“January 27–February 2. 1 Nephi 16–22: ‘I Will Prepare the Way before You,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“January 27–February 2. 1 Nephi 16–22,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2020
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As Lehi’s family journeyed toward the promised land, the Lord made them this promise: “I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments” (1 Nephi 17:13). Clearly, that promise did not mean that the journey would be easy—family members still disagreed, bows broke, and people struggled and died, and they still had to build a ship from raw materials. However, when the family faced adversity or seemingly impossible tasks, Nephi recognized that the Lord was never far away. He knew that God “doth nourish [the faithful], and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them” (1 Nephi 17:3). If you ever wonder why bad things happen to good people like Nephi and his family, you may find insights in these chapters. But perhaps more important, you will see what good people do when bad things happen.
Chapters 16–18 of 1 Nephi describe several challenges that Nephi’s family faced, including dealing with a broken bow (see 1 Nephi 16:17–32), the death of Ishmael (see 1 Nephi 16:34–39), building a ship (see 1 Nephi 17:7–16; 18:1–4), and family discord (see 1 Nephi 18:9–22). How did Nephi’s responses to these challenges differ from the responses of some of his family members? What were the consequences of these responses?
It might help to record what you find in a table with headings like these: “Challenge,” “Nephi’s Response,” “Others’ Responses,” and “Results.” Why do you think Nephi was able to remain so faithful when others did not? Reflect on how the example of Nephi and his family can help you with your challenges.
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When God led Lehi’s family into the wilderness, He did not provide them with a detailed travel plan to the promised land. But He did give Lehi the Liahona to guide his family daily toward their destination. What has Heavenly Father given you to provide guidance and direction? What do you think it means that “by small means the Lord can bring about great things”? (1 Nephi 16:29).
As you read 1 Nephi 16:10–16, 23–31 and 18:11–22, consider making a list of principles that illustrate how God guides His children (for example, 1 Nephi 16:10 can teach that God sometimes guides us in unexpected ways). What experiences have you had with these principles?
Isaiah wrote to all the children of Israel, and Nephi saw that this included his own family specifically—and it includes you (see 1 Nephi 19:23–24). Regarding Nephi’s quotations of Isaiah, President Henry B. Eyring said, “I read Isaiah’s words … assuming Nephi picked the parts of Isaiah that I, without worrying about the imagery, could take directly to my heart as if the Lord were speaking to me” (“The Book of Mormon Will Change Your Life,” Ensign, Feb. 2004, 10).
With President Eyring’s words in mind, consider questions like the following as you read chapters 20–22:
1 Nephi 20:1–9.
What phrases in these verses describe the children of Israel? How do they describe Laman and Lemuel? What warnings and application do you find for yourself?
1 Nephi 20:17–22.
How did the Lord lead the children of Israel? How did He lead Lehi’s family? How does He guide you?
The house of Israel are the descendants of the Old Testament prophet Jacob, who was given the name Israel by the Lord (see Genesis 32:28; 35:10; see also Bible Dictionary, “Israel”). The Lord made certain covenants with Israel, and his descendants were considered God’s covenant people. However, generations later, many of them turned away from the Lord and were eventually scattered across the earth.
The term Gentiles in these passages refers to people that do not yet have the gospel (see Bible Dictionary, “Gentile”). Isaiah taught that in the latter days the Gentiles would be given the gospel and be instrumental in teaching and gathering the house of Israel (see 1 Nephi 21:22; 22:8–12; see also Isaiah 60; 66:18–20).
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some ideas.
Perhaps your family could contrast Nephi’s account of traveling in the wilderness (see 1 Nephi 17:1–6) with his brothers’ account (see 1 Nephi 17:17–22). Why do you think they saw the same events so differently? What can we learn from Nephi about having a faithful perspective?
What are the consequences of jealousy, contention, and complaining in a family? How can we overcome these problems?
Nephi likened the scriptures to his family “that it might be for [their] profit and learning” (1 Nephi 19:23). There are several stories in 1 Nephi 16–18 that your family could liken to yourselves. Maybe you could act out one of these stories and discuss how it applies to your family.
How might the message in these verses help someone who feels forgotten?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: Nephi’s Courage,” Children’s Songbook, 120–21.