29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.
30 And after the angel had spoken unto us, he departed.
(1 Nephi 3:29-30)
Why did an angel appear to Laman and Lemuel on this occasion, while on other occasions, the Lord saved Nephi in different ways?
- When his brothers and the sons of Ishmael tied him up and planned to leave him to die in the wilderness, the Lord strengthened him so that he could free himself from the cords which bound him (1 Nephi 7:16-18).
- When his brothers threatened to “throw [him] into the depths of the sea,” he warned them not to touch him or they would die. Then, the Lord commanded him to stretch his hand towards them, “and the Lord did shake them” so that they knew that God was with him (1 Nephi 17:48, 53-55).
- When Nephi’s brothers tied him up on the ship, the Liahona stopped working. A storm arose and got progressively worse until they feared for their lives and released him (1 Nephi 18:11-15, 20-21).
- When his brothers threatened his life after the death of their father, the Lord commanded Nephi to take his family and anyone else who was willing to accompany him, and “flee into the wilderness” (2 Nephi 5:1-5).
On each of these occasions, Nephi was threatened or attacked by the same two brothers. But each time, the Lord delivered him in a different way. Why? Perhaps the different circumstances called for different kinds of intervention. Perhaps the Lord hoped that one of these demonstrations of divine power would resonate with Laman and Lemuel and motivate them to change. Or perhaps, Nephi’s faith was strengthened by knowing that the Lord could deliver him in many different ways.
Today, I will remember that the Lord can help me overcome my challenges in multiple ways. Whether he sends help, strengthens me to overcome the trial, or warns me to avoid the danger, I will be grateful for His hand in my life, and I will continue to trust in Him.