1 Nephi 18

1 Nephi 18: Crossing the Sea to the Promised Land

                Nephi and his family continue the construction of the ship, a ship that was not built; “…after the manner of men…” (1 Nephi 18:2) Nephi finishes the ship and sees that it; “…was good, and that the workmanship, thereof was exceedingly fine…” (1 Nephi 18:4) After Nephi’s brothers saw the craftsmanship of the ship, they did humble themselves before the Lord.

Nephi explains that while in the wilderness (before building the ship), Lehi [Nephi’s Father] had two sons ‘Jacob’ and ‘Joseph’. Nephi and his entire family loaded up the ship with all their provisions and went forth across the ocean as the wind blew. After traveling the sea for the space of many days, Laman and Lemuel and their families began to dance and sing with “…much rudeness…” (1 Nephi 18:9) In other words, they were rioting and rebelling. Nephi was filled with fear that the Lord would be angry with them, and for this purpose they might be swallowed up in the sea. Nephi began to speak with his brothers, to try and persuade them to repent of their actions; this of course only angered his rebel brothers.

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“…it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me [Nephi]  and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness;  …it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass [The Liahona], which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.” (1 Nephi 18:11-12) Because of the wickedness of Laman and Lemuel, they did not know which direction to travel and their arose a great storm and tempest that caused the ship to be pushed back for three days, and on the fourth day the storm worsened.

“…after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof. Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.” (1 Nephi 18:15-16) Even though Nephi was miserable, broken down physically and mentally… he praised the Lord!

Laman and Lemuel had caused the entire family to be stricken with great affliction, but even with this, they would only soften their hearts if they knew they would be on the brink of destruction. The Lord knows each and every one of us, and He knows that sometimes we need horrible things to happen to us in order for us to wake up and hear his crying voice. Laman and Lemuel both had to be brought right up to the point of destruction in order to realize the power of God and repent of their actions.

Laman and Lemuel loose the bands of Nephi, and Nephi did take the compass; “…and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm….it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land.” (1 Nephi 18:22) The Lord wants us to be obedient and sometimes He has to use extreme measures in order for us to hear His voice and follow His command.

“…it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land… and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance.” (1 Nephi 18:24) Because they hearkened unto the voice of the Lord they were delivered and did arrive in the Promised Land as the Lord had promised.  In the Land of Promise they did find; “…beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.” (1 Nephi 18:25)

1 Nephi 4

1 Nephi 4: Nephi Kills Laban

                After seeing the Angel, Nephi speaks to Laman and Lemuel and explains that the Lord is all powerful “…for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands? Therefore let us go up; let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither, and our fathers came through, out of captivity, on dry ground, and the armies of Pharaoh did follow and were drowned in the waters of the Red Sea.” (1 Nephi 4:1-2)

                Nephi tells Laman and Lemuel that they both know he is right and they cannot deny. Laman and Lemuel continue to murmur, but still follow Nephi back to Jerusalem to obtain the Brass Plates. Nephi commands his brothers to hide themselves; “… after they had hid themselves, I, Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban. And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. Nevertheless I went forth, and as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me, for he was drunken with wine. And when I came to him I found that it was Laban.” (1 Nephi 4:5-8)

Nephi, NOT KNOWING BEFOREHAND WHAT HE WOULD DO, goes into the house and finds Laban drunk and passed out. Nephi did not have a plan, but trusted the Lord to guide him. When he found that Laban was passed out drunk, the Spirit came to him and told him to kill Laban; “…I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban…but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him. And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands… it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands; …Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.” (1 Nephi 4:10-13) The Lord delivered Laban into the hands of Nephi, who knew that murdering was wrong. However, the Lord commanded Nephi to slay Laban to bring forth His ‘righteous purposes’. So, Nephi slays Laban by cutting off his head with his own sword; “…[Nephi] took Laban by the hair of the head, and I [Nephi]  smote off his head with his own sword. And after I had smitten off his head with his own sword, I took the garments of Laban and put them upon mine own body…” (1 Nephi 4:18-19)

