28 July 2008

The Lord Will Redeem Israel, 1 Nephi 21:16-21

1 Nephi 21: 16-21

These are some exciting verses that illustrates the surprise of a desolated House of Israel at the righteous posterity that will be raised up to possess the promised land.

Verse 16 is profoundly moving and encouraging. The Lord describes his capacity to remember us in terms of his suffering and crucifixion by saying, "I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands." This is the evidence that the Lord Jesus Christ gives that he will not forsake His people and that He will honor the covenant that He has made with the House of Israel.

What follows are reassuring words of hope in the promise of a righteous posterity.
  • "Thy children shall make haste against thy destroyers,"(vs 17). This seems to suggests that whatever was a struggle for us in our day and time shall be much easier to overcome for the next generation that is brought up in righteousness.
  • "Lift up thine eyes round about and behold; all these gather themselves together, and they shall come to thee," (vs 18). This reminds me that there are many that long for the ways of the righteous, and many will find them.
  • The actuality of such a posterity yet comes as such a surprise to the remnant of the house of Israel that they ask "Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children. " (vs 21).

22 July 2008

"Cause To Inherit The Desolate Heritages", 1 Nephi 21:5-14

1 Nephi 21:5-14

The truths expressed in this group of verses illustrates that the purposes of God are more profound and all encompassing than what we are able to see. The consequences of such prohibit us from seeing the full picture immediately.

The initial conversation here revolves around the Savior's role as such to the house of Jacob. Verse 6 says that it is a "light" thing that He should raise up the tribes of Jacob. The verse then goes on to explain how the salvation of our Lord will reach to the ends of the earth. Or in other words, the salvation of house of Israel pales in comparison to the full scope of the mission of our Lord -- to save all of mankind!

Following this, the Lord explains his reasoning for the approach he takes. While it appears that the Lord is simply delaying the fulfillment of a promise, these verses help to illustrate the patience, long-suffering, and faithfulness of our Lord. These important principles could not be understood had the covenants to redeem Israel been fulfilled immediately.

This reminds me of an important truth President Boyd K. Packer once expressed in regards to the workings of the Spirit. I've tried to locate it this morning. The idea is that after we teach, we need to allow the Spirit time to take that teaching into the hearts of the people, to experience the truths we've taught, to learn it for themselves.

This is why to man it appears that the Lord has delayed the complete fulfillment of the covenants. Gently, quietly, patiently, He leads his children by the springs of water. Individually, He brings us back to Him.

16 July 2008

"My Work [Is] With My God", 1 Nephi 21:1-4

1 Nephi 21:1-4, compare to Isaiah 49:1-4

The first thing that stands out here is the addition of the introductory line in verse 1.
And again: Hearken, O ye house of Israel, all ye that are broken off and are driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people; yea, all ye that are broken off, that are scattered abroad, who are of my people, O house of Israel.
As is the case with so much of the writings of Isaiah, it is how I feel when I read these verses that emphasizes their importance to me. And reading what had otherwise been left out of the Biblical version of Isaiah, stirs within me again, the Lord's loving reminder to return to Him.

He address a particularly difficult circumstance in this verse, that of wicked leadership in the Kingdom of God, and those who had been affected by that. The Lord recognizes that in ancient Israel, there were those who were lead astray, or even more directly, driven out, because of unfaithfulness by those in positions of authority within the Church.

This grouping of verses then enters into Messianic prophecy. Verse 4 ends with this phrase that I've put in the title, "My work with my God." It is a reminder of the eternal perspective that the Savior takes with us. I like to also think that this is my perspective when my goals and work become frustrating.

09 July 2008

"The Lord Hath Redeemed His Servant Jacob", 1 Nephi 20

1 Nephi 20, See Also Isaiah 48

As he has in ancient times, again the Lord has redeemed his people who serve Him. I myself feel that I can add my own life experiences as a witness to this truth.
"And they thirsted not; he led them through the deserts; he cased the waters to flow out of the rock for them; he clave the rock also and the waters gushed out.
"And notwithstanding he hath done all this, and greater also, there is no peace , saith the Lord, unto the wicked," (vs 21-22) .

Isaiah descriptively reminds of the many ways in which the Lord is mindful of us, His generosity and profound mercy. He also is quick to point out that even if we are favored of God, we cannot expect to be blessed of Him if we do not depend upon Him in righteousness, nor if we are not honest before Him.

These verses at the end are also a mandate to those that know to declare the dealings of the Lord.

03 July 2008

"Remember the Lord Their Redeemer", 1 Nephi 19:18-24

1 Nephi 19:18-24

Nephi, in his discussion on the purpose of record keeping, says that the main purpose for his keeping records is to persuade his people to come unto the Lord their Redeemer. He is grateful for the records from the brass plates and points specifically to the records of Isaiah, which he says is of particular worth unto them because of their ability to persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer.

Verse 20 is the verse that the Lord is pointing me to this morning. This is an explanation of the workings of the Spirit and the benefit and blessing of these things in my own life. Perhaps it is even the protection and salvation that giving heed to the promptings of the Holy Spirit has afforded me.