Monday, February 3, 2014

Alma 56: The Strippling Warriors

Back in Alma tonight! So remember Captain Moroni and how he was out fighting wars with the Lamanites? Well that was only on the east side of the land. Over on the west things weren't looking so good either. The Nephites in that part of the land were desiring to build an army, but they had recently made a covenant that they would never go to war again. Helaman, another Nephite captain, didn't want them to break their oaths in fear that they would be cursed, so he refused to build one. However, the young sons of the Nephites hadn't made the covenant with God, so they stepped up and said they would defend their land and people. Helaman agreed and they formed an army of 2,000 young men (Note: 2,000 isn't a very big army. Even crazier, they were going to fight against the strongest army of the Lamanites. Yikes!). So Helaman and his 2,000 stripling warriors march towards Antiparah and when the Lamanite spies there see them they warn their armies and they begin to pursue Helaman. They flee into the wilderness for two nights, with the Lamanites on their tail, and then suddenly the Lamanites stop. Helaman turns to his army and asks them if they are prepared to go to battle and in Helaman's words: "now I say unto you that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites. For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were ll of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth". (Alma 56:45+46)
And they do....
And they surround the Lamanites....
AND THEY CAUSE THEM TO SURRENDER!
Let me repeat, this was the STRONGEST Lamanite army they went up against and 2,000 young men caused them to SURRENDER! If that wasn't a miracle in itself "not one soul of them [the 2,000 stripling warriors] had fallen to the earth"! The ONLY way that could have been possible was through the help of God. Because the Nephites kept their covenants and because of the courage and faith of 2,000 young men the Nephite people were saved again.

A small point I want to make, something I found interesting. While Helaman was fleeing it said multiple times in the account that "they did not turn" but that they "pursued their march in a straight course" and that they "did flee all that day into the wilderness". There are times in our lives where we will have to run away from wickedness, where we will have to stay the straight course even though we see others, maybe even friends or family, moving down another path. There will be times where we feel like we are running in a wilderness and we will have to trust in God and believe that if we continue to go straight He will help us make it out. There will be other times when we will have to show the same kind of courage these young men did and we will have to defend what we believe in. You may have to stand up for what is right, even when it may not be popular or it may cause you some discomfort. Like an old seminary teacher once told me, we need to defend the mountain, defend our God! It will be terrifying at times to do the right thing, but we need not fear because we are doing what God would have us to do and if we choose God we are choosing the winning team. :)

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