This chapter is MEATY, so I’ve broken it up into several posts. Post 8a covers verses 1-10.
Nephi starts out saying they “had gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind.” (1) Lehi’s family is preparing to leave on a long journey. We, too, are on a long journey in life and need to prepare “seeds” to take with us and plant wherever the Lord may lead us.
Our seeds are our works.
What kind of seeds are we planting?
In the New Testament, it says: God “anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38
Is God our partner, so we can gather goodness and spread it around? The good we can do comes in all sorts of packages: words, kind acts, merciful thoughts, forgiveness, empathy, smiles, time, repentant hearts, helpful attitudes, and many more ways.
Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)
Lehi has another dream. This seems to be the way God spoke to him. Are you aware of how God speaks to you? Are you “still,” so you can hear God’s voice, however He talks to you? He will help us go about doing good, if we allow Him into our lives by taking time to LISTEN.
In his dream, Lehi sees a “dark and dreary wilderness?” (4) that makes him fear for his two oldest sons, Laman and Lemuel. He sees a man all in white (5) who bids him to follow him into “a dark and dreary waste.” (7) After many hours in this despairing place, Lehi prays to the Lord “that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies.” (8)
Why would his heavenly guide lead him through this darkness for so long?
Was it to show Lehi how all-encompassing and far-reaching the darkness is, and that man is incapable of getting out of it alone?
Could it represent the fall of Adam and the hopelessness of man without Christ’s great sacrifice?
It could represent that there will be times when we will walk for long periods in darkness, accumulating fear, doubt, and hopelessness. Lehi was a good man, yet he trudged through darkness. That’s important to remember. We ALL will experience darkness in our lives. Being in darkness doesn’t make us bad. It is our reaction and choice when we are there that makes all the difference.
Lehi’s reaction—seeking God—is a good example of what to do when we feel overwhelmed with darkness in life (or in our personal world, specifically). Pray for God’s tender mercies. He will take our hand and walk with us in darkness, and ultimately, He will lead us out of it. Don’t wander alone, trying to feel your way through the darkness. You’ll never get out without Christ.
Seek the Source of Light.
After praying for mercy, Lehi “beheld a large and spacious field.” (9) and sees “a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.” (10) After suffering the effects of the darkness, happiness had to be a coveted thing. Nephi began this chapter talking about gathering seeds for their journey…and now here is a tree (which comes from a seed) to make one happy.
Do we gather seeds that will make us happy? Here are some seeds I thought of to gather and nourish:
- faith in Jesus Christ
- commitment to God
- service to our fellowmen.
Can you think of other seeds that’ll make you happy? Are there certain seeds you need to gather more of, because your supply is low? Are there seeds that might help someone you love be more happy?
This world needs more goodness. More happiness. So many people walk in a metaphorical or literal dark and dreary waste. Don’t be one of them. Pray to God for mercy, to guide you out of darkness. Pray for him to help you gather good seeds and ask Him how and where you can plant them to bring more happiness into the world.