1 Nephi 17

Location: the wilderness

People: Nephi & his family

Important events & details:

  • Nephi and his family are blessed and nourished with an abundance of food in the wilderness, because of their faith and obedience to the Lord. Nephi tells us that they have been in the wilderness for eight years.
  • The Lord commands Nephi to build a ship, and his brothers mock him, but he is diligent in following the commandments of the Lord to build a ship. Nephi likens the scriptures to his situation, and reminds his brothers about Moses and his exodus into the wilderness with his people. He reminds his brothers how God led the people of Moses, and how, when they hardened their hearts the Lord sent serpents to bite the people; but “after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed” and continued to lead them through the wilderness.

Favorite verses:

3 And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they an accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.

13 And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.

35 Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God…

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • I love that Nephi’s first reaction to the Lord telling him to build a ship isn’t “how am I supposed to build a ship? I don’t know how to build ships”, but rather is “where do I go to get materials to make the tools?” I want to have faith as great as Nephi, faith great enough to help me say “show me how” when the Lord leads me to do things that test me or scare me.
  • I also love that Nephi uses scripture to liken their experiences with those of Moses’ people, and teach his brothers the importance of having faith in the Lord throughout their journey

Questions:

  • What can I be doing in my daily life to strengthen my faith, in order to help me more quickly follow the guidance of the spirit?

 

1 Nephi 16

Location: the wilderness

People: Nephi, his family, and Ishmael’s family

Important events & details:

  • Nephi and his brothers marry the daughters of Ishmael; Ishmael passes away, and his family begins to murmur because of their hardships in the wilderness.
  • Lehi finds the Liahona (“a ball of curious workmanship”) outside his tent one morning. The Liahona directs them through the wilderness, leading them toward “more fertile parts” and towards the promised land. The Liahona also displays messages from the Lord from time to time. Nephi tells us that the Liahona only works according to their faith.
  • Nephi breaks his bow and is unable to obtain food for his family, and his brothers complain; he makes a new bow and arrow from wood and sticks, and he prays to the Lord to help him find food.

Favorite verses:

28 … I, 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.

29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • The guidance of the pointers in the Liahona and the messages that are written for Nephi and his family remind me of the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, and my patriarchal blessing. These are all things that I have free access to, at any point in my life, but that can only guide me when I have faith and humble myself. Even though the scriptures and my patriarchal blessing never change – sometimes, at different times in my life – new things become important to me, or I gain new and different understanding from the things I have previously read.
  • I love that when Nephi broke his bow, the first thing he did was go out and make himself a new one, rather than complaining or moping. Once he did all he could on his own he turned to Heavenly Father, to gain inspiration and guidance in solving the rest of the problem.
  • “Your patriarchal blessing is yours and yours alone. It may be brief or lengthy, simple or profound. Length and language do not a patriarchal blessing make. It is the Spirit that conveys the true meaning. Your blessing is not to be folded neatly and tucked away. It is not to be framed or published. Rather, it is to be read. It is to be loved. It is to be followed. Your patriarchal blessing will see you through the darkest night. It will guide you through life’s dangers.” – Thomas S. Monson

Questions:

  • Do I give as much heed and importance to scripture study and my patriarchal blessing as I should? Do I allow them to guide me in all things?
  • When faced with a problem, do I do everything I possibly can, before turning to the Lord?

1 Nephi 15

Location: the wilderness

People: Nephi & his family

Important events & details:

  • After Nephi’s vision he returns to his father’s tent and talks to his brothers about what he saw.
  • When Nephi’s brothers complain that they don’t understand the visions of their father Nephi asks if they have “inquired of the Lord” and then interprets the meaning of the tree of life for them.
    • The tree = the tree of life
    • The iron rod = the word of God
    • The river = filthiness, and the representation of hell

Favorite verses:

8 And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?

11 …If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing the ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.

14 …they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer…that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • Nephi tells us throughout the chapter that he “did exhort them {his brothers} with all the energies of my soul” that they would follow God’s commandments and not turn away from His word. Even though they are constantly fighting against him and treating him terribly, he is always trying to help them come to God. I need to be more patient and loving of those around me.
  • I love that Nephi reiterates that the whole purpose of the Book of Mormon is to lead people to the knowledge of the Savior and help us to know how to gain a relationship with him.

Questions:

  • Have I inquired of the Lord? When I have questions or concerns do I immediately turn to the Lord?

1 Nephi 14

Location: the wilderness

People: Nephi

Important events & details:

  • Nephi continues to see the things his father saw in a vision. The angel tells Nephi about Church of the Lamb of God and the church of the devil, and how the saints all over the world are persecuted by the church of the devil.
  • Nephi is also sees the apostle John shall write about the end of the world.

