CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 4.
This chapter completes Lehi’s blessings to his children and their families, and records his passing.
Nephi opens the chapter with his own testimony that Lehi truly was a prophet, that Lehi really did prophesy concerning his descendants.
Then, Nephi says, Lehi called all his children to gather around him for one last blessing:
“For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence” (verse 4).
This is important to Lehi, his last effort at raising his children. He says that he cannot die without giving them a blessing, because “I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should go ye will not depart from it” (See Proverbs 22:6).
This is a powerful moment.
Lehi straight up tells them that he knows what his job is as a parent, and so he gives them this blessing, so that the responsibility of their consequences falls on him instead of them. That’s a powerful gift for one to give another. It is a type of the atonement, pointing to the Savior, but also a beautiful example of a tender, loving father.
(Note the parallel in verse 33 below, when the Savior becomes that “father” embracing him/us like the father embracing the prodigal, the arms “encircled about”… that is the embrace of the at-one-ment.)
And in this way, Lehi blessed each of his children and their families, and even their descendants not yet born.
“And it came to pass after my father, Lehi, had spoken unto all his household, according to the feelings of his heart and the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, he waxed old. And it came to pass that he died, and was buried” (verse 12).
This sweet moment doesn’t last long before the murmuring begins again.
Nephi has been teaching his brothers again, which they needed, but they didn’t much want to be taught.
Their refusal to submit to, listen to, or heed the words of the Lord continues to grow in sharp contrast to Nephi’s focus, diligence, and faithfulness.
“For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children. Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard” (verses 15 and 16).
Then come some of my most favorite verses in all of scripture, but all below depends on verses 15 and 16. The rest of the unfolding cannot happen without delighting in the Scriptures, pondering them, writing them, studying them, learning them. They have to be a part of you before they can unfold.
But they are some of my most favorite verses:
Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.
And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.
O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.
O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.