I was reading through the scriptures this past week and noticed a phrase I’ve never noticed before. It’s in 2 Nephi 1:9. It says that Lehi obtained a promise from the Lord that “as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves.”
I’ve read that phrase lots but I never really let it sink into me. I’ve always focused on the actual promise, which is amazing. This time around though, I noticed how cool it is that Lehi even obtained a promise. “Obtained a promise from the Lord.” I’m thinking a lot about that these days. I’m wondering the following:
“Can anybody obtain a promise from the Lord?”
“How does one obtain a promise from the Lord?”
The simple answers are yes, in the form of baptismal and temple covenants. Covenants are two-way promises, and in gospel terms, they are promises with the Lord. The promises from God, in these covenants, are available to anyone who is worthy. What about beyond that? Do we just walk around and do our daily tasks and then one day, we feel the Holy Spirit tell us the Lord is promising us something that is individualized to us, and then we can say we obtained a promise of the Lord? Or does a “promise from the Lord” come after much seeking for it? Yes I think so. I believe obtaining a promise from the Lord is not a random thing. I believe it is something that people seek out and ask God for.
On rare occasions though, sometimes the Lord reaches out and gives people promises that they didn’t seek out. For example, I have a vague memory of a story of a woman, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who lived in Australia. She had been visiting the US. On the day she left the US, she was given a promise by the Lord that she would meet the man who would be her husband when she went back to Australia. So she went back to Australia with that hope. She started law school. On the first day of law school, she met this man who would later become her husband. It was a beautiful fulfillment of a promise she obtained from the Lord. Now that I think about it though, she received a promise of the Lord. Maybe obtaining a promise of the Lord means you wrestle for it, which means you seek it out.
I do know that the Lord has told us in the Book of Mormon to seek out every good gift. I think that includes promises. We are given many promises in the scriptures that are there for the taking, or “obtaining” if we just receive them.
As Elder Larry W. Lawrence reminds us in this talk that I love here, Moroni tells us:
“Remember that every good gift cometh of Christ….Remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men” (Moroni 10:18-19).
Lots to think about! Promises and gifts. Obtaining and receiving. I’ve seen this book pictured below this past week, and I’m wondering if it might give more illumination about this. I want to get it and read it! The website for it is here.