Last week I finished the Book of Mormon, which means that I also started the Book of Mormon again.
Those familiar words are like coming home. I Nephi having been born of goodly parents… perhaps the most read passage in the Book of Mormon?
Anyway, today I read 1 Nephi chapter 3.
This is a classic and well known chapter where Lehi sends his sons back to Jerusalem to get the brass plates from Laban.
Laman and Lemuel murmur as they do, but Nephi is faithful and says in verse 7..
I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
This is such an important scripture because it tells us that it is possible to follow the Lord in all things. We’ve all experienced moments of weakness or great times of trial. This scripture assures us that there is a way through it.
Something that stood out to me this time through was Nephi’s idea to go and get his father’s gold and silver and precious things in order to gain the brass plates. Laman had tried to get the plates by asking Laban, which did not work. So Nephi, knowing that God will provide a way, remembers their riches that they had left behind.
I wonder if he thought, “oh! It makes sense now. It all fits together! We left our riches so that they would be here just when we needed them in order to get the plates.” He definitely thought it was the solution to their problem.
But, it wasn’t.
They gathered their riches and presented them to Laban as a trade for the plates, but Laban lusted after the gold and tried to kill them. They lost their property and still didn’t have the plates that they were sent to retrieve.
I wonder if Nephi was at all confused. His brothers were certainly angry. So much so that they beat Nephi with a rod so badly that an angel had to intervene for his sake. But if Nephi was discouraged, he doesn’t talk about it. Think of it though! He thought he had received the answer and was willing to give up all of their riches, and it turned up nothing.
How often has this happened in our lives? We seek guidance and feel prompted to go a certain direction only to have it not work out. It can be incredibly discouraging.
But as we see in the coming chapter, there was a better solution. One that Nephi could never have imagined on his own. One that not only benefited Lehi’s family by providing them the plates, but also gave them Zoram, and later allowed them to get Ishmael. And who knows how many other lives were blessed because of the removal of a wicked man.
God truly does have a plan, a way for us to accomplish his works. So when our first or second or third attempt at reaching our goals, or at following the commandments of the Lord do not get us to where we thought they would, hold tight.
God will provide a way.