Going into the Mountain
"...the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Arise, and get thee into the mountain. And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord." (1 Nephi 17:7)
"Nephi, get up and go up." That was the Lord's command after eight-plus years into his wilderness journey. No doubt, God had some big news to share. We read of His great plan for Nephi to build a ship, that curious workmanship which would inevitably carry him and his family across the depths of the untamed sea to the promise land. Notwithstanding how pivotal that moment was, God had never called Nephi up the mountain before. God required something more, and this encounter helps us learn an important lesson — how our relationship with God must grow.
Consider Nephi's journey up to this point. His entire expedition had been one continual cycle of faith building. It was a daily "wash, rinse, repeat" of facing trials, enduring persecution, and receiving God's deliverance. Through it all, God communed with Nephi.
Scripture says that shortly after they fled Jerusalem the Lord came to Nephi (1 Nephi 2:16). Then later, we see the Lord carry Nephi up into a mountain so they could interact. "...as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot" (1 Nephi 11:1).
Now with Nephi camped on the shoreline of the great unknown, the progression of his relationship with God is realized. In times past, God went to where Nephi was — even carried him up to His presence. But now, God wanted Nephi to get up and meet Him there.
As Nephi faced the last and perhaps the most critical point of his journey, it would require his undivided attention and complete surrender to God's design. The task before him had to be done in the exactness of God's will. Nephi himself said, "...but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men" (1 Nephi 18:2).
His closeness with God determined his success in preparing the vessel that would take him to his final destination. One thing is certain. When Nephi came down from the mount, he understood the value of being in that place with the Lord. He no longer had to wait for God to come down or carry him up. He simply had to go the place he knew God would meet him. He realized the opportunity he had and he did it often, "And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things" (1 Nephi 18:3).
Today, it is no different in our spiritual walk with the Lord. As we journey, God is calling us higher. For us, it means making an earnest effort to rise above the distractions of life, striving in righteousness to be closer to God. As we mature, God doesn't want to have to yell through cupped hands for our attention, neither does He want to come down and get us. He wants us to rise up and join Him on the mountain.
The Lord desires the intimacy of having us close. He wants us to hear every detail, every subtle inflection of His word for our life. He knows we need it for the road ahead. Like Nephi, our success moving forward depends upon our ability to understand and follow the Lord's direction. There is choppy water along the voyage, and God wants to give us our sea legs.
When God brought Nephi to this place, it says "great things" were shown to him. Let us be encouraged today that God stands ready to reveal great things in our lives. All we have to do is get up into the mountain.
Summer Reading Challenge Daily Assignment
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.