our covenant.
Have you experienced binding the Lord through your obedience to fulfill His word?
A really vivid Old Testament story depicts this principle.
The house of Israel rejected Joshua and Caleb’s recommendation to follow Jehovah’s command and fight their way into Canaan. That decision caused Israel to traverse the wilderness instead of eating milk and honey until the unbelieving generation died. All of them died except for Joshua and Caleb.
Appointed prophet, Joshua announced that it was time. Israel passed over Jordan. The Lord gave specific commandments in conquering the nations, including what they could and could not retain from the conquered people. The house of Israel agreed and the conquest began. In the strength of the Lord, and with unusual strategy, Israel defeated Jericho.
The children of Israel next faced Ai. Ai seemed a much smaller foe, so Joshua sent fewer men. Israel’s army assumed they’d completely conquer again. But they didn’t. Ai’s small force smote them and the Israelites fled.
Shocked at the defeat, Joshua reacted. This part of the story showed me that Joshua fully believed that the Lord was bound when he did what He said. Joshua had done what the Lord said, but they failed. And Joshua fully felt betrayed.
The Lord Was Not Bound Because of Sin
And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.
And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!
O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!
For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?
And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?
Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.
Sinner Identified, Israel Acts According to the Lord’s Command
The next morning, as the Lord commanded, Joshua brought all the tribes of Israel together. From the tribe of Judah, he selected a family and went man by man through the family until he came to Achan. The Lord designated Achan as the man who sinned.
And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:
When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it.
And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord.
And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.
And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.
And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.
Then the Lord told Joshua to war against Ai again. Since Israel removed the sin, now the Lord was bound when they did what He said.
Joshua went up against Ai again, this time victoriously.
The story is shockingly visual in one sense. Do I view my sins as graphically as this? One man willfully disobeyed the Lord’s commandment. One man’s sin caused the death of others. The whole house of Israel purged the sinners from their midst. Once cleansed, they again approached the Lord for His covenant promise. And thusly bound, the Lord fulfilled His promise.
Elder James E. Talmage said: “‘Mormonism’ has taught me that God holds himself accountable to law even as he expects us to do. He has set us the example in obedience to law….[W]e have the divine word for it: ‘I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.’ He operates by law and not by arbitrariness or caprice.”
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.