When the Lord Conducts the Plan (1 Nephi 7)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, December 30, 2015. Posted in Special Series

When the Lord Conducts the Plan (1 Nephi 7)

As Lehi prepared to continue the journey with his family deeper into the wilderness, the Lord spoke to Him and said it would not do for his family to go alone. It was God’s intention that this family would begin a new nation in a new land, and how could they do that if none of the sons had wives to bear children? So, Lehi was instructed to send his sons back to Jerusalem again to bring a specific family, the family of a man named Ishmael, with them into the wilderness.

On the surface, this plan would seem to have a low likelihood of success. Specifically:

  • What if Ishmael and his family didn’t want to leave their home and travel into the wilderness with Lehi’s family? It would seem like a longshot that they would agree to go and no Plan B was offered (perhaps another family) in case Ishmael’s family didn’t want to go.
  • What if the sons of Lehi and/or the daughters of Ishmael didn’t want to marry each other? Have you ever tried to play matchmaker (or had it done to you)? If so, you know how low the chance of success is. The odds of all four sons from one family connecting with four daughters of another family were astronomical.

So, how did the plan work out?

  • And it came to pass that the Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us down into the wilderness to the tent of our father. (1 Nephi 7:5)
  • Not only did the four sons of Nephi find wives among the daughters of Ishmael, but the fifth daughter of Ishmael wound up marrying Zoram, the former servant of Laban who was traveling with Lehi’s family. The Lord provided for each and every one!

Now, I’m not saying that we should take wild longshots in our lives and expect the Lord to make them succeed. Rather, I’m saying that if we are sure that the Lord is directing us to do something, we should feel secure in proceeding with the plan, even if human logic, common sense, or even our own desires or preferences might dictate otherwise.

When the Lord conducts the plan, we can be confident of success. The plan that is not in concert with the will of God is the plan that is truly high risk.

The first verse of a hymn in our Saints Hymnal sums up the message of this blog article:

#74 – Except the Lord Conduct the Plan

Except the Lord conduct the plan
The best concerted schemes are vain
And never can succeed, And never can succeed
We spend our wretched strength for naught
But if our works in Thee are wrought
They shall be blest indeed, They shall be blest indeed

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

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Comments (2)

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    30 December 2015 at 11:08 |
    Also, very importantly, Lehi was a descendent of Manasseh, while Ishmael was a descendent of Ephraim.

    reply

    • Jerry Valenti

      Jerry Valenti

      30 December 2015 at 18:29 |
      Yes, that is an important point since the Book of Mormon is referred to as the "Stick of Ephraim". Lehi's grandchildren and their descendants are thus part Ephraim and part Manasseh.

      However, for the sake of accuracy, it should be pointed out that the ancestry of Ishmael is not mentioned in the Book of Mormon. According to Joseph Smith, the record of Lehi contained the ancestry of Ishmael. Since the translation of that record was lost (it was contained in the 116 pages that were lost), we rely on the statement of Joseph Smith who remembered that this information was stated in the lost part of the record.

      reply

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