Favorite verses:

14 …I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb…and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • Chapter 13 and 14 were more difficult for me to read and understand, I think I wasn’t as focused on my reading/studying, but I knew that I didn’t want to miss a day of scripture study so I read it, and got through it, but I didn’t get as much out of it as I could have.
  • I do like that the last verse of chapter 14 ends with Nephi saying “the things which I have written are true”, ending with his testimony. For now, even when I have a hard time focusing, or difficulty understanding, his testimony gives me faith and encourages me that the things I am reading are true and important. And that’s enough for me today.

Questions:

  • What can I do differently in my approach to studying and reading the scriptures each day so that I can get more out of them?

1 Nephi 13

Location: the wilderness

People: Nephi

Important events & details:

  • Nephi sees a vision about the discovery and colonizing of America; the church of the devil, and loss of many “plain and precious” parts of the Bible, and resulting apostasy; the restoration of the gospel and building up of Zion.
  • Nephi sees in his vision that when the people are listening to God they prosper, and He delivers them from their enemies.

Favorite verses:

16-20 …[they] did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them. …[they] were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations. …they did prosper in the land…

28-29 … there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God. {speaking of the bible} …because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.

37 And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure to the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.

40 …These last records {speaking of the Book of Mormon}…shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • I love how this chapter outlines the way the Bible and Book of Mormon go hand in hand. They are both witnesses of Jesus Christ, but the Book of Mormon has the full truth and restores  what was lost from the Bible.
  • I also love the way Nephi sees in a vision that the gospel will be taken all over the earth, in so many languages, and I’ve been able to witness that firsthand in my life.

Questions:

  • Am I humbling myself before the Lord, and making myself familiar with His word, so that I can have His power and protection against Satan?
  • Do I continually seek the influence of the Holy Ghost to lead me closer to my Father in Heaven and His Son?

1 Nephi 12

Location: the wilderness

People: Nephi

Important events & details:

  • Nephi sees a vision of the promised land; the people who inhabit it, and their righteousness, wickedness, and downfall; and the Savior coming and choosing twelve disciples, who will judge Nephi’s seed just as the twelve apostles will judge the tribes of Israel.

Favorite verses:

10 … And, behold, they are righteous forever; for because of their faith in the Lamb of God their garments are made white in his blood.

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • This is one of the first chapters in the Book of Mormon that talks about Christ’s atonement. It talks about how, through our faith, we are saved by Him. I love Nephi is told that we are made white through Christ’s blood, that’s a powerful image. That through the atonement Christ takes what is dirty and makes it clean – completely clean.
  • Nephi also sees the great and spacious building again and the mists of darkness that tempt “the children of men”. I like the imagery of the mists of darkness as Satan’s temptations because it feels relatable to my life. I often think of temptations as causing confusion and distracting me from my end goal, making the path difficult to see/hazy to make out.

Questions:

  • Am I taking full advantage of the atonement in my daily life – having enough faith to make myself clean, and deter the mists of darkness that blind me from what is right?

1 Nephi 11

Location: the wilderness

People: Nephi

Important events & details:

  • Nephi desires to see and know the things his father prophesied about in chapter 10 (concerning the coming of Christ to the earth) so he ponders them and is caught up in the Spirit. The Spirit asks Nephi what he wants to know and if he believes the words of his father and Nephi says, “Yea, thou knowest I believe all the words of my father” (1 Nephi 11:5).
  • The Spirit then shows Nephi the same things that were shown to Lehi. Nephi see the virgin Mary and Christ’s birth. He also sees the iron rod again, and sees that it is the word of God; the tree of life, and that it is the love of God. He also sees Christ be baptized, and the Holy Ghost come down in the form of a dove. He sees the twelve apostles and Christ healing the sick and afflicted. Then Nephi sees Christ crucified. After Christ’s death Nephi sees the great and spacious building, that is the pride of the world, and it’s fall.

Favorite verses:

6 … And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the most high God; wherefore, thou shalt behold the things which thou hast desired.

17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

22 … it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things. [speaking of the tree]

33 And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • Steps to personal revelation:
    • Desire
    • Belief
    • Study & ponder
    • Be ready for what the Lord has to say, and receive it with an open heart
  • God knows us individually, He knows our hopes & desires, He knows our names. He knows my name.
  • It’s ok that we don’t have all the answers, sometimes it’s enough just to know that God love us and we can trust Him. His plan will always be enough and He will never leave us.
  • God’s love is there whether we follow His word or not, His love is eternal. However, we are only about the fully feel His love and really partake of it when we are following His word. His love is the most desirable thing because it is through His love that we are made clean, and through His love that we can do all things.

Questions:

  • Am I living my life in a way that I can fully partake in God’s love for me? Is knowing Christ and my Heavenly Father my greatest desire?