15 And now it came to pass that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his son.
16 Yea, and they also began to search much gold and silver, and began to be lifted up somewhat in pride.
17 Wherefore I, Jacob, gave unto them these words as I taught them in the temple, having first obtained mine errand from the Lord.
18 For I, Jacob, and my brother Joseph had been consecrated priests and teachers of this people, by the hand of Nephi.
Jacob had three reasons to teach the people of Nephi in the temple:
- He had been consecrated as a priest and a teacher by his brother Nephi. He had a formal responsibility to teach them.
- His people had begun to participate in behaviors which were leading them away from God. In particular, he was troubled by their justifications for adultery and by their growing pride.
- He “obtained [his] errand from the Lord.” I interpret this to mean that, even though he saw the need, and even though he had the general responsibility to teach the people, he took the time to ensure that his specific actions at this time were in harmony with God’s will. He wanted to know that what he was teaching, and the way he was teaching it, were consistent with the responsibility he had to act as a representative of God to the people. So he sought inspiration. I think he probably fasted, prayed, and pondered, until he felt that he knew what the Lord wanted him to do and say. Only then did he address his people in the temple to discuss these sensitive topics.
Today, I will follow the example of Jacob. As I prepare for various assignments to teach, including my early-morning seminary class, home teaching, and family home evening, I will seek inspiration to know what I should teach and how to teach it. I will ensure that I “first [obtain] mine errand from the Lord.”