Summary: Lehi prophesies of a land of liberty. His seed shall be scattered and smitten if they reject the Holy One of Israel. He exorts his sons to put on the armor of righteousness.
This chapter is full of prophesies and is kind of heartbreaking at times. Lehi sees a vision of the destruction of Jerusalem and testifies to his sons that they would have been destroyed if they had stayed. Something that really caught my attention is verse 6: "there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord." I immediately thought of Christopher Columbus. Jeff told me that in Columbus's journal, he wrote that he felt a premonition of sorts that he needed to follow a certain course, which lead him to the Americas. It just amazes me this world is truly in His hands. He has plans for everything and works through different people to bring to pass those plans.
What touched me the most about this chapter is how strongly Lehi is pleading with his sons, Laman and Lemuel. Lehi knows he is going to die soon, and he is terrified that he will no longer be there to guide his sons. They will be left to their own devices, and he seems to know that their fall is imminent. He literally pours his heart out to them and begs them to: "shake off the chains by which ye are bound...which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe." (vs. 13) He continues by saying: "And he hath said: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence." (vs. 20) To me, it sounds like Lehi is saying: "Can't you see what the consequences of your actions will be? Please listen to me because I have seen what will happen to you if you don't, and it terrifies me. I don't want to lose you."
This makes me think of our Heavenly Father. He had to let us come to this earth to learn and make decisions for ourselves, and He had to accept that there was a chance He might lose us. Therefore, He does all He can to guide us from where He sits in Heaven. He gives us promptings and sends people into our lives to help us. He has given us the scriptures and restored the Gospel to the earth. He has given us leaders and teachers, family and friends. He blessed us with all of these things, hoping that we might welcome them into our lives and follow the pathway back to His presence. Hopefully we will listen and follow, that we might, as Lehi is, be "encircled about eternally in the arms of his love." (vs. 15)