During the month of October, I studied 2 Nephi 11-33. This collection of chapters constitutes a sermon to Nephi’s future readers on an extended text from Isaiah:
- In chapter 11, he explains his purpose: to convince his readers that we can be delivered by Christ.
- In chapters 12-24, he quotes Isaiah 2-14.
- In chapters 25-30, he comments on the Isaiah chapters he has just quoted.
- In chapters 31-33, he provides some final words of instruction and counsel regarding the doctrine of Christ.
Here are some of the principles I learned as I studied this sermon:
Faith in God can help us avoid panicking in difficult times. We should “stay upon the Lord,” trusting that He can lead us through the difficulties we face. We also need to “wait upon the Lord,” patiently believing that He will deliver us when it is needed and when we are ready to receive it.
God will judge us with perfect fairness and equity. He is pure and holy, and if we are not pure and holy, we will be uncomfortable in His presence. But His arm of mercy is continually extended toward us, and He is ready to help us as soon as we’re ready to receive His help.
We should thank and praise God for the power, the joy, and the deliverance He gives us.
Jesus is the very Christ, the Messiah, who was anointed by His Father to bring us peace and happiness. He is not only the Creator of the universe but is also aware of us and willing to help us individually. He is willing and able to both wash us and purge us—to remove our sins and also to sanctify and purify us.
We should remember that there is power in accurately and reverently using the name of Jesus Christ.
Priorities and Decisions
It’s important to value things appropriately and to to recognize and cultivate things with significant intrinsic value. We need to be careful not to waste time and energy on things that don’t really matter in the end.
One key is to prioritize people over problems. We must not let our challenges or our goals distract us from building relationships with other people.
We must be careful not to base our confidence on temporary things like clothing or other material possessions. We must avoid being deceived by the “bravery of…tinkling ornaments.”
We also need to be careful as we experience conflicting messages and make decisions with imperfect information. We can be grateful that, one day, all truth will be known.
We should choose to be enticed by the Savior’s voice of hope and encouragement, not by Satan’s voice of discouragement and distraction.
Knowledge and Pride
If we choose to ignore the words of prophets, then we are artificially limiting our knowledge. We need to evaluate the words of prophets fairly and objectively. We can be grateful that God speaks to us today, just as He did anciently. But to take advantage of this fact, we need to prepare ourselves to receive, internalize, and act upon God’s words.
We should obey God’s continuing instructions to us. He will continue to give us new directions if we will listen. The Holy Ghost will help us know what we should do. We can invite Him into our lives through scripture study, pondering, and prayer. God can speak to us “according to [our] language,” using words and phrases that are meaningful and useful to us personally.
In areas where we are knowledgeable, we need to remain humble and teachable. In areas where we are less knowledgeable, we should have confidence that we can learn with God’s help. We must be careful to avoid letting worldly honors and praise go to our heads. We can watch for signs that we are “puffed up,” including being easily offended or ignoring people who are less fortunate than ourselves.
The gospel is unified, and we need to see it holistically to live it fully.