I hope this post doesn't make me come across as really lazy...
I love my personal scripture study. I highly value the insights that I receive when studying on my own, for myself or for others around me. The insights I get are usually specific things, that are meaningful to me in the moment when I come across them.
But I am also so grateful for the insights of other people. Jacob 5 (and really any chapters about the scattering of Israel) always felt so boring to me. I'd usually just skip them. I'm grateful that some people are patient enough to deeply study those "boring" chapters and derive meaning from them. I love how many different interpretations and lessons can be drawn from every part of the scriptures. We're so lucky. :)
Nephi's experience building the ship and crossing the sea is a blueprint for how we can deal with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Here's what I have learned.
Step 1 is the call. In 1 Nephi 17:7, Nephi is called up to a mountain and in 17:8 the Lord commands him, "Thou shalt construct a ship." The Lord will ask us to do really hard things, often things we've never done before. Step 2 is our response. In 17:9 Nephi responds by asking "whither shall I go that I may find ore?" Nephi shows us that having faith in what the Lord asks of us means trusting that the task is possible, and asking the Lord for the right tools for the job instead of asking for the job to be taken away.
Step 3 is facing the haters. In 17:19, Nephi's brothers are very critical of him, saying that "we knew that ye could not construct a ship." Nephi ignores them, like we should all do with our haters. Step 4, mentioned in 18:2, is doing things God's way instead of our way. Nephi says the way he built the ship was "not after the manner of men." It's tempting to deal with challenges in the way we're used to, but that is counterproductive.
Nephi shows us that step 5 is frequently going to the temple and seeking revelation (18:3 "And I Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord"). It's silly to think God would tell us how to do every part of the huge challenge all at once. Constant communication with God is the key to accomplishing what He asks. Step 6, according to 18:16, is thanking God and not complaining even when it gets hard. Finally, step 7 is completing the task and showing gratitude to God.
These chapters made me reflect on certain things in my life that I feel I've been commanded to do right now. Some of these challenges seem unsolvable. I'm not sure how to fix all of these problems right now. But Nephi teaches that I don't have to know, I just need to trust that God does, and learn each part of the instruction manual from Him step by step.
For a boy who would someday become prophet, young Nephi had remarkably simple faith.
Going into the beginning of the Book of Mormon, all he really knows it that God exists and that he loves us (1 Nephi 11:17). Nephi didn't know really anything about Jesus Christ, His future sacrifice, the plan of salvation, the doctrine of baptism... and yet, Nephi's simple faith was enough to carry him through some of the toughest trials of his life.
As Nephi exercised his simple faith and expressed his desire to gain more knowledge, God revealed more to him about the future, the gospel, and even helped Nephi understand Lehi's vision. That's a great example to me: gospel knowledge does not equal gospel faith. And sometimes, especially when we're struggling, knowing that God "loveth his children" can be enough for us.