1 Nephi 16

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!

FribergLiahona

                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.

 

1 Nephi 7

1 Nephi 7: Return to Jerusalem to get Ishmael

                Lehi is commanded by the Lord that his sons should return to Jerusalem to find wives that they might raise children unto the Lord in the Promised Land.

“And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that I, Nephi, and my brethren, should again return unto the land of Jerusalem, and bring down Ishmael and his family into the wilderness… it came to pass that we went up unto the house of Ishmael, and we did gain favor in the sight of Ishmael, insomuch that we did speak unto him the words of the Lord… the Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us down into the wilderness to the tent of our father.” (1 Nephi 7: 2;3-4)

As they journeyed back from Jerusalem into the wilderness; Laman and Lemuel along with two of the daughters of Ishmael and two of his sons did rebel against Nephi.  Nephi was troubled because of this and spoke to them; “…Behold ye are mine elder brethren, and how is it that ye are so hard in your hearts, and so blind in your minds, that ye have need that I, your younger brother, should speak unto you, yea, and set an example for you” (1 Nephi 7:8)

                Nephi then asks them how they can deny having seen an Angel of the Lord or forget seeing the hand of the Lord in delivering them from Laban. Nephi asks; “…how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.” (1 Nephi 7:12) Nephi explains to them that if they work hard and exercise faith in the Lord, they will obtain the Promised Land. Nephi warns that if they return to Jerusalem, they would perish.

After speaking these words, Laman and Lemuel were upset with Nephi insomuch that they bound him with cords “….they sought to take away my life, that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts.” (1 Nephi 7:16) Nephi prayed to the Lord that he would have strength to break free from these cords, and upon saying these words to the Lord; “…behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren, and I spake unto them again.” (1 Nephi 7:18) This however only enraged Laman and Lemuel even more! They moved towards Nephi to take his life when;  “…one of the daughters of Ishmael, yea, and also her mother, and one of the sons of Ishmael, did plead with my brethren, insomuch that they did soften their hearts; and they did cease striving to take away my life.” (1 Nephi 7:19) Laman and Lemuel agreed to not take the life of Nephi and in doing so were brought to sorrow and did plead with Nephi that he might forgive them. Nephi accepted their forgiveness and they continued their journey into the wilderness to the camp where Lehi was waiting. There, they gave thanks to the Lord and offered burnt sacrifices to Him.

Galatians 4

Galatians 4: Heirs of Christ

                Paul opens by explaining how a servant cannot inherit anything of their lord. However, because of the Abrahamic Covenant we all become adopted under the seed of Abraham. God sent His Son, so that we may be redeemed, for we “…were in bondage under the elements of the world:” (Galatians 4:3) Therefore Paul asks the Galatians; “…how turn ye again to the weak and beggearly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:9) The reason Paul asks this is because he clearly points out that all those adopted under the Abrahamic Covenant are “…no more a servant, but a son… [and] heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:7)

                If we turn away from the worldly things and instead turn to Christ we can be made free from the misery of the world. We learn from Alma, a Book of Mormon Prophet who lived in Ancient America, that “…wickedness never was happiness.” (Alma 41:10; The Book of Mormon) Therefore those who choose to follow God and His commandments will be made free from the bondage of the evil that oppresses the earth.

Paul urges the Galatians to be like him and follow his example, as he follows the example of Christ. Paul then explains how Abraham had two sons, one was born of a bondwoman and the other was born of a freewoman. Ishmael was born of the flesh and unto a bondwoman, which represents the old covenant. Isaac was born of the spirit and unto a freewoman, which represents the new covenant. Those who do not follow the spirit, but rather follow the flesh shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Jeremiah 41-42

Jeremiah 41-42

Chapter 41: Ishmael kills Sedaliah

Ishmael (of royal seed) executes his conspiracy against Gedaliah and his companions. Ishmael also attempts to carry away the Jews who were with him as captives to the Ammonites. Johanan recovers them, and proposes fleeing with them into Egypt.

Chapter 42: Jeremiah promises peace if they obey

Johanan and the remnant of the people desire Jeremiah to ask counsel of God what they should do. Jeremiah says they will be safe in Judah, but face destruction in Egypt. Jeremiah expresses his disapproval of their hypocrisy in asking advice they have no intention of following.

Genesis 16-18

Genesis 16-18

Chapter 16: Hagar and Ishmael

Sarai goes to Abram and tells him to go to her maid, Hagar and have children with her, because Sarai is unable to, and wants children. Abram does as his wife asks, this all happening 10 years from the time that they established themselves in the land of Canaan. Sarai after seeing that Hagar was pregnant with her husband’s child, gets worried that God will judge her. Sarai speaks with Abram and asks what she should do, Abram responds that she should do as she “pleaseth” with Hagar, so Sarai deals “Hardly” with Hagar and Hagar flees.

Hagar, having fled is visited by an angel of the Lord, who tells her:

  • That she needs to return to Sarai and submit to her.
  • That she will bear a son, and his name will be Ishmael.

This all happened by the fountain in Shur, which is later named “Beer-Lahai-Roi” – between Kadesh and Bered. Hagar has the child and Abram names his new son, Ishmael, as the Lord had told Hagar he would.

Chapter 17: Abrahamic Covenant

When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared unto him and Abram and God conversed (they talked and walked with each other). God tells Abram that he will no longer be called by Abram, but now by a new name: Abraham.

God tells Abraham that he will make him “exceedingly fruitful” and establishes his covenant with him. Men, starting at the age of 8 days old will be required to be circumcised, removing the flesh of the foreskin. Abraham is also instructed of the Lord to no longer call his wife Sarai, but by her new name: Sarah. God promises Abraham that through his wife Sarah, they will have a son and his name will be Isaac.

God promises Abraham’s son Ishmael that he will also be blessed, having 12 princes born unto him, making him and his posterity a great nation.

At the age of 99, Abraham and his son, Ishmael (age 13) are circumcised.

Chapter 18: Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

The Lord appears unto Abraham in the plains of Mamre, three holy men also appear unto Abraham and ask for water and bread. Abraham also fetches a young, tender calf for them to eat.

These three holy men tell Abraham that his wife Sarah will conceive a son, Sarah over-hears this and laughs in her heart, Sarah being old an unable to have children thought that this was impossible.

The Lord tells Abraham about Sarah laughing in her heart after over-hearing that she would conceive a son unto Abraham. The Lord asks Abraham; “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” – but the Lord assures Abraham that Sarah will indeed bare Abraham a son, even in her ripe old age. Abraham confronts Sarah and asks her why she had laughed in her heart, and out of fear, Sarah denies that she had laughed in her heart..

We learn that Abraham will command his children to do justice and judgment in the world.  The Lord also appears unto Abraham and discusses the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham does not want Sodom and Gomorrah to be destroyed and asks God; “…If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city…”  (Genesis 18:26) then will you not destroy the city? God tells him that he will not, if he can find fifty righteous men within the city. But Abraham does not stop there, he continues to ask the Lord (essentially hypothetical questions) if smaller and smaller amounts of righteous men can be found, if the Lord would still spare the city. He starts with 50, then goes to 45, 40, 30, 20 and then finally 10, each time the Lord responds that he will not destroy the city, but cautioning him to not make him angry by his constant demands.