A short one for today. Read 1 Nephi 7:16 here.
Context and General Information
- This is all happening while on the journey back from Jerusalem to Lehi’s tent – with Ishmael’s family.
- Laman and Lemuel had rebelled, along with some of Ishmael’s children, and they want to return to Jerusalem.
- Nephi reminds them of the danger in moving back to Jerusalem – it will be destroyed! However, Nephi admits that they have a choice. He is simply giving them an educated choice.
- Laman and Lemuel get angry. They tie him up with the intention of him dying in the desert.
They Got Angry
What is the response of Laman and Lemuel – who were already agitated and rebellious – to what Nephi had to say. We read in 1 Nephi:
“And it came to pass that when I, Nephi, had spoken these words unto my brethren, they were angry with me…” – 1 Nephi 7:16
Laman and Lemuel were angry with Nephi.
Why? Why would they get mad at Nephi? Let’s think about what is happening –
- Laman and Lemuel rebel – against Nephi while traveling back to the wilderness to their father – against their father in traveling in the wilderness at all. They want to go back to Jerusalem.Their hearts are in Jerusalem. This isn’t really good.
And why isn’t it good? As I think about it – I’m reminded of others who have left Jerusalem so far:
- Lehi, Sariah, Sam, and Nephi – and by this point we know that Lehi has a testimony that they need to leave, Nephi and Sam have testimonies that they need to leave, and Sariah has a testimony that they need to leave. Though this inspiration originally came to Lehi, the Lord did give confirmation to others that Jerusalem would be destroyed and that they needed to flee.The point I’m trying to make – Nephi, Sam, and Sariah were not relying on Lehi’s witness anymore. They had witness for themselves. Laman and Lemuel could have, too, but they didn’t seek it. And if they did, they ignored it and desired Jerusalem more. (which is crazy, right?! Who would want to stay in a place that would be destroyed?!…a quick tangent – based on what we know about Laman and Lemuel, I think it’s safe to assume that if they had stayed in Jerusalem and it got destroyed, and they were starving, or fleeing for their lives, or slaves they would be thinking “Why weren’t we warned? I would have rather traveled in the wilderness for 8 years than to deal with this!”)
- Zoram – It’s easy to forget that Zoram is even with them still. But it’s important to note. Zoram isn’t making a move to escape back to Jerusalem. He stayed loyal to Nephi and Lehi – even though Nephi killed his master, Laban! We don’t know a whole lot about Zoram, but it seems apparent that at some level Zoram knew Jerusalem would be destroyed and wanted to escape it, too. He didn’t seem tempted to rebel against Lehi or Nephi on the way to the promised land.
- Ishmael and his wife, and a few of his children (that didn’t rebel) Even though Ishmael and his family are only beginning this journey, there are plenty members of his family who don’t rebel.
So – it’s not only Nephi and Lehi that want to move out of Jerusalem. There are many others who have received their own witnesses and motivation for leaving Jerusalem. Laman and Lemuel want to go back, so they rebel.
- Nephi, troubled by Laman and Lemuel’s rebellion and constrained by the Spirit, speaks to his brothers – He asks them the series of “how is it?” questions. He is trying to jog their memories and help to persuade them not to return to Jerusalem.
- Nephi gives Laman and Lemuel the choice to do whatever they want – with the reminder of what is in store for Jerusalem. He is a good brother, but with their hard hearts, they see his warning as some kind of manipulation or guilt trip. They don’t see that he is delivering the message being given to him by the Lord.
So back to the earlier question. Why are Laman and Lemuel mad at Nephi? He gave them the truth and he gave them an option. What’s it to them?
“And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” – Moroni 7:45, emphasis added.
They are mad because the devil has a hold of their hearts. They don’t have charity. They don’t have the pure love of Christ. You can tell because they are quick to anger. They aren’t patient. They don’t rejoice in truth. Instead, when they don’t get their way, they get angry. When they hear the truth, they get angry. When they are reminded of the Lord and their covenants, they get angry.
