An Invitation – 2 Nephi 9:50-51

First of all, 2 Nephi 9 is another absolutely amazing chapter in The Book of Mormon. Jacob explains the Atonement in this chapter.

We know that Jacob had a personal witness of the Savior.

Additionally, we know that Jacob had a great teacher – Lehi. 2 Nephi 2 is the chapter where Lehi teaches Jacob one final time before his death. Lehi taught about the need for opposition, the fall, and the benefits and blessings of the fall. Lehi taught about agency. He lays the groundwork for really understanding the need for an Atonement.

We can guess that chapter 9 is happening quite some time later – Lehi passed away, Laman and Lemuel had threatened Nephi, Nephi and his people fled from Laman and Lemuel, Nephi and his people built their own civilization. So, I’m sure some time has passed. Chapter 9 of 2 Nephi says that it happened anywhere between 559-545 BC: a span of about 14 years. Jacob has probably learned a lot since the time that his father taught him.

So – this chapter is awesome, and Jacob’s understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is amazing. We are so blessed to have his teachings. Read all of 2 Nephi 9.

Today, I want to focus in on an invitation that Jacob gave:

“Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.

51 Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.” – 2 Nephi 9:50-51

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Come Every One that Thirsteth

Who thirsts? Everyone! There is not a soul who can survive this world without water. There is true on both a physical and spiritual level.

So Jacob’s invitation is to everyone – all of us. None of us are turned away.

Come to the Waters

Jacob has identified his audience: all that thirst. By the way, Jacob is saying this by way of commandment. It isn’t merely Jacob’s invitation. It is the Lord’s invitation. So- we will refer to it as the Lord’s invitation from this point on.

What does the Lord offer to those that thirst (all of us): water.

I often tell myself and say to others: Our Lord is not Lucy. You know Lucy, from Charlie Brown. She sets Charlie Brown up – with the football. He runs to kick it, then she snatches it away, and he ends up flat on his back.

The Lord is not like that.

To those that thirst, He offers:

“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into ceverlasting life.” – John 4:14

***

I have to admit that I take this for granted. I live in the U.S. I’ve lived a privileged life. I’ve been thirsty, sure. But water has never been hard to come by for me. I haven’t had to dig a well. I haven’t had to search for a spring or brook. If I’m thirsty, I can usually just get up and go right to the tap where clean water is ready for consumption. If I go for a hike, I have the ability to fill up a water bottle, bladder, or canteen with fresh water. I can’t imagine being in a situation where water simply is not available to me.

That being said, I’ve been thirsty before (obviously), and there is nothing quite like a refreshing glass of water when you really thirst.

Christ offers this to us. It is such a comfort and blessing. And He offers it to us consistently – like a tap that always has good, cool, clean water.

He that Hath no Money, Come Buy and Eat

The Lord not only offers us water, but he also says:

“…yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.” –

The Lord offers us not only necessities, but also the abundances of wine and milk – without money or price. We simply have to come.

As I write this, I realize the water, the milk, and the wine – they aren’t free. He paid for them.

Do Not Spend Money for That Which is No Worth, Nor Labor for that Which Cannot Satisfy

Always good advice. And I can’t say that I always heed it. Why are we so much like raccoons? Could Jacob even imagine what these modern days would be like – how rich we would be, yet how empty so many of us feel because we are spending money on that which is of no worth???

I don’t want to write too much on this subject because I do spend money on what some might say is not of worth. I don’t want to pontificate on this subject because I don’t think that the Lord is telling us to be minimalists.

I really think that He is just saying that we will find happiness from Him, not from the things that we buy or other things that we chase after – thinking that they are important – in this life.

(Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t suggest we throw out the baby with the bathwater. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with “stuff.” It’s just that we should remember the role that “stuff” plays in our lives. Stuff is just stuff. We do need some stuff. And some stuff can make life a little nicer and more comfortable.  We simply need to remember it’s role and importance in our lives and not get confused – thinking that “stuff” is what will make us happy.)

Come Unto the Holy One of Israel

Come unto Christ! This is what we should focus on! Even as we do other things in life, we still need the Savior to be at the center of what we do. The Savior is what will bring us peace, joy, and life. He is the Living Water. He is the Bread of Life.

Feast Upon that Which Perisheth Not

Christ is everlasting. His gospel is everlasting. Feasting on His word will bring us the same kind of everlasting life and joy.

The Savior taught:

“6 And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.” – 3 Nephi 12:6 (See also Matthew 5:6)

When we feast on what He has to offer, we will experience satisfaction.

Let Your Soul Delight in Fatness

I really hope that you have made it this far in this blog post, because this is my favorite!

LET YOUR SOUL DELIGHT IN FATNESS!!!!!

How often do we get to hear something like this? Eat, eat, eat! Feasting too much on Christ and His good word? Impossible! Our spiritual fitness=fatness! Delight in it! Delight in the Savior, eat, drink and find joy in what He offers to us.

