Nephi said to them: “Have ye inquired of the Lord?” (1 Ne 15:8), and they replied: “We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.” (1 Ne 15:9).
This highlights the difference in attitude between the brothers. Nephi knew that the Lord would provide the way, and ‘went and did’, whilst Laman and Lemuel wanted things handed to them on a plate without any effort being put forth on their part. The Brother of Jared was the same as Nephi and when faced with the problem of being in complete darkness in the barges, he came up with a solution, the sixteen clear stones, (Ether 3) and asked the Lord to touch them to give them light – he didn’t say; “Lord we need light in the barges, make it happen”, but he did his part, and the Lord then did His.
It’s sometimes easy for us to justify inaction, saying that if the Lord wanted me to do this or that He would tell me, but I firmly believe the Lord will usually only guide us as our feet are moving. He has already told us so many things we need to be doing, that we don’t need to be “commanded in all things”, and receive confirmation after confirmation. Just as when Nephi was building the ship he said the Lord showed him “from time to time” (1 Ne. 18:1) so will He show us from “time to time” what we should do, but at all other times we need to remember what the Lord has said:
“For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
“For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
(D&C 58:26 - 28).