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Nephi, now dressed in the clothes of Laban goes towards the treasury to retrieve the Brass Plates when he runs into one of the servants of Laban, who had the keys to the treasury. Nephi; “…commanded him in the voice of Laban, that he should go with [Nephi]  into the treasury.” (1 Nephi 4:20) Laban’s servant thought it was his master speaking and therefore opened the treasury. Nephi tells the servant to grab the Brass Plates and commands him to follow him to the outside gates of the house. The servant agrees and flees with ‘Laban’ aka Nephi to meet Nephi’s brothers.

When he approached the outside walls, Laman and Lemuel were exceedingly frightened; “…for they supposed it was Laban, and that he had slain me and had sought to take away their lives also. And it came to pass that I called after them, and they did hear me; wherefore they did cease to flee from my presence.” (1 Nephi 4:28-29) Laban’s servant tries to flee, but Nephi being large in stature holds him and prevents him from running.

Nephi speaks to the servant of Laban [named Zoram] and tells him that if he follows them and makes an oath with them that he would be a free man; “…Zoram had made an oath unto us, our fears did cease concerning him… it came to pass that we took the plates of brass and the servant of Laban, and departed into the wilderness, and journeyed unto the tent of our father.” (1 Nephi 4:37-38)

1 Nephi 2

1 Nephi 2: Lehi Leaves Jerusalem

 

The Lord God speaks to Lehi in a drew and commands him that he should depart from Jerusalem and take his family into the wilderness.

“…it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him… he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.” (1 Nephi 1:3-4)

After three days of traveling Lehi and his family (Sariah – his wife, Laman, Lemuel and Sam – his sons) pitched tents near a river river, near the border of the Red Sea. Lehi calls the river ‘Laman’ and speaks to Laman saying; “…O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness! And he also spake unto Lemuel: O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord!” (1 Nephi 1:9-10)

Lehi spoke to his two sons Laman and Lemuel because of their stiffneckedness, for their murmurings [complaining] because they did not want to leave Jerusalem, which was the land of their inheritance. They also did not want to leave behind worldly possessions such as gold and silver. Laman and Lemuel believed that their father was a foolish man who follows the foolish imaginations of his heart. They complained to their father; “…because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them. Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets. And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.” (1 Nephi 1:12-13)

Lehi, being overcome with the Spirit of the Lord did confound them that they did not wish to murmur against their father again. Nephi explains that he believed his father, but that he had some doubt and prayed to the Lord to help him understand and remove any doubt he had about his father. Nephi explains;

“…I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.” (1 Nephi 1:16)

Nephi speaks to his younger brother Sam and tells him everything that he had seen, and he did believe on the words of Nephi. Laman and Lemuel however did not believe the words of Nephi. Nevertheless, Nephi prays to God that they might come to the same knowledge that he had obtained and believe on the words of his father Lehi. The Lord responds to Nephi’s prayer; “…Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart… inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.” (1 Nephi 1:19-20)

The Lord promises Nephi that if he continues to have faith and keep the commandments of God that he would be led to the Promised Land. The Lord also promises that Nephi would be delivered from his brothers if they tried to hurt him.

Psalms 140-141

Psalms 140-141

Chapter 140: Pray for Deliverance from Enemies

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David

David’s prays for the deliverance from his enemies; “Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man; Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.” (Psalms 140:1-2)

                This is something that we can all, honestly pray to the Lord. Deliver us from our enemies; this could go beyond people to include our addictions or sins.

David continues “Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked man…” (Psalms 140:8) In a world of ever changing values and constant violence… we can pray for peace and we can pray for the protection of the Lord.

Chapter 141: David Pleads with the Lord

A Psalm of David

David pleads with the Lord for Him to hear his prayers. He tells the Lord; “Let the wicked fall into their own nets…” (Psalms 141:10). We almost don’t need to do anything, and simply let the wicked destroy themselves.