O Lord Do Not Be Angry with Thy Servant Because of His Weakness

By way of review, after building the barges, the brother of Jared had three problems, 1) there was no light, 2) there was no means to steer the vessels, and 3) there was insufficient ventilation (Ether 2:19). The Lord told him what to do about the last problem and took care of the second problem by guiding the winds in such a way that they would not need a steering mechanism. Of these three problems, the only one that the Lord wanted the brother of Jared to solve was the problem of light.

Notice how humble he gets after fulfilling his assignment. The brother of Jared really feels like his contribution is inadequate. He is worried that the Lord will be angry with him because his idea was so stupid. To compound his feelings of inadequacy, the brother of Jared has recently been severely chastised for forgetting to pray (Ether 2:14-15). He declares, we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually.

What is most interesting is the way in which the Lord fosters humility in the brother of Jared, for he often does the same thing with us. We know that the Lord gives unto men weakness that they may be humble (Ether 12:27). But the Lord also gives assignments unto men that they may be humble. The cynic is always on the sidelines because, as soon as he is given the responsibility to come up with a better idea, he ends up with a large piece of humble pie on his face. Humble pie is our diet whenever we compare our meager efforts to the holiness and perfection of God. We cannot help but share the emotions of the brother of Jared, declaring, O Lord…do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness. Fortunately, for the brother of Jared and for us, the Lord’s grace is always sufficient to make weak things become strong (Ether 12:27).

“Imagine that! Here was one of the great prophets of all time, and he began his prayer with an apology for his weakness and his unworthiness. Certainly he was under no illusions about being perfect… It doesn’t really matter in the long run that the brother of Jared is unworthy from the celestial point of view. In that respect he is no different from all other human beings. The point is that God has commanded us, unworthy though we may be, to call upon him anyway, because he has prepared a way for us to receive what we desire despite our imperfection.” (Stephen R. Robinson, Believing Christ, p. 18-20)

Furthermore, the humility of the brother of Jared was a necessary prerequisite for him to see the Lord. It requires more than just faith to rend the veil; it also requires humility, as you…humble yourselves before me…the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am (DC 67:10).

Bryan Richards -

Bryan Richards