Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Saturday, February 1, 2020

“I Will Prepare the Way before You”






Scripture links are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org
Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog

Facing challenges, now there's something we all know a lot about right! It seems every time we turn around, after jumping the last hurdle, something else pops up. Sometimes its the little things that build up, and sometimes its tragic or harrowing things that test our very existence, but nevertheless we are all challenged.

As you have read and studied, have you ever thought about the people in the scriptures who are particularly challenged? Do they help us as we read, can they help us, how do they help us?

For me, Nephi in the Book of Mormon is a great help and has taken me through some of the darkest times in my life, for I feel, he too has had some of the darkest times of his life, and the council he gives, with his righteous choices, yet still feeling like, just a man, makes me see that he is like me and I can be like him. Strong and courageous.

How did Nephi get through, what did he do? One of the most important things he did was to liken the scriptures to himself and his people. Through his account of the journey to the promised land we can actually find principles that relate to our own lives and can help us. This week we will focus on 1 Nephi 16–22 thinking about how Nephi facing challenges can be a great blessing.  

History and Commentary
As Lehi’s family journeyed toward the promised land, the Lord made them this promise: “I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments” 1 Nephi 17:13. Clearly, that promise did not mean that the journey would be easy.  Family members still disagreed, bows broke, and people struggled and died, and they still had to build a ship from raw materials. However, when the family faced adversity or seemingly impossible tasks, Nephi recognized that the Lord was never far away. He knew that God “doth nourish the faithful and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them”   If you ever wonder why bad things happen to good people;  Nephi and his family, may give you insights in these chapters. But perhaps more important, you will see what good people do when bad things happen.

Chapter Summaries 
The wicked take the truth to be hard.  Lehi’s sons marry the daughters of Ishmael then the Liahona guides their course in the wilderness.  Messages from the Lord are written on the Liahona from time to time.  Ishmael dies; his family murmurs because of afflictions. About 600–592 B.C

Nephi is commanded to build a ship but His brethren oppose him,  He then exhorts them by recounting the history of God’s dealings with Israel.  Nephi is then filled with the power of God and his brethren are forbidden to touch him, lest they wither as a dried reed. About 592–591 B.C.

 Chapter 18
The ship is finished and we find out about he births of Jacob and Joseph.  The company embarks for the promised land but the sons of Ishmael and their wives join in revelry and rebellion.  Nephi is bound, and the ship is driven back by a terrible tempest until Nephi is freed, and by his prayer the storm ceases.  The people arrive in the promised land. About 591–589 B.C.

Chapter 19
Nephi makes plates of ore and records the history of his people.  The God of Israel will come six hundred years from the time Lehi left Jerusalem and Nephi tells of His sufferings and crucifixion.  The Jews will be despised and scattered until the latter days, when they will return unto the Lord. About 588–570 B.C.

The Lord reveals His purposes to Israel that Israel has been chosen in the furnace of affliction and is to go forth from Babylon—Compare Isaiah 48. About 588–570 B.C.

Chapter 21
The Messiah will be a light to the Gentiles and will free the prisoners.  Israel will be gathered with power in the last days as Kings will be their nursing fathers—Compare Isaiah 49. About 588–570 B.C.

Chapter 22
Israel will be scattered upon all the face of the earth.  The Gentiles will nurse and nourish Israel with the gospel in the last days and Israel will be gathered and saved, and the wicked will burn as stubble.  The kingdom of the devil will be destroyed, and Satan will be bound. About 588–570 B.C.

Part One: 1 Nephi 16:10–16, 23–31; 18:10–13, 20–22 God uses small means to accomplish great things.
Lehi’s family continued their journey into the wilderness. The Lord blessed them with the Liahona, through which He guided them in their journey. As they traveled, they experienced hardships, including the loss of Nephi’s bow.  As well Nephi demonstrates unwavering faith by obeying the Lord’s command to build a ship. Laman, Lemuel, the sons of Ishmael, and their wives join in rebellion on the ship. Laman and Lemuel bind Nephi, who demonstrates courage and gratitude despite this trial. The Lord sends a great tempest. Laman and Lemuel loose Nephi, who guides the ship to the promised land.

11 And it came to pass that we did gather together whatsoever things we should carry into the wilderness, and all the remainder of our provisions which the Lord had given unto us; and we did take seed of every kind that we might carry into the wilderness.
12 And it came to pass that we did take our tents and depart into the wilderness, across the river Laman.
13 And it came to pass that we traveled for the space of four days, nearly a south-southeast direction, and we did pitch our tents again; and we did call the name of the place Shazer.
14 And it came to pass that we did take our bows and our arrows, and go forth into the wilderness to slay food for our families; and after we had slain food for our families we did return again to our families in the wilderness, to the place of Shazer. And we did go forth again in the wilderness, following the same direction, keeping in the most fertile parts of the wilderness, which were in the borders near the Red Sea.
15 And it came to pass that we did travel for the space of many days, slaying food by the way, with our bows and our arrows and our stones and our slings.
16 And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness.


23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?
24 And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul.
25 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.
26 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written.
27 And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and our wives.
28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.
31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.

10 And I, Nephi, began to fear exceedingly lest the Lord should be angry with us, and smite us because of our iniquity, that we should be swallowed up in the depths of the sea; wherefore, I, Nephi, began to speak to them with much soberness; but behold they were angry with me, saying: We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us.
11 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word which he had spoken concerning the wicked.
12 And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.

Can you think of something small that can be used to bring about something great?  1 Nephi 16:29.

What do you learn about this principle after reading these scriptures? 1 Nephi 16:25–31; Alma 37:3–8; and Doctrine and Covenants 64:33; 123:12–17.  
25 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.
26 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written.
27 And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and our wives.
28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.
31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.


How has God used small means to accomplish great things in our lives?

The “ball, or director” that the Lord gave Lehi was called “Liahona. What were the purposes of the Liahona? 1 Nephi 16:10, 29.

What did the people need to do in order for the Liahona to work? 1 Nephi 16:28–29

What were the consequences when the people were unfaithful and disobedient?  

What are some guides in our lives that, like the Liahona, work according to our faith and diligence?  The scriptures, the Holy Ghost; patriarchal blessings; teachings of living prophets; and our conscience, as explained in the quotation below.

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “The Lord gave to … every person, a conscience which tells him everytime he starts to go on the wrong path. He is always told if he is listening; but people can, of course, become so used to hearing the messages that they ignore them until finally they do not register anymore.

“You must realize that you have something like the compass, like the Liahona, in your own system. Every child is given it. … If he ignores the Liahona that he has in his own makeup, he eventually may not have it whispering to him. … Our ship will not get on the wrong course … if we listen to the dictates of our own Liahona, which we call the conscience”
(Conference Report, Oct. 1976, 117; or Ensign, Nov. 1976, 79).
 
How does Heavenly Father directs our paths today as he did with the Liahona? 
“The words of Christ can be a personal Liahona for each of us, showing us the way. Let us not be slothful because of the easiness of the way. Let us in faith take the words of Christ into our minds and into our hearts as they are recorded in sacred scripture and as they are uttered by living prophets, seers, and revelators. Let us with faith and diligence feast upon the words of Christ, for the words of Christ will be our spiritual Liahona telling us all things what we should do” (W. Rolfe Kerr, “The Words of Christ—Our Spiritual Liahona,” Ensign May 2004, 37). 

So if we then, like Nephi liken the scriptures, ordinances and teachings to ourselves, we will have our own personal Liahona right now, today. Elder David A. Bednar taught: “The Holy Ghost operates in our lives precisely as the Liahona did for Lehi and his family, according to our faith and diligence and heed” (“That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us,” Ensign May 2006, 31).

In the October 2005 general conference, Elder Lowell M. Snow of the Seventy said: “This very general conference is a modern Liahona, a time and place to receive inspired guidance and direction that prospers us” (“Compass of the Lord,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 97).

President Thomas S. Monson taught: “The same Lord who provided a Liahona for Lehi provides for you and for me today a rare and valuable gift to give direction to our lives. … The gift to which I refer is known as your patriarchal blessing” (Thomas S. Monson, “Your Patriarchal Blessing: A Liahona of Light,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 65).

How might these principles be considered “small means”?
What small actions can we take to receive God’s guidance?


Part Two: 1 Nephi 16:18–32; 17:7–16; 18:1–4 When we keep the commandments, God will help us face challenges.

Following the Lord’s direction, Nephi and the others finished building the ship and set forth for the promised land. During their voyage, Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael and their wives rebelled against the Lord. When Nephi chastised them, Laman and Lemuel bound him with cords. When a great storm threatened the lives of everyone on the ship, they repented and freed Nephi. Nephi prayed to calm the storm, and the Lord again directed their journey toward the promised land.  

Many of us, like Nephi are facing tasks and challenges that seem impossible. How can you use Nephi’s experience with his own seemingly impossible tasks like feeding his family in the wilderness and building a ship to help you ? 

18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.
19 And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.
20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.
21 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.
22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren, because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God.
23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?
24 And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul.
25 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.
26 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written.
27 And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and our wives.
28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.
31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.
32 And it came to pass that I did return to our tents, bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their joy! And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him.

7 And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been in the land of Bountiful for the space of many days, the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Arise, and get thee into the mountain. And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord.
8 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.
9 And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?
10 And it came to pass that the Lord told me whither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools.
11 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make a bellows wherewith to blow the fire, of the skins of beasts; and after I had made a bellows, that I might have wherewith to blow the fire, I did smite two stones together that I might make fire.
12 For the Lord had not hitherto suffered that we should make much fire, as we journeyed in the wilderness; for he said: I will make thy food become sweet, that ye cook it not;
13 And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.
14 Yea, and the Lord said also that: After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God; and that I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction; yea, that I did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem.
15 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord, and I did exhort my brethren to faithfulness and diligence.
16 And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock.

1 And it came to pass that they did worship the Lord, and did go forth with me; and we did work timbers of curious workmanship. And the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship.
2 Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men.
3 And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things.
4 And it came to pass that after I had finished the ship, according to the word of the Lord, my brethren beheld that it was good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord.

What principles do you find in these verses that could help you when you face a challenging hardship? For example, 1 Nephi 16:24–26 teaches that prayer and humility allow us to receive inspiration and direction from God. 

According to 1 Nephi 18: 1-4, how did they know how to build the ship?

What did Nephi do that allowed the Lord to show him and his brethren how to build the ship?

What principle can we learn about how we can receive specific guidance?
If we pray often unto the Lord, we can receive the specific guidance we need.

What do you think might have happened if Nephi and his brethren had not sought the guidance of the Lord but instead built the ship their own way, or “after the manner of men?"

Elder L. Tom Perry said: “This is one of the more interesting stories we have in the scriptures because it tells of an instance in which the Lord provided help but then stepped aside to allow one of His sons to exercise his own initiative. I have sometimes wondered what would have happened if Nephi had asked the Lord for tools instead of a place to find the ore to make the tools. I doubt the Lord would have honored Nephi’s request. You see, the Lord knew that Nephi could make the tools, and it is seldom the Lord will do something for us that we can do for ourselves” (Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 87–88; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 64).

Part Three: 1 Nephi 16:18–32; 17:7–22 Faith leads to action
The experiences of Lehi and his family in the wilderness illustrate the power of faith and the consequences of unbelief.

18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.
19 And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.
20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.
21 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.
22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren, because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God.
23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?
24 And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul.
25 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.
26 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written.
27 And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and our wives.
28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.
31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.
32 And it came to pass that I did return to our tents, bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their joy! And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him.

