2 Nephi 2
This passage is so full, so meaty. Yesterday, I read through it, just to get a taste of it on my palate. Today, and maybe tomorrow or more, I want to go over it again, savor it, chew on it a little.
v.1-2 Lehi is speaking to his son, Jacob. He points out that Jacob has suffered many afflictions, but he assures him, that God will "consecrate [his] afflictions for [his] gain."
First of all, it is comforting for anyone going through afflictions to understand the law of compensation, or the fact that God will consecrate your afflictions for your gain. You are not suffering needlessly. There is a purpose and a blessing attached.
Secondly, these verses set up the doctrine of opposition that will follow.
v. 3 How will Jacob be blessed? "Wherefore, (1)thy soul shall be blessed, and (2) thou shalt dwell safely with thy brother, Nephi; and (3) thy days shall be spent in the service of thy God."
Wherefore ties into the previous verse and indicates causation. Three blessings are mentioned, that his soul will be blessed, safety, and he will serve God. I don't automatically think of serving God as a blessing, but rather as a vehicle for blessings to follow. And yet, it is a blessing in itself, a way of life that brings joy. A time-tested way to overcome your own sorrows is to serve someone needier than you.
v. 3 "Wherefore, I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer; for thou hast beheld that in the fullness of time he cometh to bring salvation unto men."
Again, wherefore indicates causation. We see that because Jacob turned to the Lord in his afflictions instead of turning away and letting his heart become bitter, he received the blessings previously enumerated. And because he received those blessings, he is redeemed because of his faith in Jesus Christ.
v. 4 Here Lehi points out that because of Jacob's great faith, he is blessed just as much as if he had been present personally to receive the ministering of Christ. "...for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever."
We are like Jacob in that we are not personally present during Christ's ministry. Yet, like Jacob, through our faith we can receive the same blessings. "...salvation is free." All men may come and receive salvation, if they desire it, if they accept it. It is a gift, but God does not force His gift on anyone.