These pages begin with the conclusion of the final blessings of Lehi upon his posterity. As he addresses his youngest son, Joseph, we learn a great deal about how great a Seer Joseph of Egypt (the son of the patriarch-prophet Jacob, from the Genesis account) really was (2 Nephi 3:5-24; 4:1). Lehi uses the prophecy of Joseph of Egypt to explain the blessings that Joseph (Lehi’s son) will enjoy. This is because of the covenant that God made with Joseph of Egypt; and Lehi’s family is from the lineage of Joseph of Egypt. This is a “defining moment” for Joseph, son of Lehi. If he chooses to live the covenants that his forebearers have made he will receive great blessings.
Lehi also leaves his blessings upon the children of Laman and Lemuel (his grandchildren) from which we can glean important insights about the responsibility that parents have to bring up children in the ways of the Lord (2 Nephi 4:3-9). This is a “defining moment” for Laman and Lemuel as patriarchs in their homes. President Thomas S. Monson is fond of teaching the eternal truth that, “Decisions determine destiny.” Laman and Lemuel are the perfect examples to illustrate the negative aspect of this truth.
Sure and steady Sam is then blessed with a simple and profound blessing (2 Nephi 4:11). Good old Sam has always been right there with Nephi, and he will receive the same blessings. Once father Lehi has died, Sam will have to decide who will become his “patriarchal figure”. This is a “defining moment” for Sam.
We now reach a very tender moment—Nephi’s “defining moment”. Lehi dies and Nephi exposes his soul to us. Unlike the murmuring account of the children of Ishmael when Ishmael died, we find Nephi, as a son of God, turning to his Heavenly Father when his earthly father passes (2 Nephi 4:12-35). Not only are Nephi’s words in this account illustrative of his “defining moment”, but he is literally “defining” himself to us. He shows us the Nephi that we could never imagine (2 Nephi 4:17-19), and yet at the same time he shows us a new and improved Nephi (2 Nephi 4:28-35). The following video is one of my favorite songs. It is a musical rendition of Nephi’s feelings in 2 Nephi 4. In this video the BYU Singers perform Ronald Staheli’s arrangement of “I Love the Lord” composed by Jean Sibelius with lyrics by John Tanner drawn from 2 Nephi 4.
In stark contrast to this tender account, 2 Nephi 5 marks a “defining moment” for the Book of Mormon. God’s pattern will be repeated once again—the righteous must flee the wicked (2 Nephi 5:3-9). Just as Lehi had to leave his home at Jerusalem, Nephi and the other faithful family members must leave their first home in the Promised Land and establish a new home. With this new start Nephi states, “…we lived after the manner of happiness” (2 Nephi 5:27). An examination of verses 10-18 of chapter 5 give us clues to how we too can live after “the manner of happiness”.
Additionally, chapter 5 also gives us clues about how “defining moments” can bring the cursing of God upon us (2 Nephi 5:2-3, 20-24). Indeed, “The word of the Lord was fulfilled” (2 Nephi 5:20), just as Lehi, Joseph of Egypt, Zenos, Isaiah, and other Seers had prophesied. These “defining moments” led to two nations residing in the Promised Land—one in opposition to the other… only one will survive. This is the story of the Book of Mormon. What will you do with your “DEFINING MOMENTS”?
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