7 And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been in the land of Bountiful for the space of many days, the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Arise, and get thee into the mountain. And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord.
8 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.
9 And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?
10 And it came to pass that the Lord told me whither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools.
11 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make a bellows wherewith to blow the fire, of the skins of beasts; and after I had made a bellows, that I might have wherewith to blow the fire, I did smite two stones together that I might make fire.
12 For the Lord had not hitherto suffered that we should make much fire, as we journeyed in the wilderness; for he said: I will make thy food become sweet, that ye cook it not;
13 And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.
14 Yea, and the Lord said also that: After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God; and that I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction; yea, that I did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem.
15 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord, and I did exhort my brethren to faithfulness and diligence.
16 And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock.
17 And when my brethren saw that I was about to build a ship, they began to murmur against me, saying: Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters.
18 And thus my brethren did complain against me, and were desirous that they might not labor, for they did not believe that I could build a ship; neither would they believe that I was instructed of the Lord.
19 And now it came to pass that I, Nephi, was exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts; and now when they saw that I began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts, insomuch that they did rejoice over me, saying: We knew that ye could not construct a ship, for we knew that ye were lacking in judgment; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work.
20 And thou art like unto our father, led away by the foolish imaginations of his heart; yea, he hath led us out of the land of Jerusalem, and we have wandered in the wilderness for these many years; and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions.
21 Behold, these many years we have suffered in the wilderness, which time we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance; yea, and we might have been happy.
22 And we know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore, we know that they are a righteous people; and our father hath judged them, and hath led us away because we would hearken unto his words; yea, and our brother is like unto him. And after this manner of language did my brethren murmur and complain against us.

How did Nephi act on his faith?  Nephi testified to his brethren of God’s ability to help him accomplish the commandment to build a ship. 
How was he blessed as a result? 1 Nephi 17:12–13

Read Nephi’s expression of faith in 1 Nephi 17:50 then read 1 Nephi 17:51 adding your name after the word me and replacing the phrase “build a ship” with a commandment you find or feel is difficult to obey.

How can you respond like Nephi rather than like Laman and Lemuel to commandments that may be difficult to obey?

What were the consequences of Laman and Lemuel’s unbelief? Whether big or small its all the same, when we choose to sin, it becomes more difficult to feel and recognize the voice of the Lord.

Nephi taught a principle that explains why his family could be blessed during this difficult time. What was it?  If we have faith and keep the commandments, then the Lord will strengthen us and provide means for us to accomplish not only that which He has commanded but we will come through the hardship stronger.

Ultimately, what does Nephi teach us in these recordings? All we need to do is have faith, that doesn't meant it will be easy, or instant, but help will come. Faith indeed leads to action. 


Part Four: 1 Nephi 19:22–24 We can liken the scriptures to ourselves.
Nephi explained that some people would not revere the God of Israel, Jesus Christ. Nephi also related that those responsible for scourging and crucifying the Savior, as well as their descendants, would be scattered and afflicted until they turned their hearts to the Lord. To persuade his people to believe in Jesus Christ, Nephi read from the writings of Moses and Isaiah, likening the scriptures to his people. 

22 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, did teach my brethren these things; and it came to pass that I did read many things to them, which were engraven upon the plates of brass, that they might know concerning the doings of the Lord in other lands, among people of old.
23 And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.
24 Wherefore I spake unto them, saying: Hear ye the words of the prophet, ye who are a remnant of the house of Israel, a branch who have been broken off; hear ye the words of the prophet, which were written unto all the house of Israel, and liken them unto yourselves, that ye may have hope as well as your brethren from whom ye have been broken off; for after this manner has the prophet written.

One of our most important goals in scripture study is to learn to liken the scriptures to ourselves, and not only the scriptures themselves but also the words of our prophets and leaders and ordinances. A really good way to do that is to follow the example of Nephi.

What principles did Nephi teach by likening the scriptures to his family’s situation?

Elder Robert D. Hales taught:  “Several years ago I was teaching our young son about the life and experiences of the brother of Jared. Although the story was very interesting, he was not engaged. I then asked what the story meant to him personally. It means so much when we ask our children, ‘What does it mean to you?’ He said, ‘You know, it’s not that different from what Joseph Smith did in the grove when he prayed and got an answer.’

