I Have Not Required It of Them – 1 Nephi 3:5

5 And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.
(1 Nephi 3:5)

A core message of Nephi’s writings is that we can do difficult things when the Lord is with us. In the passage above, we learn a related principle: when we receive an assignment from God, we can have confidence that it is achievable, no matter what it is.

After Lehi left Jerusalem with his family, the Lord commanded him to send his sons back to retrieve a valuable artifact from a powerful and violent man named Laban. The initial reaction of Nephi’s brothers was misguided but understandable: it was a hard thing. Lehi didn’t contradict that part of their statement. He only took issue with their assertion that he had required it of them. As he explained to Nephi, “I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.”

Nephi’s well-known response was to affirm his willingness to obey: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded” (1 Nephi 3:7). Nephi’s conviction that the assignment came from God helped him to keep going even when difficulties arose and his brothers wanted to give up. Note his words of admonition after each failed attempt to complete the assignment:

  • Attempt #1: “As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us” (1 Nephi 3:15).
  • Attempt #2: “Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands” (1 Nephi 4:1)?

Because Nephi knew that the assignment was a commandment from God, he knew that the Lord would help them complete it if they would simply keep trying.

President Thomas S. Monson has taught: “When we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help” (“To Learn, to Do, to Be,” General Conference, October 2008). I have received difficult callings and assignments from the Lord. Even though those callings were delivered to me by mortal men–my church leaders–I know that the principle Lehi taught in the verse above applies to me as well: my leaders did not require these things from me; these assignments came from the Lord.

Today, I will follow Nephi’s example of persistence in fulfilling the assignments I have been given, knowing that the Lord will help me to complete them, even when they seem difficult.

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