~by Michelle

Image in the public domain

It’s a wonderful thing to talk about the scriptures with other people, because often others see things I’ve never seen before, or help me see a scripture in a whole new way.

Recently, I was in a small group discussion about the plan of salvation (God’s plan for our happiness and help in this life and life with Him in the next). We were talking about Jesus Christ’s central role in that plan, and considering scriptures from the Book of Mormon that help teach about the Savior.

There are a lot of scriptures from the Book of Mormon that come to mind for me, but I was so moved to hear what scripture a friend chose to focus on.

It’s found in 1 Nephi 21:16.

But first, some context for the verse.

In this part of the Book of Mormon, Nephi, an ancient prophet-historian whose father, Lehi, had been guided by God to leave Jerusalem with his family (around 600 B.C.) and come to the American continent. They were brought out of Jerusalem to protect them from the destruction that came when Babylon invaded Israel. They also were guided to create a record of prophecies of Jesus Christ and His dealings with a branch of the house of Israel people who came to the New World.

Nephi was teaching his people about Christ — and writing for people in the future as well, especially the house of Israel — quoting or summarizing the teachings of various prophets from the Old World.

But he focused a lot of his attention on the writings of Isaiah, which writings they had with them.

“And I, Nephi, have written these things unto my people, that perhaps I might persuade them that they would remember the Lord their Redeemer. Wherefore, I speak unto all the house of Israel, if it so be that they should obtain these things

“Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, did teach my brethren these things; and it came to pass that I did read many things to them, which were engraven upon the plates of brass, that they might know concerning the doings of the Lord in other lands, among people of old. And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah….”

(1 Nephi 19:18-19, 22-23)

My friend shared one of the beautiful, short verses from Isaiah that Nephi quotes.

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. (See also Isaiah 49:16)

Many scholars (and others) interpret the walls in this verse to mean the walls of Jerusalem or Zion, and that is always what comes to mind when I hear or read this verse. Historically, this interpretation makes sense. Isaiah was always writing for both the present and the future.

But my friend shared the verse in a personal way to illustrate Jesus’ love for us, and he said something to this effect: “Jesus knows about the walls in your life. He knows what barriers are troubling you, what things feel like they are in the way as you move along in your journey.”

I believe this, and I was grateful for my friend’s insights into this short but power-packed verse about the mercy and love of Jesus Christ. I recommend the entire chapter for more about God’s love for us, His children, and His commitment to help and care for us.