After Nephi and his family arrived in the promised land, he shared many scriptures with his brothers, including passages from the books of Moses and from the writings of Isaiah. He tells us that he “likened” the scriptures to them, helping them apply scriptural lessons to their current circumstances (1 Nephi 19:23).
He actually began “likening” the scriptures to his family many years earlier. When Nephi and his brothers were sent to retrieve the brass plates from a powerful man named Laban, he persuaded them to keep trying by sharing scripture stories.
After two failed attempts to obtain the plates, Laman and Lemuel were done. They had made their best efforts, and they couldn’t see any way to complete the assignment. “How is it possible?” they asked, pointing out that Laban was much more powerful than they were (1 Nephi 3:31).
Nephi responded by inviting them to compare their situation with Moses and the children of Israel many years earlier:
Let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither, and our fathers came through, out of captivity, on dry ground, and the armies of Pharaoh did follow and were drowned in the waters of the Red Sea….
Let us go up; the Lord is able to deliver us, even as our fathers, and to destroy Laban, even as the Egyptians (1 Nephi 4:2-3).
The Title Page of the Book of Mormon states that one purpose of the book is “to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers.” An awareness of God’s past miracles can strengthen our faith today and encourage us to move forward.
Alma told his son Helaman that the scriptures can enlarge our memory (Alma 37:8). They do this in part by allowing us to “remember” things we did not personally experience. As we connect with our spiritual forbears and recognize the blessings they received from God, our own faith and hope are strengthened.
Today, I will follow Nephi’s example of likening the scriptures to my own circumstances. I will remember the great things the Lord has done for His children in the past. Like Nephi, I will relate those stories to my own life. If God blessed them, then He will also bless me. If God saved them, then He can also save me.