1 Nephi 16 - Christ Guides us in Unique Ways

The same person can receive different guidance at different times. Two people in the same circumstance can be guided differently.
hand of the Lord
come follow me

Monday January 29, 2024

hand of the Lord
come follow me

Lehi had a humbling experience as he was complaining at how hard the journey was:

And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow. 1 Nephi 16.25

When the Lord chastened Lehi, he pointed Lehi to the Liahona for next steps:

And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written. 1 Nephi 16.26

The Lord was already speaking to Lehi, so why did he tell Lehi to look at the Liahona? Why not just tell him what next to do?

An interesting thing happened with the Brother of Jared as well:

And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord. Ether 2.14

Christ standing with the Brother of Jared in a cloud

In this case, the Lord just told him the next steps: “Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built.” (Ether 2.16)

Why did Lehi get a compass, and the Jaredites not? Why did the Lord point Lehi to get his answers from the compass, but just told brother of Jared what next to do?

Well, I’m sure it’s not so black and white. But the fact that there is a black and a white way in which the Lord teaches us is my point.

Sometimes the Lord tells us what to do (black). Sometimes he reminds us of the things he’s already given us (white). He reminds us of words from the scriptures. He reminds us of past prayers. He reminds us to pray.

And if we look more closely, we actually do see a similarity between Brother of Jared and Lehi because they “built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord.” (Ether 2.16)

Meaning: they already had the answer and the Lord just had to remind them.

Meaning: their liahona was the fact that they already had directions from the Lord.

Let’s go back a little. Earlier in Jaredite journey, they were being very deliberately lead by the Lord:

And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel. Ether 2.5

Not only that, but the Lord gave them instructions on how to build a barge:

And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord. Ether 2.6

So Lehi and Brother of Jared were both pointed in the direction they should go. But the Lord teaches them each in their own way. For Lehi he gives him a Liahona and tells him to read the words therein. This is a physical tool, kind of like the Book of Mormon and other scripture. We should not be surprised if sometimes the Lord tells us “go to the scriptures, I will answer your question there” or “listen to general conference”. The Lord often points us to places where He’ll speak to us, giving us opportunities to show our faith and do our part.

On the other hand, sometimes he may guide us by the hand and show us the way to go. He may directly just tell us to go one way. This is another way of His for interacting with us.

And interestingly, he later told brother of Jared “remember those barges I gave you four years ago? Rebuild more.” He didn’t necessarily give them more designs but reminded the Jaredites of how he had already guided them.

Brother of Jared and the Lord

There is power in remembering the things the Lord has already done for us. We shouldn’t always seek new signs. We should seek to remember. And in remembering, we’re lead anew.

What I Learned

  1. The Lord guides the same person in different ways
  2. He guides two people in the same circumstance in different ways
  3. He asks us to remember
  4. If we’ve embarked on the journey, even if we stumble, he’ll lovingly chastise us to remember the Way


I take solice in that He wants to guide me personally. He may ask me to read my scriptures. He may remind me of a past time. He may give me specific instructions. He may just expect me to walk or build and do the thing I’m supposed to do. Keep going until you receive further instruction.

He’s also actually heavily involved in the details it seems. We may wander lost (Israelites) or be caught relaxing for four years on the beach (Jaredites), but He’s still very heavily involved. I can trust He loves me and wants to guide me.


Bryan lives somewhere at the intersection of faith, fatherhood, and futurism and writes about tech, books, Christianity, gratitude, and whatever’s on his mind. If you liked reading, perhaps you’ll also like subscribing: