Monday, February 6, 2012

Great was the soreness thereof (1 Nephi 18)

I've always been amazed at how cut Jacob is, especially for a 7-year old. Well, that's my guess. I get that from where it says that Jacob and Joseph were born in the wilderness, and Lehi's family was in the wilderness for 8 years. There may have been some time not accounted for, like how long they were in Bountiful before they built the ship, how long it took to build the ship, and the time it took to actually get across the whole ocean. My wife thinks I'm The Standard of Truth, so I ought to be careful what I'm preachin'. He may not have actually been 7.
Ok, 8. Happy now, Em?

Nephi is a prophet
Lehi is The Prophet

Each time I begin reading 1 Nephi 18, I always notice something about how The Lord works with his children (that's us).  Here's some quick excerpts from verses 1-5.

1 Nephi 18: 1-5
1.  ...And The Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship.

2.  ...I did build it after the manner which The Lord had shown unto me...

3.  ...I did pray oft unto The Lord; wherefore The Lord showed unto me great things.

But, here's the kicker in verse 5:

5.  And it came to pass that the voice of The Lord came unto my father, that we should arise and go down into the ship.

I just find it interesting that, though Nephi is a very righteous man, and The Lord recognizes that in him, it is to Lehi that the direction is given.  He fills a double role here as a righteous father and prophet of God.  Anywayz, off they go, sailing to the promised land.

There's a storm a brewin'

Laman hasn't tried to kill Nephi since chapter 17.  I think it's about time to up his dosage again.  I'm proud to say that, at least in this part of the journey, I Am Not a Laman.

1 Nephi 18: 11-13

11.  And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, The Lord did suffer it that he might show forth His power, unto the fulfilling of His word which He had spoken concerning the wicked.

12.  And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of The Lord, did cease to work.

13.  Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me.

Some people are really blockheads.  I can sometimes identify with Laman when he does stupid stuff, but this is just ridiculous.  
Let's see...

Nephi's free: Calm seas and fare winds, good to go.
Nephi's tied up: Huge storm is gonna kill us all and the compass doesn't work. 

Obvious conclusion...

Untie Nephi and not die.

Laman's conclusion...

Leave Nephi tied up and die.

The Picture

Ok, you get the picture, so let's move on.  Oh no..., wait a second... 

Isn't ignoring your scriptures while they get more and more dusty and you get closer and closer to the world and the pride thereof sort of like tying up Nephi?  And, don't we often wait until the 4th day when our tempest gets exceedingly sore and we're threatened with utter destruction before we finally wake up and smell the leather?

1 Nephi 18: 14-15, 20-21

14.  And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore.

15.  And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea.  And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.

20.  And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts; wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.

And what is the result of repentance?

21.  And it came to pass after they loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto The Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.

I like calm.  Calm is my friend.

Closing Ceremonies

Just a couple of things...

When Nephi is finally loosed, and great were the soreness of his wrists and ankles, he is quick to say: "Nevertheless, I did look unto God and praise him, and I did not murmur." That's nice, but why did he write that?  It strikes me funny.  Like, "That really hurt, bad!!!  I'm not complaining about it. I just want you to know, it really hurt bad; like, real bad!!!"  I shouldn't make fun.  I love Nephi.

Lehi and Sarah weren't having a great time during this either.  Parents hate seeing their kids fight.  This must have been so hard on them.  The following verse says it pretty clear.

1 Nephi 18: 18
18.  Because of their grief and much sorrow, and the iniquity of my brethren, they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave.

I love this verse.  So poetically said, man.  I dig this painting too...

-By Walter Rane

Look at Lehi in the background, sitting on the deck in an almost fetal position, trying to get the compass to work.  How many parents are afflicted by the sins of their children?  So sad.  I know I compare myself to Laman a lot, and it has its purpose, but I'm glad I only mean it metaphorically.  Laman and Lemuel's got issues, man.

And this is how Nephi responds to his adversity...

When in doubt, look up...

Peace be with you.


  1. Profound -- needed the reminder tonight to look to the Lord in MY adversity.

  2. Fabulous John!I just love your humor in all of the scriptures. My mom used to teach with humor and point out funny things, and say, "The scriptures are about real people. No need to be sanctimonious about them."

    I also love Nephi, but wonder about his bragging. It's so Nephi though. He has a personality and even some quirks like we all do. And he tries to be humble about his bragging.

    I also agree about the parents afflicted by their children's sins and quarreling. In my pondering, I'm convinced that their "affliction which was so great" all stems from the fighting and taunting and rebelliousness. It doesn't say anything about the children fighting, but you know Laman and Lemuel said plenty to their kids and so I imagine it was often a feud like situation.

  3. That verse about how much pain he was in, "nevertheless..." is so significant. He simply trusted and praised God. He didn't murmur, he didn't wonder why God didn't intervene sooner. He was patient in his afflictions.

    Nephi is a hero of mine. And that verse is one of the verses that sort of sealed that deal for me.


    1. Thanks for your comment, Michelle. I hope you'll forgive my poking fun at that verse. Nephi is a hero of mine also.

  4. Was Nephi bragging or was he actually saying to us "I understand your pain. I have experienced pain too but, we need to remember the Lord in all thing and be grateful to Him. It is for our benifit."