31 May 2016

"No One Hath Told Me, Save It Be God;" Alma 20:1-7

Alma 20:1-7

King Lamoni invites Ammon to accompany him up to meet his father the king. I am impressed by how clearly Ammon is able to receive divine directives, or what we might more commonly call personal revelation.The record doesn't state the timing in which the revelation came to Ammon, whether it came immediately after Lamoni's invitation, or perhaps later on in moment of quiet reflection and prayer.

It is also impressive how quickly Lamoni responds to this divine directive once he learns of its source.(see vs. 5-6) Then in verse 7, there is also a change of attitude on Lamoni's part. Where at first, Lamoni thought to flatter the king of the land of Middoni, who was a friend of his, now Lamoni states that he will plead with the king for the deliverance of Ammon's brethren. Something about knowing that the directive was actually a divine mandate changed Lamoni's attitude and sense of urgency. Suddenly it wasn't just a social injustice that was needing to be remedied; it was rather the word of God directly to his appointed servant. Lamoni both recognized and reverenced it as such.

(The Spirit of the Lord has validated this final point in my mind this morning, causing me again to consider how much of the ways of the Lord this holy volume of scripture has benefited me.)

In contemplating Lamoni's response, it causes me to consider also the depth of his conversion as accounted for in the previous chapter.

---

The one thing that I haven't touched on in this group of verses, is the simple little statement at the beginning of the chapter, which could have encompassed a book in itself. Verse 1 reads: "And it came to pass that when they had established a church in that land." The end of the last chapter states that they did establish a church among those who had believed. It seems to me as something that didn't just happen instantly but required a bit of effort on the part of Ammon and all those involved. 

10 May 2016

"He, Immediately... Began... to Teach Them" Alma 19:31-36

Alma 19:31-36

The king has now awoken from his trance and verse 31 says this:
And he, immediately, seeing the contention among his people, went forth and began to rebuke them, and to teach them the words which he had heard from the mouth of Ammon; (emphasis added)
This is reminiscent of Nephi's attitude towards and faith in the power of the word of God.
 ...I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren... for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul. (1 Nephi 16:22,24)

Mormon makes a similar observation about Alma's confidence in the word of God:
And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God. (Alma 31:5)

Back to the account of king Lamoni, Ammon and the king's servants also add their voices to the king's witness. The wording of how the people responded to their teaching is thus. It says "as many as heard his words believed, and were converted unto the Lord."(vs. 31Verse 35 also reads, "that there were many that did believe in their words; and as many as did believe were baptized;"

--

The next verse reads like so: "But there were many among them who would not hear his words; therefore they went their way." (vs. 32, emphasis added) There is a footnote on the word "many" that cross-references to the topic of Man, Natural, Not Spiritual Reborn from the Topical Guide.  A brief review has taken me to the books of Jonah, Luke, John, and the Romans.  Here are some highlights:
  • Jesus said, "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7)
  • He also said, "Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." (Luke 16:15)
  • "There is none righteous, no, not one." (Romans 3:10)
Then there is an abundance of scriptural references to the carnal or natural man in the Book of Mormon, especially in the books of Mosiah and Alma. The overall effect of this leads me to remember that many in the world are lost to the things of God.

At the end of this chapter, the King, Queen, and all their servants were testifying before the people that their hearts had been changed, that they had no more desire to do evil. (see vs. 33) What a contrast from the attitude of the natural man!

--
At the very end of this group of verses is a summary of the past two and half chapters, which concludes with this simple observation: "and we see that his arm is extended to all people who will repent and believe on his name." (vs. 36) Oh how I love this particular doctrine! God is merciful to all who will believe. He doesn't not exclude or make exception for any man, but the standard is the same for all: " Repent, and I will receive you." (Alma 5:33)