After traveling eight years in the wilderness, Lehi’s family arrived at a place by the seashore. They called the place Bountiful. Nephi obeyed the Lord’s command to build a ship. He also rebuked his brothers for their wickedness that prevented them from receiving inspiration from the Lord. As you study 1 Nephi 17 and Nephi’s example, you will see that through obedience you can accomplish all that God has commanded. You will also learn to better recognize the Lord speaking to you through the still, small voice.
Lehi’s family journeys to Bountiful, where Nephi is commanded to build a ship
Would you describe your life as easy or difficult? Why? Read 1 Nephi 17:1, 4, 6, and circle words that indicate whether the time Nephi and his family spent in the wilderness was easy or difficult.
Read 1 Nephi 17:3, and identify the reason Nephi gave for why his family was blessed during this difficult time—it begins with the word if. Mark this principle in your scriptures.
Gospel principles are often stated in the scriptures in an “if-then” format. This “if-then” format can also be seen in the direction of individual lives, as well as families and whole nations. The word if describes our action, and then explains the consequence or blessing we will receive for that action. While 1 Nephi 17:3 does not contain the word then, it does describe an action and a blessing that will follow. How would you state the principle Nephi is testifying of in your own words? If _____________________________________________, then ____________________________________________________________________________________________________.
Notice how this principle is illustrated in 1 Nephi 17:2, 12–13. As you read these verses, mark some ways the Lord strengthened and blessed Nephi and his family when they kept the commandments. Look for additional evidence of the truth of this principle as you continue to study Nephi’s experience.
Take time to meaningfully answer the following questions in your scripture study journal. This exercise will help you see that Nephi continued to live the principle he stated in 1 Nephi 17:3, while other family members failed to live it. Remember to think about how this principle applies to your own life.
What did the Lord command Nephi to do? (See 1 Nephi 17:7–8.) What may have been difficult about obeying this commandment?
Nephi replied to his brothers by recalling the experience of Moses. How did the Lord help Moses accomplish the task he was commanded to do? (See 1 Nephi 17:23–29.) How were Nephi’s brothers like the children of Israel? (See 1 Nephi 17:30, 42.)
Are there some commandments that are difficult for you? How can you respond to difficult tasks or commandments from God as Nephi and Moses did?
When you have finished the assignment above, read Nephi’s expression of faith in 1 Nephi 17:50.
Read 1 Nephi 17:51, and apply this verse to yourself by adding your name after the word “me” and replacing the phrase “build a ship” with a commandment you noted in question d above.
In your scripture study journal, write about an experience (your own or that of someone you know) that helped you to know that if you are faithful to God, He will help you accomplish whatever He asks of you.
The principle Nephi exemplified in 1 Nephi 17 and throughout his life is that if we keep the commandments, then the Lord will strengthen us and provide means for us to accomplish that which He has commanded.
Nephi rebukes his brethren for their wickedness
Read 1 Nephi 17:48, 53–54, and identify why Nephi “stretched forth [his] hand unto [his] brethren.”
According to 1 Nephi 17:53, what did the Lord do to Nephi’s brothers? Why? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
The shock given to Nephi’s brothers was one of many ways the Lord had sought to communicate with them. Read 1 Nephi 17:45, and identify some other ways the Lord had tried to communicate with them.
Ponder the following quotation from President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear. It is described as a ‘still small voice’ [D&C 85:6]. And while we speak of ‘listening’ to the whisperings of the Spirit, most often one describes a spiritual prompting by saying, ‘I had a feeling …’” (“Personal Revelation: The Gift, the Test, and the Promise,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60).
You may want to mark 1 Nephi 17:45 and write the following principle next to it: The Holy Ghost speaks with a still, small voice that we feel more than we hear.
Write answers to the following questions in your scripture study journal:
When have you felt the Lord speak through a still, small voice?
What can you do to feel and recognize the still, small voice?
Mark the following phrase in 1 Nephi 17:45: “he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words.” Look again at the first sentence of 1 Nephi 17:45, and identify a reason why Nephi’s brothers had become “past feeling.”
How can sin prevent us from feeling the Holy Ghost? What other kinds of things can distract us from feeling the Holy Ghost? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
President James E. Faust of the First Presidency used an analogy to identify some ways sin can prevent us from feeling the Holy Ghost:
“Cellular phones are used for much of the communication in our time. Occasionally, however, we find dead spots where the signal coming to a cell phone fails. This can happen when the cell phone user is in a tunnel or a canyon or when there is other interference.
“So it is with divine communication. … We often put ourselves in spiritual dead spots—places and situations that block out divine messages. Some of these dead spots include anger, pornography, transgression, selfishness, and other situations that offend the Spirit” (”Did You Get the Right Message?” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 67).
Ponder how well you have listened to the messages the Lord has sought to communicate to you recently. List in your scripture study journal any “spiritual dead spots”—situations and places that can prevent you from receiving the still, small voice—and what you will do to avoid them.
You can receive communication from the Lord through the still, small voice as you seek to be worthy of and pay attention to these gentle promptings.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 1 Nephi 17 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: