CLICK HERE to read 1 Nephi 5.
This chapter is a simple chapter about the reunification of Nephi and his brothers with his parents.
But if you study the layers within it, it is fairly profound as it reminds us of our own epic journey into mortality, and the day when we will be reunited with our Heavenly Parents.
So the boys – along with their new buddy, Zoram – arrived back at the camp in the wilderness, much to the delight of their parents.
Their mother, being the mother, was especially glad. She had been so stressed out about whether they were okay or not! She had been complaining to Lehi about what happened to them, and whether they were okay.
He calmly reassured her, saying that he knew the orders of this mission were from God, and it would be God who delivers the boys. They will be home safe, he promises.
These words were a comfort to his wife, and “their joy was full” (verse seven) when the boys arrived safely home.
Their mother testified that “Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them…”
Even the words she uses continue to reflect the mikveh theme, the great deliverance, both alluding to the past and pointing toward the future.
The Temple pattern continues in verse nine, “they did rejoice exceedingly, and did offer a sacrifice and burnt offerings unto the Lord; and they gave thanks unto the God of Israel.”
They gave thanks! They gave the Lord credit for accomplishing His work.
Lehi then took the records, and searched them. He studied them closely to learn from them, and shared what he learned. The records contained the five books of Moses (the Torah, or Genesis through Deuteronomy). He specifically mentions the stories of the creation of the world and Adam and Eve. The books have a history of the Jews up through King Zedekiah, who was king of Judah. The records had writings of the prophets of the Old Testaments, and several prophets of which we have no record (as yet discovered). The prophet Jeremiah is specifically mentioned.
Lehi also discovers his own family history in the record, so much as to know he is a son of Joseph, who was the son of Jacob. He remembers the story of Joseph being sold into Egypt, and how he was “preserved” by the Lord for a special role in delivering His people. He teaches his sons how the Lord let the Israelites of captivity back then, and how the Lord has delivered this family now. The Spirit comes over Lehi, and he begins to prophecy about the future as well.
These records are sacred Scriptures, and are to be treated as such. Even Nephi and others begin to study them to learn and improve and understand. Then, like their father, they understood now that it was a top priority to preserve these records for later generations.
“Wherefore, it was wisdom in the Lord that we should carry them with us, as we journeyed in the wilderness towards the land of promise.” (versse 22).
I love that verse, because that is how I feel now – that I have been led through the wilderness and into the land of promise, that the Lord still leads me through this mortality of life, so that I might in the future arrive in the land of promise.
That is a God of mercy, and a God of love.
I am grateful.
And that is what this chapter is about: how to “get a testimony”, meaning knowing for yourself what is true about God.
First, there is faith enough to pray and ask. Then, there is some act of obedience. These things together begin the seeds of testimony. As this becomes reality (a “surety” in verse 8), we are moved to respond back to God – of through thanks and expressions of love and gratitude. This helps us to be more obedient, and want to know Him better. We get to know Him by studying the scriptures, and through the scriptures He speaks to us. As we do this, we become more obedient, and He blesses us with provision and protection. It’s an upward cycle where we learn more and more about who He is, and in that way become more and more of who we are meant to be.