Well, if you read this blog, then you know it has been about a week or so since I’ve posted. We had a move, and it was hard to find time to actually blog. There are a lot of changes happening in my life, and they are good.
Interestingly enough, there are some changes that impact my scripture study. There have been times in my life when I can study for about 45-minutes to an hour. In fact, there have been many years when I was able to do so.
And then, there have been times when I can’t even imagine studying for that length of time! A few years ago, I started homeschooling my children. I love it, but it has very dramatically changed my own life and schedules. One of the big changes has been with my scripture study.
Interestingly enough, I have found that whatever time we can set aside for scripture study is exactly the effective dose we need. So – if we have 45 minutes or so to study, then that’s what we need. If we only have 20, then it is just as effective. The bottom line – being honest with yourself and following the Spirit.
Also – there are many things that we need to do for self care, and they are all important. For example, I need to work-out, pray, and shower, and whatnot. Those things aren’t going to be sacrificed so that I can study the scriptures for longer. Instead, I am trying to carefully determine what is needed in each of these parts of my life. And then, I know that the Lord helps me to make up the difference!
Anyway – the old constant – change – is alive and well in my life. I’m not sure how that will really effect the blog. But I’ll keep trucking along. Thanks for reading.
You can read 1 Nephi 16:7-8 here.
Context and General Information
- Nephi, his brothers, and Zoram take the daughters of Ishmael to wife.
- Lehi had kept all of the commandments that had been given him. Nephi was also greatly blessed.
Confidence that Comes from Keeping the Commandments
I wrote about this a little while ago here. It is a concept that is still really on my mind.
The commandments that Lehi had kept were both general commandments (covenants and the ten commandments and such) and also personal commandments – like bearing testimony to the Jews, fleeing Jerusalem, getting the plates, and getting Ishmael and his family.
Having his sons marry the daughters of Ishmael was another commandment that Lehi had kept.
Lehi, though still in the wilderness, could confidently go to the Lord for help and instruction – he was keeping the commandments. I imagine that there could have been room for temptation. So often, I know that I’m VERY MUCH prone to this, we keep a commandment and then expect relatively immediate good consequences.
For example, if I had been Lehi, I think I would have fled from Jerusalem and then figured that I’d reach the promised land within a few months. Hahaha! It took them eight years to finally arrive at the promised land!
I would have been tempted to look around me – after several months and think, Okay…any day now…I’d really like to be in that promised land…I’ve kept the commandments, so the Lord is bound to bless me…any day now…
Maybe I wouldn’t have been that bratty about it. But still – I know that I would have been relatively impatient. Or I would have expected the blessings to come from my sacrifices and obedience earlier.
But that’s not faith.
Instead, we can learn from Nephi’s example. He was confident in his righteousness. He kept the commandments. He recognized the blessings of the Lord – even if those blessings did not yet include arrival at the promised land. He didn’t doubt that blessing would come. He simply trusted in God – that each challenge was a step closer to the blessings that the Lord promised to fulfill.
We each face challenges in our lives that will try our faith. These challenges come to us in many ways – but what they have in common: we have the choice to trust in God. We have the choice to keep His commandments. And we have the choice to notice God’s blessings in our lives.
“…And also, I, Nephi, had been blessed of the Lord exceedingly.” – 1 Nephi 16:7-8
Nephi recognized his blessings of the Lord while he still suffered afflictions in the wilderness. I suppose that recognizing these blessings will help us to navigate the wilderness of our lives better.
One last thing…maybe Nephi also had a better perspective than I do sometimes. I sit here and think Wow. Nephi was able to be grateful and praise God – even in the wilderness of his affliction. But maybe I’m forgetting something. Maybe Nephi didn’t see the wilderness of his affliction as a terrible thing. Maybe Nephi did a better job remembering that the wilderness of his affliction was the route to the promised land! Though it was wilderness and full of affliction, it was the path to blessings! It was a blessing! Without that wilderness, there would be no promised land.
Put another way – let’s imagine that the blessing, the promised land, is the top of the mountain.
The mountain tops are beautiful, and the Lord will direct us to them, but there is only one way to get there – up.
Often, we are eager to be the top of the mountain, then after the initial novelty of the trail to the top wears off, we start to curse the very trail that will take us to the mountain top!
Nephi understood that the wilderness of his affliction wasn’t some kind of personal vendetta that God had against him and his family. In fact, it was just the opposite. The wilderness of affliction was the path to the promised land. It was a blessing. This wilderness, these challenges, came as a direct consequence of keeping the commandments. And, even though they were difficult, they were propelling him forward – closer to the promised land.
So – if we are keeping the commandments – and we are still in the wilderness of our own afflictions, we can take confidence. We are on the path that will lead to the promised land, to the mountain top view. We can be confident that the Lord will continue to guide us. We can be confident that He will strengthen us no matter what we face next. When we keep the commandments, we can be confident and happy – even long before we reach our final goal.