Hello Everyone, for this week I'd like to take a rather peculiar text for my source. It's one that I think most English majors, or anyone who cares for clear, concise writing, will cringe a little at. The verse comes from the Book of Ether, and specifically verse 17 in chapter 2:
"And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish."
Now I wonder how waterproof these barges were. Something tells me they weren't likely to get any leaks, but I can't quite place my finger on the reason behind that.
So it's rather obvious that these barges were "tight like unto a dish", it was stated 4 times for some obvious emphasis. But why would that be such a key description? And why would their ships need to be so waterproof? Nephi's boat carried no such description, so it probably wasn't built after the manner of the early Jaredite ships.
If we look a little later in the chapter we learn the reason for the Lord's command to build these barges after this manner:
"For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.
And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?" (Ether 2:24-25)
The reasons the barges were so waterproof was because they had no other option but to be "tight like unto a dish". Any weaker barge wouldn't have survived under the tremendous waves and storms that awaited the Jaredites.
Now let's take some advice from Nephi and "liken all scriptures" unto ourselves, even the ones with insane repetition (1 Nephi 19:23). We are all attempting to make it across this sea of mortality, we travel from a land of genesis to a land of promise. We have left our Father's presence for a time, and are in the probationary state working towards our eternal 'land of promise'. But as we all learn, this mortal life has it's waves, winds, and tempests. They are unavoidable, but necessary for us to achieve our goal of Eternal Life.
We are much like the Jaredite barges in many ways. We were carefully created by a master craftsman so that we can endure our brief stint in mortality. In speaking to Joshua after the death of Moses, Jehovah gave these great lines of comfort:
"As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." (Joshua 1:5)
The Lord knows that we will be in mortality until our work is completed. We will not be left in the depths of the sea longer than we can bear. The Lord will always lift us up from the depths of our sorrow and fear. The Lord gave comfort to Joshua as he took upon himself the mantle of leading the Children of Israel into the Promised Land, and he will be there to comfort us just the same.
If there was one thing I could tell you, or one thing to take away from this, it's that the Lord will not let you bear more than you are able. We are all "tight like unto a dish" and we will not sink in the depths of our trials and afflictions if we rely on the merits and grace of Christ. I have been physically, emotionally, and spiritually tried in my (almost) 20 years on this Earth. But not once have I ever been given a task to great or a trial far beyond my strength. I may have had my strength, endurance, and faith matched by my trials, but they have never been overcome.
The scriptures are full of insight and wisdom. These simple verses contain so many promises and implications. Search the scriptures and find those treasures of knowledge. Dig deep and question boldly, and you will find that the Lord will reward your honest and faithful inquiries.
I hope that you all have a great week. This blog post was one I've been wanting to do for some time because it showcases the fact that every verse and story is placed in the Book of Mormon with careful consideration, and there is knowledge to be gleaned from even the most obscure of verses.
Take care everyone!
Love, Elder Gailey