I’m still thinking about how I want to organize these blog posts…Not sure yet, so bear with me.
Context and General Information
- Nephi is making an abridgment of the record of his father. Which meant that his father made a record.
- After the Lord showed Lehi the marvelous vision as recorded in 1 Nephi 1:1-15, Lehi then begins to share the message with others in Jerusalem.
- The Jews are angry with Lehi, they want to kill him.
- Despite this anger, Nephi will show us in the record that follows that the Lord’s tender mercies are over those whom he hath chosen – unto the power of dliverance.
Analysis, Observations, and Application
Now that we have a few points on this block of scripture, let’s try to understand it and make some meaning.
In 1 Nephi 1, we read:
“And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.
And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him…;” – 1 Nephi 1:19-20
When I read about this, I think that I can understand why the Jews might not like the message all that much. Lehi is testifying of their wickedness and abominations.
Have you ever been corrected? I have been. And I’m not even talking about being corrected by a teacher or a parent, or the usual. But by someone who loves me and has my best interest. I’ve been corrected by friends and my spouse even my children. It is not easy.
Even when their isn’t much on the line – say when I was in college and I wrote essays or creative pieces of work. It wasn’t always easy to be critiqued and corrected.
You have to eliminate pride at first.
And the kind of correction that Lehi is doing with the people of Jerusalem isn’t about the mechanics or grammar of their essay. It isn’t about writing better transition or using a more active voice. He is telling them that they are doing wicked things that will result in the destruction of their lives as they know it.
If they choose to listen to Lehi, a lot is on the line. It’s not like they just have to correct a few grammar mistakes. They might have to completely change their lives.
I can see why they might not be receptive to Lehi.
Not only would it be hard to hear this message, but Lehi’s message is not the majority opinion of the culture of that time. No doubt it sounds a bit unconventional or maybe “old fashioned.” His is the only voice telling them they are wicked in a world that is shouting the opposite message.
It sounds familiar. It might have been hard to accept Lehi’s message if you were in Jerusalem.
That being said, Lehi said God’s message. And if the people were willing to listen with the Spirit, then the would have heard Lehi’s message loud and clear. In fact, not only would they have heard Lehi’s message, but it would have become a message of hope and joy rather than condemnation.
Lehi’s message was a testimony of their wickedness, yes. It was also a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem because of their wickedness (which prophecy was fulfilled not many years later). Additionally, Lehi’s message was of the Messiah – the hope and redemption of the world.
If the people of Jerusalem would have chosen to hear this message, then they could have been filled with joy. They could have made another choice. Instead, they were stirred up into anger. They wanted to kill Lehi.
The good news of the gospel was a message that angered them!
Think about this – how do I react to the words and warnings of the prophets? Do I mock and jeer at their message as if it is old fashioned, unintelligent, or just plain wrong? Is my heart open to the Spirit so that I can hear the message that the Spirit wants me to know?
This example of Lehi’s happened on a big scale, but I think that it happens on smaller scales every day – if we will let it. If we will be humble, then the Lord will refine us. Though painful in the moment, we can remember that ultimately such refinement points us to the Hope of our Redeemer. In other words, though painful for a moment, the pain gives way to great joy.
Recently, in my life, the Lord has been giving my husband and I the opportunity to go through refinement – both individually and as a couple. It isn’t always very easy. In fact, the other night, we went on a date that was relatively painful.
But, thankfully, because my husband is close to the Spirit and because I am trying to also be close to the Spirit, the Lord helped us to see our situation with discernment. He helped us to see that our flaws aren’t something to be ashamed of. But that we can accept these flaws as ours, look to our Savior, and be healed.
Though the date night started off a little crummy, instead of being like the people of Jerusalem – instead of getting emotional and prideful – we turned to one another, the Spirit helped us to see clearly and it comforted us. We drew together in love, and we ended up having a really great date that has helped us to draw closer and have more love and joy in our lives.
Lehi’s message, though it took a tone of correction, was ultimately a message of joy. That is God’s message for each of us – and we can be filled with joy if we will hear it with the comfort and discernment of the Spirit.