Context and General Information
- 2 Nephi 4:15-35 comprises what is commonly referred to as The Psalm of Nephi.
- Nephi feels sorrow because he has allowed sin into his heart.
- Nephi remembers and praises the Lord.
- Nephi forsakes his sin.
- Nephi petitions the Lord.
So – as a quick recap. First, Nephi grieved as he recognized his sin and the subsequent loss of the Spirit. Nephi’s sorrowing was poignant and genuine, but he didn’t allow himself to wallow in it. Instead, he stated: Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
The shift – from feeling grief to remembering God, was critical. Satan can tempt us to self-loathe and even self destruct when we feel the grief and sadness that accompanies sin. He wants us to forget about our Savior.
Isn’t that interesting. It is what we covenant to do. Always remembering Him, I’m finding, is so much more than some chore or commandment. It’s the secret! It’s the secret to repentance, joy, and hope in life.
This is what Nephi does next. He goes from grieving his sin to remembering God, to rejoicing in Him.
Nephi stated: I know in whom I have trusted.…Let’s see who that is.
Verse 20 – Support, Guidance, Preservation
“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.” – 2 Nephi 4:20
Nephi took the time to remember that God supported him. We have the record. It may be an abridgment, but we have enough to know that indeed, God supported Nephi, Lehi, and their entire family.
The Lord led Nephi’s family through the wilderness with the Liahona.
Not only that, but we know that Nephi was preserved when they were traveling on the water. First of all, the Lord taught Nephi how to build a boat. Then, the Lord preserved them, even when Nephi’s brothers started getting naughty.
Verse 21 – Filled with Love
“He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.” – 2 Nephi 4:21
Nephi remembered a time when the Lord’s love so filled him, his flesh was consumed. I have a few ideas on when this could have happened, but I’m not completely sure. Maybe when Nephi saw the vision of the tree of life? Maybe when he was with his brothers and shocked them.
The real point is, Nephi’s spiritual experiences were also physical experiences. He knows God’s love – not only in his mind and heart, but even physically.
Nephi took the time to remember these experiences here.
Verse 22 – Confounded Enemies
“He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.” – 2 Nephi 4:22
Nephi remembered a time when the Lord confounded his enemies (his brothers!) – and caused them to shake. We can recall this as well – when Nephi was commanded to build a boat, his brothers argued with him and tried to cast him into the sea. The Lord filled Nephi with power, commanded Nephi to stretch forth his hand, and when Nephi did, his brothers quaked before him.
During this prayer, the Psalm of Nephi, Nephi took the time to remember when the Lord empowered him against his enemies. (Not only is this a good experience for Nephi to remember, but it has direct application to the problem that Nephi was facing. Nephi didn’t need to get so angry or worry about his brothers. The Lord would protect Nephi as long as Nephi continued to be faithful and quality for the companionship of the Spirit.)
Verse 23-25 – Listened to Prayers, Gave Revelations
“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.” – 2 Nephi 4:23-25
In these verses, Nephi recalled the times that he prayed to God, how the Lord listened to him, and then how the Lord answered his prayers. The Lord revealed to Nephi. The Lord sent angels to teach Nephi. And Nephi is reminding himself of these experiences.
Okay…so as I write this, I’m thinking about the act of remembering. Nephi is remembering specific experiences he has had with the Lord.
I think that I have made a mistake when it comes to remembering the Savior. There is a primary song that sometimes plays through my head during the sacrament:
“It shouldn’t be hard to sit very still
And think about Jesus, His cross on the Hill;
And all that He suffered and did for me;
It should’t be hard to sit quietly.
It shouldn’t be hard, even though I am small,
To think about Jesus, not hard at all.” – To Think About Jesus
When I think of “always remembering Him.” I think of this – thinking about Christ’s life, His suffering, His death. I think of remembering that He created this earth. I think of remembering what I have read in the scriptures.
Those aren’t bad to think about. But they are abstract. And, you know…I’m not sure it is always a strong enough experience to really change my heart when I’m sorrowing as Nephi sorrowed.
