Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Try Try Again 1 Nephi 3: 16-31
1 Nephi 3: 16-31
How many times have I received a request to do something and it has been too hard for me? How many times have I tried to do what God has asked of me and I have failed? Why does He ask these things of me? oops starting to sound like murmuring. But seriously How much are we expected to do alone?
I don't believe we are expected to do anything alone. When the Lord asks us to do something, "a calling", "a parental duty", "education", "service" etc. he provides a way for us to do it. We must believe this to be true. In believing we have won one half of the battle. When we take on a task of our own making (and we do not have the Lord's blessing, then we might be alone, but we can always ask for his help and his blessings.)
As I thought about today's scripture, a pattern became clear to me. So todays post will have both the words that I have found interesting and a pattern of how we "may accomplish the thing which he commandedth them" (vs 7).
Phrases and Words
(comments on phrases of words)
I. Problem (vs 4) Edict, commandment, Do thus... What is our first response when we are asked to do something? What we don't always realize is that we have a choice as to how we will respond. The natural thing to do is to murmur?(vs 5) Why? Because it requires the least amount of energy.It usually leads to inaction. As human beings that expend energy, we like to do that that requires the least amount?
OR WE CAN show faith (vs 6) which will leads to action. When given a task from the Lord, which do I do?
Faith - Nephi realized that there was much he didn't know but he was a man of action. He didn't have to have all the glory, he was willing to share the planning, the power, and the glory with God. I wonder if my own faith understands that God will help me accomplish all that He has need of me to do? Nephi knew that the power of God's love was great. Whatever he saw, heard or felt when the Lord manifest (vs 1 Nephi 2:17) himself unto him changed him. He knew God's love was pure enough, strong enough, and true enough to sustain him. All he had to do was believe.
II. Consultation ... did consult one with another (vs 10) What's the plan? We have the goal now how are we going to accomplish this goal? Is it a worthwhile goal? Who is on the team? Is it something we believe in? If not, do we believe in the God who asked this thing of us? How are we going to go about doing this? faith requires action. murmuring requires inaction.. and somewhere in-between.. well that requires minimal action.
III. Plan A cast lots (vs 11) Let's send someone up but does it matter who? What will be find? Laban was one of their cousins that's why he had the family records, but how would he receive them? Do you think they were a bit afraid? Why didn't all of them go together? In reading this I got the impression they just wanted to take the fastest and simplest way out.
1.he desired (vs 12) - Ask. As I thought about this I realized that the first step in all problems is to ask? But in what manner did Laman ask? Did he make excuses? Did he beg? How did he represent the Lord on the Lord's task? Did he ask with the Spirit of the Lord? How do we ask for things when we are on the Lord's errand?
2. Sorrow had done unto us (vs 14) Failed attempt usually ends in sorrow and self pity. Look what was done unto us. I wonder how many times I have said in a defiant tone, "I tried, I failed, and look what happened unto me" You have proof. He tried to kill me. Is my life worth this? Surely the Lord will not require so much from me?
3. Remember let us be faithful (vs 15) Its not always about the task. Sometimes its about us. Not me, but the us, the we, the group, the team. Let us remember this is not a selfish endeavor. How can we work together? How can we obey the commandments? How can we think better? How can we remember that we are not alone? We have faith. We have our God. God asked this of us. He has a reason!
IV Plan B let us go down (vs 16) Do we give up? Do we try again? Faith beckons that we try again? So they try another plan. When asking didn't work, an appeal for worldly lust might. Let's barter our goods for that which God says is more valuable. Before Plan B can be implemented a pep talk is in order. We need to revive the spirit, share some reasoning as to why we need to put ourselves on the line once more.
1. Wisdom (vs 19) It is wisdom - The Why of it all. Nephi speaks to their ability to reason. He says first we need our history, second we need our language so that we can teach our children and third, Do it for the children. If you don't want your history or your language for yourself, realize your children will need it. It really isn't about the group here, (the us) it's about the next generation. We are giving a service to our progeny. We need to preserve our words (vs 18)
2. Stick to the Plan "persuade my brethren" (vs 21) What's the plan? The Plan is to keep the commandments. Why? Because we will have blessings if we do and sorrow if we don't. So What's the plan again? To get the plates.
3. Action (vs 22)
V Evaluation How did it work? Not so well for Lehi's boys. Let's evaluate. They were tired, hungry, their lives were threatened, and they were afraid. When I'm tired, lonely, hungry or unsuccessful, I usually get a bit cranky. How about you? How do you respond when nothing goes your way? Well Laman and Lemuel were angry and like I said before anger leads to a. casting out b. hitting c. killing ... Let's face it most of us want success. When we don't get it it usually leads to a division. (casting out) Argumentation. So now what?
Was it the Lord's will? an angle of the Lord came (vs 29) How do you know if you are not Nephi that what you are doing is God's will? How do we know it wasn't Nephi's ego? Did the Lord say he would help? Does he remind us often that we are not alone? Who are my angels when I am on the Lord's errand? Will I recognize the earthly angels (those with faith) or my heavenly angels? (those with God's spirit)?
It is important to recognize that in all accomplishments of great worth there will be opposition. Satan will not stand aside and let the Lord's work go un-twarthed. In this story there was anger, lust, apathy, confusion, and greed.
VI Plan C - The Lord's Way - Here is the beauty of this story of faith. After all we can do, the Lord will provide. Why didn't God just tell Nephi the first time? Why did he allow Nephi to fail twice? Why did he allow them to become angry, hungry, frightened, excited, alone, and ripe for discouragement? He knew all along that Laban would not cooperate. Didn't he? Here in lies the biggest lesson of all. He didn't do it for Nephi, because he wanted Nephi to learn a few things. Namely 1. Growth in reasoning 2. Growth in the group (that his brothers may see and feel of God's power and love for them 3. Leadership in righteousness 4. greater faith 5. When we serve God, one another, or even ourselves with the intent to do God's will, He will not leave us alone.
Laman and Lemuel learned their faith from the power of an angel's reprimand. How do we learn our faith? reprimand or remembrance? I was struck with the fact that even after they had seen an angel (maybe the same angel that Nephi saw when he learned of God's mysteries) the first thing they do after the angel departs is to murmur? Why? My guess is because of what they loved. It is a hard thing to receive something that you don't believe in or understand? Try receiving a new language when you can't see the need or value of it your life? God's love is a new language. It is the language of eternal love. It requires us to see more than our eyes will behold, to feel more than our senses will record, and to understand with a deep and abiding purpose.
God will show them the way to accomplish all that He desires of them. In chapter four we will discover that God did prepare a way, when all else failed. When man's attempts failed, God prepares the way.