1 Nephi 17
The Lord was with Lehi and Nephi and their families as they journeyed “eight years in the wilderness.” Lehi’s family began to see the laws and promises of the Lord fulfilled. They learned by choice and by consequence “if…men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them” (1 Nephi 17:3).
So when Nephi was commanded by the Lord to build a boat to carry his family across the ocean to the promised land, he immediately replied, “Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me? And it came to pass that the Lord told me whither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools” (1 Nephi 17:9-10). Nephi knew the Lord would be with him to teach him how to build a boat and that he would be able to do this great task.
On the other hand, Nephi’s brothers, Laman and Lemuel, “did not believe that I could build a ship” and refused to help him. They called him “a fool” and complained against him and the Lord. They did not “believe that [Nephi] was instructed of the Lord.” And they taunted him saying “thou canst not accomplish so great a work.”
Laman and Lemuel did not understand the principle that the Lord is with heroes. Nephi understood this principle so much that he responded to his brothers doubts and jeerings: “If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done” (1 Nephi 17:50). Nephi recounted to them how the Lord had been with Moses and the children of Israel as He led them out of bondage to the Egyptians, as the armies of Pharaoh “were drowned in the Red Sea,” and as “they had crossed the river Jordan he did make them mighty” so that they were able to drive out the wicked peoples and obtain “the land of promise.”
Nephi reminded his brothers that as the children of Israel kept the commandments the Lord kept his promises and “remembered the covenants which he had made” with them to lead them out of Egypt. And when the children of Israel disobeyed the Lord and worshipped other gods, then “according to his word he did destroy them.” Nephi understood that the Lord is with those who are striving to be righteous. The Lord loves and is with those people who love Him and “will have him to be their God.” The Lord wants everyone to come to Him, to heal them, to help them, and to bless them as was shown by the example of the fiery serpents that bit the children of Israel and the simple way the Lord prepared for them to look and be healed (see 1 Nephi 17:41).
The Lord told Lehi’s family, “I will…be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led” (1 Nephi 17:13). Why is the Lord with the righteous? Why is the Lord with heroes? The Lord is with heroes because He wants them to succeed. He wants to “deliver [us] from destruction” and lead us forth “by his matchless power into the land of promise.” He wants us to “know that I am the Lord their God” and He wants us to worship Him by keeping His commandments so He can continue to bless us and prosper us (see 1 Nephi 17:55).
Ammon, a descendant of Lehi, understood that the Lord had been with him as he labored as a missionary and exclaimed: “I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever” (Alma 26:11-12).