14 October 2014

"If Ye Will Rebel Against Him," Alma 9:18-24

Alma 9:18-24

Alma continues his primary discourse against the people of Ammonihah, explaining that iniquity should not, nay, cannot be an option amongst any of the people of Nephi, if they should expect to continue living peaceably in the land. Verse 19  reminds me that the people of Ammonihah were actually plotting to overthrow the entire nation of the Nephites. Alma states here that if they were to fall into sin and transgression in the face of so much light and truth, that the Lord would rather send the Lamanites upon them to "utterly" destroy them.

The light and knowledge to which Alma points has to do with the people's relationship with God and the root causes of their prosperity, namely, prophecy and revelation, the gifts of the Spirit, and deliverance from bondage of every kind: captivity,  famine, sickness, diseases of every kind and battle. All these are blessings from a merciful God.

Considering this, I have to ask myself, why do we when we are the recipients of abundant light and truth, then turn away from it? Shouldn't increased light and truth cause us or even prepare us to withstand temptation and sin?

Where is Christ in these verses?

This final question I feel is the most important one that could be asked about these verses. The answer is that He is everywhere. Christ is the light and truth that blessed the Nephite nation. The reason for their fall away from this light and truth is because of their failure to recognize the relationship between them and Christ. It wasn't just the things, or the blessings, that the Nephites should have had a relationship with. But their relationship was with Christ.

We cannot walk away from Christ without consequences. We cannot selectively choose when and in which seasons of our lives we will have a relationship with Christ, not without the consequences that inevitably will follow. Why would He be such a Jealous God, as to not let us come and go as we please? It is because in our relationship to Him, there is a tutelage of consistency.  If we are to become as Christ is, there is one attribute that must also be embraced: He is constant. He makes the sun rise on the wicked as well as the righteous. He sends rain on both the righteous and the wicked. Christ is constant in all that he does, and for us to establish an enduring relationship with him, we too must be constant to Him. We cannot walk in seasons of light and then voluntarily withdraw from Him to see what else there is without also loosing our way. We cannot become like Him unless we learn to be with Him always, in all things.

This seems to be what Alma is getting at when he finally asks: "for has not the Lord expressly promised and firmly decreed, that if ye will rebel against him that ye shall utterly be destroyed from off the face of the earth?" (vs. 24)

01 October 2014

"For the Lord Will Be Merciful unto All Who Call on His Name," Alma 9:14-17

Alma 9:14-17

This set of verses presents a interesting observation on the Lamanites in their ignorance. There is a contrasting here of the people of Ammonihah against the Lamanites. While the cause of the ignorance of the Lamanites was their parents' disobedience, which caused them to suffer a spiritual death (separation from God) as a people, their ignorance also was grounds for tolerance at the day of judgement.

We also learn something of the merciful characteristics of the Father in prolonging the days of the Lamanites, though they exist in a state of disbelief, until the time that they would believe and repent. Parenthetically, I find a parallel between the promises extended to the Lamanites and those covenants and promises extended to the House of Israel and the Jewish nation. 

Then at the end of this passage of scripture, there is this eternal nugget of truth: "Many of them will be saved, for the Lord will be merciful unto all who call on his name." (emphasis added) This verse swells within my breasts this morning as I contemplate it. It reminds me that any time, we can return to God. It also reminds me that anyone, anywhere, in any circumstance can find favor in the presence of God, if they but humble themselves and call on his name! This thing is true.