Lehi was commanded by the Lord to leave Jerusalem and go into the wilderness with his family to escape the murderous plot of the Jews who wanted to kill him for preaching repentance. They left behind all their precious belongings and only took what they would need to survive in the desert. As we go into verse five, we see that their travels have just begun:
And he came down by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea; and he traveled in the wilderness in the borders which are nearer the Red Sea; and he did travel in the wilderness with his family, which consisted of my mother, Sariah, and my elder brothers, who were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam.
There were some sisters involved too, and they are mentioned later, but at this time in the history of the world, and in the Middle East, it was common for the women to remain excluded from the counting. Sariah, as the matriarch, is mentioned, but she is one of the few women mentioned by name in the entire Book of Mormon. Going in to verses six and seven:
And it came to pass that when he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water.
And it came to pass that he built an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God.
This is very consistent with what we’ve been shown of Lehi’s character. He obeys without question, and now he’s thanking the Lord with a sacrifice. He has just left his nice home, all his friends, all the luxury and comfort he could want, and he’s living in a tent and riding around in the sand – and yet he can still recognize the Lord’s hand in saving his life and he seeks to honor and praise God by offering sacrifices. That’s an amazing example.
Just from these short verses, we are given much to think about. How often have we been asked to give up absolutely every single thing we had – our homes, jobs, nice things – and go to a strange new land, entirely dependent on the Lord for our food and protection? Hardly ever, I’d be willing to bet, and yet doesn’t it seem like we complain a lot more than Lehi did? How can we strengthen our testimonies so that when we are asked to give up something, we can do it, knowing that the Lord has our best interests at heart?