Friday, June 11, 2010
Seeds of every kind
1 Nephi 8
Yesterday I read and marked this chapter. It took me all day to figure out what it meant and how I could wrap my life around it. This is what I came up with.
Essentially the chapter is about Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life. I have read and discussed this chapter many times, but never have I understood that it really is about Lehi's seed. About his concern for his family and his desire that they all find Joy in this life. He is not content for them to find happiness. He wants for them to find Joy that comes from living close to the Lord. The Joy that he has felt and seen and understood, as the Lord opened up his visions and manifest himself unto him.
(Words and Phrases)
seeds of every kind (vs 1) Seeds, if you have ever gardened, you know you do not have a 100% sprout rate. Even the ones that do sprout, are not guaranteed to produce good fruit. Try planting a few watermelon seeds. You may get 6 out 10 come up and then you may only get 1/2 of those that will actually bear you a watermelon. Its the law of averages. Things happen. Seeds not only come in every kind...(phylum) fruit, vegetable, wheat, grass, but they come in every kind such as good, bad, okay, strong, weak, immune, not immune, etc. We all have our gifts and what we bring to this world. Seeds are no different.
I have dreamed a dream (vs 2) What struck me here is that Lehi's family is busy gathering and perserving and packing seeds. Why is this important? If you have ever had a dream that you really really remember, you often remember it because of something you did the day before. It is a subconscious message. I think what might have happened is that as Lehi was packing seeds, he began to wonder how many of these will bear us fruit? Will we have food enough? And what about my fruit? What kind of fruit will they bear? Maybe he said a prayer asking for guidance to help his children?
rejoice in the Lord (vs.3) When I rejoice, I have a spiritual high. To rejoice means to have joy. Joy (for me) comes from doing right, and from doing something that aligns itself with God's word. Joy for me comes from serving others and God.
Lehi sees the contrast in his children. He knows that Nephi understands the Joy he has felt and will always want to taste it. But Laman and Lemuel, he fears that they have already been carried away into the ways of Jerusalem. Into the dark and dreary wilderness. They were the eldest. They would have been the most integrated into the customs and habits of Jerusalem.
I fear exceedingly (vs 4) Where does fear come from? For me it comes from the lack of faith. Lehi says he has little faith in his older sons ability to want and desire that which is good. These sons (again) have been raised to love the valuable things that Jerusalem offered. Lehi had never lived anywhere else and so his family members were there. I think it is interesting that no other members of Lehi's family came with them. No brothers, (Laman's Lemuels Uncles) no sisters.. no distant cousins? Why? Maybe they were the ones who wanted to kill him? Maybe they were the ones who led the mob? Anger runs deepest in families. I don't know. I'm speculating here, but I do not that anger brings fear... and fear has a base in our past.
Think about it... I might be onto something here. No one really wants to kill someone they don't know. I have been in fast food restaurants before when a preacher has come in and warned us to repent (as we stood in line). Most everyone said hello and then stared straight ahead not giving him the time of day. Those who spoke to him could not shake him. What if that preacher had been a close relative? Would I have been embarrassed for his actions and how they made me appear in a public place? Especially if I didn't agree with him. I think that Lehi's fear goes much deeper than Lamen's and Lemuel's recent selfish behavior. I believe that there were family ties that were causing great disturbance within his soul. He was striving to protect his children from a toxic relationship in Jerusalem!
dark and dreary wilderness (vs. 4) Anger if you have ever welcomed it, brings a dark and dreary feeling upon you. Anger and selfishness brings loneliness and confusion, and the inability to discern truth. I can't help but wonder why Lamen and Lemuel so readily chose to be angry when their father was anything but angry? He has admonished them to be like a fountain, to be steadfast like a valley. He has taught them the ways of the Lord. In my mind there was someone, something else that Laman and Lemuel adhered to that was not in keeping with the Lord.
Ahhh... as the eldest sons Laman and Lemuel stood to inherit all of their father's wealth, the same wealth that Laban stole and was left behind, never to be of value again. Their hopes and dreams came through the merchants, apprenticeship, the ties that would give them a future. What future would the wilderness bring them?
We moved once when my daughter was 16. it was very very difficult. Mostly because she had so many dreams and hopes of driving with her friends, of getting a local job, of dates with boyfriends, etc. She was devastated with the move because she had to start all over again. Lamen and Lemuel were taken completely out of civilization and made to live with their family. They did not have another civilization to look forward to, except for the one of their own making and it seems that their father approved of Nephi's ideas more....Lehi's younger sons did not know what they were missing. They would have been too young to have learned to love the ways of the world.
THEIR DARK AND DREARY WILDERNESS revolved around their lost desires.
I saw a man (vs 5) I am not sure but for all these years I believed that Lehi saw an angel. Or that the personage he saw was Jesus. In looking closer at this and considering that this was a dream... it says that he saw a man. Well he had seen a man, a Prophet...Back in Jerusalem. He had listened to the prophet and prayed. The prophet wore white because of his purity and righteousness.
I followed him (vs. 6) Lehi did follow the prophets that came to Jerusalem. He did follow their guidance and he himself prayed. By following the prophets that the Lord had sent to Jerusalem, he found that he himself was in a dark and dreary waste? It does not say that the prophet (the man in white) was in a dark and dreary waste. It says that Lehi was. I think we have all felt this dark and dreary waste. Anywhere that is without God is dark and dreary.
multitude of tender mercies (vs 7) - Lehi had to first recognize where he was in relation to the Prophets of the Lord. He probably thought, I am okay. I am doing good. I go to church. I love God, so what is wrong? The point here is
1. Until he listened to the prophet he could not follow
2. Once he began to follow, he began to look at his world (it was darkness compared to the whiteness of the prophet)
3. Once he realized where he was, he prayed for the Lord's tender mercies.
That's enough for today.
I want to emphasize that much of what I write does not come to me until I begin to write it. I read this chapter at least three times yesterday. But only today when I began to write about it did the seeds of wisdom begin to grow within me and I was made aware of the Lord's tender mercies in my life.
I invite anyone to comment and even write with me.