Posted by: grammakelly | March 20, 2007

1Ne3 I Will Go and Do

posted by grammakelly

 

In chapter 3, we halt the exodus and go back to retrieve the plates of brass.  In verse 5 Lehi says, ‘I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.  Laman and Lemuel will go but they will murmur all the way.  They even think that after two failed attempts, they can beat Nephi and Sam into submission, and return ,without the plates, to the wilderness. Even the appearance of an angel doesn’t keep them on the straight and narrow. The angel does, I believe, give Nephi and Sam the assurance that what they are commanded to do is the Lord’s will and the courage to accomplish the task at hand.

Two things stand out to me for starters:

1.    More than family, provisions, and tents are needed for their/our exodus.  SCRIPTURES!  The written word of God!  They had been taught from them and studied them all their lives.  The plates contained a record of their family and heritage. They needed a ‘hard copy’-so to speak.  It doesn’t seem to matter how well I have memorized a passage of scripture, sooner or later (sometimes days, sometimes weeks) I either forget, or transpose or just leave out a part of the passage.  I am so grateful to have a ‘hard copy’ of the scriptures to refresh my memory or help to find things I’d otherwise forgotten.  The Lord knew that those who would believe in the prophesies and promises on the plates would find strength and courage to continue in their exodus to the promised land.

2.    The Lord will NEVER leave us alone to find our own way.  I’m sure there was great wisdom in placing 1NE3:7 so close to the front of the BoM.  It is one of the greatest and most uplifting promises in the scriptures.  In the church in which I was raised, we were not encouraged to read the scriptures to find the principles and promises on our own.  We were expected to believe and not question what we were taught.  The BoM is the first book of scripture I ever read on my own and finding this promise was huge to me.  I, like Nephi, learned that sometimes it takes more than one effort in order to accomplish the task.  Often the things that are most precious and dear to us, are the things that take the most effort.  Satan, knowing how great this promise can be to us, will do all in his power to deter, dissuade, and discourage us from accomplishing our goals.  He worked on Laman and Lemuel with some degree of success, but wasn’t able to deter Nephi and Sam.

At least 5 times in the first 6 pages of this book we have read the phrase ’keep/ing the commandments’.  Our ability to call upon the blessing and promises from heaven hinge directly on keeping the commandments.  How often have I picked and chosen which commandments to keep today and been disappointed when the Lord did not bless me as I thought fit?

There’s lots more to uncover—dig in!

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Responses

  1. Hooray, Kelly! It posted! Good for you.
    That’s a good connection you made with scriptures. Isn’t it interesting that they remembered their family, provisions, and tents, but had to go back for the scriptures? Sometimes scriptures are the things we forget in all of our preparations for the day. But they are worth going back for!

  2. Thanks for these thoughts. I also think that the fact that the exodus was interrupted teaches us something…that our plans and perceptions of what we are doing are important, but following God’s individualized directions is more important. And sometimes the way it all unfolds won’t necessarily “make sense.” (Why didn’t the Lord command Lehi to get the scriptures before they left? Why didn’t they get to get Ishmael’s family while they were getting the scriptures at least? Obviously there were things they needed to learn, as opposed to just checking two more things off their list of things to take (scriptures? check. spouses? check.) 🙂

  3. So I was thinking–do you think that Lehi and his family left without telling anyone? Cheryl, you were saying perhaps they didn’t use camels–maybe they carried the things they would need. It has always amazed me that after being gone 2-3 months, when the boys return all of their riches are still safely in their home. Didn’t anyone notice that Lehi wasn’t preaching in the streets anymore, or that none of their sons were around? If they did notice that everyone was gone, why didn’t they ransack the house and take everything? Lehi was a wealthy man after all, I would bet it was common knowledge. Was is common for a whole household to disappear for months at a time back then? Am I just thinking too much like the people of my day in wondering why their stuff was still there? Maybe it was divine intervention and I should just move on.

  4. I’ve wondered about that, too. Do you think there were servants left at the house? We don’t really know how long they were gone, do we?

