Saturday, July 4, 2015

Helaman 13:25 -- On Prophets and Popularity

"And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out."
Helaman 13:25

This is Samuel the Lamanite.  An interesting position for him, because traditionally the Nephites were the righteous ones and the Lamanites were the unrighteous.  But in this situation, a Lamanite prophet was sent to call repentance to the Nephites.  Probably a hard thing for the Nephites, pride-wise.  When we are used to thinking of ourselves as better than another group, it is hard to let that go, even when you can listen to the person saying so and everything they say is true.  We just don't want to think of ourselves that way... as in need of repentance, and especially in the position of having someone from a group we really don't like tell us so.  Similarly, we want to think that we are better than the people in the past--that we've learned more, and our society is more advanced.  Our society wouldn't do the horrible things that our ancestors have done.  And yet, if we look, can't we see some of the same seeds?  Dissension and contention are all around us... whether we think we are symbolically the good guys or the bad guys, the Nephites or the Lamanites.
Samuel the Lamanite walked into a similar situation, determined to stir it up further because the Lord had asked him to.  The people kicked him out of the city, so he climbed the wall and preached to them from there.  People shot arrows at him, but he couldn't be hit because God was protecting him.  They said they wouldn't cast out the prophets if they were in the days of their fathers, but they tried with Samuel.  They tried to kill him in fact.  And even though we don't think that we are as bad as those people in the past (even the ones in this chapter), we still reject the prophecies that are given to us.  We claim that the prophets and apostles are out of touch: too old to understand our challenges.  We think that the scriptures are out of date for our time and that they don't apply to modern situations.  And yet, we forget that God is never out of date, and that he guides the prophets to write and to say things that *are* applicable.  We forget that God is unchangeable.  He requires the same things of us that he always has, and always will.  He knows us, and what he asks us to do matters for our lives, personally.  Today, let's stop picking and choosing which prophecies we are going to follow and which we don't like and think are uninspired.  Let's trust the Lord to know what he is doing, and talk to him about the things that are hard for us to understand.  Let's follow God's prophets, and listen to their counsel.  Even if they aren't the popular ones from the "in" group. :)

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