November 29, 2006 - Original Post
In light of September 11th’s events, this chapter has more meaning now than ever. Once again, the Lord’s words prove true.
Lehi was talking to his eldest sons, Laman and Lemuel. In verse 6 and 7 he tells them the curse and blessing of the land. No one will come to this land unless directed by the Lord. All the people of the Book of Mormon were directed by the Lord to come to this land. We also learn that the Pilgrims and other groups of people came from Europe to this land by the will of the Lord. In the next verse (7) he tells them that if the people who live in this land will serve God and keep His commandments, then they will always be a free people and they would never be brought into captivity. But if the people of the land rebel against God, then the land will become cursed. This means America will never be invaded and held captive. What I told my wife earlier is true – that if the terrorists wanted to hurt the United States, then the best thing they could have done was to leave us alone and we would have sinned ourselves to the cursing of the land.
Lehi recites the promise of the Promised Land twice in this chapter. Anyone who lives in the Promised Land must keep the commandments of God and they will prosper and be blessed. But if they do not keep the commandments of God, they will be “cut off” from the presence of God and the land will become cursed. I’ve often heard from other people (not just from the scriptures) that America will destroy itself. No one will ever invade America. Just as the Romans, the fall will come from within.
Lehi concludes his counsel to his sons with a plea – “arise from the dust, my sons, and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity.” I’ve always liked this verse. This verse is a good reminder to stand tall and not to be a scrub which President Hinckley has said before.
We need to be united as Lehi said. Since the attack on America, we have united in such a manner as never before seen in the history of the United States. My wife's dad said that he has never seen the country so united and patriotic before. People have donated blood, food, money and time to help those victims of the attack. We are truly united at this time. Unity is a strong force.
January 7, 2012 - Addition
These two words struck me. Ever since I read Elder Maxwell's and Elder Oaks' talks on "Desire", I've been taking note of the context whenever I see the word (see "According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts" and "The Desires of Our Hearts" and "Desire")
Desire and anxiety seemed to be linked. All the things that you want (desire) are the same things that you worry about - they you think constantly of - that gnaw at you and drive you to do things.
For Lehi and just about any good parent, the desire of his heart was for his children to keep the commandments. Therefore, what kept him awake at night (anxiety) was Laman and Lemuel's murmuring and disobedience.
What are the true desires of your heart? What makes you do things? What drives you? Are those things aligned with the will of the Father?
Not only will be we judged of our works and thoughts, but we will also be judged of our desires.
Both Elder Maxwell's and Oaks' talks discuss ways to reconcile our desires with the will of the Father.
Another Word about the Promised Land Covenant
Verse 10 goes beyond that mere promise of obedience = prosperity, disobedience = cut off from the Lord ... it states that when the people reject Jesus Christ, then not only will they not prosper, but their land will be taken from them; they'll be "smitten" and "scattered" and blood will be shed.
The lesson: stay on the sunny side of life. Keep the commandments.