This post covers verses 11-18.
Lehi goes to the tree introduced in verse 10 and eats of the precious fruit.
“And I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.” – 1 Nephi 8:11
He eats of the fruit and his soul is filled with “exceeding great joy.” (12)
What does the tree represent? And the fruit?
What could be sweet above all else, pure and white, and bring such exceeding great joy?
In my life, all that is sweet and good and joyful has come from God. My pains and griefs have been swept away when I’ve repented and exercised faith in my Savior. Hope-stealing darkness has been conquered by light and truth I’ve received through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, His words in the scriptures, and God’s living prophets.
To me, the tree represents Christ and all the goodness that comes through Him, by Him, and because of Him. The fruit is the blessings/effects of the atonement when we apply it to our lives.
Just looking at fruit won’t nourish us or keep us alive. And having a knowledge of Christ’s Atoning sacrifice won’t change our lives if we don’t use it.
How do we partake of our Savior’s Atonement?
Lehi’s description of the taste and effect of the fruit on him shows the beauty and unique power of Christ’s Atonement. That fruit has power to change us. Transform us. The whiteness represents how pure and perfect we can become as we partake of Christ’s atoning power.
And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.”1 Nephi 8:12
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the only fruit that can fill us with joy.
Joy is something you want to share, especially with those you love (like your family). Joy can’t be hoarded, or it fades away. Only in sharing does joy increase.
A loud voice
Lehi looks about for his family, wanting to share the fruit that he’s found. He sees a river. His wife, Nephi and Sam stand by it, looking “as if they knew not whither they should go.” (14) Lehi beckons to them and calls in a loud voice, so they can hear him, telling them to join him to partake of this most desirable of all fruit. (15) Lehi didn’t just quietly wait for his family to discover him and the awesome fruit. He got their attention with a loud voice.
The world has many loud voices for evil. I notice (and am guilty of this) that good people tend to be quiet, not agreeing with the loud bad voices, but not standing up against them either. Why do we do this?
I think fear is a huge reason good people are silent.
I might justify my quiet hiding in the background as kindness, not wanting to cause uncomfortable arguments with others. There are definitely certain moments that call for the power of calm silence. But I think more often, fear keeps our mouths shut(it is for me). I fear making waves. I fear not being listened to. I fear people hating me.
The world needs to hear the voices from the opposing side. God’s side. His love needs to be spoken about in “a loud voice.” His commandments need to be shared again and again with “a loud voice.” His plan of salvation needs to be shared in “a loud voice.”
Not thought about in our minds only.
God needs loud voices speaking out for Him.
That’s what Lehi teaches me when he worked so hard to get the attention of his family by the noisy river. The river could’ve drowned out his voice, so they never would’ve heard him…but he used his whole body and “a loud voice” that carried above the river sounds to bring them to the tree and the wondrous fruit he wanted them to taste.