I’m struggling a little bit for ideas at the moment, so I’m going to try out some slightly different things. I thought it would be nice to share some of my favourite scriptures, and why they’re favourites.
Yes, the whole chapter. I think I fell in love with it while serving as a full-time missionary, but sometimes your pre-mission memory gets a bit fuzzy, so it may have begun before that. It’s such a great chapter because (a) it’s Jacob (brother of Nephi), (b) the language is beautiful (see (a)):
O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace!/ O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape…And because of the way of deliverance of our God…/
(c) it contains wonderful, essential doctrines in very clear language, and (d) it teaches how merciful and wonderful the Lord is in saving us from a fate truly worse than death, and how His plan of redemption means that His judgement and justice is to be revered as a lifesaver, not feared. I think that’s enough to make it worth reading, loving, and re-reading.
Sticking with the whole-chapter theme, and with Jacob (even though he didn’t write this one, he put it in): in seminary, this was another one of those Old-Testament-like chapters that had a lot of symbolism and stuff about vineyards of olive trees (not grape vines, which always confused me) that just seemed to go on forever. But the perspective of a missionary changed it completely for me – I saw myself in the labourers mentioned near the end, and felt the excitement and joy of the work to be done, and the companionship of the Lord in doing it. Suddenly, Jacob 5 made sense, and was delicious to me! I’ve loved it ever since. It has so much meaning, because I see how everything fits into and explains so well history and the present (from God’s perspective), because I feel the sorrow of the Master when he finds the last good tree ruined:
And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?
and because I thrill to hear the call to labour in that vineyard, and read that as we work to bring souls unto Christ in these last days, the Lord works with us:
And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labour in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labour with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.
And it came to pass that the servants did go and labour with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard laboured also with them…
In short, it’s what all good things are: functional and beautiful.
1 Nephi 7:12
Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.
Such sound logic; such staunch faith: it must be Nephi! Nephi is a shining, strengthening example. He never wavers in his support of the Lord. He’s in the same class as Joseph of Egypt: strong because he completely trusts in God and does whatever work is necessary to be an instrument in His hands. When God tells him to make another set of plates – covering the same period of time – he doesn’t say, “Uh, do you know how hard it is to write on these things? How much time it’s taken me to do just this much? And now you want me to go and make more, then write all the extra stuff I skipped? Sorry, that doesn’t make sense and it’s unfair. You must have it wrong. Maybe you should re-think and get back to me.” Instead, we get another great scripture:
But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen.
“And thus it is.”! I love it. So Nephi. The truth and nothing but the truth. Obey God. That’s all. The End.
On that note, I think I’ll end this one here and make this a series. What a good word for not having to think of new ideas for posts for a few weeks!