First of all, I find it completely amusing that Laman and Lemuel threw a fit about having to go back for the brass plates, but we hear not a single complaint when they're commanded to go back to get themselves wives! :)
Of course, once they get their wives (who rapidly consent, because their hearts were already prepared by the Lord) and journey back through the wilderness, the murmuring and full-scale rebellion begins again. How very tiresome this must have been for the faithful few!
The part that totally stood out for me in this chapter are the words FORGET and REMEMBER.
Nephi is incredulous that his older brothers have slipped back into their old attitudes and behavior after so many blessings and miracles. He states three separate examples:
Nephi expertly turns a corner, reminding them (and us) that the limitless things God can do for his children (according to his will) are contingent on our faith. He then adds a charge, a rallying cry:
- How is that ye have forgotten that ye have seen an angel of the Lord?
- Yea, and how is that ye have forgotten what great things the Lord has done for us...?
- Yea, and how is that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will?
The Lord is able to do all things...for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him. Wherefore, let us be faithful to him! (punctuation changed for emphasis.)Then he adds a promise:
And if it so be that we are faithful to him, we shall obtain the land of promise; (always a metaphor for the celestial kingdom) and ye shall know at some future period that the word of the Lord shall be fulfilled...for all things which the Lord hath spoken...must be fulfilled.Such confidence in the Lord and his ways!
- Although not the same as the one Nephi and his brothers saw, I literally saw an angel when I held my stillborn daughter. In fact, that experience brought me closer to the Lord than ever before, deepened my understanding of the atonement, and strengthened my charity. Now I read 1 Nephi 7 and wonder, how can I have seen an angel and still forget to be kind, patient, forgiving?
- Despite the miraculous ways I've been rescued, delivered, blessed, forgiven and healed, sometimes I forget what great things the Lord has done for me, and become ungrateful. A few years ago I received a priesthood blessing which said, in essence, "You ARE being blessed. You need to stop and look at what the Lord has done for you and express gratitude every day, every hour, every minute for the blessings you receive."
- I'm also still guilty of trying to do heroic things with my puny mortal strength, forgetting to rely on and trust in the strength and power of God. I read chapter 7 and say to myself, "how is that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things?"
At the end of the chapter we see Nephi pleading with them to remember his words, we see anger and resentment, we see their problems escalating...until they are utterly humbled and remorseful, and forgiven. Then and only then are they able to progress on their journey. And this time, they remember to be grateful.