Friday, December 28, 2007

Lehi in the Wilderness (1 Nephi 2)

Listen now!In chapter 2 of First Nephi, Lehi and his family prepare to leave Jerusalem and begin a new life in the wilderness. In part, they are escaping persecution at the hands of those who do not believe Lehi's prophecies and, in part, they are leaving behind the world to live the Gospel in a more pure form, away from distractions of wealth, status, and comfort.

Above all, Lehi was commanded by the Lord in a dream that he should depart the city. His family, particularly two of his sons named Laman and Lemuel, had a hard time dealing with this commandment because it required extreme faith on their part both to leave and to do so because of Lehi's dream. But, Nephi, ever the valiant and obedient son, prays to the Lord that he might believe the words of his father and not grumble and complain as his elder brothers Laman and Lemuel did. Nephi is visited by the Lord and softens Nephi's heart. In turn, he bears witness to (teaches) his younger brother, Sam, who also is touched by the Holy Spirit and believes that what they are doing is the right thing.

Nephi is saddened by Laman and Lemuel's rebellion. The Lord also promises Nephi that because instead of complaining he has sought answers from the Lord, he will prosper in the new land to which they are about to travel. If his brothers continue to rebel against Lehi and against Nephi, they will be cut off from the presence of the Lord (i.e. not blessed as Nephi will be). Instead, they will become a scourge to Nephi's descendants, to "stir them up in the ways of remembrance" of their dependence on the Lord through the conflict and strife that will be inflicted on them by the descendants of his brothers.

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