In our discussion on the teachings and doctrines of the Book of Mormon this week, we discussed an interesting feature to thew writings of Jacob that I had never noticed before. We noted that Jacob had some rather large shoes left to fill after his brother Nephi passed away. The spiritual and physical leader and protector of the Nephite people, that had led them safely to the Promised Land, was no more with them. When Nephi passed away it was truly an end to an era.
But in our class we discussed how this opened the doors to an indirectly taught doctrine of the Book of Mormon that gives us a glimpse into how our Father in Heaven works with his children. Nephi was a bold teacher of spiritual truths. As recorded in 1 Nephi 16, Nephi "had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth" when teaching his brothers about the vision of the Tree of Life. Nephi did not mince words or beat around the bush but would cut straight to the heart of the subject, and the hearer, so that the process of spiritual healing could start sooner.
But it is interesting to note that with Jacob, who in calling his people to repentance was just as capable of teaching hard doctrine, took twelve verses as a prelude to his powerful sermon. Jacob forthrightly told his people that "it grieveth my soul and causeth me to shrink with shame before the presence of my Maker, that I must testify unto you concerning the wickedness of your hearts" (Jacob 2:6). Jacob was naturally reluctant to have to speak to his people concerning such hard topics as the love of riches and the practice of having multiple wives and concubines.
But Jacob shows his true colors in verse ten when he states to his people that "notwithstanding the greatness of the task, I must do according to the strict commands of God, and tell you concerning your wickedness and abominations". Jacob knew that something had to be done, and doctrines needed to be taught to his people. He also knew that it wasn't just a man-given responsibility, but it was a commandment from God that had been given to him.
In this weeks class I learned how God is able to work with us and our varied personalities to the benefit of his children. God has called many prophets throughout time and they have all been different people in their likes, dislikes, and interests. But they all had the God-given capacity to be able to complete what tasks were given them, notwithstanding the greatest of the tasks. And this qualifying to their callings is something that we can experience throughout our lives as we strive to simply do the will of God. No matter our calling, experience, or personality, God is able to work with us to accomplish his designs.