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Thursday, March 26, 2009

1 Nephi 18

There seems to be a trend around here.... perhaps it's a tough week for all mommies everywhere. Sorry for the delay (on top of the scheduled blogger outage yesterday, I didn't pull it together), but this was a great chapter.

Read it HERE.

Summary: The ship is finished—The births of Jacob and Joseph are mentioned—The company embarks for the promised land—The sons of Ishmael and their wives join in revelry and rebellion—Nephi is bound, and the ship is driven back by a terrible tempest—Nephi is freed, and by his prayer the storm ceases—They arrive in the promised land. About 590—589 B.C.

I love how this chapter begins with an explanation of how Laman and Lemuel were humbled before the Lord, worshiped Him, then got to work helping Nephi build the ship. As I began reading this chapter I got to thinking: What is my "ship"? What thing has the Lord commanded me to "build" to get my family to safety? The rest of the chapter sunk deep into my heart as I pondered those questions. (Try it.)

Then verse 2: "Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men."

This verse is packed in light of the previous question. Whatever we build, be it our testimony, our family, our faith, our obedience, our love of God, our marriage, etc.; it should be after the manner the Lord has shown us, not after the manner of the world. Nephi describes how he did this in verse 3--by going into the wilderness often to pray, and the Lord showed him what and how to accomplish this "curious workmanship." Once the ship was done his brothers were again humbled and recognized they'd done a good job at the hand of the Lord.

The Lord commanded Lehi to get his family on that ship, but beforehand they had PREPARED every needful thing. Sound familiar? They gathered fruits, meats, honey, seeds, and all the provisions the Lord had commanded them according to their age before taking their families on the ship. (Can you say a year's supply? And how much harder would that have been without all the luxuries and resources we have today? Then again they were used to living on the land, but the sea is much different.)

In verse 7 Nephi quickly inserts how he also gained 2 younger brothers while in the wilderness (his parents begat Jacob and Joseph). Oops, he forgot to mention that earlier but wanted to be sure it was recorded.... and they were on the boat.

Not long after boarding the boat Nephi's older brothers and Ishmael's sons and wives began their merriment-- began dancing, singing, and speaking rudely. Their pride got the best of them and Nephi feared that the Lord would have them all swallowed up in the sea. He tried speaking to them in much soberness but they were too angry and once again they use the excuse that:

"We will not that our younger brother shall be a bruler over us"(vs. 10). I don't think it matters if Nephi was younger or older, they still wouldn't have listened to him through their pride.

Unfortunately, Nephi is bound by his own brothers with cords and treated with harshness. Hence, the Liahona stopped working, they couldn't steer the ship, a great storm rose up, they were driven back for 3 days but they still would not loose Nephi! On the 4th day the storm was even worse:
15"And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to asee that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.
16 Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did apraise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions."
The entire ordeal had grieved Lehi and Sariah so much that they fell sick, even near to death. Their younger brothers Jacob and Joseph were so distraught by their parents' sickness, along with Nephi's wife and young children, but Laman and Lemuel still wouldn't soften their hearts.

As soon as he was loosed Nephi took the Liahona and it worked, so he prayed to the Lord and then the storm ceased and their was a great calm. Nephi guided the ship towards the promised land once again.

After many days they finally reached the promised land, pitched their tents, tilled the earth, planted seeds, were blessed in abundance, and found wild beasts of every kind for the use of men in the wilderness. They also found "all manner of bore, both of cgold, and of silver, and of copper" (vs. 25). This is significant because pure gold was softer to write on and they would continue the record of their dealings in the promised land FOR US.

The take home messages I got out of this chapter were:
1) you can't build a ship in 1 day, meaning it takes time to properly prepare every needful thing including gathering revelation from the Lord on how and what to prepare. We need to constantly be building our relationship with the Lord (spiritual preparation), while also preparing every temporal needful thing for the "storms" of life (i.e.- get out of debt, build a year's supply, teach my family correct principles, build my own testimony line upon line).

2) Nephi was a very patient, forgiving, and understanding man who constantly faced trials and frustrations despite his own obedience and faithfulness. His brothers brought many physical challenges and calamities upon him long before they even separated as "ites". There is much to learn from his persistent example. Even when we are faithful and do all the Lord asks doesn't mean we will avoid hardships... but that we will face many because of our preparation.

3) Our Heavenly Father cares for us deeply and fully. He will help us "build" our "ships" telling us how to work curious workmanship (even when we have little or no experience), and then will guide us in preparing to live in the "wilderness"... "everyone according to his age". He will then (symbolically) see us through the tempests, storms, pride cycles of our brethren, sickness of our parents, heartache of our younger brethren, and then the arrival at our promised land where we will be blessed in abundance. But.... that cycle will only continue and we must continually trust and rely on our Elder Brother and Heavenly Father to see us through once (or twice or thrice) more.

1 comment:

Elise said...

THANK YOU for your great thoughts on this chapter. I really love how you talk about the fact that our "ships" can't be built in a day. I think I want a quick fix much too often, and when I know something will take years of work, I really don't even want to start. It is helpful to remember that the end result is always worth the effort. So thanks!

Also, I loved that you put pictures in here. Awesome.