Several months ago I felt impressed to begin reading the Bible, cover to cover, starting at Genesis. I’ve read through most of the New Testament, have looked up various scriptures here and there in the Old Testament, and can even correctly recite the books of the Bible (you know, think “Praise to the Man” and sing, “Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers…”).
I recall many of the stories: Moses, Abraham and Isaac, Daniel and the Lion’s Den, Jonah and the Whale. Yet these were told to me in Family Home Evening, or my Primary or Sunday School classes. I had never actually sat down and read through the stories themselves.
After spending a good month or so putting it off, I decided it was time to get serious. So I started at Genesis chapter one. Though many things didn’t exactly make sense (why did the Lord accept Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s?) I discovered there was quite a lot to take in.
About this time my husband and I decided to start reading the scriptures, one story at a time, to our children. We had just finished Noah and the ark when I thought it might be fun to read about the time Nephi was asked to build a ship. I made certain to point out that when the Lord commanded it, Nephi didn’t say, “But I don’t know how to build a ship,” or “I don’t even have tools. We left them all in Jerusalem.” He didn’t even say, “What if everyone laughs at me?” He simply stated in 1 Nephi 17:9 “Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?”
Nephi had been shown how to build the ship, but he didn’t expect the Lord to do everything for him. He was ready and willing to make the tools to build his ship.
Shortly after we read this account I began to read about Moses. After discovering he was a Hebrew, he’d been turned out of the Pharoah’s home, had wandered in the wilderness before coming to Midian and marrying Zipporah, Jethro’s daughter, and working as a shepherd in his father-in-law’s house.
One day he came to what was called the ‘mountain of God’ where the Lord appeared to Moses as a burning bush. There the Lord told Moses he was to deliver Israel (or the people of Israel, the Hebrews) from bondage. “Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharoah, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)
What was Moses’ reaction? Basically he said, “Seriously? Me? Why?”
The hesitation didn’t stop there. The Lord said he would be with Moses, and was calling him to do this.
Moses wasn’t satisfied. He let fear get in the way, as we read in verse 13: “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them?”
The Lord answered that question as well. It still wasn’t enough for Moses. The Lord continued to answer questions, to give solutions to each problem Moses brought up, even offered signs for Moses to give Pharoah and the Hebrews, and still it wasn’t enough for Moses.
He tried to get out of it, complaining he was slow of speech and had a slow tongue.
At that point the Lord became frustrated with Moses (who wouldn’t?), and finally offered Aaron to speak for him before sending him away.
How drastically different are these two examples. How would things have been different if Moses had simply trusted in the Lord and done as he was asked? Of course, Moses had not been taught in the ways of God growing up, but I would imagine he learned much in Jethro’s home.
No matter what age we are, when we feel impressed to do something – even something that appears beyond our reach – I certainly hope we can be like Nephi. I hope I might be one who says, “Whither shall I go?”