I find it so interesting that Nephi, in all cases I can think of, when stating how hard things can get, always follows it up with how blessed they are. I believe Nephi was how I would like to, and am trying to be like. He recognizes things are bad, yet always finishes on an optimistic note. Personally, I beleve grounded optimism can be a tool for making life much, much, much easier. Not necessarily that things will change (although they often do), but that the perception of the current negative happenings has at least some light shed on it.
And I personally believe there is always
light which can be shed upon it. The test is if we can find it / believe it / accept it / use it.
Reading straight until verse 47.... Most of the chapter (after the initial ship-building commandment), is a conversation between Nephi and his brothers. Laman and Lemuel rejoice in Nephi's sorrow, mistakenly thinking that he's sorrowful because of the realization that he cannot complete what God had commanded him. This wasn't true.
Nephi retorted with example over example of how God can provide ways for his people to accomplish the things He commands. He uses the analogy of Moses leading the Israelites, most likely because it was very closely related to the situation they were in - in the wilderness. Nephi was probably so filled with sorrow due to Laman and Lemuel's constant state of hard-heartedness, he very much wanted to help them see the light. A few key verses of great doctrine up until verse 47:
- verse 34 and 35 - God does play favorites. To what extent? I don't know. He loves all his children, but "he that is righteous is favored of God." Very interesting scripture.
- 37 - 39 - God prospers the righteous and destroys the wicked. I believe this statement to be a very broad one that encompasses generations over the entire earth. Nephi had a vision where he saw the history of the earth from the beginning to the end. This very well could be his perspective. (Hard to justify good things happening to wicked people without the global scope)
Verse 47 is a pretty emotionally charged one. I'm 100% certain that the Spirit of God was guiding and directing this conversation he was having. When truth is spoken at the right time, to the right people, the Spirit comes with great force.
The rest of the chapter goes to show that even physical manifestations of miracles through the power of God don't convert. The Spirit of God being wrought upon the hearts of men does.
Even the shock from God didn't change Laman / Lemuel's heart for good. Apparently, it just caused them to be scared for a bit.
Very good chapter.