“I said, ‘You’re about Joseph’s age. Do you think a prayer like his would be helpful to you?’ Suddenly, we weren’t talking about a long-ago story in a faraway land. We were talking about our son—about his life, his needs, and the way prayer could help him.

“As parents, we have the responsibility to help our children to ‘liken all scriptures [indeed, every part of the gospel of Jesus Christ] unto us [and unto our children], … for [the] profit and learning [of our families]’”
(“With All the Feeling of a Tender Parent: A Message of Hope to Families,” Ensign May 2004, 90).


As you study the Book of Mormon, how is it helpful to know that prophets such as Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni included messages for you?  

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency taught: “I will make you this promise about reading the Book of Mormon: You will be drawn to it as you understand that the Lord has embedded in it His message to you. Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni knew that, and those who put it together put in messages for you. I hope you have confidence that the book was written for your students. There are simple, direct messages for them that will tell them how to change. That is what the book is about. It is a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Atonement and how it may work in their lives. You will have an experience this year feeling the change that comes by the power of the Atonement because of studying this book” (Henry B. Eyring, “The Book of Mormon Will Change Your Life,” Ensign, Feb. 2004, 11).

How can knowing that God inspired prophets such as Mormon, Moroni, and Alma with what to include in their record influence your study of the Book of Mormon?

President Ezra Taft Benson stated: “The Book of Mormon was written for us today. God is the author of the book. It is a record of a fallen people, compiled by inspired men for our blessing. Those people never had the book—it was meant for us. Mormon, the ancient prophet after whom the book is named, abridged centuries of records. God, who knows the end from the beginning, told him what to include in his abridgment that we would need for our day” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God,” Ensign, Jan. 1988, 3).

If they saw our day, and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, ‘Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?’” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 6).

What can we do to better find and understand the messages and lessons that God would like us to receive from the Book of Mormon and other scriptures?

What do you think it means to liken scriptures to ourselves?  Likening the scriptures to ourselves means comparing and relating the scriptures to our own circumstances or situations.

What is a principle we can learn from these verses about the blessings of likening the scriptures to ourselves?  As we liken the scriptures to ourselves, we will learn and profit from them.

In what ways can likening the scriptures to ourselves give us hope?

In addition to receiving hope, what are other ways we can profit from likening the scriptures to ourselves?

Recognizing similarities between circumstances in the scriptures and situations in our own lives prepares us to find and apply scriptural truths. The same truths applied by people we read about in the scriptures can be applied by us when we are in similar circumstances.

Suggestions for likening the scriptures:  
Think about events or circumstances in our day that are similar to those in the scriptures you are reading.

Look for what people know, learn, or do in the scriptures that could help you with a current personal problem or question.

Identify principles from that story that can help you in your own circumstances.


Part Five: 1 Nephi 20–21 The Lord will gather the house of Israel in the last days.
As Nephi taught members of his family, he read from the brass plates, focusing on Isaiah’s prophecies about the scattering and gathering of Israel. Then he answered the questions his brethren had about those prophecies. He explained that the prophecies applied directly to their family. Echoing the words of Isaiah, Nephi testified that the Lord would gather His covenant people.

Do you experience some circumstances that cause them to feel worried, stressed, or afraid? 

Do you think it is possible to have peace even if you are experiencing difficulties in your life? Why or why not?

1 Nephi 20 contains the writings of Isaiah, which Nephi quoted to persuade his people to believe in their Redeemer and to help them have hope.  The chapter begins with the Lord’s words addressed to Israelites who had rebelled against the Lord and broken their covenants.

What principle in 1 Nephi 20  can help us have greater peace in our lives, even during difficult times?

What words and phrases from 1 Nephi 20:1–5, 8. show how the house of Israel had rebelled against the Lord? **
  the phrase “thy neck is an iron sinew” in verse 4. refers to a sinew which is a tendon that connects bone to muscle.

