Bible Stories: Character, Moral Standard, and Nations
All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; my lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. God forbid. Till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. ~ Job 27:3-5
The Character of Individuals . . .
Joseph Resists the Advances of Potiphar’s wife
1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.
2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.
6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.
7 ¶And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.
11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.
12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
Even those tests which are not wholly unexpected can be overwhelming and painful. We can’t instantly solve life’s every riddle, nor can we anticipate every problem that will come our way. The very uncertainty can be frightening. However, we can prepare ahead of time for certain tests that may lie in our path. We can decide ahead of time that we will keep ourselves pure, and that we will avoid temptations that could destroy us. Just as Joseph fled the wiles of Potiphar’s wife, so we can steer clear of obvious moral entrapments. If the decision is made once and for all, at the beginning, then there will be no vacillation under pressure which could cause regrettable consequences. The faster the lesson is learned, the sooner the trial passes and peace returns. Prior preparation can take much of the fear out of our journey.
Speaking of his longevity, Gordon B. Hinckley said, “I never dreamed that I would live this long. My life reminds me of a sign that hung by a rusty staple to a run-down barbed-wire fence in Texas. It read:
“Burned out by drought,
Drowned out by flud waters,
Et out by jackrabbits,
Sold out by sheriff,
There will be times during your journey when the road will get rough. You will have to choose which road you will take. With either choice, you must pay a price. According to the guide book, the broad road leads to destruction, so you are advised to take the straight and narrow path.
That path leads straight past those who will point a finger of scorn at you for guarding your purity; they will ridicule you for believing that God created the earth; they will deride you for believing that you were created in the image of God; they will scoff at you for holding life sacred.
There is no way around it. This is the price you pay when you hold to the guide book. So just prepare yourself ahead of time.
But it’s worth it.
But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod  of iron, [word of God] until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree. (1 Nephi 8:30 )
Just when you think you can’t continue,
You’ll find the epic hero within you.
Honor and virtue will be your choice.
Return home triumphant, and rejoice.
Job Maintained His Integrity
All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; my lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. God forbid. Till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. ( Job 27:3-5)
. . .forges the Character of a Nation
Now it came to pass that there was a king who did not keep the commandments of God. And it came to pass that he placed his heart upon his riches, and he spent his time in riotous living. And he imposed a tax which was grievous to be borne. And all this did he take to support himself and his men in their laziness, and in their idolatry, and in their whoredoms. Thus, by the taxes, did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity.
And he caused the people to commit sin, and to do that which was abominable in the sight of God. And the people became idolatrous, because they were deceived by the flattering words of the king and his men.
And it came to pass that there was a man among them whose name was Abinadi, and he went forth to speak to the people, saying,
To your nation’s soul, ravaged by lust,
I plead— unto your Savior return!
Lo, fear yields to bondage, rage to destruction.
Heed, therefore, the Spirit’s instruction.
Let not sin thine actions govern,
But in God place thy trust.
The king heard about the prophet Abinadi’s unflattering remarks, and was angry, saying in a loud voice, “I command you to bring this Abinadi to me, that I may kill him.”
The people were angry with Abinadi, so they bound him and brought him before the king.
“Who do you think you are, Abinadi,?” the king demanded. “And who is God, that I should be accountable to him?”
Abinadi replied, “It does not matter if the principle is popular or unpopular. I will always sustain the truth, even if I stand alone.
“The truth is this. You are free to choose good or evil, but at the end of the day, you cannot choose the consequences. And so, my people, what will be your choice?
~ Brothers Brave, the musical. From Act I, scene 2
Once there was a time when the standard of currency was measured by gold or sterling silver. Sterling silver is defined as “having a fixed standard of purity” or “conforming to the highest standard.” The silver standard is no longer with us. Nevertheless, “In God We Trust” is still engraved indelibly upon our currency. To that Being, in whom we can trust completely and absolutely, we are still accountable. In the modern era, even an age of relativism, the quest for sterling character still begins at home. The true individual worth built in the family circle ultimately influences entire nations.
Sterling character is not measured in money. At the end of the day, it is not what we get that matters, but what we become.
At the End of the Day
Each is ultimately accountable for the condition of his own character.
*Integrity, Moral Courage
1. What does it mean to “choose the right”?
2. What does it mean to be “as good as your word?”
3. Why is this important for contracts? In politics?
4. How can money or the lack of it be a challenge to one’s integrity?
5. What is integrity?
6. How can training prepare us for critical decisions?
7. How can obedience to the Ten Commandments free us from temptation?
8. How does trusting in God promote a peaceful and orderly society?
Copyright 2010 © by Christine Ann Davidson
rod— n. 1. The shoot or long twig of any woody plant 2. An instrument of punishment or correction; chastisement 3. Discipline; ecclesiastical censures. 4. A kind of scepter. 5. A long slender pole 6. A measure of length containing sixteen feet and a half 7. In scripture, a staff or wand. 1 Sam. xiv. 8. Support. Ps.xxiii 9. A shepherd’s crook. Lev. xxvii 10. An instrument for threshing. Is.xxviii 11. Power; authority. Ps. cxxv 12. A tribe or race. Ps. lxxiv Rod of iron, the mighty power of Christ. Rev. xix. Ps.ii (Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary)
 Dallin H. Oaks