After arriving in the promised land, Lehi gave a series of sermons to his family, giving them his final words of counsel before his death. The first sermon was directed primarily to his oldest sons, Laman and Lemuel.
Lehi’s purpose in addressing Laman and Lemuel was to wake them up spiritually and motivate them to live righteously, so that they and their children could avoid captivity.
- Background: the family’s history and future in the promised land (2 Nephi 1:1-12).
- Lehi reminds them of the blessings God has given them: leading them out of Jerusalem before it was destroyed, being patient with them when they rebelled against him, and leading them to their promised land (2 Nephi 1:1-5).
- Lehi prophesies that his descendants will be free in this land as long as they are righteous. But if they dwindle in unbelief, they will be “scattered and smitten” (2 Nephi 1:6-12).
- The main message: Wake up, and keep God’s commandments, so that you can avoid captivity (2 Nephi 1:13-23).
- The main message: “O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep…and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound” (2 Nephi 1:13).
- I will soon die, but the Lord has redeemed me from hell. “I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” (2 Nephi 1:14-15).
- I am worried that you will be cursed because of the hardness of your hearts (2 Nephi 1:16-19).
- God has said that if you keep His commandments, you will prosper, but if you don’t keep His commandments, you will be cut off from His presence (2 Nephi 1:20).
- “Arise from the dust, my sons, and be men…that ye may not be cursed with a sore cursing” (2 Nephi 1:21-23).
- Lehi urges his sons to listen to Nephi (2 Nephi 1:24-32).
- Don’t rebel against Nephi. When he tells you things which are difficult to hear, he is not angry with you; he is speaking the truth by the Spirit of God (2 Nephi 1:24-27).
- To Laman, Lemuel, and Sam: If you will follow Nephi’s teachings, I leave my “first blessing” with you. But if you will not listen to him, then that first blessing will rest upon him instead of you (2 Nephi 1:28-29).
- To Zoram: You’ve been a true friend to Nephi. Because of your faithfulness, your descendants will be blessed (2 Nephi 1:30-32).
The words of a dying man deserve respect, particularly when that man successfully led his family from danger to their promised land. Lehi reviews the past with his sons, but he is most concerned about the future. He has been blessed and guided because of his adherence to God’s commandments. He fears that his sons have failed to catch that vision that that they and their descendants will live in captivity as a result of their rebelliousness.
It is ironic to hear a dying man urging his sons to “awake from a deep sleep” and “arise from the dust.” But as Lehi explains, he is not afraid of death. He knows that he has been redeemed by Jesus Christ and that he will be fine in the next life. He has less confidence in the future of his oldest sons. All he can do is urge them to make the decisions which will enable them to receive God’s blessings as well, including listening to the sometimes inconvenient teachings of their younger brother.
In response to Lehi’s teachings, I will wake myself up spiritually, proactively taking actions which will lead to liberty for myself and for my children. I will remember that entropy is a law of the universe and of our lives: without proactive effort on our part, our lives will naturally become less organized, and we will slip into various forms of captivity. Like Lehi, I will strive to be faithful over time, so that I can be redeemed and encircled in the arms of the Savior’s love.
Blog Posts About Lehi Teaching Laman and Lemuel
- A Land of Promise – 2 Nephi 1:5 (8/14/2018)
- Shake Off the Awful Chains with Which Ye Are Bound – 2 Nephi 1:13 (10/1/2017)
- Arise from the Dust…and Be Men – 2 Nephi 1:21-23 (8/13/2016)
- 2 Nephi 1:1-2 He Shall Consecrate Thine Afflictions for Thy Gain (2/4/2015)
- 2 Nephi 1:5 A Land of Promise (2/2/2015)
- 2 Nephi 1:21 Arise From the Dust, My Sons, and Be Men (2/2/2015)