1 Nephi, Chapter 3: Back to Jerusalem
Let’s begin with verses 1-6.
If this were you, not Nephi, how would you react?
I think if it were me, I’d say something along the lines of, “You want me to do what? Doesn’t my life mean anything to you?” You see, I’m pretty positive that if Nephi and Laman and Lemuel didn’t know Laban personally, they had to have known him by reputation. As we’ll soon see this guy had money and power and he was ruthless.
I’m sorry to admit, my friends, that all too often my attitude is more like Laman’s and Lemuel’s than Nephi’s. As much as I’d like to believe I could answer the way Nephi does in verse 7, I just don’t know if that would be the case –at least in this particular situation.
What does Nephi say in verse 7? Go ahead and write this whole verse out. Writing helps with memory and this is a good verse to memorize.
Let’s read it again, one more time.
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my Father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
Write this promise on your heart my friends. It’s a real one. I. Know. It. I have lived it.
When have you been asked to do or face something that was beyond your power?
Now, onto verses 8-14.
Let’s take a second to recap. They “cast lots” to see who has to go up to the house of Laban. (More proof they knew just the kind of guy they were dealing with.) Laman loses, asks Laban for the record, receives a death threat, runs for his life, escapes, and tells his brothers what happened. Laman and Lemuel and Sam are like “Well, can’t say we didn’t try. Let’s go home.” And then we get another glimpse of the level of Nephi’s faith.
Anything stand out to you in those verses?
This is what struck me. First, I’d really like to put the first part of 16 (Wherefore let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord)
In vinyl on my living room wall. Second, and a little more relevant to our discussion, Nephi really grasped the importance of obtaining the record. He understood it was necessary for the preservation of their language as well as the importance of his people having access to the “words of the prophets.”
To me, this is a great deal of insight for one who just a few pages before described himself as “exceedingly young.” To my mind, just as he had with the whole moving into the wilderness thing, young Nephi must have gone to the Lord concerning this journey as well. The Lord must have provided this wisdom to Nephi concerning the significance of the record. To me the deeper lesson here is this: While God requires obedience he doesn’t necessarily require blind obedience. If we go to Him with “diligence” and “lowliness of heart” asking and knocking –He will answer.
Have you had the experience of asking and receiving? Record it here:
Now, onto verses 21-27.
If you used words like evil, murderous, selfish, thief –you’ve hit the nail on the head. He was one villainous man, no question.
Let’s continue, verses 28-31.
I don’t know if there is anyone in all of scripture more spiritually stupid than Laman and Lemuel. Honestly. An angel of the Lord stands in front of them, tells them to return to Jerusalem, tells them that Laban will be delivered into their hands, and instead of marveling at the experience what do they do
What do they say?
Focused so heavily on the power of a man, they completely forget the Power of God. Unbelievable! But wait! Do we, in a way, do this same thing?