Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Assurance of Salvation -- 1 Nephi 21

What Happens
"The Messiah will be a light to the Gentiles and will free the prisoners—Israel will be gathered with power in the last days—Kings will be their nursing fathers—Compare Isaiah 49"
1 Nephi 21 Chapter Heading


Commentary
In our last episode, Nephi was teaching us some prophecies of Isaiah, reminding us that there is no peace to the wicked.  This chapter is much less warning and a lot more promising a triumphant future through the Messiah, which this whole chapter is about.  God, speaking through Isaiah, is referring to Christ when he talks about the polished shaft the quiver of God in verse 2, and the salvation "unto the ends of the earth" in verse 6.  I think time wise as well as numerically, right?  Everyone, everywhen. :)

There is so much salvation goodness in these verses.  "I will preserve thee, and give thee my servant" (verse 8), speaking of Christ. Verse 9 not only talks about freeing prisoners, but saving "them that sit in darkness."  Interesting stuff... are they (we?) in the darkness by their own choice, or just haven't been introduced to light--and I think salvation comes either way you interpret it. :)

No hunger or thirst or sunburn in verse 10... this salvation thing is sounding better and better all the time, right? :)  In verse 13 we break out into singing because we will be no longer smitten, but instead find mercy and comfort.  I can't really think of a better reason to sing.

Verse 14 points out that we often claim that the Lord has forgotten us, or isn't paying attention. But he has not... nor can he, because as he says in verse 16, clearly referring to the atonement: "I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands."

Even when things seem to be hopeless, God saves us, saying specifically "they shall not be ashamed that wait for me" (verse 23).  That's an interesting statement if we consider Lehi's dream and the Great and Spacious building full of people mocking.  Sometimes we feel that, trying to live God's way in our society.  God assures here, through our good friends Nephi and Isaiah looking forward to our day, that there isn't any reason to be ashamed of waiting for the Lord.  He always comes through.

The Lord tells us in verse 25 that he "will contend with him that contendeth with thee."--that he will fight our battles and save our children.  In the end, all we have to do is follow the Lord and keep his commandments.  He'll do the part that we can't handle.  A very-much-more-than-fair arrangement in our favor. :)

Tune in next time as we go back to Nephi's commentary, and the last chapter of First Nephi.  Wow, right?