In verses 9 and 10, Lehi names a river after Laman and a valley after Lemuel. As he gives the river and valley names he teaches Laman and Lemuel a lesson about consistency. He hopes that Laman’s acts will always be pure and “[run] into the fountain of all righteousness.” I personally like Lamuel’s lesson better. Lehi hopes that Lemuel will always be firm, steadfast and immovable (just like a valley) in keeping the commandments of the Lord. Laman and Lemuel did not live up to the characteristics of the river and valley that were named after them. But the lessons that Lehi was trying to teach his sons still remain valid. Every time we look at a river or a valley, we can think of the lessons Lehi was trying to teach his sons, but we will be different. We will learn from his lessons. As we sit and observe a river or a valley, we can contemplate their unchanging characteristics and then instill them in our lives.
Jill has a picture of a valley that she took while serving a mission in El Salvador (the picture I posted here is just a valley ... not the one Jill captured on file). At the bottom of the picture, she placed the caption of the words Lehi spoke to Lemuel over 2500 years ago. I hope our children will apply the words of Lehi as their mother did during her mission.
We can look to Nephi’s life for an example of application of the lessons of Lehi to his sons. Nephi had great desires to learn the mysteries of God. We too ought to have great desires to learn not only the mysteries of God, but also (and firstly) the word of God, namely the scriptures and teachings of the modern-day prophets. We should fuel that desire to learn what the Lord’s counsels are to us. His counsels are revealed to us through the scriptures and our prophets.
Nephi’s example also shows us that he diligently prayed. We too have been commanded to pray often. We should strive to pray every morning and evening on our knees. We need to pray in our families. We need to offer silent prayers in our hearts when we need the Lord’s assistance. We need to establish that link of communication between us and our Heavenly Father and once it has been established, we need to keep that link open by using it often.
One final commentary on this chapter – the Lord tells Nephi that he will be a teacher and a ruler over his brothers if he keeps the commandments. He also tells Nephi that his brothers will be cut off from the Lord’s presence if they are not faithful. This is yet another piece of evidence that the Lord’s prophecies are fulfilled.