Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nephi's Psalm

Last week, as I was studying my scriptures I came to the point in 2 Nephi known as Nephi's Psalm. This was right after Lehi passed away and, as always, Laman and Lemuel's behavior causes Nephi to reflect on theirs, and his, fate. If you haven't read it lately, here it is, if not skip down (2 Nephi 15-35).

15 And upon athese I bwrite the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul cdelighteth in the scriptures, and my heart dpondereth them, and writeth them for the elearning and the profit of my children.
16 Behold, my asoul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my bheart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great agoodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O bwretched man that I am! Yea, my heart csorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily abeset me.
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have atrusted.
20 My God hath been my asupport; he hath led me through mine bafflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
21 He hath filled me with his alove, even unto the bconsuming of my flesh.
22 He hath confounded mine aenemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me aknowledge by bvisions in the night-time.
24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty aprayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.
25 And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been acarried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.
26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath avisited men in so much bmercy, cwhy should my dheart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
27 And why should I ayield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to btemptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my cpeace and afflict my soul? Why am I dangry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer adroop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the benemy of my soul.
29 Do not aanger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
30 Rejoice, O my aheart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the brock of my salvation.
31 O Lord, wilt thou aredeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of bsin?
32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my aheart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may bwalk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy arighteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine benemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.
34 O Lord, I have atrusted in thee, and I will btrust in thee forever. I will not put my ctrust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his dtrust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
35 Yea, I know that God will give aliberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I bask cnot amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the drock of my erighteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.
I absolutely love these verses. Nephi was willing to express the deepest feelings of his soul to the Lord and to us. He knew the plates would be translated in our day, so why would he put some of his truest feelings for us to read?

For me, it's nice to remember that Nephi was human. Usually, we depict Nephi, and other Book of Mormon (and Latter-day) prophets as these superhuman men who do nothing but choose the right. When the reality is that they do sometimes make mistakes, but they always return back to the Lord.

In his psalm, Nephi shows us how he struggled with feelings of inadequacy, anger and jealously, just like I do. But did he dwell on these feelings? No--He prayed. Verses 30-35 are a beautiful prayer in which Nephi proclaims his faith and trust in the Lord. Nephi knew and understood that even though times may get tough, the Lord is always on our side, as long as we are on his.

What else sticks out about Nephi's Psalm?

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