To trifle means to treat something without seriousness or respect. In verse 9, King Benjamin made it clear that he didn't command them to come so they would be casual in their listening--his intent was for them to listen and obey him.
I can imagine that must be how President Monson feels as he stands before us. When he feels he has been impressed to relay a message, he doesn't want it to be received casually. He doesn't want the people to trifle with his words, because they are not his words, but the Lord's words. And when the Lord speaks it is for a reason.
The Lord doesn't do small talk.
I truly believe we do not understand just how easy we have it.
The Savior has suffered beyond our comprehension so we don't have to suffer more than we need be. He has done the hard part. In comparison, our lot is easy. All we have to do is keep His commandments and trust Him.
With that perspective, my trials seem light and trivial. I am not bleeding from every poor. I am not at death's door, needing angelic support. I am not hanging from a cross. He has done all of that for me.
I can handle what's been give me in gratitude because of that, and for many other things: the life he has given me, the blessings I receive for keeping the commandments, and so on.
1. Awake. I think sometimes in our lives we can be asleep to spiritual things, and the first thing we need to do is snap out of it. We need to be conscious and aware of our spiritual life and environment.
2. Hear the words which I shall tell thee. After we are awake, we need to actually hear and listen to the things we are being taught, whether it come from the scriptures, our leaders, inspiration--we need to hear what they are saying for the gospel really is the good news.
The angel also teaches King Benjamin some very important points of doctrine:
1. The Lord hears our prayers.
2. He judges us.
3. The Savior, Jesus Christ, will come to earth, performing miracles and the Atonement
4. Salvation comes through Him.
5. He will be resurrected after three days.
6. He will judge the world in a righteous judgment.
7. Salvation is extended to those who sin in ignorance.
8. Salvation can only be achieved in faith and repentance.
I read the list in verse 19 of all the wonderful things a child is: submissive, meek, humble, full of love...willing to submit ti his father....that is SO not how my children act! But that is beside the point.
I am in charge of me and how I respond to her behavior. I must be submissive (to the Lord's will), meek, humble, patient, full of love, and willing to submit to all things which the Lord seemeth fit to inflict upon me. It is up to me and no one else who I respond.
But in truth, there are some people truly in need due to hard times, and others in need/want because of their choices, so much so that taking handouts has become more of a given than an exception. Hence, when we give them what they ask for, it is enabling unhealthy behavior.
I'm sure King Benjamin didn't know the world 'enable,' but since he was taught this truth by an angel, I'm pretty sure his teaching here is solid.
So, we are told to give what we can to the needy (and if we can't, simply to have the desire to give is sufficient), but what if what the needy is asking for would not help them in the long run? Are we judging them by withholding from giving certain assistance and things as we try to encourage them to learn to do for themselves?
The overall message of this half of the chapter is summed up in verse 33: IF ye serve the Lord He will help you.
But despite their intentions and efforts, the Lord did not lead them to Zarahemla, but to a wasteland. I bet it was not what they had expected. But, because of their diligence in taking step after step, they found the 24 plates which held the precious story of the brother of Jared and his people, which were preserved for the benefit of the Nephites, and us.
I find in here a wonderful example of how Heavenly Father directs our paths to where we need to be. Sometimes people worry that they can't hear the word of God telling them His will, where they should go and what they should do--and they allow that worry to stall them. They stand in the middle of the road waiting for the Spirit to point them in the right direction. But, we learn here a simple truth: Be prayerful and obedient, the go forth in diligence. The Lord will take you where He wants you to go. But it is up to us to move.
This story picks up where Omni 1:30 left off.
We learn in the first two verses what caused such a the battle between the first travel party mentioned in Omni 1:27-28. The leader of the first group wanted to kill the Lamanites, but Zeniff saw some good in them and fought to spare their lives.
I like Zeniff. He saw the good in people--so much so that he allowed himself to be deceived by the Lamanites. BUT, he was an eager optimist, full of vision and energy--some thought too much energy (he even admits that he was 'over zealous.')
He was willing to fight for what he believed and he was also willing to see himself through honest eyes. He admitted that he was over zealous, and that he was slow to remember the Lord. But, he turned things around, and battled the Lamanites in the strength of the Lord (17) and they cried mightily unto Him.
He was strong and humble, willing to repent. And he accepted responsibility for their situation. It must have filled him with such sorrow to have buried his people with his own hands.
Zeniff is one of those guys I'm excited to meet someday.
Sometimes when we have a peaceful break between our trials we tend 'rest' and let things go a bit, but here is a great lesson that we can apply spiritually We should use our peaceful times to arm ourselves with faith and knowledge, so that when tough times come, we will be prepared.
Not only did he prepare his people, but he was also aware of his enemies tactics. Again, a good spiritual message there.