What an invitation.

This is a party I want to go to! There won’t be judgment. He’s not telling us to dress in black tie. We won’t be judging others – on their cars or clothing because as a part of the invitation, we have been advised not to spend money or labor on worthless things. Some people may show up to the party in a Range Rover, others may show up on foot. No big deal. We can trust that each person did what they needed to do, personally, to get there.

We don’t need to worry about what we are wearing. If we are wearing an expensive brand or clothes or something we got at Wal-Mart, it doesn’t matter. We just need to show up!

We just need to come. The Savior paid the price for each of us to come. He paid our entry fees. He had all of our names listed on the invite list. And now He invites us to come unto Him and participate fully, freely, and frequently. He wants us to be happy.

We can trust Him. He is not Lucy. If we will come unto Christ – through covenanting with Him and then keeping those covenants, then we will be able to let our souls delight in fatness.

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The Lord Will Fulfill His Covenants – 2 Nephi 6:12

A concept about the Savior is standing out to me today. I will list the scriptures and then try to figure out what they really mean.

“…for the Lord God will fulfil his covenants which he has made unto his children;…” – 2 Nephi 6:12

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“But thus saith the Lord: Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for the Mighty God shall deliver his covenant people. For thus saith the Lord: I will contend with them that contendeth with thee—” – 2 Nephi 6:17

Okay, so the themes that are standing out to me right now are:

  • The Lord will fulfill the Covenants He has made unto His children.
  • The Mighty God shall deliver his covenant people.
  • The Lord will contend with them that contendeth with thee.

Interestingly enough, when Jacob gave this speech, his people had recently escaped from the Lamanites who wanted to kill Nephi and those who supported Nephi.

After traveling for a while, Nephi and his people settled in a new place (the land of Nephi). They started building temples, making swords to protect themselves, and building up their city. In 2 Nephi 5, we read:

“And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.” – 2 Nephi 5:27

Jacob was speaking to the people after they had experienced these themes of the Lord.

The covenants that the Lord made with their fathers (Lehi and Nephi) had been fulfilled. They were living in the promised land, after a manner of happiness. Additionally, they were prospered, which was also the fulfillment of a promise that the Lord made directly with Lehi.

The Mighty God did deliver his covenant people. They had been delivered from Jerusalem, from Laban, from the afflictions of the wilderness, from the raging sea, and from the Lamanites. They knew, intimately and experientially, that the Lord was mighty and would deliver His people.

Finally, Jacob taught that the Lord would “contend with them that contendeth with thee.” I’m not sure how much of that they had seen (in comparison to the first two points/experiences). I mean, they didn’t contend with the Lamanites. They fled, and the Lord delivered them. However, because they knew the validity of the first two statements about the Lord, I’m sure they were comforted by this. They knew that there were threats to their peace. They knew that they could trust the Lord.

I guess that’s what all of this is about today. We can trust the Lord.

In fact, I think that is one of the main themes of both 1 and 2 Nephi. We can trust the Lord. Do we really believe that???

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Do We Really Believe the Savior?

Now, it’s kind of easy to think that these scriptures that we read are more general. That this is about the Lord’s covenant people – Israel – as a whole. That the Lord will remember this covenant on a giant-macro-level. And it is true. These revelations are about the Savior’s work on a large scale level.

But it doesn’t end there.

Christ’s work is infinite and eternal. Remember, infinite means really big – expanding… space can expand forever.

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Outer Space

But infinite also means really small…and we can also get infinitely smaller…

(By the way, that’s not as small as it gets. Those are pollen particles. You can find a photo of a single atom here. And remember – the atom isn’t even the smallest particle you can find!!!)

Gosh, I’m going on a tangent. The point I’m trying to make is that usually, when I think of “infinite” I think bigger and bigger and bigger. I think more and more and more. I think of the Lord’s infinite ability, and I think that it means all of the House of Israel, or all of the people of the world. And it does.

But it ALSO means smaller and smaller and smaller – down to single units. Down to single creations. Down to you and down to me. I mean the Savior Himself proclaimed:

” Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” – Matthew 10:29-30

So – when we look at these points:

  • The Lord will fulfill the Covenants He has made unto His children.
  • The Mighty God shall deliver his covenant people.
  • The Lord will contend with them that contendeth with thee.

Not only are they applicable to the House of Israel at large, but they are applicable to you and me. We can liken these scriptures unto ourselves because they do apply to each of us.

I feel so comforted when I can remember that the Lord will fulfill the covenants that He has made with each of us. On a personal level, those covenants have been proclaimed to us in personal experiences – perhaps through promptings, through Priesthood blessings, or in our Patriarchal blessing. But we can rest assured that the Lord will fulfill His covenants if we will keep up our end of the covenant, too!

