Friday, January 11, 2019

Delivered From Destruction

While they were on their journey to the promised land, Nephi recorded these words of the Lord: “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” (1 Nephi 17:14).  This prophecy was indeed fulfilled for the group as a whole as they were saved from the destruction of Jerusalem and miraculously preserved in the desert and on the ocean.  I think we can also consider the prophecy from the perspective of Nephi himself.  Surely he was delivered from destruction on numerous occasions, and he did always know that it was the Lord who helped save him from death at the hands of his brothers on their journey. 

               We see the miraculous way in which the Lord delivered Nephi from the very beginning of his account.  When they were at Jerusalem trying to get the plates, Laman and Lemuel became angry with Nephi and did “smite [him] even with a rod” (1 Nephi 3:28).  They could have perhaps killed him if the angel had not appeared to stop them: “An angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod?” (1 Nephi 3:28-29).  The Lord sent his angel to save Nephi’s life or at least protect him from harm.  Later when they were journeying back from Jerusalem Nephi’s brothers again sought to hurt him: “When I, Nephi, had spoken these words unto my brethren, they were angry with me. And it came to pass that they did lay their hands upon me, for behold, they were exceedingly wroth, and they did bind me with cords, for they sought to take away my life.”  Nephi prayed to the Lord to be delivered, and “the bands were loosed from off [his] hands and feet” miraculously (1 Nephi 7:16-18).  The Lord had saved him from death.  Once they were at Bountiful and Nephi started building a ship, his brothers sought his life once more: “And now it came to pass that when I had spoken these words they were angry with me, and were desirous to throw me into the depths of the sea.”  But the Lord delivered Nephi from their hands again, and Nephi was “filled with the power of God, even unto the consuming of my flesh” (1 Nephi 17:48).  The same thing happened to Nephi while they were actually crossing the waters on the ship, and the Lord saved Nephi’s life by softening the heart of his brothers to finally unloose him after four days being tied up: “There was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts; wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me” (1 Nephi 18:20). 
              Even after they reached the promised land, the Lord continued to protect Nephi to deliver him from destruction.  Shortly after his father’s death, Nephi recorded the danger he was once again in: “Their anger did increase against me, insomuch that they did seek to take away my life.”  These elder brothers declared of Nephi, “We have had much trial because of him; wherefore, now let us slay him, that we may not be afflicted more because of his words.”  But the Lord was watching out for Nephi according to His promise to deliver him from destruction: “And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness” (2 Nephi 5:2-5).  Despite the fact that his brothers sought again and again to take away his life, the Lord kept His word to Nephi and saved him from destruction.  His story is surely meant as an example for us of how the Lord will protect and watch over those who are faithful to him.        

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