1 Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism, who swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, yet they swear not in truth nor in righteousness.
2 Nevertheless, they call themselves of the holy city, but they do not stay themselves upon the God of Israel, who is the Lord of Hosts; yea, the Lord of Hosts is his name.
3 Behold, I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them. I did show them suddenly.
4 And I did it because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;
5 And I have even from the beginning declared to thee; before it came to pass I showed them thee; and I showed them for fear lest thou shouldst say—Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image hath commanded them.
6 Thou hast seen and heard all this; and will ye not declare them? And that I have showed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.
7 They are created now, and not from the beginning, even before the day when thou heardest them not they were declared unto thee, lest thou shouldst say—Behold I knew them.
8 Yea, and thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time thine ear was not opened; for I knew that thou wouldst deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.

What do you think it means for someone’s neck to be “an iron sinew”?  The phrase “iron sinew” indicates that many people in the house of Israel were filled with pride. Just as iron does not bend easily, a prideful person will not bow his or her neck in humility.

In 1 Nephi 20:9–17  the Lord told the people that despite their wickedness He would not abandon them.  However would there blessing had been greater if they had obeyed?  

9 Nevertheless, for my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain from thee, that I cut thee not off.
10 For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
11 For mine own sake, yea, for mine own sake will I do this, for I will not suffer my name to be polluted, and I will not give my glory unto another.
12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob, and Israel my called, for I am he; I am the first, and I am also the last.
13 Mine hand hath also laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens. I call unto them and they stand up together.
14 All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; who among them hath declared these things unto them? The Lord hath loved him; yea, and he will fulfil his word which he hath declared by them; and he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall come upon the Chaldeans.
15 Also, saith the Lord; I the Lord, yea, I have spoken; yea, I have called him to declare, I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous.
16 Come ye near unto me; I have not spoken in secret; from the beginning, from the time that it was declared have I spoken; and the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
17 And thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I have sent him, the Lord thy God who teacheth thee to profit, who leadeth thee by the way thou shouldst go, hath done it.

How could the Israelites have been blessed if they had obeyed the Lord’s commandments? 1 Nephi 20:18–19 
What blessings would the Israelites have received if they had obeyed the Lord’s commandments?

How would you state a principle based on verse 18 using the words if and then? If we hearken to the Lord’s commandments, then we will have peace.

Can you think of circumstances that cause you to feel worried, stressed, or afraid. 

How has pondering and hearkening to the Lord’s commandments brought peace to you even in the midst of some of the challenges you are facing? 

What does 1 Nephi 20:22  teache about peace?
22 And notwithstanding he hath done all this, and greater also, there is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.

How does Isaiah’s teaching in verse 22 relate to the principle we identified in verse 18?


Ponder times when you may have lacked peace because of your own disobedience.  Consider one way you can choose to be more obedient to the Lord’s commandments so you can feel greater peace.
1 Nephi 21–22

As we read how Nephi explains Isaiah’s prophecy of the scattering and gathering of Israel; think about the word forgotten and times when you have felt forgotten.

 In 1 Nephi 21, Nephi quoted Isaiah’s prophecy about the gathering of scattered Israel. This was an important subject to Nephi and his family, who had been scattered from Jerusalem, their homeland, because of the wickedness of the people living in the area.  In these verses the Lord reminded the Israelites that they had been chosen to serve the Lord and bring the message of His salvation “unto the ends of the earth” 1 Nephi 21:6

6 And he said: It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth.

How did the Israelites (referred to in this verse as “Zion”) feel in their scattered condition?  1 Nephi 21:14 

14 But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not.

 What are some reasons that people today may sometimes feel that the Lord has forgotten them?

What did the Lord say to reassure the Israelites that He had not forgotten them.1 Nephi 21:15–16

15 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

 **the phrase “thy walls are continually before me” in verse 16 indicates that the Lord is always watching over and protecting His people.

According to verse 16, why will the Savior not forget His people?  Because the Savior has figuratively “graven them upon the palms of His hands.”

To engrave is to cut or carve something into an object so the imprint remains there permanently.

In what way have we been graven upon the palms of the Savior’s hands?

How does this demonstrate the Savior’s love for us?

What can we learn from these verses that can reassure us when we may be tempted to feel that the Lord has forgotten us?  The Lord loves us, and He will never forget us.

What experiences have helped you know that the Lord loves you and will never forget you?

Isaiah prophesied that in the latter days the descendants of Israel will be gathered in great numbers. After Nephi read Isaiah’s prophecies, Nephi’s brethren asked him to explain the meaning of those prophecies. Nephi taught his brethren that the house of Israel would “be scattered upon all the face of the earth, and also among all nations” 1 Nephi 22:3. In the remainder of 1 Nephi 22, Nephi explained how the Lord would gather the house of Israel.
 
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “The gathering of Israel consists in believing and accepting and living in harmony with all that the Lord once offered his ancient chosen people. … It consists of believing the gospel, joining the Church, and coming into the kingdom. … It may also consist of assembling to an appointed place or land of worship” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985], 515).

 What did Nephi say the Lord would do to gather Israel in the latter days? 1 Nephi 22:8–11 
8 And after our seed is scattered the Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the Gentiles, which shall be of great worth unto our seed; wherefore, it is likened unto their being nourished by the Gentiles and being carried in their arms and upon their shoulders.
9 And it shall also be of worth unto the Gentiles; and not only unto the Gentiles but unto all the house of Israel, unto the making known of the covenants of the Father of heaven unto Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
10 And I would, my brethren, that ye should know that all the kindreds of the earth cannot be blessed unless he shall make bare his arm in the eyes of the nations.
11 Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel unto those who are of the house of Israel.


What is the “marvelous work” mentioned in 1 Nephi 22:8?  
The marvelous work Nephi spoke of is the Restoration of the gospel and that when the scriptures mention the Lord “making bare his arm,” they refer to the Lord showing His power through the Restoration of the gospel.

According to verses 9–10, who will be able to be blessed because of the Restoration of the gospel?  “all the kindreds of the earth” in verse 9 refers to all of God’s children everywhere.  Through the Restoration of the gospel, all of God’s children everywhere may be blessed.

In 1 Nephi 22:11, what does Nephi say the Lord will bring unto the house of Israel in the last days? His covenants and His gospel.

What effect will the Lord’s covenants and gospel have on the house of Israel?1 Nephi 22:12
12 Wherefore, he will bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered together to the lands of their inheritance; and they shall be brought out of obscurity and out of darkness; and they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.

According to verse 12, what will scattered Israel experience and come to know?  Scattered Israel will be gathered and will come to know that Jesus Christ is their Savior.

In what ways are the prophecies Nephi recorded in verses 9–12 being fulfilled today?  As we share the gospel with others, we can help them come to know that Jesus Christ is their Savior, be baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, thereby being gathered spiritually into the Lord’s Church.

In 1 Nephi 22:13–31 Nephi continued to write about the prophecies of Isaiah. He explained that in the latter days God would preserve the righteous and destroy the wicked. Nephi concluded by promising that all who repent will dwell safely with the Savior.  Nephi quoted Isaiah to help his family members have greater belief and hope in Jesus Christ. Isaiah’s prophecies and Nephi’s testimony can help us in the same way.  


Conclusion
We all face challenges, hardships and troubles which are exhausting and trying.  But if we follow the examples Nephi has taught us in these chapters we can be assured of help, direction, comfort and hope from Jesus Christ.  We need to remember in our daily struggles that by small means great things are accomplished, if we keep the commandments help is coming and all it takes is even a mustard seed of faith.  If we learn to liken the scriptures to ourselves we will be prepared for what ever may come even if it is tragic and harrowing.  The Lord has prepared a way, He has not nor will forget us, we are His engraven on the palms of His hands, we only need believe then act on that belief. 

Resources 
Book of Mormon Student Manual
Ensign
Conference Reports
A New Witness for the Articles of Faith Bruce R McConkie


 








The Fall of Adam and Eve

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