Chapter 5 shows how important it is for every family member to receive their own revelation. Sariah hadn’t received her witness that they should leave Jerusalem yet. She was obedient to her husband’s council and left behind her home and comforts, but she didn’t understand the WHY behind the Lord’s command. When her boys are sent back and don’t return when she thinks they should, she complains to Lehi, worrying that something bad has happened to them. She even tells Lehi that he is a visionary man and has led them to their deaths.
Lehi does have a sure witness of God’s will. His answer is perfect. He agrees, and tells her if he hadn’t had visions, he wouldn’t have known the “goodness of God” and would have perished with his brethren. He comforts her by bearing testimony that he knows their sons will be delivered by God and that they will be led to a land of promise.
Everyone seems to have different tipping points that lead to loss of faith. Do you know what yours is, so you can strengthen that weak spot? Laman and Lemuel’s was material possessions. They were angry that they had to leave their home and comforts and riches. Sariah’s weak point was her children.
It’s interesting to note that Sariah’s weakness was a good thing. Her children. I’ve seen good people lose their faith because they put some other good thing before God—usually their family. The first commandment given to Moses was to worship the Lord thy God with all they heart. God must come first.
If we put something else above Him, no matter how good it is, we can easily lose faith or be deceived by the devil.
Do things ever go wrong in your life? I hope your answer is yes…or you might not be normal. 😊 Lehi had a sure witness from the Spirit, so he isn’t disheartened or offended when everyone turns on him. His faith gives him peace and confidence that seem out of place to Sariah. Because of this confidence born of God, Lehi is able to comfort his wife, assuring her that all will be well. And he knows it will be…even if he has no physical proof at this time.
A testimony born of the Spirit helps us not be disheartened when life doesn’t go right.
Sariah’s testimony is strengthened when her boys return.
…their joy was full, and my mother was comforted. / And she spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them.”1 Nephi 5:7-8
Ask God & He Will Answer
It is good to trust others’ revelation and be obedient, as Sariah did. But these first few chapters in Nephi show that it is better to go to the Lord for your own witness of a commandment. Nephi did that immediately, and because he did, his faith was strong when trials came. His brothers faltered; even his mother complained. But he did not.
When our prophets speak to us, do we listen casually and think, “That was a good talk. I loved that story.”? Or do we take what they say to heart and ask God to give us our own personal witness about what they said.
A personal witness empowers us, bringing peace and heavenly confidence that defies the world’s understanding. It also gives us power TO DO, like Nephi.
Search the Scriptures
And after they had given thanks unto the God of Israel, my father, Lehi, took the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and he did search them from the beginning.”1 Nephi 5:10
The first thing Lehi and Nephi did upon obtaining the plates was to “search them from the beginning.” They didn’t sit back, content in the fact that they had fulfilled God’s commandment, but they engaged in study to learn the WHY behind the command.
- Why had the Lord sent them back to Jerusalem for the plates?
- WHAT was so important about them?
Do we ever take the scriptures for granted? I know I have. But the more I immerse myself in them, the more my love grows for the holy words of God. When I’m casual and forget to read, my life gets more chaotic.
Nephi learned WHY the brass plates were important.
“And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.”1 Nephi 5:21
God has given us His holy words to guide us on our own journeys through life. But they do us no good if we don’t “search them.”
1 Nephi 6
For the fullness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.”1 Nephi 6:4
The Book or Mormon was written with the sole intent to help us come unto Christ.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines intent as “the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose.”
Nephi and the other prophets weren’t worried about writing what was politically correct or acceptable to the world. They aimed to please God in all they did, said, and wrote down.
Some of them died horrible deaths, defending the truths recorded (like Abinadi and those righteous saints who were thrown into the fire after accepting the Gospel from Alma and Amulek—book of Mosiah). They stood firm in their faith, even in the face of death.
Do we stand firm in our beliefs, like Nephi? Or do we get distracted or embarrassed by the crazy things people do and say around us, and maybe step down to please others or to escape criticism or mocking?
God is NOT a politician. He never tries to please the world’s whims or satisfy its social policies. His laws are eternal and do not change, even if people do change. God’s laws are truth…whether you’re rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, religious or atheist, married or single, or whatever. He doesn’t have one law for one group or period of time and another for a different people and era.
Nephi set parameters for the rest of the authors who would carry on the burden and blessing of keeping the plates in the future. He tells them “not to occupy these plates with things which are not of worth unto the children of men.” He knew from God that this record would last into the far future and he knew its specific purpose was to bring men back to their Savior.
Questions to ponder:
- What is my intent in life?
- Do I want to please God in all I do and say? How can I do better at this?
- Do I make room in my life for God?
- Are there things I could clear out so my life (plates) have room for Him?