I feel comforted to know that we will be delivered by a Mighty God. I will be delivered in the end – from death and hell, and that is incredibly comforting to know. However, I can also be delivered in the meantime – as in right now – from the suffering and challenges and afflictions that I face now. The Lord delivers. I have experienced this in my life. Yes, we all go through affliction, suffering, and trial. But if we will put our hope and trust in the Lord, He will deliver us.

Finally, I feel so comforted to know that the Lord will help me to fight my battles. This comes in so many ways, but they are always tailored to each of us personally, if we will let Him into our lives.

For example, as I write right now, I realize that one way the Lord helps us to “fight our battles” is through the prophet. Recently, President Nelson gave the women of the church a set of challenges to complete. One of those challenges was a social media/negative media fast. I made a choice to do as he instructed, even though I was basically addicted to Instagram…

As I obeyed this simple commandment, I found more peace in my life. Some of my “enemies” of anxiety and being overwhelmed were mitigated during that period of time. It was fairly obvious to me that often the things I must contend with happen in between my ears, and that social media was a weakness for me.

Through listening to the Prophet, I started to identify how I could overcome some of the things I’ve been contending with for years (ever since I started up on social media! no coincidence!). I have adjusted my Social media practices, and I feel like I’m finally overcoming and winning this battle in my brain!

What a comfort to know that the Lord will contend with those that contend with us. He does this in various ways, but we can rest assured that He will.

Anyway – long tangent, but I know that the Lord helps us individually. I know that these things that Jacob teaches us about Our Savior are not only applicable on a big scale, but on an individual scale. I know that the Lord fulfills His covenants, delivers His people, and will fight our battles. I’m so grateful to believe in a God who is loving, powerful, and mindful of each and every one of us.

Joy in our Fruit (Jacob 5:71)

In Jacob 5, we read of the Allegory of the Olive Tree. It is a comparison between the scattering and gathering of Israel and an olive vineyard. I won’t go into the details of this story here. You can read it if you would like: Jacob 5.

This verse stood out to me today:

“And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.” – Jacob 7:71

When we labor with our might, we will have joy in the fruit that we lay up.

This, I believe, is a true principle – not only when it comes to serving other people, as the laboreres int he vineyard do, but it is a true principle regarding nearly anything we create. If we labor with our might in our profession, we will have joy in the fruit of that work. We can exchange this with other ways we labor, too – our children, our callings, our time, talents, gifts, or blessings.

Of course, this has to be done for good. I don’t know that we’ll find much joy in our labor if we are laboring in sin. But when we consecrate our labor to the Lord and building His Kingdom, then we have joy in our creations and successes.

Comfort will Come (Jacob 3:1-2)

The scriptures in Jacob 2 and 3 have always meant a lot to me. Unfortunately, actually. In Jacob 2, Jacob is preaching to the people. They had started committing whoredoms – plural marriage and concubines, though it had not been sanctioned by God.

The men and fathers were unfaithful to their wives. This was destroying families.

As I said, I can relate to this, I’ve experienced divorce in many ways. My parents were divorced. They both remarried (separate, new spouses), and then they both eventually went through divorces again. Divorce isn’t easy for children.

As an adult, I was married in the temple, but my ex-husband wasn’t faithful to his commitments. Being betrayed was difficult. My heart and my family was broken. I divorced him.

But there is hope.

Jacob teaches:”But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction.

O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.” – Jacob 3:1-2

After admonishing the unfaithful, Jacob then spoke to the pure in heart. He promised them that the Lord would console them, plead their cause, and send down justice.

I can testify that this is true. While I was going through these trials (of betrayal and divorce), life felt so hopelessly depressing. I didn’t know what would happen in my life, I only had these words (and other scriptures) that offered small rays of hope – of promise – for a brighter and happier future.

When we choose the Lord, the comfort will come. It isn’t easy. When I chose to be separated from my family, I was the primary chorister. I was teaching the children the music of the church. I was teaching them the song, “Families Can Be Together Forever” even though my supposed forever family was dying.

It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t comfortable. But I put my trust in the Lord.

And the comfort came. In fact, it wasn’t long before the comfort came. The Lord promised, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4). I mourned the death of my marriage, I looked to the Lord, and I was comforted.

In time, I started having experiences that were hard, but they were confidence building. I got a job. I ran a marathon. Neither of these things were easy, but they were a great source of confidence and joy during an otherwise difficult time.

And, then, best of all, this challenge eventually came to an end. I was healed from much of the pain, I started dating, and then I met and married the love of my life. In the moment of pain, I couldn’t imagine comfort, joy, or healing. But it came.

I can testify to what Jacob says. If we are pure in heart, and if we stay committed to Him in our lives and in our covenants, then we will receive consolation. We will have peace. We will be able to feast on His love. Our pain will be healed, and we will have joy despite the challenges that we have experienced.