Peace as a River (1 Nephi 20:18)

When we hearken to the commandments of God, we are filled with peace and righteousness. This sounds like a joyful situation to me.

Nephi quotes Isaiah:

“O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments—then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” – 1 Nephi 20:18

I like that. Peace as a river. Righteousness as the waves of the sea.

River
I recently went to a river and waterfall in the mountains. This has been a wet year, and it was rushing with water. The sound of it nearly demands peace. I mean, of course I snapped a few pictures, but for the most part I was transfixed by the sound of the running water.

It was peaceful.

I stood there, watching the water. It is such a miracle. It started in the mountains. No, it started in the sky, then fell to the earth onto mountain tops. These streams and rivers carried the water down the mountains and into lakes and eventually seas. All along the way, these little streams nourish and sustain all life. The wildflowers, the trees, the birds, the frogs. and let’s not forget – you and me.

Peace as a river.

Waves of the Sea
I’ve been blessed to be able to live by the sea. And the waves. That’s the best part, isn’t it?

I didn’t grow up by the ocean. I’ve been loads of times, but I hadn’t ever lived by the ocean until last year. One night, my husband and I were walking along the beach in the evening. It was dark. No one was out. We saw a seal. People were inside or at restaurants. Long gone were kids making sandcastles, people surfing, or soaking the sun.

For a split second, I thought, “the day is over, but the ocean is still going.” haha! Yes. The waves are still going. They will for as long as there is an earth. Every minute of every day. Sometimes the waves may be small, gentle, lapping waves. Other times, especially in places like Oahu’s North Shore, the waves may be 30′ tall displaying unfathomable power.

Either way, they never stop.

***
When we hearken and obey the commandments of God, we can have peace like a river. Our righteousness can become steady like the waves of the sea.

I’m not always the best at doing all I need to do, but this scripture brings me hope, peace, and motivation to continue to Hearken.

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Religion and Pain

God honors agency – our freedom to choose – so much that He has allowed people to desecrate His name in the worst of ways. We see this all the time. Even right now, there are people who are conspiring to kill innocent unknown enemies in their name of their supposed god.

As a person of faith, I’m so irritated by these wolves in sheep clothing. So many people are turned off by any mention of faith because of those who mask their wickedness in “religion.”

We learn in 1 Nephi:

“And it came to pass that I saw among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church.

And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity.

And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.

And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots.

And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church.

And also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity.” – 1 Nephi 13:4-9

Now – this section of scriptures doesn’t refer to any specific church. This “church” refers to anything that seeks to destroy God’s church – His gospel, His love, His hope.

Note what we learn about this “church”:

  • It is abominable
  • The devil is the founder of it (obviously that means it isn’t really God’s church, so we shouldn’t judge God based on a church founded by Satan
  • It slays the saints of God – destroying that which is actually good
  • It values riches and the praise of the world more than God or people

This “great and abominable church” has been a problem for so many people throughout all of history, and I believe that it is probable Satan’s greatest deception – doing all of this evil the name of a so-called God. No wonder so many people are turned off by religion.

But, in truth, the gospel of the Savior, Jesus Christ is good news. It elevates. It is Christ’s church. It brings us life and joy. It doesn’t value the praise of men or the riches of the world. It values the true abundant life – rich with blessings and joy.