  5. When I was doing some research on this chapter I came across this website. It has some really good points I think and is worth looking at.

    http://frontpage2000.nmia.com/~nahualli/LDStopics/1Nephi/1Nephi3.htm

    I think this chapter and chapter four also give us some insight as to what it takes to obtain the word of God in our lives. In the first attempt Laman tries to reason with Laban in order to get the plates. In order to really obtain the word of God in our own lives we have to do more than just reason.
    I think some missionaries have had some frustration with people they teach that want everything to be explained by logic and reason. Not that I think the word of God isn’t logical or reasonable, it just takes more on our part to obtain it. The next attempt was to try to get the plates by bargaining with their gold & silver and precious things. We can not obtain the word of God in our lives by riches or the things of the world. They are only successful in getting the plates when Nephi is led by the Spirit. The word of God in our own lives
    can only be obtained by the Spirit. This was all pretty obvious to you all, but I just saw the correlation between Lehi’s family getting the plates and our own attempt to obtain the word of God, recently.

    I would love to hear your comments about some of the observations on the above site. I found it particularly intesting about the “casting of lots”.
    It also talks about them going back to their home and their “precious things” still being there. It is the opinion on that site that servants were left there. It makes sense to me.

    Kelly- thanks for reminding us of the importance of having our own set of scriptures to be able to study. We really do take this wonderful gift for granted. Yes, it really is a remarkable thing that we are encouraged to study them for ourselves.
    It is interesting to note how often “keeping the commandments” comes up. The Lord really does want to bless ALL of His children, but can’t unless we do this.

    Cheryl- yes, they sure are worth going back for!

  6. Cheryl N.–great link. He verified some of my own thoughts, always a nice thing to know you’re not ‘out there’ in your thinking.

  7. I’ve been reading Nibley’s BoM series of lectures and he talks about the cave that the guys hid in after fleeing Jerusalem. There has been a recent(maybe 20-30yrs) discovery of a cave outside of Jerusalem with some writings on the wall that apparently drew the interest of LDS scholars. He says that the cave was a well known hiding place, a place of refuge that travelers knew would provide them with safety.
    It got me to thinking about my well known places of refuge. If I’m running from my kids–it’s my bedroom with the door closed. They know better than to open it unless they’re gushing blood, and I can find some peace and quiet at least behind the closed door. Sometimes after driving the streets of Houston, just pulling into my driveway makes me feel safe. Every morning as I walk into the empty church building to get ready for Seminary, I can feel the spirit and know that it is a place of refuge for us that day. Of course, the temple. How can we enter there and not feel the weights of the world lifted from our shoulders and find the peace to face the world and all its ills when we depart. Hopefully you can add to the list.

  8. grammakelly,

    Here’s a cartoon that addresses your first comment:

    http://exceedinglycurious.com/2007/03/by-the-way/

    John

  9. m&m questioned: Why didn’t the Lord command Lehi to get the scriptures before they left?
    I was thinking about that as I read from Nibley’s Lehi in the Desert II. He describes Nephi’s trip back to Jerusalem for the plates as follows:

    From their base camp in the valley of Lemuel, Lehi’s sons made a flying trip back to Jerusalem. It was the young men alone who made the journey which turned out, as they expected (1 Nephi 3:5), to be a dangerous one. Now it is the established procedure among the Arabs for a few young men in a tribe to seek gain and glory by making quick raids on neighboring towns and tribes. On such expeditions they never take tents, for their transportation is limited, and speed is of the essence. Nephi wants us to know that this trip to Jerusalem was no such raid, for they were going on legitimate business and took their tents with them (1 Nephi 3:9); they went boldly and openly in to Laban and stated their business. Only when he treated them as robbers were they forced to act as such, slinking about like true Bedouins outside the gates and entering the city only by night.

    As I read this I realized the wisdom of the Lord in having them go back for the plates. Since the foray ended in a quick furtive departure out of town, we see that only the small group of young men traveling lightly could have accomplished this. Lehi’s party, with women, tents, provisions, seeds, (and camels?) could never have departed with the plates without causing a hue and cry.

    There must have been a similar reason why a separate trip was required to go and get Ishamael & family.

