For a Covenant of the People – 1 Nephi 21:8-10

Shortly after arriving on the American continent, Nephi shared the following passage from Isaiah with his brothers:

Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, O isles of the sea, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee my servant for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
That thou mayest say to the prisoners: Go forth; to them that sit in darkness: Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.
They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them; for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them (1 Nephi 21:8-10).

I’ve been thinking today about what this passage meant to Nephi, after traveling for years in the wilderness and being led across the sea to an unfamiliar land. Since his brother Jacob referred to their new home as “an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20), Nephi must have felt that these words were directed particularly to him and to his family.

I’m sure Nephi found comfort in the Lord’s promise to help them find the resources they would need to prosper in this new land which they had inherited. The passage must have also increased Nephi’s gratitude for the Savior, the “servant” the Lord had promised to give “for a covenant of the people.” The coming of Jesus Christ was not only a fulfillment of God’s covenant to bless and to save us, but a personification of that covenant.

Nephi tells us that the reason he read Isaiah to his brothers was to “more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer” (1 Nephi 19:23). The passage quoted above must have helped him to connect the grace of Jesus Christ with the blessings they needed right then, as they established a new home in their promised land.

Today, I will remember that the help I need to meet my challenges and accomplish my goals comes through Jesus Christ. I will be grateful for His grace, which empowers me to “go forth,” which provides me with nourishment and protection, and which guides me along paths that are rich with opportunity.

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