And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.1 Nephi 3:5
Lehi is commanded to have his sons return to Jerusalem and retrieve the brass plates from Laban. I appreciate the multiple perspectives that this scripture provides.
- God has a plan for the plates of brass.
- Lehi is given a commandment from the Lord.
- Lehi gives his sons the instructions from the Lord.
- Lamen and Lamuel murmur and are reluctantly obedient.
- Nephi and Sam are obedient without murmuring.
Lehi wasn’t entirely sure of what God’s plans were for the brass plates. However, through his faith and trust in God, Lehi is obedient. Lamen and Lemuel murmur, but Nephi is obedient.
God doesn’t always give us instruction or guidance directly. Often times He gives instruction to his appointed servants, like a bishop, stake president, or prophet, and they in turn relay His message to us. We then have the opportunity to pray about the information given to know of it’s validity for ourselves. Even Nephi prayed to know of his fathers visions. Praying to obtain an understanding and knowledge of the truth is not complaining or murmuring.
Lamen and Lamuel may have rightly so been concerned or upset about returning to Jerusalem. They didn’t want to leave in the first place, but complaining and murmuring are much different than asking for confirmation. And then there is also the difference in just questioning versus asking with intent to act regardless of the answer.
I also wonder about Sam and Nephi’s relationship at this time. Was Sam’s testimony based on Nephi’s, and through that borrowed testimony obeyed the Lord’s command? Which I think is absolutely okay. There will be times where we lean upon the testimony and support of those around us, especially when we are vulnerable, or new in our faith.
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.1 Nephi 3:7
Nephi expresses faith in the Lord. He understands that the commandment is not his fathers, but the Lord’s. God prepares us for the things He needs us to do. Everything that we go through, everything we experience in a way is preparing us for whatever comes next.
And it came to pass that when my father had heard these words he was exceedingly glad, for he knew that I had been blessed of the Lord.1 Nephi 3:8
When we trust in the Lord, and are obedient without murmuring we are blessed. I know that it doesn’t means blind faith, blindly following, or ignorant obedience. Lehi and Nephi have shown us multiple times already that when the Lord gives us a commandment through his servants, it is absolutely okay for us to pray and ask for confirmation. And when we have questions or concerns the Lord wants us to seek wisdom through Him.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.James 1:5