After Nephi finishes up teaching his brothers, Lehi bears his testimony. He “rehearsed unto them, how great things the Lord had done for them in bringing them out of the land of Jerusalem.” (1)
Take time to regularly remember all the Lord has done for you. It makes you happier. It keeps you humble and teachable.
When we don’t count our blessings, we naturally forget how much God has done for us. Our hearts calcify and can’t feel spiritual things…like God’s love, peace, and promptings.
Lehi reiterates how blessed they were to be brought to the promised land and warned to flee out of the land of Jerusalem. He bears testimony that he KNOWS they would’ve been destroyed if they had stayed in Jerusalem.
But…notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands.”2 Nephi 1:5
Trials are part of life. In fact, they are necessary, since opposition is the only way to test our moral character and tutor us in the ways of God. By faithfully and patiently enduring our afflictions, we obtain a land of promise.
Shedding extra weight
Lehi says the promised land is “consecrated unto him whom he shall bring.” (7) Consecrate means dedicated to a sacred purpose. This land is consecrated to the sacred purpose of serving God. He goes on to say that if we worship the Lord and “serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them.” (7)
Wickedness leads to captivity. Righteousness leads to freedom. Sin limits our choices. Following God opens opportunities. We don’t necessarily have to be in bondage to other nations. We can be in bondage to the devil, which is way worse.
Repentance frees us from bondage.
I saw a post on Facebook this week about Shrek the sheep. I guess he got lost from his herd, and for six years, he hid in caves. When he was finally found, Shrek was a huge awkward ball of wool. When he was sheered, the wool they took off him weighed 60 pounds. A normal sheep carries about 10 pounds of wool on his body before sheering season.
When we hide from Christ, our Shepherd, and don’t come unto Him, we end up carrying a lot of unnecessary weight from the world around. Christ can carry our burdens, if we let Him. He can shave off our burdensome fleece. He has said:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. / Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. / For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.“Matthew 11:28-30
Repent and let Christ take your burdens upon Him.
Lehi prophesies that the land will be blessed for their sake if they serve the God of the land—Jesus Christ.
But… “if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer, and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.”2 Nephi 1:10
Awake from a deep sleep
Lehi pleads with his sons to repent and make better choices.
O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.”2 Nephi 1:13
When we spiritually awaken, we look deep inside ourselves to see the evil and good inside us. That introspection helps us wake up and realize our need for our Savior, leading to repentance.
Repentance is heart surgery, giving us a new, softened heart that will listen and heed God’s will.
Lehi knew that when we sin, it is like we are sleeping. We miss out on everything that is going on around us when we are asleep. Sleeping spiritually causes us to miss out on glorious blessings and growth we could have if we were awake. Lehi didn’t want that for his sons.
He wanted them to shake off the chains of sin that lead to captivity and destruction. Shaking off chains requires hard work. Chains are heavy and binding. One doesn’t just brush them off casually. They might have a lock on them which requires the key of repentance to make escape possible.
Shrek the sheep couldn’t shake off his fleece on his own. He needed a shepherd. We need the Good Shepherd to help us awake and shake off the chains (or awkward fleece) that binds us down.
Twice, Lehi tells his sons to awake. Then he begs them to “arise from the dust…and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity.” (21)
A third time, he pleads with his sons to awake.
Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.”2 Nephi 1:23
Don’t slumber when it comes to the things of God. Don’t doze off and miss out on promised blessings.
Put on the armor God has given to protect us in this crazy world.
We’re in a battle against good and evil. Satan will do all he can to destroy our spirits. But Christ has made it possible for us to triumph against the destroyer. He can arm us with the protective sword of the Spirit and the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness and the shield of truth.
No smart soldier would go out into battle without his armor and weapons. So, turn to God and awake to the danger around us…and seek His protective armor and weapons in this vital fight against truth and error, sin and righteousness, good and evil.