God Gave Power unto One Man – Helaman 8:11-12

11 Therefore he was constrained to speak more unto them saying: Behold, my brethren, have ye not read that God gave power unto one man, even Moses, to smite upon the waters of the Red Sea, and they parted hither and thither, insomuch that the Israelites, who were our fathers, came through upon dry ground, and the waters closed upon the armies of the Egyptians and swallowed them up?
12 And now behold, if God gave unto this man such power, then why should ye dispute among yourselves, and say that he hath given unto me no power whereby I may know concerning the judgments that shall come upon you except ye repent?
(Helaman 8:11-12)

After Nephi called his neighbors to repentance, some of them became angry with him. They fundamentally disagreed with his assertions. He said their laws had become corrupt; they believed their laws were pure. He said they would be destroyed if they did not repent; they claimed to “know that this is impossible, for behold, we are powerful, and our cities great, therefore our enemies can have no power over us” (Helaman 8:6).

In the passage above, Nephi responds to these criticisms. If God could give power to Moses to part the Red Sea, he argues, then why can’t he give me power to know what will happen to you if you don’t repent? The argument sounds similar to one given nearly 600 years earlier by another prophet named Nephi:

Now ye know that Moses was commanded of the Lord to do that great work; and ye know that by his word the waters of the Red Sea were divided hither and thither, and they passed through on dry ground….
And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship? (1 Nephi 17:26, 51)

A fundamental principle of the gospel is that God can empower us to do things and to know things that we could not know or do on our own. Both the earlier Nephi and his subsequent namesake saw Moses’s miracles as evidence that God can grant great power to mortal men, and that therefore he could grant great power to them.

Today, I will remember that God can empower me to accomplish great things if I have faith in Him. I will remember that God gave power to Moses, and I will use this awareness to strengthen my faith that He can give me power and knowledge which will enable me to be successful.

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