Wednesday, October 21, 2009

1 Nephi - Chapter 5

Isn't is fascinating that the derisive word Sariah used to accuse Lehi was the truth?  Lehi was a visionary man, but somehow she had given that term a distasteful connotation.  I suppose we all do the same thing when we know what's right, but don't like or some how feel to resist it.  It's kind of like the man who groans because his, Relief Society President, wife gets a phone call that yet another funeral will take place in their Ward.  We all do it, when we know what is right, but what is right interferes with our plans.  That crossing over, from seeking our own will and surrendering to Father's is one I'm struggling with enormously right now.  I'm like Sariah, very much in this respect.

When Lehi mentions that he has "obtained a land of promise" he tells us very much about the strength and power of his faith.  He clearly demonstrates this notion, by lingering in the Valley of Lemuel long enough to thoroughly read the plates of brass.  He seems in no rush to be in the land of promise.  It is already his and the journey is just as rewarding as the destination.  I need this lesson big time.  I need to learn to live in the here and now and quit longing for the blessed day when the journey is over.  I tend to live in the future.  "Things will be so sweet when I retire."  "It will be such a relief to have an empty nest."  "The sun will come up tomorrow."  They're all variations on a discontented theme in my life.  Here Lehi is showing me that the promise of milk and honey is mine, not just in my future but right here, right now.  Maybe one reason he was better at it than we modern folk tend to be, is because he knew how to rely on an Atonement that hadn't even happened yet.  For the next six hundred years of story line in The Book of Mormon, we will observe that great testimony, that Christ will come, will live a perfect life, will give His life and will redeem.  They had indeed obtained the promise toward which they journeyed, spiritually, if not physically.


Chris said...

I found it interesting that when the sons returned it was then that Sariah knew, "with a surety", that God had commanded her husband to flee into the wilderness and that the Lord had protected her sons. How had she felt before that? What was it about this time that changed her view of the situation they were in.
As I have been reading "The Book of Mormon" this time, I am trying to place myself into the situations that I read about. Would I be more like Nephi or would I be more like Laman and Lemuel. How many times would I need to see an angel to understand what was happening?
Would I really be willing to "go and do what the Lord has commanded" and do I really believe that God gives no commandment unless he prepares a way for us to accomplish what he has asked us to do?
We have modern day examples that relate to that very questions. Do I pay a full tithe? Do I do my Home Teaching each month? Do I have Family Home Evening? Do I keep all of the commandments? Easy questions to ask and we all know what the answers should be, but do we answer them honestly. Have we, like Sariah, had our moment of "surety" or are will still waiting?

D1Warbler said...

Chapter 5:

It’s interesting to me, that before this journey is done, everyone in the family, BUT Nephi has murmured at least once. It just goes to show that we are all human. (I think you could say that 2nd Nephi, Chapter 4 is the closest Nephi ever gets to murmuring, and he can’t even sustain that much murmuring for very long before he turns himself around.)

I like the way Lehi handles Sariah’s complaints. He doesn’t belittle her, or her concerns. Instead, he seeks to comfort her and gently says that, yes, he is a visionary man, and that because of the visions he has had, and the promises he has been given by the Lord concerning the Promised Land they are being directed to, he knows for a surety that the Lord will protect their sons.

To her credit, once the boys return, Sariah says she now knows that her husband has truly been commanded by the Lord to leave Jerusalem. The entire family then participates in a sacrifice to the Lord in gratitude for the safe return of the brothers. Most interesting to me is the fact that at this point Sariah is entirely converted to the program. She never doubts Lehi again.

As soon as this sacrifice is finished and gratitude to the Lord has been offered by the family, Lehi begins to peruse the Plates of Brass, which contain the five books of Moses – including information about Adam and Eve and their descendants; the record of the Jews from the beginning down to the commencement of the rein of Zedekiah; as well as some of the prophecies of Jeremiah. Finally, it contains the genealogy of their Fathers which tells them that they are descended from Joseph of Egypt.

Upon reading from these plates, Lehi rejoices because he understands the worth the plates will be to his descendants. He even prophecies that these plates will never perish or be dimmed by time. (Which is a miracle in and of itself, as brass easily tarnishes and degrades with time.)

Alma 37: 4. Behold, it has been prophesied by our fathers, that they should be kept and handed down from one generation to another, and be kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord until they should go forth unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, that they shall know of the mysteries contained thereon.

It would be interesting to know which “mysteries of God” those plates hold. Perhaps there are things on them we haven’t yet received from the Lord.

At this point in time, Nephi can truthfully say that he and his Father have kept the commandments their Father in Heaven has given to them. When we consider the trials they have had to face so far, it has taken great courage, as well as great faith in the Lord for each of them to be so faithful.

First Nephi 5:20 And it came to pass that thus far I and my father had kept the commandments wherewith the Lord had commanded us.
21 And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great aworth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.

I wonder if we consider our scriptures of such great worth to us today? What, I wonder, would we be willing to do to preserve them?