A Round Ball of Curious Workmanship – 1 Nephi 16:9-10

9 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord spake unto my father by night, and commanded him that on the morrow he should take his journey into the wilderness.
10 And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.
(1 Nephi 16:9-10)

The Lord sends help when we need it. That’s the message I get from this passage. Think of all the things Lehi had already done:

  1. He abandoned his home in Jerusalem and took his family into the wilderness.
  2. He sent his sons back to Jerusalem on a dangerous mission to obtain the brass plates.
  3. He sent them back again to persuade Ishmael and his family to join them on their journey.

Now, he has been camped near the Red Sea in the Valley of Lemuel for quite some time. Their preparations are complete. The Lord tells Lehi at night that they should begin traveling again the following day.

As he leaves his tent the next morning, he discovers a useful device on the ground: “a round ball of curious workmanship” which tells them which way they should go. It might have been comforting earlier in their journey to know that they would receive this help, but they didn’t really need it until now. The Lord gave it to them precisely when they needed it, which allowed them to exercise their faith before that time.

Elder David A. Bednar identified three elements of faith and explained how they work together:

Assurance, action, and evidence influence each other in an ongoing process. This helix is like a coil, and as it spirals upward it expands and widens. These three elements of faith—assurance, action, and evidence—are not separate and discrete; rather, they are interrelated and continuous and cycle upward. And the faith that fuels this ongoing process develops, evolves, and changes. As we again turn and face forward toward an uncertain future, assurance leads to action and produces evidence, which further increases assurance. Our confidence waxes stronger, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little (“Seek Learning by Faith,” Address to church educators, February 6, 2007).

Today, as I face new challenges with uncertain outcomes, I will remember Lehi’s faith. I will act on divine guidance, building on the assurance I have gained from prior experiences. Even if I can’t see where my current steps will lead, I will trust that God will send help along the way. I will strive to recognize the evidence God sends along the way, including help when needed, and I will let that evidence in turn strengthen my assurance.

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