(WARNING: Religious Reflection Ahead.)
A phrase in 1 Nephi 7:13 reached out and grabbed me this morning: “… and ye shall know at some future period, that the word of the Lord shall be fulfilled concerning the destruction of Jerusalem: for all things which the Lord hath spoken concerning the destruction of Jerusalem must be fulfilled.”
Now, I’m not all hung up on the “destruction of Jerusalem” part—what’s done is done—but what got my attention was: “ye shall know at some future period,” and, “must be fulfilled.”
Sometimes it’s a bummer that God works on the principle of faith. That I have to believe before I receive. “You want a witness? Show me you believe in one before I give it to you.” Seems backwards, but it’s how God works. I guess it builds character, or something like that. I guess it’s like planting a seed and knowing it will sprout. Course I have to water faith and belief with prayer, patience, trust, hope, and thought; but do that, and eventually a witness or answer will sprout. Then there is God’s timetable, which is horribly contrary to my own, but that’s another subject.
Now the “must be fulfilled” part in the verse. I really thought about that. It doesn’t say, “will be,” “could be,” “might be,” or, “should be.” No, it’s “MUST be.” What does that mean to me? That there is no choice in the matter. The choice was made when the declaration was made. It will happen. It has to. This is integrity at its finest. The kind of integrity our world has little concept of today. I think of the Prophet Joseph, who said of the First Vision, “I knew it, and I knew God knew it, and I could not deny it.” Powerful integrity stuff.
I also remember what the Savior said to the Nephites when He appeared to them after His resurrection, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.” If I’m a prophet, and for years I have promised that something “must be,” I would think it rather cool that the first thing the Lord does when He shows up is validate me.
I’ve been thinking about the kids in my class—I do that a lot. I want them to understand they can ask God for answers, and now I want them to get the concept of integrity when it comes to making promises. If you make one, it’s as good as keeping it. When Nephi caught Zoram and asked him to come along with the family and take off into the wilderness (“Hey, don’t want to be a servant? Laban is dead anyway, so what’s the point? Come along with us! Freedom! And you won’t get destroyed along with Jerusalem!” Nothing was said about wandering, camping, building a boat, or sailing across the ocean—I suppose those were details the boys didn’t need to know at the time), all Zoram had to do was make an oath, and BAM, he was trusted and off they went into the wilds. What kind of power did one’s word have back then? What kind of power does is have now? Neither one of us has to make a comment on that, we both know the answer.
So proof requires trust and patience; and integrity requires honesty and follow-through. Seems like a lot of work. But I have faith it works, and am committed to keep my word. (Will I screw up? Probably to some degree. But then we have that whole repentance/atonement stuff, which is a whole ‘nother subject for a whole ‘nother time.)