20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them, but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
(2 Nephi 20:20, Isaiah 10:20)
stay – To rest; to rely; to confide in; to trust (Webster’s Dictionary 1828, 6th definition)
In chapter 48 of his book, the prophet Isaiah laments those who “swear by the name of the Lord,… yet they swear not in truth nor in righteousness.” Even though these people claim to be followers of God, “they do not stay themselves upon the God of Israel” (1 Nephi 20:1-2). (Nephi’s rendering of this passage is clearer than the corresponding passage in the King James Version of the Bible–Isaiah 48:1-2–which is missing an important “not” in the second verse.)
Even though we don’t use the word “stay” this way any more, the meaning is reasonably clear from the context. To “stay upon” the Lord is to trust Him, to depend upon Him, and to be emotionally settled because that trust is genuine.
Why would anyone “stay upon” their oppressors? Sounds ridiculous, yet we all do it sometimes. When we fear our antagonists, we give them power to disrupt our internal peace. When we bow to their demands and seek to appease them, are we not depending on them for our emotional stability?
Last Saturday, Elder Ronald A. Rasband reminded us that faith can overcome fear:
If we actively trust in the Lord and His ways, if we are engaged in His work, we will not fear the trends of the world or be troubled by them. I plead with you to set aside worldly influences and pressures and seek spirituality in your daily life. Love what the Lord loves—which includes His commandments, His holy houses, our sacred covenants with Him, the sacrament each Sabbath day, our communication through prayer—and you will not be troubled (“Be Not Troubled,” General Conference, October 2018).
Today, I will seek to “stay upon the Lord…in truth.” I will trust Him and allow that trust to carry me through the difficulties I face. I will not allow other people or situations to intimidate me, but will overcome negative emotions by my faith in Jesus Christ.