An important principle is taught in the opening verses to this chapter. Notice how Nephi sets the stage for the reception of the Liahona. First he explains an important principle to his brothers:
And now, my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the commandments of the Lord.
In one of the rare cases when Laman and Lemuel actually listen to their younger brother, they now humble themselves and begin to follow the commandments of the Lord. Because these brothers are known for their murmuring, this instance of humility is noticeable and significant. In verse 7, another important event occurs: the brothers (and also Zoram) marry the daughters of Ishmael. After these things have taken place, Nephi announces that now his father has fulfilled all the commandments of the Lord which had been given unto him. The family has placed themselves in a position to receive further revelation. They are told that they will take their journey into the wilderness the next day. When they wake in the morning, the Liahona has been deposited on their doorstep.
This curious item is clearly representative of the Holy Ghost, or perhaps I should say: revelation through the Holy Ghost. It “points the way whither we should go into the wilderness.” (v. 10) It gives direction and it leads into fertile areas. (v. 16) It responds to questions. (v. 23-26) It works “according to the faith and diligence and heed” which we give unto it. (v. 28) It “gives us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord.” (v. 29)
I believe this passage in verses 1-10 teaches us how we can prepare to successfully receive revelation in our lives.
First, we must humble ourselves as Laman and Lemuel did.
We must be willing to hearken, not only to listen but to give heed unto the truth.
We must walk uprightly, keeping the commandments of God.
We must receive the ordinances of the Gospel, including those found in the Temple. (Notice that these things were done “as my father dwelt in a tent,” a phrase we have already discussed as being symbolic of the Temple; also that the ordinance of marriage was performed at this time.)
We must do all of the things the Lord has already commanded us, which places us in a position to receive new revelation.
More about the Liahona to come! Prepare yourself for the morrow!