Context and General Information
- Shortly before his death, Lehi spoke with and blessed each of his sons. In 2 Nephi 3, we read of what Lehi said to his youngest son, Joseph.
- Lehi prayed that the land (the promised land) would be consecrated to Joseph and his seed.
- Lehi also prays that the Lord will bless Joseph forever.
Lehi Loved His Sons
So…as I’m studying today, I know that there is a lot that we could learn from this chapter. There are a lot of intellectual things to research. There are exciting prophecies to consider. Sometimes I wonder why I thought I could “blog the Book of Mormon.” There is no way that I can be exhaustive in this study.
So, I have to remember that I can’t even try to explore every little thing in the Book of Mormon. Instead, I need to simply study that which the Spirit is prompting me to study.
Of course, we benefit the most when we study as the Spirit guides. Not only that, but when we study as the Spirit guides, then our study may look different at different times. Perhaps the Spirit will guide us to notice a topic. Maybe the Spirit will guide us to find out more about the history and context of a chapter. Who knows. It depends on day to day.
As I read through this chapter today, I keep feeling overwhelmed by the great love that Lehi had for his children.
In 1 Nephi 1:1, we read
“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father;” …
“Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.” – 1 Nephi 1:1
Here, we read that Lehi taught his sons. Lehi taught his sons how to read and write. According to Nephi, Lehi taught them all he could. Such teaching would only be undertaken by a father who loved his children.
Time and time and time again, Lehi pled with his sons – that they would choose faith and righteousness. He named the valley where they camped Lemuel, and the river that ran through the valley he named Laman, so that they would be reminded to be steadfast and continually righteous.
This pleading, like his teaching, was motivated by Lehi’s love for his sons.
Lehi’s love for his sons wasn’t wrapped up only on them – in some kind of unhealthy way. Not only did Lehi love his sons, but he loved his wife. When she was having a hard day, he didn’t get frustrated with her. Instead, he kindly comforted Sariah while they waited for their sons to return from getting the Brass plates.
This behavior from Lehi to Sariah shows Lehi’s great love for his family.
“And it came to pass that after we had come down into the wilderness unto our father, behold, he was filled with joy, and also my mother, Sariah, was exceedingly glad, for she truly had mourned because of us.” – 1 Nephi 5:1
You know, in the past, I’ve always focused on Sariah’s gladness because she had truly mourned for her sons. But here, we also read that Lehi was filled with joy.
It would have been a sacrifice for both Sariah and Lehi to send their sons back to Jerusalem. They had just recently fled because people wanted to kill their father. It probably wasn’t all that safe for them. Not only that, but the sons of Lehi had to travel through a desert wilderness. I imagine that they worried. Maybe Lehi didn’t mourn, but this doesn’t mean that he lacked concern or worry for his sons who were on a difficult journey.
Another interesting manifestation of Lehi’s love for his sons comes when he talks about his vision of the tree of life. First of all, during the vision, when he partakes of the fruit of the tree of life, he immediately desired to share it with his family. We read:
“And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.” – 1 Nephi 8:12
Lehi was also deeply concerned for Laman and Lemuel. I’m sure it must have been a difficult conversation, but he voiced his worry – that they didn’t partake of the fruit in the dream. We read about this exchange between father and sons:
And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words, that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off; yea, my father did preach unto them.” – 1 Nephi 8:37
I love that phrase: with all the feeling of a tender parent. Truly, Lehi loved his sons – even though they were sometimes wayward and rebellious.
Throughout 1 Nephi, we read of times when Nephi and his family conversed in the tent of their father.
Maybe this isn’t important, but it is a touching concept to me. There was a place, even when they were homeless and wandering in the wilderness, where Lehi and his family convened and discussed various things.
Truly, Lehi loved his sons enough to spend so much time with them.
Lehi loved his family enough to repent. While in the wilderness, when Nephi broke his bow, the hunger (and stress, and difficulty, and years) got to Lehi. He broke down and he murmured. I truly cannot imagine what Lehi was going through.
And yet, he had a special witness of Christ. He was expected to keep a higher standard of faith and devotion to the Lord.
After murmuring, Lehi loved his family and the Lord enough to repent. Here’s the thing: I know what it is like to get frustrated. Often, when things aren’t going your way, and you are frustrated, the last thing you want to do is give up the frustration and anger.
Yet, Lehi humbled himself. He repented. He ate humble pie in front of all those he had led into the wilderness for those years. This selfless decision actually kept the entire company alive.
It seems like a strange way to express our love, but perhaps it is one of the most important things we, as parents can do for our children. We can repent. We can give up our pride. We can let go of anger and other issues. And instead, we can lead our family in the love of the Lord.
Lehi blessed his children. We have been reading of these blessings in the last few chapters. Lehi loved his children enough to teach them and bless them.
Up to his dying day, he was teaching his children, guiding them, praying for them, and blessing them.
What’s the deal
Okay…so what’s the deal with this. It’s cool that Lehi loved his children. I don’t know if it was worth an entire blog post. Maybe not.
But maybe we can learn from him for ourselves. Am I teaching my children? Am I pleading with them? Am I letting them into my “tent,” where they can ask candid questions? Am I a tender parent? A goodly parent?
What can I do to be more like Lehi???
- I can listen to the Lord
- I can boldly teach my children all that I know
- I can make big sacrifices even if they seem to be difficult – knowing that we are in the hands of a God who loves His children more than I love mine.
- I can be patient with my children and with my spouse.
- I can repent when I make a mistake.
- I can endure – loving, guiding, and teaching my children until my dying day.