1 Nephi 5 - Will a promise be delivered?

Trust in what you’re promised. Don’t worry about what you’re not.
christianity
faith
covenant
individual covenant
promised blessings
come follow me
book of mormon
Date

Sunday January 14, 2024

Topics
christianity
faith
covenant
individual covenant
promised blessings
come follow me
book of mormon

Lehi and his wife Sariah are at base camp while their boys are trying to get the plates (ancient record/scriptures) from a ruthless Laban. Sariah gets very nervous (v1-3), perhaps thinking they’ve been killed.

Waiting in the wilderness

Then once she sees them come back (mission accomplished) she rejoices:

And she spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them. 1 Nephi 5.8

But what if they hadn’t come back? Is this just confirmation bias?

No. 

See, Sariah had been promised her sons safe return:

and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness. 1 Nephi 5.5 (Lehi talking)

Because of this (a specific promise), we often fixate in contrary to the exact thing we should be expecting.

Consider Adam and Eve: don’t eat that one tree. Eat anything else. Everything else. Just not that one. → which one?1 this one? Oh, we ate it.

Perhaps Sariah fixates on her sons not returning because that is what a prophet promised her.

Interestingly, there must be a space in time between when a promise is made and a promise is delivered (see Alma 40.6–9 for similar logic). We are not told the length of that in between time. Could be today. Could be tomorrow. Who knows how long Sariah was waiting.

An interesting corollary: she wasn’t doubting something she wasn’t promised.

Consider all the promises in the scriptures. Abraham is promised the gospel will be in his seed. Nephi is promised his seed will be destroyed (he was the righteous one) and Laman and Lemuel were implicitly promised their seed would remain (even though they were wicked). Joseph of Egypt promised some things, Enos is promised other things, etc. We’re all unique.

Let’s consider Peter and John. The Lord offered them whatever they wanted. John wanted to tarry on earth and Peter wanted to be done with the earth and go to heaven. Peter seems to have gotten tiffed with John because John one-upped Peter on the righteous desires contest with Jesus as the Judge:

And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter: If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Doctrine and Covenants 7.4

(The savior goes on to explain how both Peter and John’s desires were great.2)

Back to Sariah - here are three ways we tend to worry:

  1. we can worry about things promised to us. We’re just rarely promised a timeline. Trust. Wait. And see.
  2. Where we aren’t promised anything, we have nothing to think of or worry about.
  3. We may individually be promised different things. The path of everyone is unique.

But we’re all promised eternal life if we follow the Lord (eternal happiness):

Verily I say unto you, ye shall both have according to your desires, for ye both joy in that which ye have desired. Doctrine and Covenants 7.8

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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: