1 Nephi 17: Building the Ship
Nephi explains that they traveled through the wilderness, eastward and did come across many afflictions and even childbirths along the way. Regardless of their afflictions, the blessings of the Lord were also great; “…we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.” (1 Nephi 17:2) Nephi explains that even though their journeys were tough, the commandments of the Lord must be fulfilled and in doing so, God; “…doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them…” (1 Nephi 17:3) Their entire journey took 8 years, before they came to the land, which they called ‘Bountiful’ because of bountiful honey and fruit. After being in this land for only a few days the Lord came to Nephi and commanded him that he should go up into the nearby mountains.
Once upon the mountain the Lord commanded Nephi to build a ship to carry them to the ‘Promised Land’; “…it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.” (1 Nephi 17:8) The Lord advised Nephi that He would help him find and build the instruments he needed to construct this ship. Nephi made many tools from molten rock and when he began to build the ship, his brothers again murmured; “…saying: Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters. And thus my brethren did complain against me, and were desirous that they might not labor, for they did not believe that I could build a ship; neither would they believe that I was instructed of the Lord.” (1 Nephi 17: 17-18)
Nephi’s brothers continued this until Nephi reminded them of how the Jews were led into bondage and how the Lord, with Moses led them out of bondage. Nephi explains that the Lord does many wonderful things for the righteous and destroys the wicked. Nephi speaks to his brothers; “…the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it. And he raiseth up a righteous nation, and destroyeth the nations of the wicked. And he leadeth away the righteous into precious lands, and the wicked he destroyeth, and curseth the land unto them for their sakes.” (1 Nephi 17:36-38)
By recounting history, Nephi hoped that his brothers would understand that Nephi, like others throughout history were being led by God and doing so to lead the righteous away from the evil-doers. Nephi explains that they too could understand and feel the Lord, but “…ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words…” (1 Nephi 17:45) The Lord often times will try to communicate to us through the Holy Ghost, but like Laman and Lemuel many are past feeling the spirit and therefore lose the ability to feel the Spirit of God. Nephi was confused as to why his brothers were so lost and confused, he explained; “Behold, my soul is rent with anguish because of you, and my heart is pained; I fear lest ye shall be cast off forever. Behold, I amfull of the Spirit of God, insomuch that my frame has no strength.” (1 Nephi 17:47)
Because of his words, Laman and Lemuel desired to kill Nephi. However, they were shaken by the Lord and prevented from laying their hands on Nephi. They then repented and told Nephi that they knew he had the power of the Lord.