Ether 2:7–12 fits the pattern of a covenant, with God promising specific blessings if the people do certain things.
God’s Promises to the People
• He will give them the land as a land of promise (see Ether 2:7, 9; see also 2 Nephi 1:5–7).
• They will be free from the bondage and captivity of all other nations (see Ether 2:12).
God’s Expectations for the People
• They must repent of their iniquity (see Ether 2:11).
• They must serve Jesus Christ, “the God of the land” (Ether 2:12; see vv.8–12).
The pattern is so recognizable…a people that were lead away from a wicked society; lead to a promised land; crossed the ocean in a ship which was built by a special design revealed by God; in the promised land they multiplied and broke into a righteous group and a wicked group; they had prophets and righteous leaders; both had a period of peace for about 225 years, then a time of constant warfare and secret combinations; a nation finally was destroyed; the experiences are a testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ, his mercies and his Atonement
“Moroni must have felt a strong kinship with the prophet Ether. Both were the lone righteous survivors of the civilization. Both had been rejected and hunted by their people. Neither knew what would become of them, however, each bore an unshakable testimony that at last he would triumph over his current circumstances, as will all true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ”
I learn so much from this pattern and the example of the brother of Jared and his people.
The Lord is here to guide us and help us, but He does, at times, take a step back. Sometimes we can really feel, and some might even get upset. Some might forget to rely on Him as much (as the brother of Jared did. vs. 14) The Lord gives us training wheels, but sometimes He has to take them off and let us ride on our own. If He didn't, we would never really know where we are, and how much we can really do.
His goal isn't to carry us through life. It is to PREPARE us so we can make it; to help us to become strong, and intelligent, and spiritual. We are to become like Him. Not just to depend on Him- but to BECOME like Him.
My favorite verse is 25. The Lord is talking to them about their impending journey. They must have been nervous- maybe even afraid. He said, "And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the seas, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come..."
The key word is PREPARE. The Lord prepares us for the hard times. I guess He had the power to just clap His hands and somehow zap them over to the Americas, but they would have lost the opportunity to test themselves and grow.
I need to remember all that the Lord has done for me in preparing me. As I cross my 'deep seas', I need to trust that He wouldn't have sent me out if He didn't think I could safely navigate my way to the promised destination. I need to have faith that, not only did He prepare me, but that He has prepared the way for me.
I need to remember that, sometimes, I am somewhat on my own, because He wants me to see what I can do, and how much I have grown.
We know that Mahonri was a man of great spiritual stature who had great faith in the Lord- why would he suddenly stop praying? Maybe Mahonri had not fully implemented the counsels of the Lord previously received, maybe in the relative comfort of the seashore Mahonri allowed his prayers to become less fervent, more casual and routine; he may have been calling on the Lord in word, but not in faith and deed- verse 13 might suggest this- maybe four years upon the seashore was too long a time for their preparations… been there. Done that.
I need to remember that calling on the Lord is much more than merely “saying our prayers”. “Calling on the Lord” requires not only frequency and fervency of prayer, but also action - commitment to promptly do what the Lord command. We can learn that there might be danger in pausing too long in one place in our spiritual lives when we need to be moving onward, forward, and upward.
“What is doctrinally important about these verses is not so much the instructions concerning the shape of the barges, or the oxygen or lighting concerns, but rather the process whereby Mahonri came to acquire this important information.”
2:23 - the Lord gives us personal responsibilities and offers assistance for our problems
2:23 - The Lord helped clarify the problem
2:25 - The Lord clarified the objective
2:23-25 - the Lord helped Mahonri focus on realities and identify alternatives
2:25 - The Lord gave full responsibility to Mahonri
3:1-6 - Mahonri worked out a solution to his problem
3:6-28 - the Lord blessed and commended him
(taken from “Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families- The Book of Mormon” by Dennis H. Leavitt , Richard O. Christensen, p 338)
Quote: Elder Henry B. Eyring: “If you want to get revelation, do your homework…The good works that really matter require the help of heaven. And the help of heaven requires working past the point of fatigue so fat that only the meek and lowly will keep going long enough. The Lord doesn’t put us through this test just to give us a grade; he does it because the process will change us.” (To Draw Closer to God, pp. 94-95)
This prayer is very simple. He has a problem. He asks for the solution. He is probably looking for a straight set of instructions like he had received on the “how to build a barge” question. But the Lord doesn’t follow the previous pattern of “ask for a solution, receive a commandment”. Instead He starts a dialogue, adds some insights, and asks for input from the brother of Jared.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: “Clearly the brother of Jared was being tested. God had done his part. Unique, resolutely seaworthy ships for crossing the ocean had been provided. The brilliant engineering had been done. The hard part of the construction project was over. Now the Lord wanted to know what the brother of Jared would do about incidentals” (Christ and the New Covenant, 16).
Anyway, I could go on and on. I could talk about how we need to be humble and listen as we are being taught and prepared, or how we should have faith when we don't see Him that He is really there, and so on, but I’ve already posted a little much today! LOL