Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Two families united become one family divided

First Nephi 7
Ishmael's family chose to follow Lehi into the wilderness, after listening to his sons. We are given brief words about their choice, but can conclude it was a powerful spiritual experience not unlike the experiences of Lehi, Nephi, Sam, and Sariah. The Holy Ghost softened their hearts and motivated them to flee Jeruselum.
Unfortunately, they were joining a divided family - and Laman and Lemuel wasted no time in making them second guess their decision. In their rebellion, they were joined by two of Ishmael's daughters (future spouses of Laman and Lemuel?) and his two sons and their families. Three daughters and their parents remained committed to the cause.

Nephi wasted no time in going directly to the source of the rebellion and confronted Laman and Lemuel with words that were direct and frightening. For this, Laman and Lemuel tied him up to kill him by leaving him alone in the wilderness. Nephi exerted faith and escaped. As Laman and Lemuel sought to lay hands on him again, one of the daughters, (Nephi's future spouse?), one of the sons, and also their mother pleaded with them to stop.

After they came to their senses, they went completely the other direction emotionally, begging Nephi to forgive them. To Nephi's credit, he said he "frankly forgave them all that they had done". This whole experience gave Ishmael's family a good idea of what was in store for the rest of the journey.

What a sight it must have been for Ishmael's family: to set eyes upon the Valley of Lemuel for the first time. They must have seen Lehi's tent, the river of Laman, and the hand-crafted stone alter. Lehi, Sariah, and Zoram must have been anxiously awaiting them.  Two families becoming one under such circumstances could not have been easy, and the faithful must have relied a strong testimony from the Holy Ghost that Lehi had been directed by the Lord.  As when Lehi first came to the valley, and after Lehi's sons returned with the brass plates, we are again told they gave thanks unto the Lord, with burnt offerings and sacrifice.  An appropriate way to start to unite in following Lehi's spiritual leadership.

No comments:

Post a Comment