Monday, April 14, 2014

Are Laman and Lemuel Really That Different From People Today?

Today I read 1 Nephi 17 where Nephi is commanded to build a ship.  I have often wondered why the Lord would not allow Nephi and his family to make fire while they were traveling.  I remember when I was younger my dad mentioned that there could be robbers in the wilderness and so it would not be a good idea to light fires and attract the wrong kind of attention.  But perhaps the reason is actually more of them needing to learn reliance upon the Lord.  By not being able to cook their food but rather consume it raw, they were forced to acknowledge that the Lord was helping them and it was not on their own strength they were relying. 

I also find it interesting that Nephi mentions that the women were not made strong like unto the men until they were pregnant and/or had their children already.  It says that they began to bear their burdens without complaint at that time.  Perhaps that is just the way Nephi chose to write it, but I have found that the scriptures tend to be a lot more literal than we give them credit for.  Sometimes it is symbolic but typically the writes are recording their history in a very linear fashion.  So I will wager that it happened in the same way Nephi recorded it.  Which is interesting to me that they had to show faith and rely again upon the Lord before their burdens were made light.  They were not just uplifted because they followed the commandments.  Rather they had to endure some trials and it was only after they endured them that the Lord stepped in to help out.  This is yet another pattern we see in the scriptures all the time. 

Finally, a little self-reflection.  Laman and Lemuel were a couple of knuckleheads for sure, but were they really all that different from me?  From anyone in this time period?  Certainly I am no murderer, so I am different in that regard, but as for the other aspect of their character, am I really so different?  How many miracles have I seen in my life?  And yet still I doubt the Lord and what He can do sometimes.  Laman and Lemuel had seen an angel, they were eating raw meat daily, they heard the voice of the Lord, and yet still they doubted that He could teach Nephi how to build a ship.  I have literally seen the Lord save my life at least three times that I can think of off the top of my head where I should have died but somehow did not.  And yet I hesitate to bring my burdens, my problems to Him.  I still rely upon the strength of my own understanding.  Why do I do that?  Why do I forget the blessings that He has bestowed upon me and why am I so slow to remember Him?  Am I really all that different from Laman and Lemuel?  I forget and am not as faithful as I should be.  I personally like to think I am more like Sam.  I am not as valiant and Nephi always appears to be, but I do not think I am as bad as Laman and Lemuel.  I am a good mix of the two, like Sam!  I am pretty faithful, but when the going gets kind of rough, I grumble and forget what I have seen and experienced.  I think the real lesson from Laman and Lemuel is to always stay faithful and not give in to the temptation to turn our back on what we know to be true.  They are important lessons to learn indeed.  Until tomorrow.

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