When Nephi remembered the Savior, he didn’t think abstractly about the Savior. He thought of his own personal spiritual experiences. He remembered the interactions he had with the Savior and His spirit.
Perhaps it is helpful for you (and for me) to take a moment right now to do that. Think of a spiritual experience that you have had in the past. Think of the circumstances. Think of your pleading. Think of His help. Think of how you felt. Maybe even take a moment to write down as much as you can about the experience.
I’ll share a simple one. This is recent. In the summer and into the fall, I was having heart issues. To make matters worse, I’m also having issues with my insurance provider. Back in October, my cardiologist ordered an angiogram. It was scheduled for a Wednesday morning.
I arrived at the hospital, fasted, at Six AM. I checked in and sat down. Situation normal. About fifteen minutes later, one of the hospital staff called my name. She explained that the insurance had not approved the procedure! She asked if I knew. I told her I had no idea. That this was the first I had heard about it.
She kindly explained that sometimes mistakes are made. She told me to keep waiting, as she tried to get in touch with my insurance company and the doctor’s office.
So I waited.
I had to wait a while because it was so early – neither the insurance company nor the doctors offices were open yet.
I waited. And for the most part I waited patiently. But inwardly, I was frustrated. The heart situation was stressful enough, why did the insurance have to be a bother? Why couldn’t this be easier??? Why did the Lord let this happen? You have to understand, at the time, my family and I were already under great stress. This just threw me over the edge.
Of course, I knew that it was asinine for me to blame God. I also knew that I needed to trust Him. I said a silent prayer to apologize, then started looking up funny memes to put me in a better mood.
Eventually, it was discovered that the doctors office would have to try again to get the insurance company to approve the procedure, but that would take at least another day. I explained to the hospital staff that I was having chest pain. She immediately talked to my physician, and it was decided to admit me through the ER.
I had the angiogram.
After the procedure, my doctor chatted with me for a moment. It was disconcerting because he came to a conclusion that seemed so far off from the problem. To his credit – I had been under the care of the Nurse Practitioner. This time I didn’t get angry with God. I just knew that I needed to be my own advocate with the doctor, and that if necessary I would simply get a second opinion.
At 11AM, about ten minutes after the short chat with the doctor, my nurse practitioner happened to walk by. A rep had brought some free lunch to the cath lab, and so they called my NP to come by and get some – even though he was at the offices in the next building. I smiled at him, and when he recognized me, he stopped to chat.
I told him the results – that the angio is normal. “Great!” he said. “You’re heart is healthy, and the problem is electrical. Maybe it is just a pacemaker you need!”
His response was exactly what I had been expecting! I felt comforted. As I reflected on this experience, I realized had my angio been performed as scheduled, then I wouldn’t have seen my NP – I would have been out of the cath lab long before 11 AM.
I recognized the tender mercy. Not only was I getting a procedure that I needed performed to help the doctors discover my condition, but the Lord was also throwing in a tender mercy – I would be able to chat with my NP, who was updated on my whole history.
I knew that the doctor would have come to the same conclusion later, but it would have been after I went home. The Lord spared me from stress (and finding a new doctor). I recognized that the Lord really loves us and is involved in the details of our lives. We just need to trust Him.
The point of sharing this experience didn’t have to do with the experience. Instead, it was about the act of remembering. As I wrote that experience down – and really remembered as many details as possible – I was reminded of the great love that Heavenly Father has for me. I was reminded of the miracles and grace that I experience in my daily life. My love grew for Him as I remembered His love for me.
Remembering the Savior and the experiences we have with Him helps us to feel hopeful and happy! It changes our moods. It reinforces the good experiences we felt originally.
I’m so grateful for Nephi’s example. When we are experiencing sorrow – whether it is from our own sin or from other thing that has happened to us, we can choose to remember in whom we have trusted. We can choose to remember our Lord specifically. We can think of the experiences we have had where we have felt his love, his guidance, his protection, etc. We can let those experiences re-root themselves in our souls. As we do so, the joy and love of Christ fills our hearts – immediately. No longer do we droop in sin, but we will begin to feel the joy that comes from rejoicing.