Continuing study this week, remember that I have nine chapters to get through, so that means 9 posts and 7 days.
This chapter opens with Lehi receiving a commandment from the Lord that Nephi and his brothers return to Jerusalem to bring down Ishmael and his family to where they are staying in the wilderness. The first time this week that I studied these passages, I did not notice this, but I have noticed it now (maybe my ah-ha! moment for the week.) In verse 4 it reads: “And 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” (emphasis added.) I noticed one little word, “we.” I think this is noteworthy because a lot of times as we think of Laman and Lemuel, we think of them as being stiff-necked and perhaps of the world. But here we read that they were on the same page as Nephi and putting forth effort to keep the commandment given to them from the Lord through their father.
As we move through the chapter though, this goodness of the brothers appears to wear off, as Nephi is preaching to them and reminding them to hearken unto the words of the Lord and remember that they have seen an angel for themselves and that they KNOW that the things that they are commanded to do are of God.
In verse 12 I found the first doctrine of the chapter: “.. the Lord is able to do all things according to his will…” This verse would be described as doctrine because it is an unchanging truth.
Verse 13 states: “And if it so be that we are faithful to him, we shall obtain the land of promise and ye shall know at some future period that the word of the Lord shall be fulfilled.” In today’s world, we aren’t necessarily looking for a land of promise, but read these statements separately. If we are faithful to the Lord, we will know at some point that the word of God will be fulfilled; thus we see through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we may see for ourselves that He lives and everything he tells us is true.
Verse 15 has another doctrine. “If ye will return unto Jerusalem ye shall also perish with them. And now, if ye have choice, go up to the land, and remember the words which I speak unto you, that if ye go ye will also perish;” Nephi is telling his brothers that if they go back to Jerusalem that they will die like all of the other inhabitants of Jerusalem. He is also reminding them that they have the agency to choose this if they want. I believe that this is an unchanging truth also, as we know that the people of Jerusalem are taken into bondage and that Jerusalem falls to its demise.
As the families are traveling back to the tents of Lehi, the older brothers become angry with Nephi for telling them that they would be destroyed if they went back to Jerusalem and so they bind Nephi in cords and have plans to leave him tied up so that animals would come and eat him. Nephi, with great faith, prays that Heavenly Fathers to have the strength to loosen the cords which tied him down, and his prayer was answered. The wife of Ishmael, one of his daughters and one of his sons spoke with Laman and Lemuel begging them to spare Nephi’s life. They were able to get Laman and Lemuel to soften their hearts and ask Nephi to forgive them of their misdeeds.
In verse 21 Nephi forgives his brothers and urges them that they should “pray unto the Lord their God for forgiveness.” I believe that this is another doctrine, as I view this as an eternal law.
I found a total of 4 doctrines in this chapter. I may have missed some, but I feel that this chapter reads a lot like a story. I have studied it and tried to take it apart, so I hope that I have them all.
I pray that each of you reading this may catch a little insight into the life of Nephi and perhaps gain some understanding of God’s doctrine from my point of view. I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.