We are taught, by the Savior Himself:
“For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.” – 3 Nephi 11:29
Why are Laman and Lemuel angry? For the very same reason that they murmur: they know not the dealings of that God who created them.
Silly. Beyond silly. This is what Laman’s and Lemuel’s anger has brought them to do:
“And it came to pass that they did lay their hands upon me, for behold, they were exceedingly wroth, and they did bind me with cords, for they sought to take away my life, that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts.” – 1 Nephi 7:16
This is the second time (that we have read about) where Laman and Lemuel use violence against their brother. Out of anger. They have no self control – they are completely emotional. And they make a choice that, if it had worked out the way that they intended, would have made them murderers.
I’m toying with this idea – to do more personal application. We’ll see how it goes.
Yesterday, I was in my car, driving home after a doctor’s appointment. It was a beautiful, sunny day in the Heber Valley.
I was driving down a country road that starts off as two lanes in each direction and then narrows down to only one lane in each direction. It is a simple merge, there aren’t usually many cars on this road.
As I drove along, I was singing to music and happy that my kids are all healthy. I noticed in my rear-view window someone coming up on me really fast. The lanes were merging, but I was already in the portion of road where the lanes had merged. The person behind me would simply have to stay behind me.
By the way. I was driving about 50 in a 35. So I wasn’t going a leisurely pace. I could have been pulled over and ticketed.
But it wasn’t enough for the person behind me. They nearly drove me off the road and passed me illegally. I have no idea how fast they were going. Soon they were tailgating someone else ahead of me, and passing them even though it was a double yellow. Even though they nearly hit another car head-on.
I wanted to get angry.
A few days ago, I was talking to someone who I don’t consider a particularly good listener. Even though I know this, I was still engaged in a “conversation,” and then it progressed as usual. I was frustrated with the conversation, with being spoken “down” to. With the whole entire situation.
I wanted to get angry.
Right now, we are living a life of transition. It’s not easy. It is a burden on me, my husband, my children, and my extended family. I know that faith in God includes faith in his timing. Yet there are times when it is hard to understand why His timing takes so long. Stress and pressure mounts up.
And I want to get a little angry.
So – personal application…Learn from Laman and Lemuel. Don’t be quick to anger. And how is it done?…
One – Instead of getting angry for too long, I just sang louder to my music. The day was too pretty to let some driver get me angry. They must have somewhere to go. And I hope that they stay safe!
I remember when I had a kidney stone and we were driving to the hospital. (If you have had a kidney stone, you understand the pain)… Any time my husband slowed down, I yelled at him to hurry up!… Maybe that driver had a passenger with kidney stones! Who knows. Who cares. Whether they had a good reason to drive aggressively or none at all, it makes no difference.
I can keep proper perspective and stay happy.
Two – Instead of getting angry at someone who I consider isn’t a good listener, I can look at the situation with honesty. What kind of listener am I if I’m getting angry at someone else? Instead of worrying about people listening to me, maybe I should remember the sage advice of Mom’s everywhere – we have two ears and one mouth. Maybe I need to take my own advice.
I need to take my own advice.
I am not always a good listener, but I know that when I take the time to listen and care about others, I always feel so good. It’s easy to think that having someone listen will make me feel better about myself. Maybe I should try another tactic – maybe I should try listening if I want to feel better. I know that if I do, I’ll be happy rather than angry.
Three – I can’t do anything about my life being in a transition right now. Faith in the Lord includes faith in his timing! So, instead of worrying about the things that I can’t control, I can focus on the things I must do daily to eliminate stress, fear, and doubt.
Pray. And go for walks. I’ve noticed that when I don’t get outside (of the house or my own head…or both), then I get crazy.
How can you feel angry when you go for a walk and see this???
Anger is an easy option. It’s the go-to reaction for the “natural man.” But we miss out on so much in life! Laman’s and Lemuel’s anger nearly caused them to miss out on a promised land. And anger won’t just disappear when we think we have what we want.
We must make the choice to strip anger out of our hearts. And then, when we do – we open our hearts to beauty and joy.