06 Mar 2009 sweet affirmation
 |  Category: Inspirational, Miscellaneous

In Helaman 10, Mormon records the Lord’s dealings with the Prophet Nephi and the people in general.  Mormon records Nephi’s righteousness and how he has sought the Lord’s will and to keep His commandments at all times, irrespective of what personal danger or discomfort it may impose.  And, because of this [Nephi’s unwearyingness], the Lord gives Nephi tremendous spiritual blessings, including the sealing power.  This particular entry from Mormon has always caught my attention in past readings because of Nephi’s faithfulness and the evidence of why he was given the sealing power.  The Lord makes very clear why Nephi was so richly blessed – and, by extension, how each of us can be equally blessed when we’re equally obedient, faithful, and committed.

Something else caught my eye this time, though, in a way I’d not considered previously.  Specifically, the last part of verse 5: “… behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will” (emphasis added).

I’ve always read that as a sweet affirmation of the Lord, that Nephi had proven himself sufficiently, through prior trials, that he would do whatsoever the Lord commanded him (which is, afterall, the express purpose for which we’ve come to mortality – D&C 84:44).  I still think that’s an appropriate and a correct reading of the verse.  After all, in many other revelations the Lord has declared similarly, that each individual must prove worthy (not because we are capable alone, without the grace of Christ- but rather, that we’re willing to persevere with faith in Christ despite our weaknesses) and that, once we’ve done so, we qualify for blessings beyond comprehension (i.e. calling and election, visions of eternities, second Comforter, et cetera).

This time I understood it to be a dual-purpose statement: (1) an affirmation of prior performance, and (2) a commandment.  The Lord did both simultaneosuly – isn’t He clever?  He commanded Nephi that he should “not ask that which is contrary to [God’s] will” and concurrently bolstered Nephi’s faith that He was supremely, yea divinely confident that His power, especially the sealing power, would not be abused.

It’s a wise and loving (and clever!) parent that can command a child not to do something and at the same time provide confidence, assurance, and encouragement to that same child that (s)he is trusted with immeasurable power.

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