First we begin with a family. There was a mother, Sariah, and a father named Lehi. They lived together in the city of Jerusalem with their children a long, long time ago. And the family was happy because they were full of love. Lehi and Sariah loved each other. They loved their sons, Laman and Lemuel, Sam and Nephi. They loved their city and the people in it. But most of all Lehi and Sariah loved God. They trusted God. And that love and trust filled their life with light and hope and beauty.
But not everything was perfect. Jerusalem was in trouble. Many of the people had forgotten all about God. Some of them began to love money more than they loved people. Others began to lie and cheat so they could get more attention and power. On top of all that, there were armies coming to Jerusalem. They were going to topple the walls, and burn the buildings, and take the people captive. And the people of Jerusalem were completely unprepared. Armies had tried to attack Jerusalem before, and had failed every time. So the people became proud. They began to think that they could never fail, and that they could save themselves, even without God’s help. They trusted their walls and their money and their power more than they trusted God.
And that made God terribly sad. See, God loved Jerusalem too, like Lehi and Sariah did. He sent many prophets to tell the people of Jerusalem that they were in danger, asking them to remember God, to love Him and trust Him. But the people didn’t listen. “We will be fine!” they told the prophets. And they didn’t believe the prophets. Not at all.
But Lehi believed them, and he became sick with worry about the city and the people he loved. So he prayed to God with his whole heart for his friends and neighbors in Jerusalem, that maybe they would start listening and trusting better.
Sometimes, God takes a while to respond to prayers. But this time, Lehi hadn’t even said amen before God started talking to him. He said, “Lehi, things in Jerusalem have gone all wrong. Everywhere there is pride, and anger, and death. The city is filled with hate instead of love. And when the armies come, it will be destroyed. But in the end, it will all be alright. Look, let me show you!”
And God showed Lehi a beautiful vision of Heaven, and everyone in it. God was there, and He was sitting on His throne. And the angels in heaven were there with God, and they were singing together about the goodness of God, and His mercy, and His deep love for everyone who has ever or will ever live on earth. And then Lehi saw a strange thing: one of the angels started walking towards him, down in Jerusalem. The angel was leaving heaven and coming to earth!
Lehi didn’t understand everything in the vision, but he knew two things: God is merciful and loves His children, and Jerusalem was definitely going to fall.
So do you think that Lehi packed up his family and ran as far away from the city as fast as he possibly could before the armies showed up? BY NO MEANS!
Remember, Lehi loved Jerusalem. He wanted the people to be safe and happy. So he immediately walked into the streets and told everyone what he had learned—his friends and neighbors, shop owners and governors, anyone who might listen. He wanted them all to hear the beautiful message about God’s love which was so great that He would one day send an angel down to save everyone from all the armies of Heaven and earth.