1 Nephi 3:7-8 — LeGrand Baker — God’s Covenant to Help Us

1 Nephi 3:7-8

7. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things that the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing that he commandeth them.
8. And it came to pass that when my father had heard these words he was exceedingly glad, for he knew that I had been blessed of the Lord.

Nephi has carefully laid out for us the background of this statement. It reads like a rather simple but honest retelling of the story, but at its foundation there is something that he wants his children, and their children—and us—to understand. Nephi crafted his entire autobiography as a kind of epic poem, following the dynamic pattern of the cosmic myth. In that poem, we are now at the point in the chiastic pattern where the hero is given his assignment. If one reads it that way, one readily discovers the two major elements of the assignment. The first is in chapter 2 where the Lord promises Nephi that he will be a ruler and a teacher (that is, a king and a priest). The second is here, where Nephi expresses his trust that the Lord will give no assignment unless its ultimate fulfillment is included in the promise that the Lord will assist the hero in fulfilling his part of the covenant.

There is an implicit and often explicit covenant imbedded into every commandment given God. The promise is that God will counterbalance any obstacle that would otherwise prevent us from keeping our covenants. A vivid example is Abinadi’s warning to the priests of Noah. Abinadi had not yet finished his assignment, and he could not be prevented from doing so (Mosiah 13:3). In Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord, we assigned the name of “invulnerability” to that important covenant. It does not mean one will not have problems or that the assignment will be easy. It means that God will override very thing and everyone that might prevent our keeping our covenants. After that, like Abinadi when he had accomplished what he was sent to do, it almost does not matter what happens.{1}

Nephi’s testimony is that he understands that. He tells us:

8 And it came to pass that when my father had heard these words he was exceedingly glad, for he knew that I had been blessed of the Lord (1 Nephi 8).

Lehi also understood the truth and power of God’s promise of invulnerability. He recognized that Nephi’s assurance was not just the expression of a boy’s unschooled trust, but that Nephi had in fact “been blessed of the Lord.”
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FOOTNOTE
{1} For a discussion of the “covenant of invulnerability” see Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord, first edition, 285-89; second edition, 201-04.

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