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Nephi’s Psalm is also My Psalm

Nephi is known as being highly favored of the Lord ? (1 Nephi 1:1) and having great desires to know. ? (1 Nephi 2:16) He believed the words of his father. (1 Nephi 2:16) Nephi knew from experience that the Lord would not give a commandment without also providing a way to accomplish that command, and Nephi ?s faith and trust in the Lord was evidenced by his declaration that he would go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded. ? (1 Nephi 3:7)

Now I do not intend nor desire to put myself on the same level as a prophet. But for many years I have felt a kinship with Nephi. Not because of Laman / Lemuel / Laban type experiences, and certainly not because of any visions or prophecies on my part. But we are told to liken all scriptures unto us ? for our profit and learning. ? (1 Nephi 19:23)

I relate to Nephi largely because of 2 Nephi 4, and specifically since 2005 I have felt that Nephi ?s Psalm is also my psalm. (2 Nephi 4:17–35) In my scriptures I have a margin note that says, 7/14/05 – Nephi ?s psalm is mine! These verses are me – my desires, my faith, my weaknesses, my frustrations, my trust in the Lord. ? I have deeply connected to these verses and the inherent messages within them.

Some examples:

I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. ? (2 Nephi 4:18)

?nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. ? (2 Nephi 4:19)

My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions ? ? (2 Nephi 4:20)

He hath filled me with his love ? he hath heard my cry ? ? (2 Nephi 4:21, 23)

O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow ? ? (2 Nephi 4:26)

?why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy? ? (2 Nephi 4:27)

Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart ? ? (2 Nephi 4:28)

Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions. ? (2 Nephi 4:29)

May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! ? (2 Nephi 4:32)

O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. ? (2 Nephi 4:34)

I have studied and pondered these verses many times. They seem to so closely parallel my life. Like Nephi, I find myself doing these things:

Vs. 17-19 – beating self up for imperfections
Vs. 19-25 – acknowledging the hand of the Lord in life
Vs. 26-30 – giving self a personal pep talk
Vs. 30-35 – offering a prayer asking for the Lord ?s help and declaring steadfastness to the Lord

At times I ache because of my imperfections. Yet I recognize the hand of the Lord in my life. I encourage myself through pep talks. I ask for His help. I express my desire to be steadfast. And as I go through this cycle, I find that my faith becomes stronger and my trust in the Lord and in His ability to truly help me becomes firmer.

As I study the scriptures and my margin notes, I gain greater insight and understanding. A margin note from 2/22/04 states: Even with the gospel, we have temptations / struggles because that ?s how we learn / grow. We ?re reminded of what we ?ve learned. ? Another undated note says, Without the gospel we accept sins as human nature. The gospel raises the bar. ?

And my favorite insight, one that I gained in the temple during a particularly trying time for me: 7/16/05 – Having a broken heart / contrite spirit is more than being humble. It means that we turn ourselves over to Christ and allow the atonement to work in our lives, that we trust and believe Him, that He can / will do what He says He can / will, that we allow Him to replace our anger / fear / hurt / etc with His peace / love / mercy / etc. ?

I have discovered that I develop a more profound and personal relationship with my Savior as I utilize the scriptures to help me as I experience life ?s opportunities and challenges that are intended to bring me closer to Him and my Father.

Therefore, I frequently re-read and ponder the psalm I share with Nephi. There are times in my life when sins or weaknesses so easily beset me ? and when I allow myself to become angry because of mine enemy. ? But I also know that my God hath been my support ? and He hath filled me with his love. ? I hope and pray for a broken heart and contrite spirit. And the foundation of my faith, like Nephi, resounds in this declaration: O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. ?

In times of need, distress, courage, or confidence, I also turn to Matthew 11:28–30 ( Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me ? For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. ?) and John 14:27. ( Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you ? Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ?)

In these scriptures, I have found great hope, peace, and the ability to endure well enough for now. While I am not prophet material like Nephi, I can and have been able to liken the scriptures ? for my circumstances and for my benefit and growth.

What scriptures help you on your homeward journey? Is there a particular verse, or group of verses, that helps you on a regular, ongoing basis? Is there something (scripture, hymn, quote) that you instinctively turn to for comfort and guidance and strength? How have you, like Nephi, learned to trust in the Lord and in His goodness and mercy? I believe that sharing these moments and experiences as we travel homeward, back to our Heavenly Father, offers hope and reassurance to those around us. And lending strength and encouragement to each other is one of the things that Mormon Mommas do best!

