1 Nephi 16: The Liahona
After Nephi had finished speaking to his brothers, then began to murmur and say that Nephi spoke ‘hard’ things to them. Nephi responds by saying; “…the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.” (1 Nephi 16:2) Nephi told them that if they followed the commandments of the Lord, they would not say that Nephi was asking ‘hard’ things of them. Nephi urges them to follow the commandments of the Lord!
Nephi, and his brethren take the daughters of Ishmael to wife, and Lehi (the father of Nephi) receives commandment to depart in the morning on his journey. Upon waking up in the morning; “…to his great astonishment he (Lehi) beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.” (1 Nephi 16:10) This device, called the Liahona, would guide Lehi and his family through the wilderness. They traveled for the space of 4 days, with their provisions; “…we did take our bows and our arrows, and go forth into the wilderness to slay food for our families; and after we had slain food for our families we did return again to our families in the wilderness, to the place of Shazer. And we did go forth again in the wilderness, following the same direction, keeping in the most fertile parts of the wilderness, which were in the borders near the Red Sea.” (1 Nephi 16:15)
During their journey in the wilderness, Nephi went to hunt with Laman and Lemuel, however; “…as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.” (1 Nephi 16:18) Laman and Lemuel began to murmur for the want of food, and began to complain against the Lord for guiding them into the wilderness without food. Nephi, be un-deterred, made; “… out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?” (1 Nephi 16:23) Nephi knew that if he did his part, the Lord will help with the parts he couldn’t do. Instead of complaining Nephi made a makeshift bow out of wood and then relied on his faith in God to help him obtain meat through hunting.
Lehi consulted the Liahona and Nephi; “…beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.” (1 Nephi 16:28) Nephi and his family did travel for the space of many more days before he climbed to the top of a great mountain to slay wild beasts and obtain meat for his family. Ishmael died in the wilderness, during their journey; “…and was buried in the place which was called Nahom.” (1 Nephi 16:34) Because of the loss of their father, the daughters of Ishmael began to murmur against God and against Lehi, saying; “…Our father is dead; yea, and we have wandered much in the wilderness, and we have suffered much affliction, hunger, thirst, and fatigue; and after all these sufferings we must perish in the wilderness with hunger.” (1 Nephi 16:35)
Because of this, Laman and Lemuel began to stir up the hearts of the family against Lehi and Nephi, claiming that Nephi desired to be a king and ruler over them. However, the voice of the Lord chastened them and they did repent.