Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Eight Years in the Wilderness

Soon after his dream of the tree of life, Lehi had another dream where God told him it was time to start traveling in the wilderness so He could guide them to a land of promise.  When Lehi awoke the next morning, there was a curious device outside his tent.  It was a little ball, with writing on it and two pointers to show them where to go.  It was called a Liahona.
Lehi and his family spent eight years in the wilderness, during which time Ishmael died, Lehi's sons (and Zoram) married Ishmael's daughters, and each family was blessed with children.  Including, incidentally, Lehi and Sariah themselves.  They had two more sons, Jacob and Joseph, named after Lehi's ancestors. 
Presumably they had many incidents while in the wilderness, but the one recorded was when Nephi, Laman, and Lemuel all broke their bows and couldn't hunt for food.  Everyone, including Lehi, started complaining, asking how God could let this happen to them.  It got so bad the Liahona stopped working.
And what did Nephi do? 
He made himself a new bow.  It doesn't mention it, but I have to imagine there was quite a bit of eye-rolling on Nephi's part.  After that he went to Lehi and asked him to pray about where he should go hunting.  Just an insert, I think this is incredibly significant.  Nephi could have just said, "Well, I'm done with all of you whiners" and asked God himself.  Instead, he chose to honor his father and spiritual leader, and maybe give his father a gentle reminder of his responsibility.  Lehi did pray, and was pretty well-chewed out for complaining.  Then God told him to look at the Liahona.  The writing had changed, and they learned the Liahona only worked according to their faith.  If they trusted God, the Liahona would point them in the right direction.  If they didn't, it would stop working entirely.  It was a sobering moment for everyone.
At the end of the eight years, Lehi's family finally reached the seashore, in a place they called Bountiful.  Not sure how long they stayed here, but it was a wonderful place to rest and relax before the final stretch of their journey.

Fare thee well, friend!

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