Thursday, January 15, 2015

1 Nephi 17

(January 15, 2015)
                I had a number of thoughts as I read through this chapter today.  The first was on the Lord’s instruction to move on from Bountiful.  After having been in the wilderness for so long, the Lehites must have felt very comfortable to be in Bountiful.  It must have been difficult for them to move on.  And yet, the Lord had something even better in store for them.  And so they eventually got in the ship and sailed across the seas.

                So it is with us.  There have been times when I have not wanted to leave what I have felt was my Bountiful.  I have been forced by circumstance or instructed by the Lord to get on a ship and enter the stormy seas when I would be far happier to remain on terra firma and enjoy the fruit and honey.  But the Lord drives each of us onward, and though the course is treacherous and hard it leads on to the place we were always meant to be teaching us the lessons we were always meant to learn along the way.

                My second thought was on the Lord making the Lehites’ food sweet in the wilderness.  This is such a perfect example of how the Lord makes sin irrelevant if we trust Him.  The choice to eat raw meat does not seem appetizing – it seems downright miserable to me to live off of raw meat for eight years.  I cannot imagine reaching the point where eating raw meat would be sweet.  But the problem is with my thinking, and not with the Lord.  Every good thing comes from the Lord, and that includes happiness.  We think the things of the world bring us happiness (our sins, or cooked meat), but it is the Lord that is the source of all our happiness.  We cannot, under any set of circumstances, be happier in our sins than we are being obedient because happiness is solely a gift from God.

                The third thought was on why Nephi refers back to Moses.  I have thought about that a little bit along the way (I don’t refer back to George Washington all that much, so it seemed odd that they would look back to Moses in that way).  I had thought it to be a cultural shift, but now I realize that there is more going on than I thought.  This was the time of the Deuteronomic Reform, after the Book of the Law of the Lord was found and read aloud to the people.  There is the undercurrent of dissent between Lehi and Nephi on one side of the Deuteronomic Reform and Laman and Lemuel on the other.  Moses, then, was the common ground between them.  So Moses was both a contemporary topic and the central point of reference that they shared – it was only natural that Nephi bring up Moses so often.

                And, as I thought through this, it again struck me how Nephi and those who follow after him so very rarely mention David.  There are, of course, obvious reasons why.

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