  10. One of the questions I had when I read this chapter is why did it end in the middle of the story, so to speak? It doesn’t end with the completion of the assigned task, but rather after two failed attempts and then a promise that there would be success. I’m not sure if this is where Nephi ended the chapter or if the chapter ended here in the earliest editions of the Book of Mormon, but it does end here now and I think we can learn from it. What are some of the things we can learn from failure? It reminds me a little of Zion’s camp. What many would have called a failure, Wilford Woodruff said was an experience that was worth more than gold. I imagine Nephi thought something similar of those two failed attempts to receive the plates. Sometimes we feel that because we have received a directive from the Lord that everything will just “fall into place”. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “it must have been from the Lord, because everything just fell into place”. One of the lessons we can learn from this chapter is everything doesn’t always fall into place, but that doesn’t make it any less from the Lord than something that does. I think Nephi & Co. probably felt a similar expectation. Notice that after the failed “Plan A”, that Nephi says that “we were exceedingly sorrowful”. Even Nephi was feeling discouraged at this point. The difference was that Nephi did not let this discouragement break down his testimony that he had received a commission from the Lord. His brethren (looks like this included Sam) were ready to give up. Nephi swears with an oath that they will be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord. He encourages his brethren with reminding them that what they were asked to do was indeed from the Lord and that they needed to trust the words of their father. Then he tells them of the benefits of receiving the plates. I wonder a little bit if his encouraging his brothers with these words was not also Nephi reminding himself and strengthening his own testimony of this. There are times when I KNOW that the Lord has revealed something for me to do and then when I attempt to do it things don’t go according as I think they should and I start to doubt. It is not so much that I doubt the Lord, as I doubt myself, as to the receiving of the revelation. It is like, “well maybe I didn’t really get that right”, “maybe the Lord wasn’t really telling me that”. Do you think it is harder or easier if you receive the revelation yourself or if a leader (such as Lehi) receives it for you and then things don’t go exactly as you envision them.

    My favorite verse in this chapter is verse 27. I love the imagery of hiding in the cavity of a rock. In my margin I have written… when the enemy pursues, do I hide myself in the rock. Not only in the rock, but in the cavity of the rock. Completely engulfed in and surrounded by the rock. This “cavity” imagery makes me think of being encircled by the arms of His love. When I am feeling down and discouraged and quite possibly like a complete failure, do I let myself be engulfed and hidden in the arms of the Savior.

    Next Laman becomes not just discouraged, but angry. I think the loss of those riches just put him over the edge. Then Laman encites Lemuel to rage as well. It is interesting here that Sam apparently was not talked in to this fury. Lemuel “hearkened” unto the words of Laman, but Sam did not and was persecuted along with Nephi.

  11. Interesting point, Cheryl. Why stop in the middle of the story? I’ve been thinking about vs.29-30. A rattlesnake in the corner could have had the same effect of stopping Laman and Lemuel from beating Nephi and Sam–Why send and angel? I wonder that the angel’s real purpose was to strengthen Nephi and remind him of his ‘calling’…”Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, …” After casting lots, Laman was given his opportunity to step up to the plate and lead the brothers to retrieve the plates. Though unsuccessful, he could have been the one to bolster them up for another attempt, but he wasn’t wholeheartedly in the mission in the first place. I liked Roy’s comment about Laman and Lemuel. Laman sometimes feeling the spirit but not often able to find it on his own and Lemuel the follower. They throw in the towel, wanting to go back without the plates. Nephi convinces them to try again, and they do. Once again unsuccessfully. This time though they are really ticked. Like Cheryl said, maybe the loss of their riches is too much to bear. So they resort to violence and are stopped by the angel. Short of stopping the beating, they seem oblivious to the message that the angel leaves. Do you think they had heard about Nephi being their leader before? Were they just so stunned to see a being speaking to them that they just kinda stood there gawking? Don’t you think that they would have had some sort of reaction to being told by this angel that their youngest brother is going to rule over them that they would have made a really big fuss about it, perhaps started the beating again? I don’t understand their lack of reaction to the statement. They just start murmuring again like nothing is new.
    I also think that the message from the angel helped Nephi to know that there was a way to accomplish this task. They had done all they could think to do but now he is told “the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.” I think, the angel was looking directly at Nephi when he spoke those words, as he is now fully commited to get the plates. In 4:1 he tells his brethren”…let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier that all the earth, then why not mightier than Laben and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?”
    I wonder if sometimes we listen without really hearing. How often do we listen to general conference speakers without really hearing what they are telling us. Not, perhaps, realizing the impact of what they are saying in relationship to us and our testimonies. Are we even suprised later when we realize that this time, when it really sinks in, that this is no new message, just an old one reiterated again? After thinking about these things this week, I’m hoping to listen to conference this weekend with fresh ears and an open heart, so that I can respond more like Nephi when the Lord calls me to do his will!


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