“March 9–15. Jacob 1–4: ‘Be Reconciled unto God through the Atonement of Christ,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“March 9–15. Jacob 1–4,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2020
Record Your Impressions
The Nephites considered Nephi their “great protector” (Jacob 1:10). He had defended them against attacks from their enemies, and he had warned them about spiritual dangers. Now he was gone, and the task of leading the Nephites spiritually fell to Jacob, whom Nephi had consecrated to be a priest and teacher of the people (see Jacob 1:18). By inspiration, Jacob perceived that his people needed to be taught with “much boldness,” for they were “beginning to labor in sin” (Jacob 2:7, 5). These sins were much like what people struggle with today: love of riches and sexual immorality. And yet while Jacob felt that he had to condemn this wickedness, his heart also ached for its victims, whose hearts had been “pierced with deep wounds” (Jacob 2:35). Jacob testified that healing for both groups—the sinner and the spiritually wounded—comes from the Savior Jesus Christ. Jacob’s message, like the message of Nephi before him, was a call to “be reconciled unto [God] through the atonement of Christ” (Jacob 4:11).
To Jacob, teaching the word of God was more than an assignment from his brother—it was an “errand from the Lord,” so he labored diligently to “magnify [his] office” (Jacob 1:17, 19). President Gordon B. Hinckley taught that we magnify our callings “as we serve with diligence, as we teach with faith and testimony, as we lift and strengthen and build convictions of righteousness in those whose lives we touch” (“Magnify Your Calling,” Ensign, May 1989, 47). Think about your own “[errands] from the Lord” as you read Jacob 1:6–8, 15–19 and 2:1–11. Why did Jacob serve so faithfully? What does his example inspire you to do to magnify your Church callings and your responsibilities at home?
See also “Rise to Your Call” (video, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Sin has consequences for individuals and for societies. In speaking about sexual sin, Jacob warned of both types of consequences. When you read Jacob 2:31–35 and 3:10, look for ways immorality was affecting the Nephites as a people and as individuals. How are these ways similar to the consequences of immorality you see in today’s world? What do you find in Jacob’s words that could help you teach a loved one about the importance of chastity? How have you been blessed by your efforts to be chaste?
Note that Jacob also addressed the practice of having more than one wife. What do you find in Jacob 2:23–30 that helps you understand why the Lord has, in limited situations, commanded His people to practice plural marriage? How does He feel about those who do so without His authorization?
Jacob pleaded with his people to “be reconciled unto [God] through the atonement of Christ” (Jacob 4:11). What do you think that means? Would it help to look up reconcile in a dictionary? Perhaps you can find words or phrases in this chapter that suggest to you how you can come unto Christ so that you can be reconciled to God. For example, Jacob taught that the law of Moses was given to point the people to Jesus Christ (see Jacob 4:5). What has God provided to point you to Christ? How are you using these things to draw closer to God?
See also 2 Nephi 10:24.
As Jacob sought to turn his people more completely to the Lord, he warned them not to be spiritually blind and not to despise the gospel’s “words of plainness” (see Jacob 4:13–14). Elder Quentin L. Cook warned of similar problems in our day: “There is a tendency among some of us to ‘look beyond the mark’ rather than to maintain a testimony of gospel basics. We do this when we substitute the philosophies of men for gospel truths, engage in gospel extremism, … or elevate rules over doctrine. Avoiding these behaviors will help us avoid the theological blindness and stumbling that Jacob described” (“Looking beyond the Mark,” Ensign, Mar. 2003, 42).
According to Jacob 4:8–18, what can we do to focus on the Savior and avoid spiritual blindness?
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some ideas.
What words and phrases in these verses convey the love Jacob felt for those he led? What have our Church leaders done to help us feel their “desire and anxiety for the welfare of [our] souls”? (Jacob 2:3). Perhaps family members could share ways we can sustain our Church leaders. You could plan to do something as a family for local Church leaders, such as writing notes to thank them for their service or remembering them and their families in your prayers.
How does the word of God heal “the wounded soul”?
What do these verses teach about how we should view material wealth? What are we doing to reach out to others who need our help?
What does it mean to be “pure in heart” and “look unto God with firmness of mind”?
One way to help your family understand what it means to be “unshaken” in their faith would be to find a large tree nearby and ask family members to shake individual branches. Then let them try to shake the trunk. Why is it harder to shake the trunk? What can we learn from Jacob’s teachings about how to develop faith that is “unshaken”?
Like the trunk of a tree, our faith in Christ can be “unshaken.”
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man,” Children’s Songbook, 281.
Listen to the Spirit. As you study, pay attention to your thoughts and feelings (see Doctrine and Covenants 8:2–3), even if they seem unrelated to what you are reading. Those impressions may be the very things God wants you to know and do.
I Will Send Their Words Forth (Jacob the Teacher), by Elspeth Caitlin Young