Lachoneus is chief judge. Six hundred years have passed since Lehi left Jerusalem. Nephi departs out of the land and leaves his son, Nephi, in charge of the plates. Nephi the elder disappears. Nephi the younger now takes charge of the plates.
In the 92nd year of the reign of the judges, the wicked say the time is past for Samuel the Lamanite’s prophesy to come to pass. They taunt the believers, saying their joy and faith in the coming of Christ was vain. The righteous are sorrowful, but they don’t give up hope.
…but behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.”3 Nephi 1:8
Pres. Thomas S. Monson said: “Fear not…The future is as bright as your faith.” (Be of Good Cheer, Ensign, May 2009, 92)
How strong and bright is my faith in Jesus Christ?
When the world gets confusing, angry, or wicked, do I trust that He will make everything right in the end? Or do I let fear cow me or lead me to make desperate decisions that might actually pull me away from Christ, the only One who can save me?
The unbelieving Nephites set aside a day to kill all the believers, if Samuel’s prophesy doesn’t come to pass. This reveals how wicked their society had become. Nephi mourns because of their wickedness.
We can mourn the state of our world, but we should work to keep our faith in Jesus Christ burning bright in the darkness.
Faith emits a spiritual light, and that light is discernible. Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe and as we seek it and hold on to it. Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker. Faith is a principle of power, important not only in this life but also in our progression beyond the veil. By the grace of Christ, we will one day be saved through faith on His name. The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice.”Neil L. Andersen, Faith is Not by Chance, Nov 2015
Nephi makes the choice to live by faith. He bows himself down and pleads to God for the people about to be destroyed. Nephi prays for the sign to come. For Christ to come. He is the Only One who can save them. He still is the Only One who can save us today. Prayer is a mighty tool to bring us closer to heaven and our God, and seek protection, power, and inspiration.
Am I using prayer to protect and strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ?
Christ answers Nephi’s prayer.
Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.”3 Nephi 1:13
That night the sun goes down, but it does not get dark. The people are astonished. Many of the unbelievers fall to the earth, because they know their plans are frustrated and they fear that they have sinned and not believed. A new star appears, as was foretold.
The devil immediately goes to work to undermine their faith though. We can expect him to never stop battling us and trying to poke holes in our faith and testimony of Jesus Christ.
…there began to be lyings sent forth among the people by Satan, to harden their hearts, to the intent that they might not believe in those signs and wonders which they had seen.”3 Nephi 1:22
Even when people have empirical evidence, Satan can cast doubt upon it. Thankfully, “the more part of the people did believe, and were converted unto the Lord.” (22) There is peace again in the land, save for a few who erred scripturally and thought the law of Moses should be done away. They are taught by their fellow saints and brought to know their error and confess their faults. There is a feeling of gladness throughout the land, because of the signs and knowledge that their Savior has been born.
Nephi and others go about baptizing and preaching Christ. This brings true peace to their land.
The next year passes away in peace, save for some mischief by the Gadianton robbers who have a secret stronghold in the mountains and cannot be destroyed in their hiding places.
How do you defeat such wickedness? We have evil hiding today that has secret strongholds. How do we root them out for the peace of the people? Is there a way to do this? The Nephites, though righteous here, couldn’t seem to eradicate them.
The year after this, the robbers increase in numbers, because of dissenters from the Nephites that join them. When righteous people dissent and fall away, it hurts everyone. The Lamanites, who had been more righteous, sorrow because of the rising generation who is choosing to follow wicked paths, instead of Christ.
For behold, they had many children who did grow up and began to wax strong in years, that they became for themselves, and were led away by some who were Zoramites (dissenters), by their lyings and their flattering words, to join those Gadianton robbers.
And thus were the Lamanites afflicted also, and began to decrease as to their faith and righteousness, because of the wickedness of the rising generation.”3 Nephi 1:29-30
This shows how important teaching our youth while they are young is. We cannot expect the Church or schools to teach them only. Church is a supplement to the family. We must not be distracted from the sacred calling of teaching our children true and correct principles, so they grow up and become for themselves and desire good, not evil.
How is my own faith in Jesus Christ right now? Is it unwavering, even in the face of adversity? Or could it use some strengthening?
Resources: Come Follow Me manual, Book of Mormon 2020