Jacob testifies that those who humbly seek God’s influence and saving power in their lives will receive it, while those who embrace the wisdom and praise of the world will shut themselves off from God.
“…Whoso knocketh, to him will the [Lord God] open; and the wise and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them. But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever—yea, that happiness which is prepared for the saints.” (2 Nephi 9:42-43)
-How can the fact that God loves all his children be reconciled with Jacob’s message that He despises those who are “puffed up” in the wisdom and praise of the world? Is it a case of God hating the sin but still loving the sinner? It is that He despises what they are doing to themselves and others by treating mankind’s wisdom and praise as being the most important?
-Have you experienced the Lord opening the doors of his love and wisdom to you?
-How does one go about knocking in order to seek these blessings from the Lord?
-Will seeking the Lord’s light and wisdom fail if one does not do so in the depths of humility?
Jacob teaches that “wisdom” separated from the counsel of God is, in fact, foolishness.
“O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” (2 Nephi 9:28-29)
-How does the devil use pride to tempt well-educated people into relying on their own knowledge rather than seeking greater knowledge and wisdom from God?
-How does learning (spiritual and secular) give one greater capacity to serve God if he or she remains humble and teachable?
Teachings of Latter-day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators:
“If members of the Church would place more confidence in the word of the Lord, and less confidence in the theories of men, they would be better off. I will give you a key for your guidance. Any doctrine, whether it comes in the name of religion, science, philosophy, or whatever it may be, that is in conflict with the revelations of the Lord that have been accepted by the Church as coming from the Lord will fail. It may appear to be very plausible; it may be put before you in such a way that you cannot answer it, it may appear to be established by evidence that cannot be controverted, but all you need do is bide your time. Time will level all things” (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Oct. 1930, 155-156).