(December 2003 TG Entry: God, Works of)
Although the overriding work of God is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, it can be understood at a finer level. It includes creation and population of worlds upon which His children may dwell, providing a plan of salvation, and a Savior. We take part in this plan in numerous ways. It is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of man. But even with this finer level of understanding, we should wonder and marvel at the works of God.
I Work and Glory
When we speak of the work of God, what one scripture comes to mind first?
39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
That is a pretty big idea. Can we break this down? We should study this further if we really want to understand how he will bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man
As the Dew from Heaven Distilling, Verse 2, Hymn No. 149
Let thy doctrine, Lord, so gracious,
Thus descending from above,
Blest by thee, prove efficacious
To fulfill thy work of love.
II Earth and Creation
Contemplation of the works of God has inspired men in ages past.
3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
I believe God is justifiably proud of his creations, the works of his hands.
33 And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
But why has he created these worlds? Clearly it is to bring to pass the immortality of man, to have a place upon which they may dwell.
How Wondrous and Great, Verse 1, Hymn No. 267
How wondrous and great
Thy works, God of praise!
How just, King of Saints,
And true are thy ways!
Oh, who shall not fear thee
And honor thy name?
Thou only art holy,
Thou only supreme.
- Deut. 10:14 heaven is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also
- Job 42:2 I know that thou canst do every thing
- Ps. 64:9 declare the w. of God
- D&C 117:6 Have I not made the earth
- Moses 2:1 in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth
How does God carry out his work? After creating places that they, His children, may dwell, and populating them, he teaches them of his plan, the gospel.
13 ¶ Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
His work, the Gospel plan of salvation, is marvelous work and a wonder.
The Happy Day at Last Has Come, Verse 3, Hymn 32
The day by prophets long foretold,
The day which Abram did behold,
The day that Saints desired so long,
When God his great work would perform,
- Isa. 29:14 (2 Ne. 25:17; 2 Ne. 29:1) I will proceed to do a marvellous w.
- 1 Ne. 14:7 great and a marvelous w. … a w. which shall be everlasting
- 3 Ne. 21:9 Father w. a w. … a great and a marvelous w.
Central to that plan is the need for a Savior. The Savior is engaged in his Father’s work. In teaching the unbelieving Jews, He pointed out that His work had come from His Father.
17 ¶ But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
36 ¶ But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
I Believe in Christ, Verse 1, Hymn No. 134
I believe in Christ; he is my King!
With all my heart to him I’ll sing;
I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy,
In grand amens my tongue employ.
I believe in Christ; he is God’s Son.
On earth to dwell his soul did come.
He healed the sick; the dead he raised.
Good works were his; his name be praised.
V We Take Part
We have a part to play in God’s work. Hyrum Smith was told in revelation:
9 Say nothing but repentance unto this generation. Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.
Our talents, gifts, and abilities have been given to us to assist in this work. Oliver was told, when assisting with the translation of the Book of Mormon.
8 Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God; and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands, for it is the work of God.
And yet, at times, our part in His work may be through our weaknesses. When the Savior was asked why the blind man was born blind, He responded.
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
It was not this man’s ability, but his inability that allowed the works of God to be made manifest.
Our part in this work is often to assist and uphold others. The Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon were told.
3 And after that you have obtained faith, and have seen them with your eyes, you shall testify of them, by the power of God;
4 And this you shall do that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., may not be destroyed, that I may bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men in this work.
Let Us All Press On, Verse 1, Hymn No.
Let us all press on in the work of the Lord.
That when life is o’er we may gain a reward;
In the fight for right let us wield a sword,
The mighty sword of truth.
VI Not Frustrated
But does that mean everything we do in the name of the Lord will go smoothly? Of course not. First of all, part of the great plan is for us to work against opposition, to learn to know good and evil. But also, we must remember that if we do not follow the commands of God, we are embarking on the works of men.
1 THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.
2 For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.
3 Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men;
And although the devil opposes God in His work, God will not allow Satan to destroy His works. Joseph was told this after the loss of the 116 manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon.
43 I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.
True to the Faith, Verse 2, Hymn No. 254
While we know the pow’rs of darkness
Seek to thwart the work of God,
Shall the children of the promise
Cease to grasp the iron rod? No!
- Rom. 14:20 destroy not the w. of God
- D&C 3:16 my w. shall go forth
However, even though we may take part in God’s work, we should remember that we cannot comprehend it. Moses was told:
4 And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.
5 Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.
Great King of Heaven, Verse 1, Hymn No. 63
Great King of heav’n, our hearts we raise
To thee in prayer, to thee in praise.
The vales exult, the hills acclaim,
And all thy works revere thy name.
- Job 37:14 consider the wondrous w. of God
- D&C 76:114 great and marvelous are the w. of the Lord
Immediately after Moses was told he could not comprehend all of God’s works, the Lord said,
6 And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.
We have a part to play in the grand works of God, His work that includes the glorious Gospel and the plan of redemption, the provision for a Savior, the creation and population of this world, and the wonders of the heavens.
The Lord says to each one of us, “I have a work for thee.” Perhaps through our weaknesses, perhaps our strengths, but always by reaching out and supporting our fellow brothers and sisters. For we have a part to play in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
Sweet Is the Work
Hymn number: 147
Text: Isaac Watts
Music: John J. McClellan
Scriptures: Psalm 92:1-5; Enos 1:27
Sweet is the work, my God, my King,
To praise thy name, give thanks and sing,
To show thy love by morning light,
And talk of all thy truths at night.
Sweet is the day of sacred rest.
No mortal care shall seize my breast.
Oh, may my heart in tune be found,
Like David’s harp of solemn sound!
My heart shall triumph in my Lord
And bless his works and bless his word.
Thy works of grace, how bright they shine!
How deep thy counsels, how divine!
But, oh, what triumph shall I raise
To thy dear name through endless days,
When in the realms of joy I see
Thy face in full felicity!
Sin, my worst enemy before,
Shall vex my eyes and ears no more.
My inward foes shall all be slain,
Nor Satan break my peace again.
Then shall I see and hear and know
All I desired and wished below,
And every pow’r find sweet employ
In that eternal world of joy.
See embedded references above.
See also Ps. 50:12; 1 Cor. 10:26; Alma 5:50; D&C 4:3; 67:2; 84:66.
(Initial writing finished December 2003)