Choice Above All
Mormon 8:13 - Ether 1:38
There is a lesson contained within the first chapter of Ether that I didn’t discover for many years.
It is a lesson on prayer.
Remember how Jared came to his brother and said, “Cry unto the Lord, that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words.” (Ether 1:34) So the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord, and his prayer was answered.
Next, Jared asked his brother to cry unto the Lord to see if he might turn away his anger from their friends, so they would be able to understand them. Again, the Lord answered his prayer and not only blessed the friends, but also the friends’ families.
Then Jared approached his brother a third time and said, “Go and inquire of the Lord whether he will drive us out of the land, and if he will drive us out of the land, cry unto him whither we shall go. And who knoweth but the Lord will carry us forth into a land which is choice above all the earth?” (Ether 1:38) The Lord answered the brother of Jared and told him to go into the valley that was northward saying, “There will I meet thee, and I will go before thee into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth. And there will I bless thee…and thus I will do unto thee because this long time ye have cried unto me.” (Ether 1:42-43, emphasis added)
Now think for a minute about each of the requests the brother of Jared petitioned the Lord for.
The one that intrigues me the most is the third.
Jared didn’t just ask his bother to pray, he told his brother to pray for the very best thing. The best-case scenario. Not just simply a different place for them to live ––a land choice above all the lands of the earth.
And the Lord blessed him according to that request.
I believe that all along the Lord had reserved the land which was choice above all the lands of the earth for Jared and his brother ––long before Jared even thought to petition the Lord about it.
But I have also wondered this... what if the brother of Jared had not prayed that third time?
What if He didn’t ask?
The brother of Jared would never have been able to arrive at the Promised Land through his own knowledge. Even if he set out on foot with his family and friends and began walking in the right direction, he wouldn’t have arrived there. The journey to that Land required communication from the Lord ––for direction, for means of transportation, for light.
He had to be led by inspiration from the Lord through the process of prayer to safely arrive in that choice land.
I have often wondered if that Promised Land would have remained uninhabited and if the brother of Jared and his family and friends would have stayed in the place where they were with their language confounded, if the brother of Jared had not prayed.
Have you ever wondered what blessings the Lord has in reserve for you?
The Bible Dictionary teaches that there are blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.” (Bible Dictionary, Prayer)
Sometimes, in the moments when we find ourselves on our knees, it is important to remember that another name for Jesus Christ is an High Priest of Good things to Come. (Hebrews 9:11)
This afternoon I found a quiet place.
A place where I could pour out my heart to the Lord.
In that sacred solitude my prayer was simple.
I prayed for the very best thing…
I prayed for good things to come.