Carried in Their Arms and upon Their Shoulders – 1 Nephi 22:8-9

8 And after our seed is scattered the Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the Gentiles, which shall be of great worth unto our seed; wherefore, it is likened unto their being nourished by the Gentiles and being carried in their arms and upon their shoulders.
9 And it shall also be of worth unto the Gentiles; and not only unto the Gentiles but unto all the house of Israel, unto the making known of the covenants of the Father of heaven unto Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
(1 Nephi 22:8-9)

After quoting two chapters of Isaiah to his brothers, Nephi teaches them the meaning of what he has just read. The house of Israel will be scattered among all nations, he says, and hated of all men. But the day will come when the Lord will do “a marvelous work among the Gentiles” and they will carry the house of Israel in their arms and on their shoulders. In the passage from Isaiah that he is paraphrasing, these Gentiles are referred to as kings and queens, while the house of Israel is characterized as prisoners and captives. (See 1 Nephi 21:7, 22-23 and 1 Nephi 21:9-10, 21, 24-25). What a beautiful characterization of a fundamental gospel truth: those who have received much have the responsibility to share with those in need.

We feel this obligation whether we have been blessed temporally or spiritually. As King Benjamin would later teach his people, we will only retain a remission of our sins if we are willing to use the blessings we have received to the benefit of other people:

And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants (Mosiah 4:26).

I love the following statement of the prophet Joseph Smith:

The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Chapter 37: “Charity, the Pure Love of Christ”).

Today, I will recognize my role in fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah. To the degree that I have been blessed with advantages, I will nourish other people who lack those advantages. I will do what I can to help those in need, both temporally and spiritually. I will remember Isaiah’s imagery of kings and queens carrying prisoners “in their arms and upon their shoulders.”

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