Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Alma 20:24-26 -- On Mercy and Instruction

"Now when Ammon saw that he had wrought upon the old king according to his desire, he said unto him: If thou wilt grant that my brethren may be cast out of prison, and also that Lamoni may retain his kingdom, and that ye be not displeased with him, but grant that he may do according to his own desires in whatsoever thing he thinketh, then will I spare thee; otherwise I will smite thee to the earth.
Now when Ammon had said these words, the king began to rejoice because of his life.
And when he saw that Ammon had no desire to destroy him, and when he also saw the great love he had for his son Lamoni, he was astonished exceedingly, and said: Because this is all that thou hast desired, that I would release thy brethren, and suffer that my son Lamoni should retain his kingdom, behold, I will grant unto you that my son may retain his kingdom from this time and forever; and I will govern him no more—"
Alma 20:24-26

Earlier in this story, Ammon went on a mission to the Lamanites and taught Lamoni the gospel.  At this point, Lamoni's father (the high king) has just tried to kill his own son for being disloyal and joining with the Nephites, and Ammon defended him, and when the king begs for his life and promises him half his kingdom, this is what he asks instead.  And you know, to me this whole thing seems so symbolic of what the gospel is all about.  Even when God has us over a barrel, as it were, he is never trying to harm us... only teach us and convince us of the truth.  He's God.  He could at any time force us to do anything, but he doesn't want us to be automatons.  He wants us to be ourselves, with our personalities, and our freedom.  He doesn't want insincere followers, or mindless servants.  He wants us to think, and understand.  He cares about us, and he wants us to know that all of this life stuff is FOR us.  It's hard, yes, but it is all to help us and teach us.
Today, like Lamoni's Father, let's realize that the gospel is no threat to us.  Let's grant the little that the Lord asks, and find out what he is offering.

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