Monday, October 29, 2012

All ye that are broken off

First Nephi 21:1

Nephi said that he would "liken the scriptures" as he taught his brothers, certainly as he taught the whole company.  By now they were half a world away from their homes in Jerusalem.  He must have paid close attention to this verse from Isaiah, and felt it was speaking particularly to them, for they were "broken off and are driven out" and "scattered abroad".  Yet they were still the Lord's people, still of the House of Israel.  It is amazing that they had Isaiah's words and that Isaiah knew that many would be scattered.  Many were scattered and we have no record of them.  How fortunate we are to have the record of one of those groups.

Interestingly, the verse also speaks of the isles, and Nephi's brother Jacob thought they were upon an isle of the sea. (Second Nephi 10:20)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The furnace of affliction

First Nephi 20:10
This verse from Isaiah stands alone as a sermon

The vivid imagery is of precious metals in a furnace, waiting to be chosen and taken out. The intense heat required for refining in this furnace, adds a new meaning to the word affliction.  So we pass through this furnace, knowing that it will refine and purify us, knowing that we can no longer let the impurities stick to us, also knowing that these necessary afflictions are temporary: when we have spent sufficient time in the fire, we will be taken out.  Let us not try to withstand the heat, but rather let it penetrate us.  Let us not anger at the Refiner, whose purposes are for our good, and let us not get burned by clinging to our impurities.