Everyone starts from nothing. Abraham started from nothing. But… you might say… that he had somewhat of an advantage because he was told that he was one of the “noble and great ones…” right? Abraham did not start this life journey with this knowledge. Abraham sought it out… and finally came to this understanding. Abraham tells us that he too had to strive from scratch, just like us.
“1. In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence;
2. And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follows of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many notions, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.”
I have highlighted the words that signify to me that he was just like we are, normal, but sought to be something different. We see him as Abraham the prophet, but his father saw him as just a boy. Sarah, Lehi’s wife, didn’t quite trust Lehi when he sent his sons back to Jerusalem to get the plates. It is easy to recognize a prophet in hind sight, once he has been canonized in scripture, but hard to recognize Christ when he is among us. Christ says that:
“4. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”
Sometimes, those who know most about us cannot see the past from the present, or the future. We see them for who they were, not who they are, or who they can become. The definition of truth is: knowledge of things as they were, as they are, and as they will be. When we see through the eyes of truth, we are able to recognize the “Alma the youngers,” in-spite of his past transgressions.
We all must judge, so God teaches us to judge righteously. For how ye judge, so shall ye be judged. Some may justify their circumstances and claim unfair advantage saying that Abraham was a scriptorian, or Joseph who was sold into Egypt read books while his brothers labored, or Alma had an angel visit him, or Christ was half God, as if to claim some advantage over us “normal people.” I was once told that those blessings- meaning the great miracles performed by scripture prophets- are reserved for prophets. I respond with a question, “Then why do we read the scriptures, if the scriptures are only instructions for prophets?”
“27. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
28. And Joshua… answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
29. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”
Herein lies the key. Moses informs us that God desires that we all have his spirit upon us. In other words God wants us to have the same heart (desire) and same mind (thought process) as he does. However, he doesn’t want us to be commanded in all things (slothful servants). So what does it mean? Perhaps, just as a wise parent desires their children understand and choose correctly for themselves, so God desires to teach us correct principles so that we too can govern ourselves- true freedom. Everyone starts from scratch like a little child and grows as we obey. Then we can do all things with power. Nephi cuts off the head of Laban, shocks his older brothers, sees all things from the beginning to the end, even defies gravity as he flies to a high mountain. Alma and Amulek stand in the pillar of fire surrounded by the rubble of the prison walls that collapsed around them, killing everyone else. The three Nephites walk out of fiery furnaces, play with wild beasts like pets, and release themselves from being buried in the earth.
There is no patent infringement for following the mind and will of God. God has given the blue prints to us so that we can follow and become like him. There is no threat when our only desire is to come unto God. If that is what we seek, help is received with welcomed arms. It is no wonder why Adam sought for and received instructions from angels. The instruction he received helped him understand why he offered up sacrifices. Later, we see that Abel offered up a sacrifice, like unto his father Adam, and it was accepted by God, and Abel received a promise of eternal life, while in the flesh. Each person began from scratch. No one short-cuts the plan of salvation.
God desires to instruct all of us. That is why each new member is counseled in the ordinance of confirmation to… “receive the Holy Ghost.” As we do so, fear will be cast out and replaced with faith. Our concern about how the world views us is negligent. We can learn truths from the passer by. Conversations of the scriptures aren’t threatening. And little by little, we become like father Abraham, one heart and one mind with our Father in heaven. We all grow from nothing, grace for grace and from grace to grace, as did Christ. Let us forward our progression by trusting in God- IMUA