In verse 12 we read the frightening description of the Lamanites, and really it was all because they held a grudge. The price of holding grudges and being offended is steeper and more dangerous than I think we realize.
Perspective, one of my favorite words, played a huge role in the state of the Lamanites. They understood not the dealings of the Lord, and had in their hearts the view that they were wronged. It was this perspective the fed the anger and hatred, and hardened their hearts.
Perspective has the power to make or break a man.
I started reading this and couldn't stop until his speech was over. It was, and still is, amazing. The words he spoke, the passion that seeps through even 2100 years later. His understanding of the scriptures and prophecies, his testimony, his love for the Savior--his words are so passionate and so rich I couldn't stop reading.
Among his first words to the priests, he says, "Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding." Abinadi knew where their hearts were. He must have known Alma's heart. Perhaps this was one of the reasons he spoke so specifically about the Savior, so that Alma would know what to teach.
Two things were learn: Actions follow the heart (verse 27) and Live what you teach (29)
Abinadi cannot be swayed. The priests try to use his own religion against him, but he cannot be moved. "Have ye done all this?" he asks them of the commandment of God. They hadn't. They knew it and Abinadi knew it, too.
Their actions showed where their hearts were. The good news is that even as bad as a heart can be, it can always change. Look at Alma. He was doing, as far as we know, the same things the other priests were, and his heart changed.
Hearts are pliable, able to change instantaneously under the right conditions. The softer the heart the more pliable it is. Though Alma was doing bad things, his heart was not fully hardened. The power of the Atonement, through the Spirit brought in by Abinadi's words, reached into his heart, changing the soft part into something strong.
God doesn't want hard hearts. He wants strong hearts, hearts that will not fail men. A heart can be strong and soft at the same time. In fact, I believe that is the heart of God. Strong and immovable (understanding the need for justice), yet soft and filled with mercy, with room for love throughout. That's the kind of heart I want--strong and soft and big.
Bottom line: Truth is power. Actions follow the heart.
Verses 6-9, especially 9, are my favorite verses in this chapter. They speak to our Savior, the Atonement, and His role in the Plan of Salvation.
Vs 7- "the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father." Notice in this verse how the word IN is used, rather than BY. It didn't say that Jesus’ will was swallowed by God's will. That would imply that God's will is overtaking the Son's, as if it were God's doing. But, it says in. That tells me that it was Jesus’ doing to put His will in line with His Father's.
That is one of the greatest reasons we are here: to align our will with God's. And someday our we will be so good at it that now only will our will be in line with God's, but it will be swallowed up in His will.
I love the imagery in verse 9 of the Savior ascending to His place in the heavens, standing in between us and justice. I don't visualize Him between us and God, for God is always approachable, but Jesus Christ stands between us and certain death. He is the life boat that will save us from this sinking ship of mortality, and all we have to do is listen to His directions and follow them. How grateful I am to Him!!
And how grateful I am to God that He has appointed prophets to make this known to us--even prophets such as Abinidi that lived 2200 years ago. Truth is truth regardless of time, and Abinidi's words are as true now as they were then.
I also love how Abinidi made sure they understood that little children are saved. I wonder if anyone hearing that had children at the time.
Chapters like this do make me want to 'break forth into joy' and sing together! Doesn't it?
Jesus Christ is a light that will never be darkened. Beautiful.
I love how the gospel is completely inclusive. Everyone that has ever lived will have had a chance, if not now then by the end of the Millennium, to here the gospel and gain a testimony of it. That truth is spoken of here in verse 1, as well as Revelation and other places in the scripture. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ. And yet, there will be some--many--who, despite their testimony, will choose not to follow Him.
I see a type of the Savior in Abinadis story: he came as a sheep to the slaughter, willingly and knowingly. And yet, his call to testify was more important than his own life. Amazing.
And now we meet Alma. It seems that Alma was a newer priest, as he was so young. It would also appear that, since he already knew the iniquities of the people, that he may have been a righteous priest. Perhaps he was appointed to pacify those that still believed. Who knows. But, it's an obvious assumption that King Noah didn't care much for him, as it didn't take much at all for King Noah to order his death.
I wonder if this wasn't the straw that broke the camel’s back for King Noah and Alma's relationship.
Regardless, I admire the courage and humility of Alma.
I also think it this chapter testifies to the importance of record keeping and journal writing. Alma spent days making sure he recorded all of Abinidi's words and what happened. I also have to believe that when he was recording the words if Abinidi, that God helped him, through the Spirit, remember with accuracy all the words Abinidi spake. It would have been difficult for Alma to recall word for word all that is written. I think the hand of God plays a much larger and more involved role on the scriptures than we realize.