Skip to main content

"In Thine Anger, Thy Soul Could Not Be Saved," Alma 20:8-27

Alma 20:8-27
  • "For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." James 1:20
  • "Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away." 3 Nephi 11:30 
These twenty verses contain the account of Ammon and Lamoni's encounter with Lamoni's father, the king over all the land. Without introduction or explanation, Lamoni's father immediately labels Ammon as "one of the children of a liar." (vs. 10)

Respecting his father, Lamoni gives the cause for his delay.  Then, "to his astonishment, his father was angry with him." (vs. 13, emphasis added) There are two directions that I want to address with this verse.

First, it astonished Lamoni that his father responded to him with anger. I'm not sure if it was because his father had always been a peaceful man towards him as his son, or if it was rather because Lamoni had hoped to have received a different reaction upon hearing of the miraculous events of his conversion. So why was Lamoni astonished? We really don't know, but maybe it also had something to do with the freshness or newness of his conversion to the gospel of Christ, and his lack of experience with opposition to the work of God.

Secondly, everything that the king says in response to Lamoni is skewed by his anger:
Lamoni, thou art going to deliver these Nephites, who are sons of a liar. Behold, he robbed our fathers; and now his children are also come amongst us that they may, by their cunning and their lyings, deceive us, that they again may rob us of our property.
This is the second time that the king references their stereotyped belief that all Nephites were liars. The king then commands Lamoni to slay Ammon, to which Lamoni refuses. This provokes the anger of the king even more -- to the point that the king draws his sword, ready to slay his own son.

Ammon, who is neither astonished like Lamoni, nor angry like his father the king, stands forth and begins to instruct the king. Ammon wastes no time in getting to the core of the issue. "if thou shouldst fall at this time, in thine anger, thy soul could not be saved." (vs. 17)

The king rejects Ammon's counsel and instead turns his focus on trying to kill Ammon, whom he feels is the root cause of all his present troubles anyways. However, Ammon changes the dynamics of the situation with a few swift moves, placing himself in a position to slay the king should he please. Yet this is not Ammon's intention nor motive.

Suddenly, placed in a position of vulnerability, pleading for the preservation of his own life, the king is now ready to give Ammon anything he pleases. Ammon, however does not change course, does not pause to pray about the bribe of ultimate power in the Lamanite realm. Undeterred and unchanged by the king's pleas, Ammon's request are to free his brethren and for Lamoni to retain his place as king in his own land.

It was ultimately the demonstration of Ammon's love for Lamoni that caused the heart of the old king to be softened toward him. Wonderous, amazing love that doesn't seek for pride or vain fulfillment. The principle was so foreign to the king.

I, too,  find this to be a fascinating point! It wasn't the testimony of Lamoni's experience that softened the heart of his father, thought it provided a foundation. It wasn't an equally enraging, or angry reply to the threats of the king that softened his heart. It was an act of charity and selfless defense that provided the substance of conversion -- teaching coupled with action:
And when he saw that Ammon had no desire to destroy him, and when he also saw the great love he had for his son Lamoni, he was astonished exceedingly... For the king was greatly astonished at the words which he had spoken, and also at the words which had been spoken by his son Lamoni, therefore he was desirous to learn them. (vs. 26-27)

 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"The Light of Christ unto Life," Alma 28

Alma 28

Not all missionary experiences end with happy endings.

Earlier I had mentioned how Alma 26 was the unspoken homecoming address that seemed to mark the end of the missionary labors. However chapters 27 and 28 are the "rest of the story" that frequently gets overlooked. In fact, I have read this story many times and had completely disassociated the connection between the large-scale conversion of so many Lamanites and the war that resulted from this major social shift.

The impact that this has had upon me this time has been jarring. So much good had been accomplished. So many Lamanites had been brought to the knowledge of the truth! Why was there such a large scale ramification?

This causes me also to consider the Lord's preferred method of gathering in the last days: "one of a city, and two of a family," (Jeremiah 3:14). Drop by precious drop, little by little Isreal is gathered. Oh how I ought to be more invested, more concerned with the gathering of Zi…

"Your Ground is Barren," Alma 32:30-43

Alma 32:30-43

I am reading through the process of how to nurture the seed of faith. This morning, I am particularly interested in how I can continue to cultivate the principle of gratitude which I have recently made a dedicated study of. As I have studied gratitude and humility, I've found the application over this past week to be proof of the principles and their soundness. I'm past this first step of testing the seed.

Now I want the fruit, but I feel that the seedling is faltering a little. Verse 37 reads:
And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit. I'm grateful that Alma didn't stop there though, and also addressed what happens if we neglect the seed. Verse 38 is a warning that if we neglect the seed, when the heat of the sun comes, which it w…

"Astonished Beyond All Measure," Alma 31:12-20

Alma 31:12-20

I'm starting this reading with the following assumptions:
The Book of Mormon is an ancient text written for a modern audience. This was written for my personal benefit in the period of world history where I presently reside. Satan takes truth and alters it for his destructive or deceptive purposes. The account of the Zoramites as found here is depicted according to the light of Christ and inspiration of the Holy Ghost that the author had at the time of making this account. That will bring particular insights that would not be otherwise available. It is a typical practice that when reading from the Book of Mormon, that if I find no personal application, I ask myself "Where is Christ in these verses?" Perhaps here, as a false worship practice is being depicted, the correct question to ask would be "Where isn't Christ in these verses?" Let's start our discovery.

In a sense, they had crafted a prayer that said: "God, we thank thee that tho…