Saturday, October 22, 2011

When dad says go, we go (1st Nephi 2)

When we left our story, Lehi was trying to carry The Lord’s message (“Repent and believe in The Messiah or be destroyed”) to the Jews at Jerusalem.  His message was one of peace as opposed to harsh consequences.  Those people decided they wanted to kill Lehi instead of listen to a Prophet of God, and the consequence was death or captivity for most of them when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (these folks were from the Northeastern Saudi Arabia/Southwestern Iraq area) conquered the Kingdom of Judah 14 years later in 586 BC.  The captivity lasted for near 70 years. (See 2 Chronicles 36: 11-20)

Geo quiz:  Can you find the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Nile River, etc .  The black arrow shows Lehi's fleedom.
Obedience to The Lord, even if it seems hard or we don’t understand all the reasons, is ALWAYS a better way to go.  The Lord had a plan for Lehi, a plan that would eventually touch the lives of millions.  Lehi did not know why he had to leave the lap of luxury and “dwell in a tent” (1 Nephi 2: 15) the rest of his days, but to those who love God, the whys don’t matter, just the commandment.  I wish I was a man like unto Lehi.

1 Nephi 2: 1-4. 

1.   For behold, it came to pass that The Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him:  Blessed art thou, Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life.
2.   And it came to pass that The Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.
3.   And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of The Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him.
4.   And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness.  And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.
That road would have come in handy, huh?
It couldn’t have been easy for Lehi’s wife and children to leave their home and all their toys and go with their dad, based solely on a dream that he had.  Out of his 4 boys, 2 were leaders and 2 were followers.  The oldest, Laman, was a doubting no-account, and, in my opinion, may have been bi-polar or schizophrenic, while the third oldest, Nephi, was a faithful seeker of truth.  The second oldest, Lemuel, took after the doubter, and the youngest brother, Sam, thought Nephi was the better choice.  Must have been awful for Lehi and Sariah to have their kids fighting all the time, but there even turned out to be a purpose in that.

Lehi loved all of his kids, and never stopped trying to teach his disobedient sons to follow The Lord.  They made their camp in a valley next to a river, near the Red Sea.  Lehi called the valley “Lemuel” and the river “Laman”. 

1 Nephi 2: 9-10

9.  And when my father saw that the waters of the river emptied into the fountain of the Red Sea, he spake unto Laman, saying:  O that thou mightiest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness!
10.  And he also spake unto Lemuel:  O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of The Lord!

Provo Utah LDS Temple
I had one of those “Aha!” moments one time as I read these verses.  The Laman River runs into the fountain of the Red Sea.  What is a fountain as it is used here?  The footnote teaches that this “fountain” or “fount” means source.  So, the Laman River runs into the source of the Red Sea.  In the same context, what is meant by the “fountain of all righteousness”?  It is the “source of all righteousness”, right?  This made me think of the holy temples The Church builds today.  Most of the temples that I’ve been to have a fountain somewhere on the grounds.  Let’s glean a principle from this:

If we continually come unto the source of all righteousness, which is The Savior Jesus Christ, we will gain a firmness and steadfastness to our faith and our character, becoming immovable in keeping the commandments of The Lord.  I don’t know about you, but I’m way too movable (except when I’m on the couch).  Lesson:  Come unto Christ.  Method:  Attend the temple for one.  And when The Lord’s prophets tell you something, LISTEN! to them.

And, there’s also something to that term “Source of all Righteousness”...

Em & me at the Christus, Temple Square in SLC
You can be obedient all day long, every day, until the cows come home, but Jesus Christ is the source of our righteousness.  Later in 2nd Nephi we’ll get to a verse where Lehi tells one of his children that, though his days will be spent in the service of his God, he will be redeemed because of the righteousness of his redeemer (2 Nephi 2: 3).  Obedience is essential in developing and maintaining a relationship with The Savior.  And from that relationship with Jesus Christ, we can grow in faith and righteousness to be a closer version of that person that only He can help us to become, culminating in our redemption and exaltation in and through His righteousness, His grace.  The old debate about grace vs. works is such a goofy argument. 

That’s me being goofy with my nieces 12 years ago
I was going to try to move up through chapter 4 of 1st Nephi where there is much excitement and bloodshed, but I don’t want to skip too much, and I’m afraid these blogs will be too long to read.  I’d like to mention some scriptures from the first 2 chapters of the BOM that stand out to me.

1st Nephi 2: 7

7.  And it came to pass that he built an altar of stones and made an offering unto The Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God.
You gotta love Lehi’s attitude.  People seek to kill him, then he gets evicted from his comfyness into the desert, and he is just thankful to The Lord for His tender mercies

1st Nephi 2: 12-14

12.  And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father.  And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that god who had created them.
13.  Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets.  And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.
14. And it came to pass that my father did speak unto them in the valley of Lemuel, with power, being filled with the Spirit, until their frames did shake before him.  And he did confound them, that they durst not utter against him; wherefore, they did as he commanded them.
Yup, there’s yer doubting no-accounts for ya.

1st Nephi 2: 16-17

16.  And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.
17.  And I spake unto Sam, making known unto him the things which The Lord had manifested unto me by his Holy Spirit.  And it came to pass that he believed in my words.
And there’s yer faithful seekers of truth.  Nephi and Sam were obedient first, and then The Lord showed them his mysteries.  I wish I was a man like unto Nephi.  Take note of Nephi saying he was “large in stature”; I’ll talk about that later.

1st Nephi 2: 23-24

23.  For behold, in that day that they shall rebel against me, I will curse them even with a sore curse, and they shall have no power over thy seed except they shall rebel against me also.
24.  And if it so be that they rebel against me, they shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance.
Remember that part about there being a purpose to the sibling rivalry between Laman & Lemuel and Nephi & Sam?  Yup, you got it.

Tune in next time when an angel of God steps in to stop a bully.
Peace be with you…


  1. Ah...the angel anti-bully network. Works (almost) every time! :)

  2. Oh, I'm linking yourposts up in the blog hop this am, if you don't mind!

  3. Thank you for sharing John - I am enjoying these posts, and hearing your insights about the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ.

  4. Thanks, Sue. Hope you're groovy up there in Idyho.

    1. Love your funny insights making all this so much less dull and more insightful! Bipolar--That's great!