It's hard to imagine the level of evilness and cruelty of these once faithful people! It's hard to imagine being forced to witness this horrific scene. It's hard to imagine Alma and Amulek, standing there, forced to watch it. Amulek wanted to use the power of God to try to save them, but Alma was told it wasn't to be.
Most of us tend to think of faith as an action word- because most times it is. But, in this case, they exercised enormous faith in their inaction. The Spirit of the Lord told them to stand by and let them die. It doesn't make sense...initially.
The Lord had His reasons, as he always does, one of which He shared with Alma: so they may witness against the men at judgment day. Can there be a crime if there is no victim?
Alma and Amulek knew the power of God could save them from an earthly painful death, but this power was to be stayed until later in the chapter, in verse 26, when they were given permission to use the unearthly power of God to break the bands that bound them. The power of God also shook the walls of the prison, crashing them down around the wicked and cruel perpetrators.
They had faith that God would work in His time through them.
Brings me to one of my favorite scriptures, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding..."
Richard G Scott said, "...every time you try your faith - that is, act in worthiness on an impression - you will receive the confirming evidence of the Spirit. As you walk to the boundary of your understanding into the twilight of uncertainty, exercising faith, you will be led to solutions you would not obtain otherwise. With even your strongest faith, God still not always reward you immediately according to your desires. Rather, God will respond with what in His eternal plan is best for you, when it will yield the greatest advantage. Be thankful that God lets you struggle for a long time before that answer comes. That causes your faith to increase and your character to grow."
As we exercise faith in following the Lord's will four things happened:
1. The believers were delivered to the Lord in glory, never to be tormented again by unrighteous husbands and rulers. If you think about it- the kind of men that could do this, they were probably cruel to their wives and children in daily life.
2. They have righteous witnesses to stand against them at their judgment day, further ensuring their eternal (painful) reward.
3. The perpetrators were set up to be in one place at one time, to suffer and die in a most painful and terrifying way (earthquake, walls crushing)
4. Alma and Amulek's character grew. They had strong faith before, but because they exercised faith by following the impressions they received, regardless of how much it went against their desires, their characters became more like the Savior, their faith became stronger. And they were able to use this stronger faith to call down the powers of heaven to shake the earth, loose their bands and collapse the prison.
I know God has a plan for each of us. His plan brings us joy. But, there are times when He withholds our answers and desires- even righteous ones - until the time is best suited for our eternal benefit. Alma and Amulek are a shining example of that.
Amazing, amazing, chapter.
What did you think/learn today?