Thu - Jan 15, 2015 : 12:23 pm
1 Nephi 4
So, I was listening to, and reading, 1st Nephi chapter 4 in the Book of Mormon this morning, when a verse caught my eye, and my mind dwelt on it for a bit. It was verse 6. Verse 6 reads as follows:
"And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."
Seems pretty inocuous, right? We've all read it tons of times before, but when I get down and really analyze what is going on here, it almost seems unreal. If I didn't know this book is *actually* real, I would easily write it off as fantasy, because of ... well.. because of Nephi.
Think of it for a moment. It would be as if I was with my family in Jerusalem, going about my business as a young adult (probably 20's, I'm thinking, possibly younger), when my dad sees a vision, and dreams a dream wherein he is told he needs to leave the whole of his possessions (which, we find out later, is "exceedingly great"), pack up his tents, some food, and head off into the wilderness, never to return. Okay... That's weird. I personally know of nobody who has had to do that in my entire life. Not to say it doesn't happen, but if it does, it's rare.
Then, a couple of days into our journey, my dad tells me to go back to Jerusalem, go to Laban's house (a man of prominence, wealth, servants, and guards), and get the plates of brass.
"Umm... okay? I believe this is God's will, and God will provide a way, but... I have no idea how I'm going to get these plates" ... "Oh, hey.. Laman, Lemuel, and Sam... Wanna come, too?"
So, we travel back to Jerusalem. We draw straws, and Laman gets to be the one. He goes in, asks for them, and then comes back, running for his life, saying that guards were sent to kill him for asking.
At this point, in my estimation, it would take an enormous amount of faith to not throw my hands up in the air and say, "well.. we tried!" ... and head back. I mean... The guards of Laman are now basically told to kill Laman if they can find him. Not exactly a welcoming notion.
So... Nephi, being Nephi, says, "nope... We are not leaving until we get those plates. End of story. God told us to get them, so we're going to get them."
So, we remember all the family wealth, decide it would be a good idea to go and buy the plates. So, we go in with our "exceedingly great" amount of wealth, lay it before Laban, and say, "Now, can we have the plates", and he's like, "umm... nope. Guards, go kill them."
So, now, we don't have any money, servants of Laban are probably hunting us, and we still don't have the plates.
It would probably be about this time that Nephi started wondering what the heck was going on. This is pure speculation, but man.. He's tried twice to keep the commandments of God, and both times, servants were sent to kill them. This presents a lot of problems for their situation. One of them being, how in the world are they going to get back into Laban's house alive, let alone convince someone to go and get the plates for them. Oh, also, they now have lost all their possessions to Laban... and Laban knows what they all look like, and will probably be on the alert in case they come back.
So, while they're hiding, and while Nephi is probably starting to feel confused and a bit overwhelmed, what do his brothers do? They start yelling at him, probably cursing at him, and then start beating him.
It's my personal belief, through my studies, that the angel was sent to help Nephi. I'm fairly sure it wasn't that Laman and Lemuel were going to kill Nephi, but rather the angel was sent to let Nephi know that he was okay. To let Nephi know that he was still doing okay, even though everything was falling apart. ... and that's exactly what happened. Nephi probably took an enormous amount of courage from that angelic appearance.
So, he then, most likely, was filled with the Spirit, was directed to go back within the walls of where Laban would be (as well as the servants who were probably still looking for / waiting for him to kill him.)
..and this is where verse 6 comes in. He was led by the Spirit, but he had no idea what was going to happen. He had no idea where he was going, or what he would be doing, but the one thing he did know, which is the one thing that is more sure than anything on this earth. He knew he was doing God's will. He was doing exactly what he needed to be doing, exactly where he needed to be doing it.
It's easy to gloss over the details of a book, while we're reading it, and think "Man, that's a cool story"... But when I read the Book of Mormon, I love getting into the details of "how would I feel if I were in there?", or "What is really happening here?"
...and ya know... I think that God wants this of all of us, if we're willing. He will put us in situations where faith is the only thing that will be sure, and will test us to see if we are willing to hang on to that faith, even when everything else is going against it.
Anyway... That's what I was thinking about during this morning's scripture study. ... and man, I really love Nephi.