{ 14 comments… add one }

  • Tinkerbell April 27, 2008, 6:37 pm

    Great post and question. When I was a teenager, my motto was Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God”. Life was really hard after my dad left. I just kept telling myself that things would work out if I loved God and kept His commandments. I didn’t even realize that there was a last part of this verse (“to them that are the called according to his purpose”) until today when I just looked up the scripture to quote it correctly. That actually makes it all the more special because I feel I have been called to do an important work.

    My hymn of comfort was “Where Can I Turn for Peace?”. It got me through the hard times.

    I have a current favorite scripture that I picked up as my motto while I was in college. I’ll share it after I bathe the kids and put them to bed. My baby is covered in applesauce.

  • jendoop April 27, 2008, 7:48 pm

    A scripture that has stayed with me for years and that brings me to tears at it’s mention is Revelations 7:13-17

    “..What are these which are arrayed in white robes” and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neighter shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

    This was read to me in a counseling session for depression many years ago. It was an illuminating moment, I attributed my depression to sin, that if I were just good enough I wouldn’t have problems, that things would be easier. My wonderful LDS counselor pointed out that in this scripture it says that those who serve the Lord will pass through great tribulation, so great that there will be tears for him to wipe away. That I am not necessarily doing something wrong if I’m crying because it is so difficult, in fact you could even say I’m doing something right.

    What comfort it gives to me, that one day God will wipe away my tears, he will understand. He will welcome me into his arms to stay.

    The hymn that I use to combat bad thoughts or as encouragement is “I Need Thee Every Hour”. Although the hymn “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go” holds a special place in my heart. We were fasting about a job opportunity far from where we were living and that was the hymn we sang in RS. No one else knew of my fast, we had pretty much made the decision to go but it was scary, I needed that reassurance from my Savior. Now when I hear that hymn it keeps me going in an area where there is so much work to be done, it reminds me that I do want to be in the Lord’s service even though it is hard.

  • davidson April 27, 2008, 10:21 pm

    Such a beautiful article, Michelle, and I have felt what you felt in relating to Nephi’s psalm. Your heart delights me. I would like to comment tomorrow when I have a little more time. Hugs to you, dear.

  • Ray April 30, 2008, 9:03 am

    This is why I love my wife – or one of the reasons. :wink:

  • davidson April 30, 2008, 4:08 pm

    Jendoop, you quoted one of my all-time favorite scriptures. There is something so wonderful in thinking that there is a Savior who cares enough about ME! even me! to wipe away all tears from my eyes.

    For me this week, it was not a hymn or a scripture that gave me reason to pause. It was a visit to the planetarium at BYUI. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a small building with a dome-shaped top, and when you go in, they turn off the lights and use sophisticated equipment to produce astronomy shows on the dome overhead. I learned from their presentation that there are–get this– approximately one hundred thousand known GALAXIES in our universe. In each galaxy there are millions of stars like our sun, and each star or group of stars has planets that orbit them. Our scriptures reveal that there are many, many earths that are peopled like ours. I have a tough time thinking that God has the ability to hear the prayers of just the billions of people who live on this earth. But he is hearing prayers from an astonomical number of people in our galaxy and other galaxies in our universe. And He knows me by name! He has time to hear my prayers! He cares enough to wipe away all tears from my eyes! It is mind-boggling! I am glad his ability doesn’t depend on my understanding. I don’t get it. But I am so glad He loves me and will take time for me. I am encircled about eternally in the arms of His love. Just like you are.

  • facethemusic May 2, 2008, 5:36 am

    Lovely post Michelle!
    You actually quoted one of MY favorite scriptures- “Nevertheless I know in whom I have trusted”
    Another is “Be still, and know that I am God”
    THe whole passage in 3 Nephi about the Savior blessing the children and the angels ministering to them.
    I also love the passages in Mormon and Moroni where they speak directly to us. “Jesus Christ hath shown you unto to me and I know your doings” and others.
    I love the personal nature of the Book of Mormon. I know that ALL scripture is for us, that we should liken the scriptures unto ourselves–and as we’ve been told, the Book of Mormon was meant specifically for our day– but even WITHIN the Book of Mormon, there are certain passages that are written TO the reader, and those passages always really move me, There’s a power in the “I’m talking to YOU” manner of speaking.

  • Michelle D May 3, 2008, 12:40 pm

    I’ve been thinking of all the scriptures I could have included, and “Be still, and know that I am God” and Christ’s visit in 3 Nephi are among the ones I read over and over for peace and comfort and guidance.

