Monday, April 10, 2017

1 Nephi 3:14-15 -- On Hope and Determination

"But Laman fled out of his presence, and told the things which Laban had done, unto us. And we began to be exceedingly sorrowful, and my brethren were about to return unto my father in the wilderness.
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."
1 Nephi 3:14-15

The background to this story is that God asks Lehi to send his sons to get the brass plates from Laban. The task is important just because God asks it, of course, but later in the Book of Mormon we see the difference between Lehi's descendants and the people of Zarahemla, who had been led to the land separately, and the Plates of Brass play a huge part in that meeting, because the other group hadn't retained their language or their culture or religion, and had to be taught all over again, even though they came originally from the same place.

Lehi has a dream where God asks him to obtain the plates, and his older sons complain.  Ever-faithful Nephi says that he knows that God will prepare a way.  So, they go.  They cast lots to see who should approach Laban, and it falls to Laman to try to convince him.  He tries, and Laban gets angry and kicks him out.  That's where our verses come in.  They are about to turn back... understandably, after such a failure with a powerful person.  At that point, Nephi says this, I imagine with a lot of defiance and fervor, convinced that they have to go on, and still full of hope that they will be able to do it.  Maybe it was easy to say that God would provide a way just talking to his father, but now he is up against his older brothers, and they've just failed.  It has to be difficult to stand up to them at this point, but he does.  He knows that they need to stick it out and do as God asks.  So, he comes up with a plan, and they continue.  It still takes a while before they are able to accomplish the task, but I think Nephi standing up here, and his perseverance overall shows us how committed that we have to be sometimes when God asks us to do something.

Just because God asks doesn't mean that it is going to be easy... or even that we will succeed on any of our early tries.  It only means that it is possible, with God's help, and we need to keep trying until we accomplish the task.  Today, let's be hopeful and determined as Nephi was in doing as the Lord asks.  Nephi didn't know how to accomplish what he was asked to do, but he kept trying rather than giving up... and that is what we need to do as well.  Not saying we have to keep trying the same things in the same ways, because that often just leads to the same results.  But if we are determined and thoughtful, we can try different good things in order to accomplish God's will, and if we keep trying and are working with God, he will prepare a way for us (1 Nephi 3:7).

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