Monday, October 26, 2009

1 Nephi - Chapter 10

I is interesting to me that Lehi sees so much detail of the future that he can quote John the Baptist.  I have often wondered how I'd have felt, relying upon an Atonement that chronologically, hadn't happened yet.  I suspect that the detail of Lehi's vision and the subsequent description might have made it more real for me.

It appears that Lehi's family did not know many details regarding when, how, where the Atonement would transpire.  After his dream, Lehi is able to describe in great detail what was to take place.  Being able to visualize it would have helped me a lot!

I might interject that in and around the Great Council in Heaven, we all had to face the same thing.  We all had to decide if we were going to rely on Jesus to do what He said He would.  If we're here and mortal, we clear chose to do so.  I don't really know if it took more faith to believe before the event than it does after the fact, but it gives me pause to ponder.  It seems clear that the Atonement was in full effect in their lives though.  They were able to repent.  Their sacrifices and baptisms yielded remission of sins.  The Atonement was infinite and universal so its effects clearly flooded, rich and powerful, through the expanse of time as well as that of space.

Lehi exhorts his family to be of one accord in their quest for the Promised Land.  The Greek word that most commonly is translated into exhort or exhortation in the New Testament means to call along side or invite into fellowship.  It's meaning seems to have deteriorated to something less inviting in modern English.  I believe Lehi is inviting his family to be of one heart and one mind.  Oh, that it could have been so.  It must have been such a disappointment for him to have seen such a blessed vision of the possibilities and then to see some of his children reject the great gift that was offered to them.  Clearly, it was not the loss of individuals alone, that troubled him.  The loss of collective strength and harmony had to trouble him as well.

It is one thing to be shown great things.  It is another to discover their truth and meaning for ourselves.  I have no doubt that Nephi believed his father's account.  It would have been easy to accept it and go on.  Something I do all the time.  So many times, reading The Book of Mormon, I have just accepted that what I understood was all there was to understand.  Over and over I would tell myself, "I get that."  "I understand."  Only to discover later that I didn't understand at all.  When I read Farrell's great book The Peace Giver, I only marked one passage.  It was counsel from a wise grandfather to his grandson, "Don't be so quick to understand."  The grandfather then went on to show the young man, and me how very much we didn't understand.  Thank goodness Nephi wasn't so quick to conclude that he understood.  Rather, he went to the Lord and plead to see and I think more importantly, to understand what his father had seen.  I hope it will ever be so with me.


D1Warbler said...

What wonderful counsel you have given us from James Farrell's book, The Peace Giver: "Don't be so quick to understand." When I read those words, I immediately thought of the Temple and how many times I have thought I really understood a particular symbol, only to discover a much deeper meaning with more exposure and reflection.

I think that perhaps the most important reason for such counsel would be so that we would not close our minds and hearts off from greater understanding by assuming at any point in time that we know all or even much of what there is to know about a particular topic. This is particularly critical when speaking of spiritual things.

I was also struck by verses 19 and 22 in this chapter as they speak to the power of the Holy Ghost to witness truth, and the responsibility of those who receive that truth not to deny it.

In verse 19, Nephi says: "For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round."

Nephi has learned this truth in the best way one can learn it -- through personal experience -- by taking his questions directly to the Lord and by accepting all he has been given through the witness of the Holy Ghost.

By extension, we learn from this verse that that same witness can be ours if we follow the same process to receive it.

Finally, in verse 19, Nephi tells us what our responsibilty is once we have been given such a witness: "And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not."

We can all hope to be so valiant in defense of truth.

di said...

19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost,…

It is up to me to be diligent in my studies and seeking.

I agree it would seem harder to rely on a future even, that a past one. I also know I rely and plan faithfully on the second coming so I can somewhat comprehend their feelings. I worry that I don’t do enough. When I read that “no unclean thing” can dwell with God, I feel a little hopeless because every day there are a myriad of things that need improving, discarding, abandoning, and repenting. I can only move forward and trust that my salvation and eternal live are important enough to Him, that my meager efforts are getting me there.