Context and General Information
- When Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi return to the tent of their father, their parents rejoice.
- Sariah had mourned for them. She thought that they had died in the wilderness. Sariah complained against Lehi for taking them out there and now her sons were gone.
- Lehi listens and then tells her he agrees – he is a visionary man. But because of the visions he had seen, he knew the goodness of God. He knew he could trust God in leading them to a promised land. He could also trust that the Lord would enable his sons to get the plates of brass.
- Sariah was comforted.
- When Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi returned to the tent of their father, his parents rejoiced, and his mother was comforted.
- Sariah testifies that she knows that God commanded them to go to the wilderness. She bears a beautiful testimony.
I really like Sariah.
I feel for Sariah.
Sariah is a woman of faith and strength.
Think about the situation. Life is kind of normal in Jerusalem for Sariah and her family. It seems like they had plenty of possessions. I don’t know what her personal life was like, but they weren’t poor. It seems like they had plenty of stability in their lives.
Until suddenly – when they don’t.
Lehi has this experience with the Lord, and then is called to prophesy and witness to others in Jerusalem of what he saw and heard. Suddenly, life isn’t quite as neat and stable. People don’t like what Lehi is saying. In fact, they detest what he has to say so much that the Lord warns Lehi – during the night – that they need to flee Jerusalem.
I imagine that Lehi woke up, turned to Sariah, and told her exactly what happened. And we read:
“And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.” – 1 Nephi 2:4
When Lehi departed into the wilderness – I doubt that he did one hundred percent of the work. I can imagine Sariah, waking up, hearing her husband – the tone in his voice – the urgency of the command to flee Jerusalem.
I imagine that Sariah packed up food, clothes, and goods for her husband, her children, and herself. I can imagine that she tried to get things as organized as possible to leave and flee to a promised land. She wouldn’t be going back to Jerusalem.
Sariah didn’t have the vision! She didn’t have the dream! She simply placed her faith in the words of her husband. And based on the swiftness of the departure of Lehi’s family, I’m going to guess that she did have faith in her husband’s words.
They traveled for days – and into the wilderness – without stopping. She is faithful and helpful. Lehi could not have done this alone.
“And my father dwelt in a tent.” – 1 Nephi 2:15
Yes – we all know that Lehi dwelt in a tent, but take a second to think about it. Perhaps Nephi would have been more accurate to say, And my father and my mother dwelt in a tent. Sariah was there, too. Struggling, suffering, and sleeping in the wilderness.
She faithfully chose to trust her husband’s command from the Lord. She helped and supported Lehi. She wasn’t just along for the ride to the promised land. She was Lehi’s companion. She was an integral part of making this whole journey work.
She faithfully goes, then Lehi sends their four sons back to Jerusalem.
After a while, Sariah voices her concerns – that Lehi is a visionary man. She says:
“Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of our inheritance, and my sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness.” – 1 Nephi 5:2
We all have hard days. Despite all of Sariah’s really good days and acts of faith, the only one we have in this record was a bad one. But we all have bad days occasionally – days when our faith flags. Days when we really need help. We covenant to “bear one another’s burdens” – without realizing that sometimes others are bearing ours.
Sariah had been bearing so much, but could no longer take it, and she told her husband.
Healthy Marriage Example
Sariah called Lehi a “visionary man.” (Dreamer?) She complained. And what does he do?
Lehi could have taken this chance to get annoyed and offended. He could have stamped off, huffing and puffing and then given her the silent treatment.
Instead, Lehi listens. He hears her. He validates her:I know that I am a visionary man…” He doesn’t defend himself by hurting her. He just reminds her the sequence of events that had led them to that situation. This sequence was orchestrated by the Lord.
Lehi’s willingness to listen rather than correct invites the Spirit into their conversation. This is how we can be sure that Sariah is so righteous. She is comforted. She is close enough to the Spirit to feel comfort. In this sense, she is a second witness that Lehi and his family truly do need to flee Jerusalem.
She still missed her boys, but her heart is full of confidence in God.
And then the boys return. She is so happy, and then – one of my favorite moments in all of scripture:
“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. And after this manner of language did she speak.” – 1 Nephi 5:8
We get to read her testimony! This difficult trial reinforces Sariah’s faith in and testimony of the Lord. It will give the strength that she will need to push on for 8 more years until they reach the promised land. Testimony comes only after a trial of faith. Sariah’s faith was tried. She endured well, and now she has a sure witness that they are keeping the personal commandments that the Lord had given the entire family through Lehi.
I truly love this example. Time and time again, I have wondered – what does Sariah’s journal look like? What were her prayers like? It takes a lot of faith to be called a prophet and follow the word of God. And in some ways, we could argue that it takes even more faith to trust the witness of another.
Sariah trusted Lehi’s witness and then finally, the Lord gave her a personal witness.
I love this example because I’m a wife. I have had the opportunity to be married to a man who receives revelation for our family from time to time. I am not always the one who receives these promptings. We have had to learn to trust one another. I have had to learn how to be like Sariah – trusting in my spouse – that he is living worthy of the companionship of the Spirit and is following it. All of this only works if we learn to love and trust each other!
Though we don’t have much in our scriptures about Sariah, her life has made a major impact on me.