Monday, June 12, 2017

1 Nephi 17:3 -- On Strength to Reach the Promised Land

"And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness."
1 Nephi 17:3

We usually gloss over the hardships of Lehi and his group as they traveled in the wilderness, but as I was reading this today, I was kind of imagining if I had to do it... and it seemed much, much harder than it ever had before.  In the chapter before this, Nephi breaks his bow and the group is in real danger of starvation.  They went from living in a city to having to provide for themselves in every way.  It makes me wonder if I, too, wouldn't have been grumbling and wanting to go back, like Laman and Lemuel.  I hope I wouldn't have been as quick to suggest murder, of course, but the grumbling and the doubt I think I can unfortunately relate to, especially in circumstances of such discomfort over the length of many years.  In the verse previous to this Nephi mentions that they are living on raw meat, and that the women are bearing children in the wilderness.  Not for me, thank you very much.

Except that is the whole point, right?  We don't know what God is going to ask of us.  Maybe we too will have to leave home and go through the wilderness... literally or figuratively. :)  And if we do, are we just going to say "um, nope" and refuse?  Or are we going to listen to the Lord, even then in the most difficult circumstances, and follow God with faith?  Lehi and all his family left everything familiar behind and trusted in the promised land.  And their trust had to be a living, lasting thing, not just a one time leap.  They had to keep it up, every day, for the rest of their lives.  The promised land didn't come with pre-built mansions and robotic servants.  They had to start from scratch and build up a nation, and, amazingly, God strengthened them so they could do it.

This family knew that God would provide for them.  They had doubts sometimes, but God showed again and again and again that he would be there for them, and strengthen them, and help them to do everything he asked them to do.  God will show us the same thing, if we trust in him and do as he asks.  Today, let's work on letting go of our grumbly and reluctant natures, and fully commit to going forward in doing the Lord's will... wherever that takes us, no matter how scary or hard.  As we do, God will be with us to nourish and strengthen us, and we, too, will be able to bear our burdens with ease, and find our own promised lands.

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