Friday, October 23, 2009

1 Nephi - Chapter 7

I don't ordinarily seek answers outside the text.  I have two reasons.  One concerns time constraints and the other concerns a conviction that what I need is right before my eyes, the rest is relative fluff.  But, while looking for a picture for today's post I stumbled upon an interesting article dealing with whether or not Lehi had daughters and about some commentary of Joseph Smith's regarding the content of the 116 pages of lost manuscript that sheds some light on Lehi and Ishmael's families.  If you have time, you can read it here:

I was beginning to rethink our conclusion, earlier in the week, that the slaying of Laban and loss of Lehi's riches had closed the door on Laman and Lemuel's return to Jerusalem.  Then I read Nephi's question to them, "..if ye have choice.."  I think in those words, Nephi was reminding them that what they wanted to do was impossible at worst and impractical at best.  Certainly, Laman and Lemuel and at least some sons of Ishmael ( Here is says, and their families.  I wonder if Lehi and Sariah had daughters who'd already married into Ishmael's family and had been left behind.) were frustrated.  Frustration is a red flag indicating that we want what we can't have.  I think that's probably what Nephi was reminding them of.  In their hearts, they knew it, they knew he was right, and that made them all the more angry.  Their thinking didn't have to be logical.  It is not all that uncommon for us to work ourselves into a frenzy over silliness.  I think that is mostly because we feel trapped.

I have learned in the process of recovery from addiction that if I seek the will of the Lord instead of seeking my own will, I never get frustrated.  Frustration ONLY comes when we are seeking our own will.  So it is here with Laman, Lemuel and the others.

When, after persuasion, and perhaps a cooling off period, they accepted reality.  When they thought things through and accepted the truth of their situation and the evident guidance they'd been given from God, they actually did repent and seek, honestly for forgiveness.

I think the key is in Nephi's question, "How have ye forgotten?"  There is much in the world to distract me.  That is why I feel such an earnest need to spend serious time in The Book of Mormon everyday.  It is a strategy to keep these things in remembrance.  It is easy to forget, just like Laman and Lemuel did.  Remembering, requires effort.  Regular study of the scriptures, most especially The Book of Mormon helps me keep on remembering.


D1Warbler said...

In this chapter, once Lehi has finished prophesying about the effect the Plates of Brass will have on his descendants, he then receives another revelation from the Lord that his sons need to return to Jerusalem to bring Ishmael and his family back to the wilderness with them, so that Lehi will have “seed” through the eventual unions between the sons and daughters of the two families.

The brothers travel to Jerusalem, and are able to persuade Ishmael (whose heart it says was softened) to come with them.

However, on the way to the Valley of Lemuel, Laman and Lemuel and two of the daughters of Ishmael (we would supposed these to be the women these two men will eventually marry) as well as two of the sons of Ishmael and their families (who were probably married to Nephi’s sisters) rebel against Nephi, Sam and their parents as well as Ishmael’s three daughters.

(Obviously Laman and Lemuel have decided that it will not be dangerous for them to try to return to Jerusalem to live as that is what the ruckus is all about, which may be one of the reasons Nephi says they are “blind.”)

Interestingly, it is Nephi rather than Ishmael, who rebukes them. (You would think the father of the sons and daughters who have joined Laman and Lemuel in their rebellion would make an attempt to turn his chidren and their spouses around, but, if he did, it isn’t recorded here.)

Laman and Lemuel are immediately furious with Nephi and bind him so they can leave him in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts, however, Nephi pleads with the Lord for strength to break the bonds, which he receives. Below are cross references to the kind of power he has received.)

{Jacob 4:6 Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.

Alma 14:28 And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the Lord had granted unto them power, according to their faith which was in Christ. And they straightway came forth out of the prison; and they were loosed from their bands; and the prison had fallen to the earth, and every soul within the walls thereof, save it were Alma and Amulek, was slain; and they straightway came forth into the city.

3 Ne. 28:20 And they were cast down into the earth; but they did smite the earth with the word of God, insomuch that by his power they were delivered out of the depths of the earth; and therefore they could not dig pits sufficient to hold them.}

(This is not just a little bit of power)

Laman and Lemuel and their group are so blind and insensitive to the spirit that Nephi’s ability to break the bonds with which they have bound him doesn’t even faze them, and they try to bind him again.

This time, one of Ishmael’s daughters pleads for him and they finally relent.

(This young woman must have an amazing spirit to be able to persuade so many angry people to reconsider their actions. We will assume that she eventually marries Nephi, as she would be a worthy helpmeet for him. We have to admire her courage since she is probably a younger daughter of her family as well.)

Her spirit (undoubtedly strengthened by the Lord) is such that those who have previously wanted to kill Nephi, are sorrowful and bow down before Nephi while asking for his forgiveness. (An amazing turn around!)

Nephi forgives them while at the same time exhorting them to pray to God for forgiveness as well. Only after that prayer is finished, does the group continue on their way to the Valley of Lemuel where both families will rejoice together and sacrifice burnt offerings upon the altar they have built there in gratitude to God.

I think the major part of this chapter is a testament to the power of anger to get normally rational people to do reckless and criminal things. No wonder the Lord warns us against such contention.

Candleman said...

D1Warbler: Your comments are amazingly insightful. Thank you for always being there for us.

To the rest of you: I have no doubt that you too, have much to share. How about it? Just a little thought could make all the difference in how we understand something.

I was just thinking: When Nephi asks to have the bands loosed he says, "...according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me..." That word wilt is critical. Here he is just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in that his request is according to God's will, not his own and implies that he will cheerfully, accept God's will either way. This, I think is a must in the exercise of our faith.

Love Life and Learning said...

Chapter 7 mingled with some other study I did today begs the question-- what kind of a sibling am I? Nephi was able to do all things required of him by the Lord as was Joseph Smith, but Nephi wasn't blest with an Alvin or Hyrum. Joseph must have thanked the Lord many times over for the constant companionship of faithful loving brothers.

Candleman said...

Well Love Life and Learning: Since you're my sibling and are just about perfect in my view. May I say you are the very best kind of sibling and I love you for it!

Thanks for asking that question - so I could answer it. :)