    Also D&C 121:7-8 (“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”) and D&C 122:5-9 (“If thou art called to pass through tribulation… If thou art accused… if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? Therefore, hold on thy way…”) – both when Joseph was in Liberty Jail. I’ve survived a lot of adversity holding onto those scriptures!!

    Tink, “Where Can I Turn for Peace?” is comforting, isn’t it?! Isn’t it wonderful that we have these words to help us endure?! What a loving Father and Savior we have!

  • LisaB November 2, 2009, 3:52 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful entry. My son is about half way through his service as a full time missionary. He is an amazing, hard working missionary with a wonderful attitude. He is known throughout the mission for having a wonderful smile always.

    However, he last week was a difficult one. There were some challenges with some of the members in his area, especially his landlady. There were also some challenges with the mission president related to the landlady. He was very discouraged and asked me for advice.

    As I was contemplating what to tell him I got the impression that I should tell him to study the Psalm of Nephi. This morning I googled “Psalm of Nephi” so I could give him the exact verses to study and found your wonderful post. I was very touched by your insight and copied the whole post into an e-mail for him.

    One thing that makes this even better to send to this particular son is that he has always closely related to Nephi. When he was three and four years old and all the other kids wanted to be Batman or Superman he wanted to be Nephi!

    Thank you for your wonderful touching words. I know that they will touch and encourage my son.

    As far as your question. I have found comfort in Mosiah 27. My husband and older children are not as active as I would like and the idea that the prayers of a parent for a wayward child are heard is so comforting.

    My favorite hymn of peace and reassurance has been mentioned. “Where Can I Turn for Peace” is amazing. To think that the Savior is our friend will reach out and comfort us in our personal Gethsemane (think of how much anguish and the depth of the trials that word symbolizes) is almost beyond comprehension, but I know that it is true because I have experienced that comfort when it seemed like nothing could help the depth of my sorrow and despair. I amazingly found peace and gained a much greater testimony of the infinite and far reaching power of the atonement.

    Lisa

  • Michelle D November 2, 2009, 4:57 pm

    Lisa, welcome to Mormon Momma! I hope you will come back often.

    I am astounded that you were drawn toward the link to my post 6 months after I wrote it – and I am so grateful that it is as pertinent today as it was then. I hope that your son will find peace and comfort and be able to move forward. He sounds like a wonderful young man and a dedicated missionary. My oldest son is serving a mission in Washington Everett; he has been out 4 months.

    Nephi’s psalm continues to touch my heart because the Spirit continues to help me see how I can relate it to my life. What a gift that it blesses the lives of others, as well!

  • Alison Moore Smith November 3, 2009, 1:05 am

    LisaB welcome to MM. Wow, Michelle, did I really never post on this article? Slap me. It’s not because it didn’t move me. I guess I was just wrapped up in thought. :)

    I’m glad this popped back up because it gave me a chance to reread.

    One of my favorite hymns is Be Thou Humble. It has beautiful promises in it. Now if I could just get down the humble part… :neutral:

  • Michelle D November 3, 2009, 1:44 pm

    Consider yourself slapped, Alison. :wink:

    Be Thou Humble is among my multitude of favorites!

  • mormonmom October 13, 2010, 8:23 pm

    I just found this article when I Googled “Psalm of Nephi”, for our BoM discussion group tomorrow. Excellent article! I put some of your marginal notes in my scriptures too! Thanks for sharing!

  • Cynthia Bundu-Kamara March 24, 2011, 6:40 pm

    Thank you so much for your testimony. My family is currently going through an extremely difficult wilderness experience – you reinforced my love for the scriptures and in particularly Nephi’s journey and experiences – It was a sacred moment reading through your experience and how you held on to the scriptures (the iron rod) for your strengthen. they are all my favourite scriptures and verses too. I love them. Thank you so much

    Stay blessed.

  • Michelle D March 25, 2011, 8:46 am

    Cynthia, mormonmom, and LisaB – thank you for commenting! I am more of a personal blogger than a group blogger, so these additional comments mean a lot to me.

    I am a bit awe-struck that my article is helping others so long after I wrote it. Really, it makes me a bit curious and nervous about a Google search on myself! However, I am gratified that my post has helped each of you on such a personal level.

    May our Heavenly Father continue to bless us all as we continue on our earthly journeys, doing the best we can given our current circumstances!
    Michelle D recently posted…Miraculous BlessingsMy Profile

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