Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 3-7

Just some thoughts on the last few chapters I read:

1. Lehi gets a LOT of his instruction from the Lord in dreams. I don't know if I pay much attention to my dreams. Has the Lord ever spoken to me through MY dreams? Why dreams? Was it a cultural thing, and Lehi paid attention to his dreams because of that?

2. Lehi knows that Laman and Lemuel are struggling, and it sounds like he is so relieved that Nephi responds (v. 7) in a positive way. This is maybe Nephi's first test of his newfound faith, and he meets the test with grace.

3. Seeing an angel didn't soften Laman and Lemuel's hearts more than the time that they were in his presence. They began murmuring immediately after he left. I mean, yikes. This is pretty hardcore stuff, seeing an angel, and they simply don't feel its impact.

4. Nephi is young, but he speaks with great wisdom to his brothers at many different times. This is a gift of the be able to teach the words of God, despite his youth.

5. I have a rough time with Nephi killing Laban. The Lord could obviously have allowed Nephi to obtain the plates another, less bloody, way, but he didn't. So Laban had to die, and Nephi had to be the one responsible for his death? Why? I wish I knew...I need more prayer on this one. I understand that Laban tried to take Nephi's life. I know that if Nephi had simply taken the plates, Laban would have been after him and his family. But still...very interesting. A very drastic example of how following the spirit doesn't always lead us in the direction we expect.

6. Sariah's so fantastic. She's super mad at Lehi, she's angry at God, and then she learns for herself that Lehi is not leading them on a wild goose chase, but that he is a real prophet. I love that we get a view of her conflict.

7. Lehi (and the reader) learns the value of the written word. The Lord needs us to have written record of His dealings with humanity. We need to remember what He has done in the past, and what He intends and promises to do in the future. We are blessed to have so much scripture.

8. There's no record of whining when Lehi sends his sons back for Ishmael's family. The boys are ready and willing to go all the way back to Jerusalem. Interesting tidbit...Elder Erastus Snow told that Joseph Smith had mentioned that Lehi's daughters had already married Ishmael's sons, so the families were already linked by marriage, and it's likely that the boys may have already intended to marry Ishmael's daughters.

9. Laman and Lemuel are becoming progressively more, well, wicked. They start out murmuring, and then they're beating Nephi, and in chapter 7, they're ready to leave Nephi for the wild beasts of the desert. It's a sad and quick transition, but they're not so far gone that once Nephi is freed through the power of God (Again!), they repent and continue on their journey. I have to admit that over the years, I have grown to care deeply about Laman and Lemuel, and I don't consider them terrible villains, simply angry and hardhearted. It is human nature to be angry at those who we perceive stand in the way of our power or happiness, and they thought Nephi was standing in the way of both. I'm sure they considered him a suck-up, self-righteous and absolutely frustrating. This first book of Nephi is really tragic.

No comments: