Sunday, January 26, 2014

DON'T LEAVE HIGH GROUND!

Tonight's scripture study was in Alma 47 and 48. In chapter 47 Amalickiah, a traitor to the Nephites who gained power among the Lamanites, is given command by the king of the Lamanites to convince the people to gather arms to attack the Nephites. In the previous chapter the Nephites had won a battle because of their righteousness, so part of the Lamanites who didn't want to fight fled and formed their own army on a mountain. The other part who was still loyal to the king had formed the army that Amalickiah was now in control of. Amalickiah, desiring to be king, uses this to his advantage. He takes his army to a valley near the mountain. In the night, he sends a messenger onto the mountain to deliver a message to Lehonti, the new leader, telling him that he would like him to come off the mountain to speak with him. Lehonti refuses. Again, Amalickiah sends word that he would like to speak with him at the foot of the mountain. Lehonti again refuses. Amalickiah sends word yet again, telling him he may bring guards with him to the foot of the mount so they may talk. Lehonti caves and comes down. Amalickiah tells Lehonti to surround his army in the night and promises that he will give up his people if he would let him become second leader. Lehonti agrees, the army is surrounded, and they are one army again. As is custom among the Lamanites, when the chief leader is killed the second leader becomes chief, so Amalickiah has one of his servants poison Lehonti and BOOM, he's leader and now has all the Lamanites back together. He takes the army back to the king, the king comes to great him and his guards, they all bow to the king and when the king motions them to arise BOOM Amalickiah's servant kills him. The kings servant's flee and Amalickiah makes up a story about how the king's servants killed the king. The armies grow angry and pursue the king's servants, Amalickiah tells the king's wife the story and gains favor with her, they wed, and BOOM he's king. Super evil guy, right?

A great lesson to learn from this story is to NEVER LEAVE HIGH GROUND! Lehonti was in good standing with his army on the high mountain, but because Amalickiah persuaded him to come down from his safe spot, he was killed. Let's apply this to our lives. We have our own mountains, our standards and values. The world we live in is constantly trying to get us to move down our mountains. We must stand firm for what we believe! If we leave our high ground we are putting ourselves in danger.

In the next chapter of Alma, we continue to hear how Amalickiah is preparing his strongest to fight the Nephites and finding their weak places. However, Moroni, captain of the Nephites, is also preparing his strongest and fortifying their weak places. We are facing the same battle they did! We must be preparing ourselves spiritually so when bad things come our way we are ready to face them. We must be working on our weaknesses to make them strengths and we must be building a firm foundation for our beliefs.

Final note from chapter 48.... MORONI IS AWESOME! This chapter gives a deeper description of the kind of man Moroni was:

11 And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;
 12 Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.
 13 Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.
 14 Now the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary; yea, and they were also taught never to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives.
 15 And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger;
 16 And also, that God would make it known unto them whither they should go to defend themselves against their enemies, and by so doing, the Lord would deliver them; and this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity.
 17 Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.

WOW! I hope we can all strive to be like this man! How cool would it be to not be able to be persuaded by Satan? Just like this chapter says, if we are faithful in obeying God's commands we will prosper and we will be blessed and protected. Keep the high ground like Moroni! Our very lives depend on it! Remember, Lehonti had the choice whether to stay on the mountain or come down.... Don't be persuaded by something that might seem neat temporally when you could have something far greater for eternity. Choose to be good, choose to be happy! :)


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