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 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 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 10

Location: the wilderness

People: Lehi & Nephi

Important events and details:

  • Lehi tells of a vision he has, that in 600 years from the time his family left Jerusalem a Messiah, or Savior of the world would be born. Lehi also tells of how the Messiah would be baptized with water, slain by the Jews, and then rise from the dead and manifest himself unto the Gentiles.
  • After Lehi finished telling about his visions Nephi was desirous that he see, hear, and know of these things too.

Favorite verses:

6 Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer.

18 For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men form the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.

19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • Christ’s life and the important things He would accomplish while on earth were prophesied before He was even born. This is why the Book of Mormon and the Bible go hand in hand, we see the prophesies or Christ’s life in the Book of Mormon, and then we are able to read of His life and death in the Bible. We then see His resurrection and appearance to the Nephites later in the Book of Mormon. It’s only with both books that we get the full picture of His life and purpose as Savior of the world.

Questions:

  • When prophets and apostles speak (in general conference), or even when the Bishop or people speak and teach (in church on Sundays), do I show a desire to know and have a witness of truth of what they say?
  • Am I living my life in a way that the Holy Ghost is my constant companion and is able to confirm the truths of the gospel to me?

1 Nephi 8

Location: the wilderness

People: Lehi & his family

Important events & details:

  • Lehi sees a vision of the tree of life, “whose fruit was desirable to make one happy”. He calls Sariah, Sam, and Nephi to come partake of the fruit with him, and they do. Lehi also sees the iron rod and the strait and narrow path that lead to the tree. On the other side of a river Lehi sees a great and spacious building full of people laughing at and mocking those who are eating the fruit.
  • Lehi sees some people who follow the path for a little ways, before getting lost in a midst of darkness; some people who cling to the iron rod and taste of the fruit before feeling ashamed and joining the people in the great and spacious building; a third group who press forward, continually holding onto the rod until they come to the tree and eat the fruit; and finally many people who went into the great and spacious building.
  • Laman and Lemuel do not partake of the fruit and Lehi is “exceedingly feared” for them.

Favorite verses:

11 And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted…

12 … it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also…

30 … and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • It’s easy to get distracted or stumble when we are more focused on Satan’s temptations (e.g. what’s going on in the world around us, what people are saying/doing about us & the gospel, etc.) than on our straight and narrow path. But we have the iron rod (i.e. the word of God) that we can, and need to hold onto in order to press forward and stay on the path. The iron rod and the path are always there – they never disappear – even if & when midst of darkness sometimes cloud our vision. All we need to do is keep our end goal, the fruit of the gospel, in our sights; hold onto the knowledge we have; and have faith as we press forward and then we won’t be so distracted and tempted by the things that don’t matter.
  • “If there is any one thing most needed in this time of tumult and frustration, when men and women and youth and young adults are desperately seeking for answers to the problems which afflict mankind, it is an “iron rod” as a safe guide along the straight path on the way to eternal life, amidst the strange and devious roadways that would eventually lead to destruction and to the ruin of all that is “virtuous, lovely, or of good report.”” – Harold B. Lee

Questions:

  • Which group am I most like? Do I cling to the rod and then become ashamed of my membership in the gospel? Do I get distracted and lost in midsts of darkness? Or am I able to have faith, press forward, and continually hold onto the things that I know are right and true?