Today I read 1 Nephi 15 - 16. I must admit that very little stood out to me this time as I read through these chapters. What did stand out to me was the Liahona. Since the time of the Jaredites, the Lord has led peoples from one place to another. And each time he has used differing methods. We have a record of Him leading the Jaredites, the Israelites, and the Nephites. For the first 2 groups he used a pillar of light or a pillar of clouds that went before the multitude. For the Nephites, he gave them the Liahona.
Now the people of Nephi during this stage of their journey, that we know of, was roughly 18 people. We have Lehi, Sariah, their 4 sons and their wives, their 2 daughters and their husbands, Zoram and his wife, and finally Ishmael and his wife. Those are all the people we are aware of in their party at the time of the finding of the Liahona and their departure from the valley of Lemuel. The reason I bring this up, is because my thought was, why bother with the Liahona in the first place? I mean honestly, the Lord could just have easily have spoken to Lehi and guide him to where He needed them to be just as he had guided them to the valley of Lemuel. So why give them the Liahona at all?
The answer must be of course that it was what they needed. It wasn't because the Lord thought it would be neat. It wasn't because he was tired of the pillar of cloud routine. For whatever reason, the Liahona was the method that would work best for that group of people. I do believe that the reason the Lord did not use the pillar of light and or in a cloud was #1 for safety and #2 due to the size of their group.
We are told later in the book of Mormon that the Lord had not allowed them to build a fire in the 8 years they wandered in the wilderness and that instead he made their food sweet so they didn't have to cook it. There are only a couple of reasons for such a commandment and daily divine manifestation. One would be to remind them daily of their dependence on the Lord. The other would be safety from other peoples in the area. I cannot imagine there were very many of Jerusalem's upstanding citizens out wandering in the wilderness, but I am confident that there were in fact robbers. However, we learn in 1 Nephi 17:13 that the Lord was their light and He led them so that "...ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led." So maybe it really was the daily manifestation that was needed, which with folks like the sons of Ishmael and Laman and Lemuel, maybe it was indeed what they needed most. After all, if people who had seen angels, heard the voice of the Lord, survive solely on a diet that consists of raw meat, and have a compass that the writing can change at anytime and the pointers work by something other than magnetics and STILL they turn away from the Lord, I can only imagine that the only thing that kept them somewhat on the strait and narrow for 8 years was their absolute reliance on the Lord for their very lives.
The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways, but sometimes I think He does so only because it's what we want or maybe what we need. He also works by small and simple means and I think that He uses the method that works best for us in each case since He knows us better than we know ourselves. I don't know about you, but it makes me feel safe in His hands. Until tomorrow.