And he read, saying: Woe woe unto Jerusalem,
for I have seen thine abominations.
Yea, and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem,
that it should be destroyed and the inhabitants thereof;
many should perish by the sword
and many should be carried away captive into Babylon.
And it came to pass that when my father had read
and saw many great and marvelous things,
he did exclaim many things unto the Lord, such as:
Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty.
Thy throne is high in the heavens,
and thy power and goodness and mercy is over all the inhabitants of the earth.
And because thou art merciful,
thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish.
And after this manner was the language of my father in the praising of his God,
for his soul did rejoice and his whole heart was filled
because of the things which he had seen,
yea, which the Lord had shewn unto him.
The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text (1 Nephi 1:13-15)
I have read these verses for years and hadn’t understood why in the world Lehi would rejoice. He has just read about the destruction and captivity of Jerusalem, yet he was caught up in the “praising of his God” and “his soul did rejoice”. It wasn’t until I paid close attention to the verses that I realized Lehi’s reason for gratitude and rejoicing.
And he testified that the things which he saw and heard,
and also the things which he read in the book,
manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah
and also the redemption of the world.
(1 Nephi 1:19)
I missed the part in verses 13-15 about how he “had read and seen many great and marvelous things”. It had not occurred to me that the “great and marvelous things” which he had seen were of the coming of Christ and the redemption of the world. My attention had been given to the fact he had witnessed the eminent destruction, captivity and death of his people.
Isn’t that how the world is today? Everywhere you look there is talk about death, destruction, chaos, corruption. Wars, rumors of wars and terror are all around us. We are so focused on death and destruction that it is hard to find anything with which to find rejoicing.
Yet, Lehi does! He looks beyond what is in the near future. He looks, roughly, 600 years into the future and sees hope, redemption, salvation; everything worth rejoicing over! Lehi’s message is similar to the inspiring message in our day:
No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
The Infinite Power of Hope; President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
As we remember that we have hope in Christ, we are able to rejoice and praise The Lord our God. Truly, when we think of these things, we can see that God is constantly striving to “shew unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord is over all them whom he hath chosen because of their faith to make them mighty, even unto the power of deliverance (1 Nephi 1:20)”.
Have we not an abundance for which to be grateful?