Not Part of the Deal

I was recently taught a scriptural insight that I really enjoyed. In 1 Nephi 17, Lehi and his family finally reach the seashore and the journey stops. I’m sure most (if not all) of the party was hoping they had reached their final destination. However, Nephi is told to go to a nearby mountain for an “interview” with the Lord. Nephi is told that the travelers would have to cross the “many waters”.  Then he was told what to do next:

“Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.” (1 Nephi 17:8)

I love Nephi’s response, “Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship. . .” He was “quick to observe”. But this specific commandment made sense. They had arrived at the sea. In order to get across the sea, they had to have a boat. The reasons for such a request or commandment were easily understood.  They could see the water they had to cross and they built a ship.

Now let’s jump over to chapter nineteen. Nephi had been keeping a record of everything, a journal if you will. He explains that this record is kept on “ore” plates and that writing in them was very difficult. It wasn’t like pen and paper. He had to “engrave” each letter into the metal. It had to have been a very labor intensive, time consuming duty. (1 Nephi 19:1)

Then Nephi is commanded to make another set of records, a second set. Two sets of records were to be kept. Again, Nephi responded quickly, “Wherefore, I, Nephi, did make a record upon the other plates. . .” (1 Nephi 19:4)

What a pain this must have been. Two sets of plates? Why not just one set with everything in it. What reason did the Lord give for having to have a second set? Nephi explains, that it was for “. . . wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord.” He didn’t know all the reasons. Like when he had to build a boat, he wasn’t able to see the water.

At the seashore, he could see he had to build a ship because he could see the water.  It made perfect sense. But when asked to make a second set of plates, no reasons were given. Indeed, Nephi may have gone to the grave not knowing why he had to go through the trouble of making a second set of plates.

It seems that to Nephi there was no difference in the two commandments. He immediately obeyed without question and had the faith that everything asked by the Lord was for “wise purposes”.

Then of course, my thoughts turn to my own life. When circumstances arise where I can’t see the water, understand why, do I hesitate or do I trust the Lord? Do I have to know the “whys” now or can I “wait on the Lord”?  As a respected leader once taught me, sometimes knowing the “why” is simply not part of the deal.

Once again, I find myself wanting to be more like Nephi.


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