Sunday, April 1, 2012

Book of Mormon Sunday II- Alma 41-48

   After the inspiring words to his sons, Alma continues to be active in preaching and sustaining his people as the Zoramites combine with the Lamanites to come against the people of God. A military leader comes to the forefront who approaches Alma to inquire of the Lord as to how to most effectively defend themselves.
   Alma 43:24 "And it came to pass that the word of the Lord came unto Alma, and Alma informed the messengers of Moroni, that the armies of the Lamanites were marching round about in the wilderness, that they might come over into the land of Manti, that they might commence an attack upon the weaker part of the people. And those messengers went and delivered the message unto Moroni."
   The next part of the Book of Mormon are chapters I have often skipped over in the past. They are filled with war and death but over time I have come to see many inspiring examples of overcoming adversity in these pages. The "good guys" have lessons to teach about maintaining spirituality under the worst circumstances. Moroni is a charismatic leader who has many important defensive strategies. One is to protect his soldiers with armor.

 This gives them the advantage and in a bloody battle they surround the leader of the opposition.
    Alma 43:53 "Therefore when Zerahemnah saw the men of Lehi on the east of the river Sidon, and the armies of Moroni on the west of the river Sidon, that they were encircled about by the Nephites, they were struck with terror. Now Moroni, when he saw their terror, commanded his men that they should stop shedding their blood."
   Zerahemnah is completely set against the religion of these Nephites and even with threat of death will not lay down his sword to make promises of peace.
   Alma 44:3 "But now, ye behold that the Lord is with us; and ye behold that he has delivered you into our hands. And now I would that ye should understand that this is done unto us because of our religion and our faith in Christ. And now ye see that ye cannot destroy this our faith. Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto 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."
   Some of Zerehemnah's men put down their swords and make a covenant of peace, but not their leader and he continues to fight resulting in his death. This victory for the Nephites does not end the aggression of the Lamanites. They are bound and determined to extinguish the whole Nephite tradition.

   Alma 46:23 "Moroni said unto them: Behold, we are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; yea, we are a remnant of the seed of Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces; yea, and now behold, let us remember to keep the commandments of God, or our garments shall be rent by our brethren, and we be cast into prison, or be sold, or be slain. Yea, let us preserve our liberty as a remnant of Joseph; yea, let us remember the words of Jacob, before his death, for behold, he saw that a part of the remnant of the coat of Joseph was preserved and had not decayed. And he said -- Even as this remnant of garment of my son hath been preserved, so shall a remnant of the seed of my son be preserved by the hand of God, and be taken unto himself, while the remainder of the seed of Joseph shall perish, even as the remnant of his garment."
    The remnant of the coat of Joseph becomes the symbol of tenacity to maintain the covenant and Moroni prepares his soldiers to defend their families and their religion. Perhaps, we need just such a symbol to fortify us against the worldly attack on God and his commandments. Our enemy is subtle and is leaving messages all around us that there is no Savior, Jesus Christ, and he does not have power to lift his people back to our Heavenly Father. But, it is not so.

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