Tuesday, October 20, 2009

1 Nephi - Chapter 4

It can be a troubling thing, to be"...led by the Spirit not knowing beforehand..." what you should do.  The key though is to be led by the Spirit.  The not knowing is often a blessing too.

I remember, while reading my grandmother's journal; I accidentally skipped a page and became aware that Uncle Lawrence was going to pass away on the following day.  When I went back to the page I had intended to read, the clan was having a family reunion.  They played baseball, visited, ate and laughed together.  All the while, not knowing, that Uncle Lawrence was to be taken from them the following day.  How a foreknowledge of that event would have changed the complexion of the reunion.  Reading the account I found myself realizing a little bit about God's perspective and His goodness.  Surely, He knew of Uncle Lawrence's approaching demise.  How kindly, He withheld that knowledge from everyone.

Of course not knowing calls for a measure of Faith and is important in that respect as well.  But, how kind God was to Nephi, in not making him stress about the "gory details" as he went forth to keep His commandments.

Here, for the first of many times, the Israelite Exodus is cited as a motivating example of God's power of deliverance.  That benchmark event in the history of Israel, still has that power today.  The plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the manna, the pillars of smoke and fire, all reminders of God's great power.  Even then, when Moses approached the Israelites and told them they had been liberated, they were reluctant to go.  Why would they choose bondage over freedom, you might ask?  I think the choice is never between bondage and freedom, but rather between bondage and the unknown.  How important then, to be led by the Spirit, into the unknown, so it can truly be manifest as freedom.  Most of Israel took their bondage with them into Sinai and never actually, became free.  I am like them and long to be like Nephi.


D1Warbler said...

I see another blessing in Nephi’s not knowing beforehand what he should do. How difficult would it have been for him to walk back into Jerusalem knowing that he was going to have to kill Laban. In that case, what he was going to have to accomplish would have been classified as "premeditated murder."

To me, the most important insight from First Nephi: 4 is that, out of the four brothers, Nephi was the only one who could have killed Laman for the right reason. Laman and Lemuel would have killed him quite easily because their motive would probably have been revenge. Thus, they would have added murder to the list of things they needed to repent of. Even Sam might have killed Laban for revenge, but at the least, he would probably have killed him out of fear for his own life.

Not only did Nephi not kill Laman from either fear or revenge, he truly didn’t want to have to kill the man. He had never killed anyone before, and didn’t want to start then. (He actually had to “talk himself into it -- with a little help from the Lord!) Regardless, he was willing to be obedient to the commandment of the Lord, and his spirit was sensitive enough that he understood how important the record was, and what not having it would mean to his family and to his descendants.

Finally, because Nephi didn’t kill Laman in cold blood – as Laman and Lemuel and even Sam might have done, he did not have to repent or seek forgiveness from the Lord for the deed – nor was his eternal exaltation endangered by it, as theirs would have been.

The other interesting thing in this chapter is the power of the oath, “as the Lord liveth, and as I live”, upon Zoram. He was immediately compliant with Nephi’s request as soon as he heard Nephi utter that oath. Likewise, as soon as Zoram swore, with perhaps that same oath, that he would go with them, Nephi and his brothers had no more concerns about how trustworthy Zoram would be.

This example is an amazing window to me into the power of such an oath and the trust it engendered in that early civilization. I wonder how many people today (especially if they didn’t know the other person or persons at all, which was the situation Nephi and Zoram found themselves in) would trust others upon their word alone – especially in such a mutually life-threatening situation.

N said...

Please help! I cannot get the remainder of the comments to come onto my screen.
First of all, I seem to be signed in. Then, I have clicked (single and double) on "more" at the end of the comment in the left sidebar, but the screen flashes right back to the same thing -- a list of partial comments. I have also tried clicking on the name of the commentator, but I get the same result. I am missing out on some good information, I am sure, and would like to access the full comments.
Help will be greatly appreciated.

N said...

Guess what? The problem resolved itself somehow once I posted the "help" message!! So thanks all who jumped in with support! I think "I've got it" now. And I was missing some wonderful thoughts and information. Best....

Love Life and Learning said...

Two thoughts: (1) I love how Nephi, the great prophet who encourages us to liken the scriptures to ourselves, likens the scriptures to himself when he said,"let us be strong like unto Moses...."

(2) The words "I knew" and "I remembered" were impowering to Nephi and will be for us too. When Nephi was having his conversation with the Spirit, his reflections of what he knew to be true blessed him to move forward. I think that is why bearing testimony is so powerful for each of us. It helps us remember what we know to be true and then we can act on that knowledge. Sometiimes we worry about all the things we do not know, but if we will act on what we do know the way is opened for the Spirit to teach us more.

P.S. I think it is amazing the journey that the Sword of Laban takes. (smile)