Monday, February 3, 2020

Nephi's Reminds Us that The Lord Remembers Covenants

I slowed down a bit this week and studied the Book of Mormon more for myself than for my kids, and boy, I learned a lot.

One of the things I've been increasingly impressed by is the idea that when we make covenants the Lord can bless and uphold us in a very powerful way.

As I was reading and studying for myself last Saturday, I came to 1 Nephi Ch 17:22-55, in which Nephi is preaching to his brothers Laman and Lemuel.  He is recounting for them the flight of Ancient Israel as they escape from bondage in Egypt.

Since I was in a pondering mode, I asked myself, "Why is Nephi bringing this up right now?"  What is the correlation?

I always just thought, well, the Israelites are their ancestors.  The miracles of this story means a lot to them.  And the promises as well.  

As I started to write down the details in the story, I started to compare Moses and the Israelites' journey to Lehi and his family....and things started to look really similar.

I wrote down three columns across the top of my paper:

The first column is for Moses, the second is for Lehi's family, the third is the Lord's covenant people today (the Church).

I started to see many comparisons:

Who: The Ancient Israelites - Lehi's Family - God's People Today

Their Leader/God's Prophet: Moses - Lehi - God's Prophet on the Earth Today (Pres. Russell M. Nelson)

The Wicked City/Place of Bondage:  Egypt - Jerusalem - The World/Babylon

Miracles God Provided on their Journey: Manna for food - The Lord made their food sweet so they didn't have to cook it - We are spiritually fed today probably more than ever.

Miracles in Travel: The parting of the Red Sea - The Crossing of the Wilderness without fire and the Crossing of the Ocean in a boat made in the wilderness - The Crossing of the Plains by the pioneers and more miracles ahead!

How the groups responded to God:  Led by the Lord, but hardened their hearts and had to be chastened - Same for Lehi's family from time to time - The same for us.

How the Lord handled their enemies: The armies of Pharoah were drowned in the Red Sea when they pursued Ancient Israel after setting them free - Laban was killed when he tried to stand in the way of Nephi obtaining the plates. - The Great & Abominable Church (Satan's church) will eventually be destroyed as well.

Another similarity in all three: The Lord brought each group of people eventually to their promised land, however there were casualties along the way.  Spiritually speaking, we don't want to physically go with the flow and then be "lost" spiritually in the end because we weren't learning and growing closer to God along our journey.

There are other comparisons to be drawn.  But it wasn't until I slowed down that I could really inspect them, and then it became clear why Nephi is telling his brothers about the freeing of Israel by Moses.

That story is the story of how Christ will always deliver his people if they choose to follow him.  It is how he is currently delivering his people today.

Here are two quotes that stood out to me as clear, strong, reliable truths:

1. He leadeth away the righteous into precious lands.  (As someone whose family was recently moved from one precious land to another, this truth brought me hope in God's ability to lead me along and helps me trust Him more!)

2. The wicked he (eventually) destroyeth. (Both from 1 Ne. 17:38.

And 3. He LOVETH those who will have him to be their God.

And how do we show the Lord that we "will have him to be our God?"  I think this is answered in 1 Ne. 17:40:

"And he loveth those who will have him to be their God.  Behold, he loved our fathers, and he covenanted with them, yea, even Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and he remembered the covenants which he had made; wherefore, he did bring them out of the land of Egypt."

I believe in the power of making promises with God in holy Temples. These promises are what we call Covenants.  It is a powerful bond between God and his people, between groups of people and more recently between individuals.

I'm sure I learned this comparison in Seminary or something years ago, but I'm glad that I took the time to slow down and let the Spirit reteach these truths to me again last week.


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