Stones to Shine in Darkness

Ether 6 (√Čter 6)

I am struck by the profound significance and symbolism of verse 3:

And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness.

This conjures up the symbolism or spiritual definition of Light in my mind. Also how important it is that men, women, and children all be brought to the light. The Lord has given us this earth and has given himself as the Light that we might not cross this mortal experience in darkness.

That’s the point. The Lord knew the Jaredites were about to embark in a difficult and long journey. He knew that without intervention they would be in darkness. Having light, having the ability to see, was extremely important to the Lord.

My mind has veered off into left field contemplating the time that they had in their barges. What did they do with the time that they had. There was eight barges, eight different experiences.

This reminds me of both recent and distant experiences that I have had working with groups of youth. One group in both my recent experience from manning a “pioneer games” activity and one group from my distant experience as a youth counselor had different, more elevated experiences than all the rest. Greater creativity, greater unity, just all-around better spirits. I cannot say what made the one group stand out from the majority. But I have had these experiences where I’ve witness successful community experiments work.

I’ve made a couple of notes in the actual scripture texts, but I think the thing that continues to resonate with me is how the brother of Jared and those that were with him didn’t loose sight of the Lord and his divine providence upon them. “…They did have light continually…” (vs. 10); “And they were taught to walk humbly before the Lord; and they were also taught from on high.” (vs. 17) Earlier in the journey of the Jaredites, there was a season where the brother of Jared forgot to call upon the Lord, but by the time they came to build the barges and cross the ocean, there was no lacking in their faith from that point on.

Returning to this again on a new day, this act of providing the Jaredites with light in their barges is also to me an act of kindness from the Lord. I am reflecting in my own life about my acts of kindness to improve the conditions of living for my children and others around me.

In verse 12, the Jaredites arrive at the promised land and oh what gratitude and joy! What richness and abundance had just been handed to them from the Lord. It was hardly anything of their own labor or efforts, It was entirely a gift from God.

Walk Humbly before the Lord (vs. 17)

I am going through a series of self-imposed alignment exercises while I’m study this morning, standing at my work station and I am brought to consider the phrase “walk with God”. Notice that it is not “stand with God” rather we are to “walk with God”. Movement, in a forward direction, appears to be a part of the plan for our progression/salvation. We have to be willing to move with God. God is not a static being. Standing is not his natural state of being? We are designed to move and always being moving forward.

TG- Walking with God

At the end of this chapter, Jared and his brother have grown old. The brother of Jared desires to know of his people what they would do for them before they departed mortality. The people request to have a king anointed over them. This was “grevious unto them.”

I am struggling with my own weaknesses as a father this morning. Yet I cannot imagine being in the position of the Brother of Jared: having labored his whole life to follow God and to have secured a land of promise for his people, then for their final request to be subjection to a king — “Surely this thing leadeth into captivity.” (vs. 23)

There is nothing in this record about how the Brother of Jared reconciled the people’s request within himself, or how it is that he sought council from the Lord in this matter. We only know that in the end, the brother of Jared conceded to the requests of the people.

The more that I am sitting with this final exchange, the more that it confuses me. The brother of Jared says that a king will bring the people into captivity, which is true. Yet the people want a king. Yet, none of the sons of the brother of Jared, nor any except for one of the sons of Jared would accept appointment to be king. What part of the people wanted a king if no one was willing to be a king? Did most share the same reservation that the brother of Jared had in establishing a king? Why were they refusing to be king? Were there no other precedents for alternative forms of government?

It was the youngest son of Jared who became king. “…For he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” (Luke 9:48) I don’t have answers to this this morning, only observations.

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