“If you have determined to live righteously, don’t become discouraged. Life may seem difficult now, but hold on tightly to that iron rod of truth. You are making better progress than you realize. Your struggles are defining character, discipline, and confidence in the promises of your Father in Heaven and the Savior as you consistently obey Their commandments. May the Holy Ghost prompt you to always make decisions that fortify your character and yield much joy and happiness.”
-Elder Richard G. Scott
Right now I am reading several chapters from the Book of Mormon each day in order to finish on May 1st, half way through the year. Because this is also the day that I will be flying to Mexico to begin my field study, I am also reading the same chapters from El Libro de Mormón. As you can see, adding this blog to my list of scriptural tasks is going to take some work, but I believe that it will be highly beneficial for me as it forces me to study the scriptures rather than just read them; you need to have an insight in order to blog about it, and I did promise my best.
Today, quite coincidentally actually, I read the chapters where King Benjamin is introduced. Rather fitting as I am now beginning my “Book of Benjamin.” I love how the prophet Mormon says that King Benjamin labored “with all of the might of his body and the faculty of his whole soul” for his people, “and he did fight with the strength of his own arm, with the sword of Laban.” It doesn’t get much cooler than that, but I digress.
Omni begins his book by telling us that he is a wicked man. He takes another verse to say that he has see much war and bloodshed in his day and then passes the record on to his son. The next several generations can pretty much be summed up in verses 5-7, and I’m not abridging much.
5 Behold, it came to pass that three hundred and twenty years had passed away, and the more wicked part of the Nephites wereadestroyed.
6 For the Lord would not suffer, after he had led them out of the land of Jerusalem and kept and preserved them from falling into the hands of their enemies, yea, he would not suffer that the words should not be verified, which he spake unto our fathers, saying that: aInasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall not bprosper in the land.
7 Wherefore, the Lord did visit them in great judgment; nevertheless, he did spare the righteous that they should not perish, but did deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.
I like these verses because we can see the manner that the Lord works among His children. If we remember Him in trials and especially when we are experiencing blessings and prone to forget, then we will receive His mercy and His love.
I love what Omni’s descendant, Amaleki, says about coming to the Lord:
26 And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should acomeunto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and boffer your whole souls as an coffering unto him, and continue in dfasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.
This is excellent advice from a prophet of God. You see, we usually go through a cycle of remembering the Lord. When we repent the Lord blesses us, but when we should be the most grateful, we forget Him and what He has done. It is important for us to constantly turn ourselves to Him through fasting and prayer and “offer our whole soul” unto Him.
Centuries later the prophet Mormon is abridging the history of the Nephites and he finds this smaller record. He feels prompted by the Holy Ghost to add these small plates to his record, even though they cover that which he has already abridged. He admits to not knowing really why he is adding these to the record, but in verse 7 he says, “And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord cknoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he dworketh in me to do according to his ewill.” What a great example of faith in the Lord.
Mormon had faith to follow the Spirit even when he didn’t know why. Yet this prepared the way, centuries in advance, for the work of the Lord to move forward when Martin Harris lost Mormon’s first record.
Sometimes I wonder how as we “go and do the things that the Lord has commanded” we are actually preparing the way for things to come. There are those in our future, our descendants and future associates, who are depending on us making these right choices now. We need to be ready and willing to turn to the Lord at all times, and heed the counsel we receive from the Spirit even when we don’t know why.
6 But the Lord aknoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all bpower unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen. (1 Nephi 9:6)
We will continue to go through those cycles of trials throughout our lives, but if we want to have continual peace, even through our times of trial, then we must be like King Benjamin, and fight for it all the days of our lives (see vs 17-18).