9 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord spake unto my father by night, and commanded him that on the morrow he should take his journey into the wilderness.
10 And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.
11 And it came to pass that we did gather together whatsoever things we should carry into the wilderness, and all the remainder of our provisions which the Lord had given unto us; and we did take seed of every kind that we might carry into the wilderness. (1 Nephi 16:9-11)

Up to this point, Lehi had done everything the Lord had commanded him. He’d left Jerusalem with his family, he’d sent his sons to get the plates, and he’d sent his sons to get Ishmael’s family. Now comes a new commandment to journey in the wilderness and start on the morrow.

I’d always thought it was a nice thing that the Lord also provided Lehi with the Liahona that same night to give him encouragement and direction to move on as he was told. This time I also noticed a factor that might have kept Lehi from moving. Verse 11 mentions they packed up “all the remainder” of their provisions, and when they travel four days, they start hunting animals for food by the way.  So it seems that their provisions were starting to run low at the time they were told to move.

I wonder if not having much food would make moving difficult. If I were them, I might have wondered if I was going to be journeying toward food or away from it. Depending on their perspective, the food situation might have tested their faith to journey, or it might have motivated them further.

Thinking about this seems to point to a lesson—the Lord may not wait until we are completely set with perfect conditions (like plenty of food) before He asks us to do things. He might ask at a time that seems inconvenient, or when we’re struggling with other issues. Obviously it’s going to take faith to obey in those kinds of situations.  It makes me think of Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, who were called on a mission and left even though both they and their families were sick and poor. (Remember how they mustered the strength to shout "Hurrah for Israel" to put up a brave front for their wives as they left?) What examples!

Continue reading at the original source →