By Kari Pike
I’ve said this many times in this forum, but I want to say it again. I love reading the scriptures! I am eternally grateful for the scriptures and the joy and peace they bring into my life. I am grateful for the prophets who heeded God’s command to write these things down and I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who saw fit to preserve these writings so that I (we) can have a knowledge of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the great plan of happiness. That said, here are some thoughts I had the other day as I studied chapters 43 and 44 of Alma.
The very first verse in Alma 43 touched my heart. “And now it came to pass that the sons of Alma did go forth among the people to declare the word unto them. And Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth.” Alma worked. He worked and lived the very things he taught. Do I work and live the things I am trying to teach? Do I go forth and serve and teach or do I just make assignments and sit back and wait to see what happens? Do I talk the talk, or do I walk the walk?
Moroni recognized Alma for the great leader and teacher that he was. After Moroni became the chief captain of the Nephite armies, he physically prepared his men for battle with swords and cimeters and breastplates and shields. Then Moroni sought guidance from his priesthood leader, his prophet and seer, Alma. Moroni had faith that Heavenly Father would tell Alma whether or not they should defend themselves. Alma gave Moroni direction and insight into the intentions of the Lamanite armies and spiritual preparation for the battle that ensued. I found several comparisons in our own lives:
- Do all we can to “arm” ourselves against wickedness and temptation. Prepare ourselves physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Study things out and turn to our Church leaders for further light and knowledge. Pray, ask, listen, and then follow through by carrying out our duties.
- The Lamanites, Zoramites, and Amalekites, outnumbered the Nephites “by more than double.” (Alma 45:51) We may often feel outnumbered by our personal challenges, but the knowledge of who we are and why we are here can spur us on. “The Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their libertes, their wives and their children, and their all, yea for their rites of worship and their church.” (vs 45) What are we fighting for? Do we know that we are “doing that which [we] felt was the duty which [we] owed [our] God?” We must defend our families against wickedness, just as the Nephites defended their families.
- Moroni set a wonderful example as a leader. In verse 48, when his men are discouraged and ready to give up, Moroni doesn’t berate or chide them. He reminds them in a positive and uplifting manner with “thoughts of their lands, their liberty, yea their freedom from bondage.”
- Unity. Verse 49 describes how the Nephites “cried with one voice unto the Lord their God,” and how in that unity “began to stand against the Lamanites with power.” – so much power that “in that self same hour…the Lamanites began to flee before them.” (Alma 45:50) How can I build unity in my home, with my neighbors, and in my ward?
- In verse 26, Moroni gathers the people of Manti and prepares them to defend themselves, while his army hides nearby. Moroni knew the intentions of the Lamanites. Just as Alma and Moroni worked together to prepare the Nephites, our leaders train and teach us and do all they can to help us prepare for the challenges ahead. But ultimately, we are the ones that must fight our battles. We have available all the tools we need to succeed in this life and we have certainly been taught what Satan’s intentions are.
While we may be on the battlefront, we have unseen armies surrounding us, just waiting to help us. Chapter 44:4 – “God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful to him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.” Don't you just love the scriptures!