30 May 2008
Up until here, Nephi's preparations to build a boat had been purely intangible,though necessary. They consisted of communications with the Lord -- spiritual preparation. However, when Nephi starts to make tools for the construction of the ship, his brothers take note.
Their disbelief is that they do not think that Nephi can construct a ship. Nephi says that they complained though because they didn't want to work. So there are two obstacles for Nephi to overcome. First, he needed to persuade them that he could build a boat. Second, he needed to solicit their help in doing it -- he needed his brothers' help.
When Nephi mourns because of their disbelief, he is not mourning because he thought he could build a boat as his brothers so perceived it, but he is mourning because they do not believe. They lacked the perspective looking back and the vision to move forward.
Their perceptions of their last eight years in the wilderness was miserable. Nephi's brothers conclude that they would have still been better left in Jerusalem. Such longings for something that they could never again obtain, was a huge detriment to their spiritual progress and physical well being.
25 May 2008
Wherefore, I, Nephi, did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord, and I did exhort my brethren to faithfulness and diligence.
I followed the footnotes of this one verse this morning to conclude my study. Prosperity rests in keeping the commandments of the Lord. This is why Nephi was motivated to exhort his brothers to faithfulness and diligence. This is the source of happiness, peace, and prosperity. Indeed, nothing has changed.
23 May 2008
Nephi was one who treasured his communications with the Lord. He remembered well the commandments that he had personally received from Him. The way in which Nephi writes and reasons about these communications--it is evident that he was one to cherish the word of God. In other words, I think he was constantly thinking about it. He worked through in his mind, the sequence of events that had led to communications and the circumstances surrounding the commandments which he had received.
I appreciate further the dialog that Nephi records here, him speaking with the Lord. The Lord begins with instructions (commandments) then allows Nephi to process them and ask further questions.
When the Lord does speak it is in the form of commandments, things that we should do. This is important for me to realize-- that when I ask, and the Lord answers, these are commandments for me.
17 May 2008
The final leg of their land journey is described in the first verses of this chapter (see vs. 1-6). It is in this section of the account that we learn that this is journey from Jerusalem to the land Bountiful by the seashore was in duration eight years long. That is a vast amount of time.
Nephi describes that blessings that accompanied them as they crossed towards the land Bountiful. (The description of their women being able to give birth and nurse their children is a vivid illustration to this young father of how blessed they were during their travels. ) Nephi concludes:
"Thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them", (vs 3)
There is a brief antidote for acquiring a testimony in verses 13-15. The Lord explained to Nephi why it was that the Lord had required this challenging task of them. It was to solidify in their minds that knowledge that they had been led to promised land by the hand of the Lord.
14 May 2008
After another significant period of travel, the party of Lehi rested for a season. The Lord knows what we need and when it is best for us to have that which we need. They needed to travel to meet their objective of reaching the promised land. They also needed a season to rest from their travels.
While they rested, Ishmael passed away at the place called Nahom. This time, it is the sons and daughters of Ishmael that murmur because of the loss of their father. Yet even so, the time of the Lord is manifested herein.
Two important thoughts that impress me as I read these verses:
- The influence of spouse upon our own perceptions and motivations- I wonder how Nephi's wife responded to the passing of her father. Perhaps, it is what Nephi does to comfort her, which we have no record of, that calmed her at this time of mourning. Along those same lines, Laman, instead of acting in a way that would extend comfort and peace during a time of loss, reacts to the situation.
- The intervention of the Lord to abate the complaints of Laman- When there was no one else to intervene on behalf of his chosen vessels, the Lord Himself spoke to Laman to chasten him for his wickedness.
11 May 2008
The account of Nephi's bow breaking has several point of interest to me this evening. First, when Nephi's brothers and father murmur against the Lord because of their want of food, Nephi's first priority was to correct them in murmuring against the Lord. He spoke much unto them.
This principle of truth, speaking much to persuade his brethren, was a principle of power in my mission. Even now I see it as a point of persuasion. Nephi had the truth. He knew he had it. And the way that he convinced his brethren and father of the truth was through much persuasion.
This was even more important to him than making a new bow. Nephi understood that he had to have his brothers' support and his father's patriarchal guidance to overcome this obstacle.
Secondly, immediately after they humbled themselves because of Nephi's words, he was able to make a new bow and find food. He was led directly to it. This clearly demonstrates that the Lord could have at any time revealed unto them the location of wild beast to slay, but chose to wait until after the trial of their faith.
09 May 2008
This unassuming group of verses offers instructions on how to accomplish otherwise insurmountable tasks. To contemplate what was accomplished with Nephi and his family traveling to the promised land forces one to literally conclude that this was in fact a miracle. Without the Lord's divine assistance, this could not have been accomplished.
But more specifically, they traveled from day to day, taking occasion to rest and renew their strength as they continued onward towards their objective. Because of the attention they gave to the Liahona, they were directed through the more fertile areas of the wilderness. This simple observation does not require a lot of words to describe, but covers a vast amount of time. In their minds, at least in Nephi's, this constant and continual divine guidance must have solidified the notion that the Lord is always with His people.
03 May 2008
As I have been reading through this chapter, towards the end I felt that I had missed something of what Nephi was explaining herein. So I've gone back and reviewed this set of verses.
It is the sometimes reflexive references to the Lord God that stood out as being overlooked. I am reminded that the Book of Mormon is an account of the Lord's dealings with his children. The Lord's participation in these verses is as real as were Nephi's and Lehi's. In other words, the Lord was always with them.
What's more, the Lord works in a fairly simple way with His children. Verses 8 and 9 show that once Lehi had obeyed the first set of commandments that were extended to him, then the Lord gave him a new commandment.
What is it about human nature that causes us to overlook the Lord's involvement in our daily affairs? Or more specifically. Even when we know He is with us, we fail to remember that He has all power and all answers.
As they are resuming their journey into the wilderness, Nephi mentioned that they had provisions that had come from the Lord. Nephi understood, and the scripture are replete with this simple yet profound knowledge of, our relationships with the Lord. He made note so as to not forget the source of his blessings and strength.