I love our morning scripture study! We are having such wonderful teaching moments in the morning. I don’t even have to plan; I just read and the idea for application comes. I stop reading and we talk about the application. I no longer read to get a certain amount done; I read for the teaching moment. Here is this morning’s passage and what I learned from it. Even if you are not of our faith, read on, because the lessons were important and profound today… ( the last part is my favorite)
A little background first…Nephi and his brothers have been charged by the Lord to return to Jerusalem to get the brass plates (a record containing the first part of the Bible). The oldest brother Laman made a feeble attempt and then wanted to give up. This was Nephi’s response (the younger faithful brother)
15 But behold I said unto them that: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.
16 Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments ofthe Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the commandments of the Lord.
17 For he knew that Jerusalem must be destroyed, because ofthe wickedness of the people.
18 For behold, they have rejected the words of the prophets.Wherefore, if my father should dwell in the land after he hath been commanded to flee out of the land, behold, he would also perish. Wherefore, it must needs be that he flee out of the land.
19 And behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers;
20 And also that we may preserve unto them the words which have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets, which have been delivered unto them by the Spirit and power of God, since the world began, even down unto this present time.
21 And it came to pass that after this manner of language did I persuade my brethren, that they might be faithful in keeping the commandments of God.
I stopped and pointed out the difference is Nephi’s “can do” attitude and Laman’s “I tried once so now I can give up” attitude. We talked about the need to be faithful and figure out how to accomplish the task at hand instead of giving up.
I also talked about Nephi’s leadership example. He could have criticized his bothers, but instead he tried to encourage them. Leaders don’t put us down, they try to elevate us to be better. Nephi is great at doing this. We continued to read about Nephi’s new idea…
22 And it came to pass that we went down to the land of our inheritance, and we did gather together our gold, and our silver, and our precious things.
23 And after we had gathered these things together, we went up again unto the house of Laban.
24 And it came to pass that we went in unto Laban, and desired him that he would give unto us the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, for which we would give unto him our gold, and our silver, and all our precious things.
25 And it came to pass that when Laban saw our property, and that it was exceedingly great, he did lust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain our property.
26 And it came to pass that we did flee before the servants of Laban, and we were obliged to leave behind our property, and it fell into the hands of Laban.
27 And it came to pass that we fled into the wilderness, and the servants of Laban did not overtake us, and we hid ourselves inthe cavity of a rock.
At this point I stopped again. I wanted to point out that Nephi was clearly listening to the spirit and was prompted to use that idea to get the plates, but it totally failed.
How could God prompt us to do something that would not succeed?
Did Nephi do something wrong?
I have asked myself that question so many times.
Did I miss read something? Did I not act correctly?
The answer is very clear and it is an absolute NO in this case. Nephi did everything he was supposed to do, but the Lord had a different result for the prompting than the success of getting the plates. (That was to come later.) He needed to teach Nephi and his brothers some very important lessons.
After this Laman and Lemuel beat Nephi nearly to death for loosing their property. An angel is sent to restrain them and to tell them that God would deliver the Laban and the plates into their hands. This is a pivotal experience for Nephi. He had some really hard things ahead that he had to do and he needed that angelic witness. The previous prompting set the stage for lessons he needed.
As Dieter F Uchtdorf said in our last conference…
“DOUBTS YOUR DOUBTS BEFORE YOUR DOUBT YOUR FAITH.”
Just because a prompting doesn’t pan out the way you expect doesn’t mean that it was not correct. The Lord just sees a bigger picture than we do right now. With time if we remain faithful, we are often allowed to understand that picture. We have to be patient and remain faithful while waiting on the Lord.
Nephi’s experience has many parallels to my life. I know that I was prompted to sell my house right after Scott died; however, despite my best efforts I was unable to sell it and move this summer like I had planned. Why did I need to go to all that work if it was not going to sell? Those questions led me to some pretty profound answers when I finally was able to humble myself, turn to the Lord, give up my plan, and accept His. I realized that so many of the things I had learned had come from that experience and the struggles it made me have. I would not have been prepared then for the answers that I later received. Experience needed to carve a place out in my heart for those answers. Other blessings came to us that would not if people had not thought we were trying to move. I realize now that the prompting was not incorrect, just the conclusions that I drew from it were not correct. The purpose was not for us to sell it, but for us to learn from those experiences to better prepare us for what was ahead.
I shared this all with my children. I think it is important to help them recognize God’s hand in our lives and to understand that just because things don’t pan out the way we expect doesn’t mean that God is not directing our lives.
Questions to Ponder:
1. Have you had promptings from the spirit that later turned out to be a wrong road? What did you learn from that experience? How can that help you now?
2. How can “doubting our doubts before we doubt out faith” help us continue in faith, even when we don’t understand?